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Wonders of New Mexico: Road Trip 2011

17 April 2011 4,045 views One Comment

Adam and I drove almost without stopping from Marathon, TX to Roswell, NM to check out the UFO Museum. After five hours in the car, I kind of looked like an alien myself.  While this “From Roswell to Your Kitchen” cookbook looked intriguing from the cover, it was actually just recipes from local folks for things they enjoy making at home — no recipes from aliens here.

Gift shop at the Roswell UFO Museum

Gift shop at the Roswell UFO Museum

I’ve spent time in Santa Fe before, and knew it was at high altitude. However, last time, I had a couple days to acclimate to higher altitudes in Albuquerque (5,350 feet) — before staying in Santa Fe (7,000 feet). Whether it was altitude sickness or just the flu, I felt crummy in Santa Fe so didn’t get to enjoy the food like I wanted to.

I even spent $25 on this cannister of Oxygen at a mountain sports store. It didn’t work for me but it did make us laugh whenever we used it.

Buying Oxygen in Santa Fe

Buying Oxygen in Santa Fe

We did spend one night in Albuquerque, which is about an hour from Santa Fe. Adam’s uncle David is an investor and helps manage a new hotel there called the Hotel Parq Central. David hosted us in the hotel the night before Adam had to catch his flight home to Austin (it’s about 5 minutes from the airport).

The hotel was built in 1925 as a hospital for railroad workers and it’s really beautifully restored on the outside and completely modern inside. I loved the historical artifacts displayed throughout the hotel, comfy bed, and artisan shower soaps. A delicious breakfast was included.

Comfy Bed at the Hotel Parq Central

Comfy Bed at the Hotel Parq Central

We caught up in the hotel’s bar, the Apothecary Lounge, where David works with the bartenders to create new cocktails for their menu. One of the tables in the bar is actually an antique gurney. So awesomely macabre.

Bartender at the Hotel Parq Central

Bartender at the Hotel Parq Central

After another night back up in Santa Fe, mom and I drove the 3.5 hours south to Truth or Consequences, New Mexico. We decided to spend the night in Truth or Consequences because:

  1. I loved the name and wanted a t-shirt
  2. They are known for their natural hot springs and the Bart women love a spa
  3. Two friends whose opinions I trust — McKinzey and Rakefet — recommended it

We stayed at Sierra Grande Lodge & Spa and I highly recommend it. It was built in 1929 and our room was just lovely with a comfortable bed and a large bathtub. For around $100 a night for the two of us, it also included a delicious breakfast and two soaks in their hot spring tubs.

Breakfast at the Sierra Grande Lodge & Spa in Truth or Consequences, NM

Breakfast at the Sierra Grande Lodge & Spa in Truth or Consequences, NM

The rest of the town was honestly pretty junky. We did go to the Geronimo Springs Museum, with an interesting exhibit showing the Truth or Consequences TV show that gave the town it’s name back in the 50′s. If you’re interested in pop culture camp, you might want to swing by and check it out if you’re in town.

Side of a Truth or Consequences Building

Side of a Truth or Consequences Building

Also, beyond the nice breakfast at the hotel, the food isn’t much to speak of. We went to Cafe Bella Luca for dinner and had a pizza and salad that were pretty forgettable. There is a health food store in town, Little Sprout, that caters to the hippies that have ended up living there. We also enjoyed wandering in some of the stores on the main street.

After leaving Truth or Consequences, I recommend driving straight to Hatch, NM. We took a detour to check out the “ghost towns” of Hillsboro and Kingston and while the drive was gorgeous and the Hillsboro at least was cute, it wasn’t worth the hour and 15 minutes detours to see these kind of nothing towns.

By the time we got to Hatch, we were hungry and we drove straight to Sparky’s Burgers.

Sparky's in Hatch, NM

Sparky's in Hatch, NM

If you’re in the area, GO to Sparky’s. From the campy and fun fast food mascots decorating the inside and outside of Sparky’s, to the mid-Century ads and signs inside, the atmosphere was great.  The green chile cheeseburger was DELICIOUS.

I don’t know if it was because we were hungry, or because it was truly that mouth watering, but the taste sent me straight back to my childhood in the best of ways. It was gooey and the flavors just melted together. Mmmmm. I insisted on splitting the burger and fries with my mom but next time, I’m gettin’ my own!

p.s. We also got a vanilla milkshake but that didn’t taste good to us and we threw it away after a couple of sips.

Sparky's Green Chile Cheeseburger and Fries

Sparky's Green Chile Cheeseburger and Fries

After getting our fill at Hatch, we drove to White Sands National Monument, which was totally worth the detour on our way back to Texas. It is gorgeous and amazing and so much fun to play and sled on the dunes!

For more photos of New Mexico, check out the slideshow below:

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