Entries in ‘New Mexico’ Journal

Get Your Kicks on Route 66: New Guide Book Tells You How

Wednesday April 30, 2014 at 3:03 PM | 0 Comments

travel route 66In Albuquerque, New Mexico historic Route 66 remains a landmark that you can’t miss. Head to Central Avenue that divides the city into east and west and, depending upon where you are exactly, you’ll find 40s and 50s style motels with neon lights that still beckon to travelers. Although many of the motels that once were are no more, the road trip nostalgia remains. Travel Route 66: A Guide to History, Sights and Destinations Along the Main Street of America by Jim Hinckley is a guidebook that delivers a nostalgia fix as well as travel tips for the must-see sites along the way– and the best ways to find them.

As a person who lived in Albuquerque for nine years, I was interested to see what made the cut in Albuquerque’s pages. Hinckley got it right. The “Don’t Miss” page features Albuquerque landmarks that are excellent options for travelers of all ages. There’s not one I would take off. Of important note, Route 66 passes right by Old Town, Albuquerque’s oldest section. If you have a hankering to shop, head here.

The books “Don’t Miss” pages are one to a half-page text boxes that tantalize one to pack a suitcase right now. Time’s a wasting there is just so much to see to stay at home. Along with the splashier places everyone knows, Hinckley hones in on the lesser known sites that deliver something special, as well as those slowly becoming ghosts as paint fades and walls crumble.

I second his recommendation to take a detour from Route 66 to not miss the Cave Restaurant near Waynesville, Missouri. My experience here echos the one Hinckley writes about.

Throughout the 240 pages that includes the index, photographs and text parcel out Americana and unique U.S. history in manageable, highly readable bites. Insider tips abound, like if you go to Missouri’s Hick Bar-B-Q in Cuba, check out the bathrooms. He doesn’t say why as to let travels discover the surprise themselves.

Jamie Rhein on a California road trip. Route 66 ends at the Santa Monica Pier.

Jamie Rhein on a California road trip. Route 66 ends at the Santa Monica Pier.

Whether you’re into bridges, billboards, neon, wineries or oddities like the Blue Whale, a concrete and steel creation roadside attraction in Catoosa, Oklahoma, thumb through the book’s pages and you’ll find much to catch your eye.

With 2,500 miles of Route 66 to cover from Chicago to Santa Monica, Hinckley’s guidebook is a fun, informative read that provides insight on the breadth of American culture and the fascinating scope of U.S. history. Any time spent with this book is like a road trip across much of the U.S. whether you leave home or not.

Published by Voyageur Press. List price $21.99.

Post courtesy of Jamie Rhein, member of the Midwest Travel Writers Association. Rhein was given a copy of the book for review. Opinons are her own.

Things to Do in Albuquerque, New Mexico

Friday November 19, 2010 at 12:12 AM | 2 Comments

Mariachi music, Old Town Albuquerque, New Mexico, Nancy D. Brown, travel

Southwest musicians play Mariachi in Old Town Albuquerque, New Mexico

Things to Do in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

The first place I take a visitor from out of town is to Old Town Albuquerque, where the city was founded in 1706. With a festive Southwestern environment featuring shops, galleries, musicians, restaurants and museums, there are plenty of things to see and do in Albuquerque.

Hop on an Albuquerque Trolley  for a city tour and taste some New Mexican cuisine at a local restaurant.

When I crave Albuquerque cuisine there are many options:

  • El Pinto, Sadie’s, Los Cuates, Casa de Benevidez

To escape work I:

  • hike or bike in the mountains
  • enjoy a spa treatment at La Bella Spa & Salon
  • take my dog to one of several dog parks
  • take a float trip down the Rio Grande with the Quiet Waters Paddling Adventures

For complete quiet, I can hide away at:

  • The Los Poblanos Open Space or Open Space Visitor Center
  • One of 17 public libraries around the cities
  • Casa Rondena Winery in the North Valley
New Mexico, Albuquerque, chile ristra, Nancy D. Brown, travel

Get your picture taken with a Chile Ristra in Albuquerque

If you come to Albuquerque, get your picture taken

  • at the Turquoise Museum
  • at the American International Rattlesnake Museum
  • in a hot air balloon
  • get your picture taken at Wagner Farm in Corrales with a ristra

If you have to order one thing off the menu try:

  • El Pinto – chile ribs appetizer
  • Sadie’s – blue corn enchiladas or green chile cheeseburger
  • Los Cuates – carne adovada blue corn enchiladas
  • Casa de Benevidez – sopaipilla burger

Albuquerque is my one stop shop for hot air ballooning at the International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta.

When I’m feeling cash-strapped, I go to Little Anitas.

For a huge splurge, I go to Vernon’s Hidden Valley Steakhouse.

San Felipe de Neri Church, Albuquerque, New Mexico, Nancy D. Brown

Photo ops in Albuquerque include San Felipe de Neri Church

Photo ops in Albuquerque include:

  • San Felipe de Neri Church in Old Town
  • Sandia Peak Tramway
  • Nob Hill neon signage
  • In front of the dinosaurs at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science
  • Holding a chile ristra
  • 4,000 square foot torreon fresco at the National Hispanic Cultural Center

The best vantage points are taken by taking the Sandia tramway to the top of Sandia Peak (10,378 ft)

The most random things about Albuquerque are:

  • Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta (9 days each October)
  • Days & Nights of Route 66 in Nob Hill (each summer)
  • We have the largest flamenco event outside of Spain (Festival Flamenco each summer)
  • Home to North America’s Largest Pow Wow
  • Day of the Tread annual Halloween biking and running event
  • National Fiery Foods Show
  • Duke City Docfest – Documentary Film Festival
  • Duke City Quest – scavenger hunt
  • Lavender in the Village Festival
  • Quilt & Wine Fair in Corrales

In Albuquerque, an active day outdoors involves:

  • Hiking the La Luz Trail to the top of Sandia Peak (hiking trails are 20 minutes from most anywhere in the city)
  • Biking along the Paseo del Bosque Trail, a 16-mile one-way trail that winds along the Rio Grande in the middle of the city with uninterrupted right-of-way
  • Hiking at Petroglyph National Monument to discover some history along the way
  • Skiing at Sandia Peak Ski Area in the winter months
  • Snowshoeing or cross-country skiing during the winter
  • Mountain biking among the many trails in the Sandia Mountain foothills

My favorite walking route is the Old Town to Downtown Walking Tour or the Paseo del Bosque Trail.

Albuquerque has 19 museums covering everything from turquoise and rattlesnakes to fine art, personal computers and nuclear science.

For a night of dancing, go to:

Salsa Baby Dance Studio

Tango at Hotel Andaluz

One Up

Frontier is the spot for late night dining.

To find out what’s going on a night or on weekends, read Local IQ or Alibi and www.ItsATrip.org of course!

Special Shapes, Albuquerque Hot Air Balloon Fiesta, New Mexico, Noah's Ark, Nancy D. Brown, travel

Visit the Albuquerque International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta

You can tell a lot about Albuquerque from visiting Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta –  the hot air balloon capital of the world!

In the spring you should attend:

  • Gathering of Nations Pow Wow
  • American Indian Week Pueblo Days
  • Restaurant Week
  • Women & Creativity
  • Albuquerque Annual Wine Festival
  • Run for the Zoo

In the summer you should attend:

  • AAA Albuquerque Isotopes game
  • One of the many live music concerts at the Rio Grande Zoo, Botanic Gardens or Albuquerque Museum
  • Downtown Grower’s Market
  • Savor Albuquerque cultural festival
  • Annual Folk Festival

In the fall you should visit:

  • Albuquerque International Balloon
  • McCall’s Pumpkin Patch and haunted house
  • Taste of Albuquerque
  • Albuquerque BrewFest
  • New Mexico Wine Festival
  • New Mexico State Fair
  • Globalquerque

In the winter you should go to:

  • NM Symphony Orchestra or one of the many performing arts events
  • Holiday festivities – especially in Old Town & Nob Hill
  • New Mexico Thunderbird basketball games
  • Weems International Artfest
  • New Mexico Bowl
New Mexico Pottery, Albuquerque, Nancy D. Brown, travel

Hand painted pottery in Albuquerque, New Mexico

Hidden gems in Albuquerque are the Fresco Torreon at the National Hispanic Cultural Center and the Native American dancing at Indian Pueblo Cultural Center.

For a great breakfast treat or espresso, go to:

  • The Grove
  • Flying Star
  • 66 Diner
  • Gold Street Caffe
  • The Grove

Just outside of  Albuquerque, you can visit:

  • The Turquoise Trail and have lunch at the Mine Shaft Tavern
  • Acoma Pueblo and have lunch at the Y’aak’a Cafe

You’ll  need a rental car to see Albuquerque, but Old Town, Downtown, Uptown and Nob Hill are very walkable neighborhoods.

If you have kids, you won’t want to miss:

  • Albuquerque BioPark – zoo, botanic gardens, aquarium and Tingley Beach
  • Explora Science Center
  • New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science
  • Cliff’s Amusement Park
  • Hinkle Family Fun Center
  • Anderson-Abruzzo Albuquerque International Balloon Museum

What are your favorite things to do in Albuquerque, New Mexico?

Thanks to Megan Mayo of Albuquerque Convention & Visitors Bureau for assistance with this post. You may also become a Facebook Fan of Albuquerque and follow them on Twitter. I was a guest of  Albuquerque. Article, YouTube video and photos by Nancy D. Brown

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