Transcript: Santa Fe and New Mexico
Andrew Collins answered your questions on vacationing in Santa Fe and New Mexico
There's plenty of room to stretch your legs in New Mexico. America's fifth largest state is also one of its least densely populated. The core destinations - artsy Santa Fe, outdoorsy Taos, and up-and-coming Albuquerque - offer incredibly close access to pristine wilderness. You can be skiing, cycling, hiking, and or shooting magnificent nature photos within a short drive of the capitol building in Santa Fe (which, at 7,200 feet, is the highest capital in America).
But don't overlook New Mexico's indoor diversions - there's not a decent-size town in the state that doesn't have at least a few prominent art galleries, and Santa Fe is the third-largest art market in the country. Spas (with a decidedly holistic, New Age-y bent), adobe inns, and restaurants specializing in everything from fiery green-chile stew to blue-corn pancakes also keep visitors coming back for more.
New Mexico has no down time - just four gentle seasons abundant with sunshine and dry, clear air. There's a lot to cover in the Land of Enchantment, and I can tell you the most about Santa Fe, Taos, and Albuquerque, but feel free to ask travel questions on just about any town in the state, and on any subject - short hikes, affordable B&Bs, scenic drives, day spas, swanky nightclubs, antiques shopping, sushi. I'm even prepared to reveal some of New Mexico's best-kept secrets...just don't tell the locals you heard any of this from me.
Andrew will be answered your questions Tuesday, March 30, at noon EST.
Having traveled all over the country since becoming a travel writer in 1991, Andrew Collins moved to Santa Fe in 2000, drawn by the great four-season climate, stunning mountain views, and big-city sophistication and culture but small-city personality. He's since traveled just about every inch of the state, contributing articles on New Mexico to Budget Travel, Out Traveler, Travel + Leisure, Sunset, and New Mexico Magazine, as well as contributing to numerous guidebooks for Fodor's. He's also the author of Moon Handbooks Connecticut, Moon Handbooks Rhode Island, and the recently published Moon Handbooks New Orleans, and he teaches an online travel-writing course for New York City's acclaimed Gotham Writers' Workshop.
Andrew Collins: Hi there, thanks for joining me. I'm ready to answer your questions about Santa Fe and the rest of New Mexico.
Bakersfield, CA: If I wanted to see all of what New Mexico had to offer, from north to south and east to west, what hot spots would you not miss on a week-long New Mexico road trip?
Andrew Collins: New Mexico is a big enough state that you might not want to see all four corners of it in one week. However, a good strategy is to focus on Rio Grande Valley, which runs north to south from Taos all the way down to Las Cruces.
Give yourself a night in Taos, a couple of nights in Santa Fe, and a night in Albuquerque - there's half your week, and these cities are all within fairly easy drives of each other. From Albuquerque, head south on I-25 about three hours to Las Cruces (NM's second-largest city), which has a neat "Old Town" area. Spend a night here, and then head east on U.S. 70, stopping at White Sands Nat. Monument and driving up into the state's southern mountains. Spend a night or two in Ruidoso, a delightful and green mountain town - an excellent base for the region. If you still have a final day, continue east on U.S. 70 to Roswell, and then drive south to Carlsbad, a rather sleepy town by itself, but home to the famous Carlsbad Caverns National Park.
That's one very busy and action-packed week, but this itinerary gives you a great sampling of what to see and do in New Mexico.
Durham, NH: What are the "don't miss" restaurants in Sante Fe?
Andrew Collins: For traditional New Mexico fare, which truly does differ from other kinds of Southwestern and Mexico food, book a table at The Shed, a charming little restaurant a couple of blocks east of the historic downtown Plaza. Prices are moderate, and the food authentic.
Santa Fe has several upscale, contemporary restaurants where chefs are constantly trying some innovative things - my two favorites are Geronimo and The Compound, both of which are along art-gallery-laden Canyon Road.
You may not expect to find outstanding Indian (as in Asian Indian) food in town, but India Palace, a block from the Plaza, is outstanding. I've lived in London and NYC's East Village, both hubs of great Indian restaurants, and this place holds its own.
Gabriel's, a bit north of town, is famous for its tableside guacamole and great margaritas. Otherwise, the food is decent - not amazing. But it's loads of fun for appetizers and drinks around sunset.