Travels: New Mexico Guide

NMTravelIf there’s a place in the US I could call my spirit land, it would be New Mexico. Call me Georgia (O’Keeffe, that is), there’s something wild and free about the expansive open skies with endless horizons of white billowy clouds, the soft colors of sage contrasting the sun-bleached coral adobes, and the pervasive stillness that all captivates my heart. New Mexico is an endless outdoor playground with plenty to explore from ruins, to multi-pitch climbing, to backpacking and mountain biking. For the yogis and Ayurvedic practitioners, it’s mecca with Dr. Vasant Lad’s school in Albuquerque and all his students scattered across this state. There are too many great national parks, curious middle-of-nowhere towns and authentic restaurants to include on this list, so I’m focusing here on my experiences over the years in Santa Fe & Taos.


// SANTA FE //

EAT 

  • Annapurna’s World Cafe – vegan/vegetarian Ayurvedic & Indian cuisine.
  • Café Pasqual’s – organic New Mexican style restaurant with plenty of veg options.
  • Modern General – pressed juices, superfood smoothies, coffee, tea, artisanal baked goods & whole bowls with a cute general store of curated home & garden goods.
  • Paper Dosa – organic, upscale South Indian food.
  • Rasa Ayurveda & Juice Bar – gourmet raw food menu with cooked food options, pressed juices, elixirs, tonics and high vibe desserts.
  • Sweetwater Harvest Kitchen – natural foods with local, sustainable wine menu.

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  • Bandelier National Monument – ancient Pueblo ruins and petroglyphs in Frijoles Canyon with over 70 miles of hiking trails to explore.
  • Body Yoga – drop-in yoga & dance classes with natural foods café & spa attached
  • Diablo Canyon – hiking and extensive single and multi-pitch sport climbing
  • Georgia O’Keeffe Museum – a gorgeous display of her life & work
  • Prajna Yoga – a gorgeous temple and workshop-based Yoga/Ayurveda studio with renowned teachers, Tias & Surya Little.
  • Santa Fe Opera – an open-air opera house with views of epic sunsets and thunderstorms rolling in over the Jemez Mountains.
  • Vedic Chant Center – in-depth Sanskrit and chanting workshops and daily classes. My prenatal yoga teacher, Linda Spackman, studies and teaches here.
  • Saturday Farmer’s Market – need I say more? Followed by the West African & Haitian dance class with live drumming right across the street. It makes for a fabulous Saturday.


// TAOS //

EAT 

  • The Love Apple – built in a 19th century Catholic Chapel, this intimate restaurant is my staple when in Taos. The menu focuses on seasonal foods and flavors, and works closely to source ingredients from local farmers and artisan producers. It’s veggie heavy with several seasonal special featuring local, sustainably caught fish and game. The blue corn muffins and cinnamon apple butter are worth the trip alone. Reservations required, cash only.
  • Manzanita Market – Love Apple’s more casual sister restaurant with local, organic soups, salads, sandwiches, baked goods, teas and tonics. A great lunch spot.
  • Chokola – across the brick alley way from Manzanita Market lies this charming little bean-t0-bar chocolate shop where they stone grind beautiful varietals of cacao from Venezuela, Ecuador and Madagascar for bars, bonbons, mousses and sipping chocolates. It’s charming and well worth the visit.
  • Wild Leaven Bakery – sourdough breads in all forms at its finest. This little bakery serves fresh baked bread, soups and pastries.
  • Aceq – a farm-to-table concept in Arroyo Seco near Ski Valley.
  • Farmhouse Café & Bakery – lots of hearty healthy options for veg and non-vegetarians, uses local and organic ingredients and sponsors a nearby school garden program.
  • Shed Dinner Project – a beautiful pop-up dinner concept incorporating locally farmed and foraged foods. All the food is served on vessels found in nature or made of local clays. Their dinners are intimate and sell out quickly, heads up.
  • Plant Feast – my girl Dillon of Oh, Holy Basil hosts a monthly plant-based supper club called, Plant Feast. The menus are inventive, nourishing and beautifully plated, served around a long table in their stunning private adobe home and kitchen. Contact Dillon for her upcoming dinner calendar and reservations.
  • CIDS Market – because more often than not, I stock up on local produce and cook at our casita when I’m staying in Taos. This natural grocery offers everything from artisan kombucha and raw goats milk, to a big salad bar and self-care products. It’s closed on Sundays, so stock up beforehand.
  • Raw Taos – a juice bar with pressed and made-to-order juices. Like most things in Taos, this place is quirky and only open in unpredictable selective hours and months of the year.


STAY 

  • Casa Gallina – the most charming B&B with five restored adobe casitas nestled in a quiet private property with a winding cold mountain stream, edible gardens and chicken coop…also the home of our annual Taos Retreat! Richard is the most gracious host, and stocks each casita with fresh eggs and homemade gluten-free baked goods each morning. It’s centrally located, a close 5 minute drive to center of town.
  • Taos Goji Ecolodge – a series of rustic cabins on working goji berry farm just north of Taos in El Prado. Georgia O’Keefe, D.H. Lawrence and Aldous Huxley once spent time here.
  • Taos Earthships – several of these unique passive solar homes made from earth elements and recycled materials located on the mesa are available to rent through AirBnb and the Earthship site. They’re funky weird, a true Taos experience.
  • Glass House Adobe AirBnB – great modern furnished adobe home on the mesa in El Prado, just a short drive north from the center of Taos, Taos Ski Valley and the Rio Grande Gorge. Seriously stunning views of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains to the east and epic sunsets to west.


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  • Neem Karoli Baba Ashram – the most wonderful little ashram with colorful peacocks, a stunning garden and permaculture farm, and Hanuman temple. Hanuman Chalisa happens every Sunday with a beautiful Indian buffet served in seva to feed Mahajari’s devotees. Several festivals (Shivaratri, Navaratri, Gurupurnima and more) take place throughout the year.
  • Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs & Spa – natural mineral springs, mud bath & spa…get a private pool for an hour or two, it’s worth it!
  • Shree Yoga – a sweet little studio with a beautiful blend of Hatha, Anusara, AyurYoga and restorative yoga. Tell Suki hi for me when you go!
  • Taos Farmer’s Market – every Saturday in the town plaza from mid-May to late-October.
  • Taos Mesa Brewery – keep an eye out for great live music, they often welcome international artists and other great Indie musicians.
  • Climbing – if you’re into that, check out the Gorge in the cooler months, El Rito and Tres Piedras are also nearby for sport and trad climbing.
  • Hiking – In the Ski Valley, one of my favorite hikes is the Italianos Canyon Trail 59. Park on the side of the highway and hike up a moderately hard trail through river crossings and into the aspens. There are also plenty of trails in the Rio Grande Gorge and up towards Angel Fire to explore. I’m not a big skier myself, but Taos in the winter is a huge destination for hitting the slopes.

4I8A5443// EXPLORE MORE // 

White Sands National Monument
Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument
Chaco Canyon Historical Park
Gila Cliff Dwellings
Carlsbad Caverns National Park
Ra Paulette’s Hand-Carved Caves
The Ayurvedic Institute


*Photography by Cassie Ballard of The Veda House & Claire Ragozzino of Vidya Living

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