We just left New Mexico the other day, wishing that we had more time to explore the state. There was lots to see only it was so far apart that it made it a little difficult! We had a great time though. Here's the highlights of only the most fabulicious:
1. Get 'Em Right off the Tree: The Eagle Ranch Pistachio Farm
I had read that pistachios were grown in New Mexico, but didn't think we'd actually have the luck to go to a real orchard! Right off the highway there's this way cool farm that gives tours and has a great gift shop. You can get plain roasted and salted nuts if you like, but there is also red or green chili flavored (yum!) and a fantastic gift shop where you can even buy handmade soap, locally made pottery, and pistachio ice cream. Jake thought this place was the coolest thing ever! Go visit their website, you can even order online. I can personally tell you that I find their products delicious, because Jake and I stood there and sampled tons of them. (hee hee)
2. Where You can Toboggan in the Sand: White Sands National Monument
As we puttered around Alamogordo, we noticed some menacing black clouds beginning to surround us. When we got to White Sands, we realized that it was two very large, nasty thunderstorms that were eventually going to converge right over top of us! We had to skip the hikes that we wanted to do at the sands, but we did manage to take an interdunal walk and saw a really cool lizard, then drove down a little further to climb around on the dunes. Jake made a fast friend and there the two boys were, sliding down the dunes in a plastic saucer like they were toboganning. "This is cooler then SNOW!" Jake was squealing as he slid.... I really wish we could've had more time but we decided to head for the visitor's center. It was just in time too, because the ranger was just leaving to get people off the dunes because of the risk of lightening.
White Sands has a wonderful gift shop full of locally made products, from soaps to food, and even authentically made Native American jewelry. Hubs surprised me by buying me a beautiful Zuni made silver and turquoise necklace...what a great guy!
3. Going Batty: The Carlsbad Caverns Bat Flight
Every night at Carlsbad Caverns, thousands of bats take to the sky at dusk. Visitors are invited to sit right near the entrance and watch as these cute little creatures wake up, begin to fly in a sort of vortex, and then fly off in search of their dinner. This was probably the only thing I really insisted on seeing at Carlsbad, and so one night we raced up to the caves and caught it just in time. A hush fell over the crowd as the bats, group by group, slowly exited the caves. It was amazing to watch-they flew so delicately that it was actually beautiful (I'm sure you're all thinking..."bats? Beautiful? This woman has lost her mind.) You have to go-it's amazing.
Plus the whole bat thing was really special to me because I met my Hubs courtesy of Starbucks and a Carlsbad bats t-shirt. I'll tell you the whole story when I get home.
4. Look Out Below: Carlsbad's Lower Cave Tour
With the really easy tour completely booked and the other tours sounding a little more adventurous then we liked, I booked us for this tour-which had just the right amount of excitement but wasn't too scary. The hardest part was the ladders that we had to climb down, but they are metal and easy to handle. We were treated to an amazing experience looking at all sorts of beautiful cave formations for 3 whole hours! I also highly recommend this tour, and when I get home I'll give you more in depth information.
5. Last but not least: Those Friendly New Mexicans
This isn't a place but I want to mention that everyone was really very friendly where ever we went. From the strangers that would hold a door open for me and call me ma'am, to the hotel clerks, the staff at the Roswell Starbucks, a waiter that went above and beyond to get Hubs coffee in Carlsbad, people made us feel so warmly welcomed. We had a great time; and we'd love to come back. Thanks for having us!