Thursday, February 23, 2017

New Year, New Mexico

Since moving to Colorado we have had several opportunities to travel to the surrounding areas and we find ourselves heading back to one state repeatedly. New Mexico has become our go-to vacation location of choice, and we find ourselves exploring fun, interesting, and historically rich locations every time that we visit.

After nearly a dozen trips down there, I can confidently say that it is very family-friendly place, especially if you are interested in culture, diversity, outdoor recreation, fascinating history, and really great food.

Old Town, Albuquerque
Our most recent trip was one of my favorite so far. We decided to ring in the New Year in Albuquerque with the kiddos. We were only there a couple of days but managed to squeeze a lot of exploration into that short amount of time.

Albuquerque is know for it's hot air balloon festival - which is quite the site to behold.

We managed to witness the last day of the festival last October (pictured above) and decided we absolutely had to check out the Anderson-Abruzzo International Balloon Museum when we had a chance to actually spend some time in Albuquerque. So, the museum was our first stop that weekend.

History of hot air ballooning exhibit
Space Exploration exhibit
Blurry group good as we could get.
Arctic Air Exhibit with Nick's favorite - polar bear!!
The exhibits were both fun and informative and there was a great hands-on section where the kids could learn about designing, building, and flying hot air balloons. The 4D movie was a big hit as well, anything with 3D glasses and airplane acrobatics is a winner with my kids. 

The best part, only $4 per adult and $1 per child (ages 4-12 - kids 3 and under are free!) - so $11 for a fun and educational activity. The kids have already been asking to go back!

We also spend a lot of time walking around Old Town Albuquerque, which is my favorite area in any of the older cities we've visited (Santa Fe, San Diego, and even Colorado Springs). 

Lunch a Church Street favorite!

Clowning around at the Fountain in Old Town

Fun at the Gazebo

Trying to figure out how to work this Civil War reproduction canon...

We ate lunch at one of my favorite restaurant finds, Church Street Cafe. My mom, sister and myself had actually stumbled upon this place when we were in Albuquerque over my birthday weekend and I had to get Nick and the kids there. It's incredibly delicious and the building is amazing. Here are some pics from my first visit there with my mom and Erica...

Gorgeous kiva fireplace with a mosaic.

Loved the light fixtures!

Very festive...
 The Old Town area was pretty decked out for the holidays. I have to say, New Mexico knows how to do Christmas.

Here are some more pictures from around the square.

There is a really neat alley that leads to a couple of shops, galleries, and, most importantly, a coffee shop. Our favorite store in that area was Guerrilla Graphix. We grabbed a couple of bumper stickers, 2 posters (for Deacon and Dylan's room - you can see them in the previous post), and a Santa Fe tote bag. It's a really fun/quirky store and we could spend hours looking at their stuff. Here is some of the art work we discovered just in that alley...

Christmas tree made out of plastic bottles. 
Cute set-up outside of Velvet Coffeehouse.

We got our coffee fix from Velvet Coffeehouse, which was both delicious and necessary.

Pretty chai.
And spent most of the rest of the trip eating and watching movies at our AirBnB because it started raining. The cozy fireplace was a great perk, that's definitely something we miss from our old house. All in all, it was the perfect combination of relaxation and exploration for us. We even managed to get a couple of good pictures Nick and I to send in with our home study.

On our way home, we stopped by our favorite city, Santa Fe, to stretch our legs and squeeze every last bit of New Mexico out of our trip.

The square at Santa Fe.

The kids really love this city...

So glad to be back!

One of my favorite places...

I try to take pictures of the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi ever time I visit. It really is a beautiful work of art.  Their decorations were simple but stunning.

And that about wraps it up! Lots of fun, food, and exploration in New Mexico :)

I'll be posting more about some of our trips to Santa Fe, Aztec, Roswell, and some of the towns in between as well as our epic road trip from last October to Joshua Tree. Fun times in some very fun places!

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