Jennifer and Kelly Take New Mexico

I just got back from a fantastic vacation in Albuquerque, New Mexico to visit my friend Jennifer who moved there two summers ago. I finally had a chance to visit her over Memorial Day weekend. I flew out Thursday afternoon and got back on Wednesday morning. The trip was jam packed with activities.

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Jennifer had to work part of the day on Friday. She came home for lunch so we went to a coffee shop located near her house called Michael Thomas Coffee Roaster. After coffee Jenn went back to work and she suggested I walk around her neighborhood, Nob Hill, because there are cute shops and restaurants. It was fun doing some solo exploring and checking out antique stores and boutiques. I stopped at El Cotorro for some sorbet and a taco. The sorbet was insanely good. I got a scoop of cucumber chili lemon and blood orange rosemary.

When Jennifer came home from work we went to one of her favorite spots in Albuquerque: Spur Line Supply Co. It’s a huge store that features multiple local artists. It was a super cool space with filled with unique finds. After Spur Line, we headed to Hotel Chaco’s Level 5 bar for cocktails. There were fabulous views from the roof-top bar. We both got delicious cocktails. A running theme during the weekend was poor service from restaurants and bars. I’m not sure what was going on, but we never had good service.

Next, we headed to a new exhibit called Artechouse. It is a large room filled with multiple interactive art installations. There were multiple screens that reacted to your body. We had a blast. Jenn and I used to dance together in primary school so we used this exhibit to squeeze a bit of improv. The experience made me feel like I was in high school again. We spent about 30-45 minutes in the exhibit and left sweaty and dirty. They also have a location in Washington, D.C. If you find yourself in either areas I recommend checking it out.

 

Saturday we headed to Santa Fe, one of Jennifer’s favorite cities. When we arrived, she asked me if I wanted to get hot chocolate. I was hesitant because the temperate was in the 80’s, but I knew Jenn would not steer me wrong. We went to Kakawa Chocolate House. The hot chocolate blew my mind. Their hot chocolates are made with either almond milk or water. Cow’s milk would have made the hot chocolate too heavy. My hot chocolate was inspired by the drinking chocolate Marie Antoinette brought with her to Versailles from Vienna. It had notes of orange blossom, vanilla and cinnamon. Jennifer got a hot chocolate with almonds and rose water. They were served in the tiniest mugs I have ever seen. It is so rich that a bigger cup would be too much for me– though they do sell a larger size.

After finishing up our cups we headed across the street to one of Jennifer’s favorite galleries across the street, the Gerald Peters Gallery.  The art being featured is semi-erotic, futuristic, feminine, and all around fascinating. Santa Fe has more than 250 art galleries which seems like a lot for a smaller city. If art is your thing, you’ll love Santa Fe.

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We closed out our day in Santa Fe at Meow Wolf. Meow Wolf is an interactive and immersive art experience. I don’t want to post too many photos because I would hate to spoil the experience for anyone. There is a story to follow; however, we had trouble digging into the narrative due to the crowds. There was plenty to do even without the story. It feels like you are walking through a sci-fi movie while you explore parts of an old Victorian home. Unfortunately, the crowds were a distraction. I think it would be better for visitors if they capped attendance. Another downside for the child free is that all ages are allowed all the time. There should be a time cut off for people under 18. There weren’t too many kids when we went in the evening, but it would be nice if adults could choose to experience Meow Wolf without children running around.  I would love to do Meow Wolf again!  It a wickedly cool experience, and I know there are details– probably entire scenes– that I missed.

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We spent all day Sunday outside in the hot, dry Albuquerque weather. In the morning we went to the Botanic Garden. There was pollen floating in the air that made everything look magical. Luckily, I don’t have bad allergies so the pollen never affected me. I was able to enjoy the beauty of it. With our lush surroundings, it didn’t feel like we were in the middle of the desert. The Japanese garden was my favorite. There is something therapeutic about watching koi fish and listening to a waterfall. The gardens gave me an itch to add to my plant collection.

 

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My absolute favorite place I visited during my long weekend is Los Poblanos Historic Inn. On the property there is an inn, restaurant, store, and a lavender & organic farm. This place is breathtaking. Jennifer and I went for a yoga class. It was supposed to take place in the lavender field, but, due to some flooding, it was moved to a grassy area toward the back of the ranch. It is the most relaxing activity I have ever done. The teacher began by instructing us to lay on our backs with our eyes closed and our palms up. She placed a drop of lavender oil on each of our palms and told us to rub our hands together while breathing in the lavender. What a treat!  After yoga-ing for an hour we headed to the bar to grab a champagne cocktail to drink as we watched the sunset. So romantic!

 

Los Poblanos Inn is also the home to a few different types of animals. While we were there we saw guinea hens, a peacock, a cat, and a few llamas (not pictured). When we were in our yoga class the guinea hens walked right next to Jennifer and squawked really loud. I wanted to grab my phone to take a picture (not zen) so I decided to be in the moment and forgo the pic (totally zen).

 

On Memorial Day we headed out to Casa Rondena Winery. Despite having stunning view and delectable wine, there were some problems.  The service was by far the worst service we received during the weekend. I have done a few wine tastings and the employees are always informative, helpful, and eager for questions. Our lady barely bothered to give us the wine’s information. When we asked her to repeat she would tell us to look at the wine list. I couldn’t believe how rude she was towards everyone doing tastings. I wouldn’t say they were any busier than wineries I have visited in the past. Poor service aside, we enjoyed the wines we tasted and even got a glass to enjoy outside. We even met a couple of new Instagram friends who were nice enough to take pictures for us.

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After the winery we headed to Escape the Room to meet up with Jennifer’s significant other and his coworker. I’ve never done an escape room before and was both excited and nervous. I didn’t want to let my team down. My phenomenal puzzle skills came in handy when we had to solve a sliding picture puzzle. We had 60 minutes to escape the Indian Jones themed room, and I am pretty sure we hit the escape button at 59 minutes 59 seconds. I cannot wait to find an escape room near home and bring all of my friends.

img_467920180528_194051 For my last night in Albuquerque, we went to the Sandia Mountains. Jennifer and I rode a tram to the top to watch the sunset. Though the days in New Mexico are in the mid-90’s, the nights are cooler because of it being a desert. It was even colder on top of the mountain. I had on a sweater and jean jacket and I was still freezing. Albuquerque is flat so you could see for miles and the views from the top were stunning. Sandia means watermelon in Spanish and this mountain range gets this name by turning a reddish-pink color when the sunsets. I’m glad I got to see the sunset from the ground and on top of the mountain.

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This pretty gif sums up how happy, fun, and exciting my trip to New Mexico was. My last day in Albuquerque was more chill than the rest. Jennifer and I went to get donuts at Rebel Donuts and then went to coffee at Little Bear Coffee Co. Jenn had to head into work for a little bit so I used that time to gather my belongings and pack. I took a red eye out of Albuquerque so I didn’t have to get to the airport until 9:30 pm. When Jennifer and Alex got home we went to happy hour and then to dinner. Jenn and I have been taking pictures similar to the gif above since our high school days. I really wanted to get one while we were together during this trip. With some help from Google photos we got this amazing gif! Welcome to 2018!

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My time in New Mexico with Jennifer was delightful . This girl makes me feel young and we always manage to have a memorable, extraordinary time when we are together. I am looking forward to my 2019 visit. It will  be a super special and unforgettable trip! LOVE YOU, JENNY ❤

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