Even in Los Angeles, you can feel the change of season in the air. And while fall is only barely knocking on our doors, I’m already looking at where next year’s travels might take us. What has this month’s research revealed? Ruidoso, New Mexico. It might just be the next great escape we need.
The Village of Ruidoso is in the Sierra Blanca mountain range (think, South Central New Mexico, about two hours north east of Las Cruces and about three hours south east of Albuquerque).
What has me all fired up about a trip to a village in New Mexico?
You know how much Andy and I love finding unique off-the-beaten-path destinations. We want to explore the quiet places, and when they have incredible mountain vistas, all the better. You have me sold when you tell me that I can stroll through a small Western town while exploring the local art scene and enjoying the regionally-inspired food.
An Outdoor Paradise
It feels like there is no end to the outdoor activities available in Ruidoso. You know how much Andy loves hiking, and I’m getting better at it. Here, there are trails that work for both advanced outdoors types and novices (and even less graceful participants, like me). I’ve already got my eyes set on hiking around Alto Lake. And with more than 200 miles of trails in the Smokey Bear Ranger District in the Lincoln National Forest, there are going to be trails that work for both of us. I can even see us giving the trails around Bonito Lake or Cedar Creek a go.
Does anyone here love horseback riding? Many of the hiking trails are actually multi-use trails, so don’t be surprised if you see people on horseback (or bikes) as you walk. I haven’t been on a horse since I was 12. The horse was huge, I was tiny – I’m still quite short – and it was an odd combination of thrilling and terrifying. I not so secretly have been trying to find a good excuse to get back to riding, so I am already picturing us riding through the Fort Stanton Recreation Area while taking in the views of the Captain and Sacramento Mountains, as well as the Lincoln National Forest. Of course, in my fantasy, I’m far more sophisticated than I probably would be in real life, but it still seems worth a shot. I’ve also heard good things about the guided horseback tours at the Inn of the Mountain Gods Resort and Casino in nearby Mescalero. That might be a better way to start given my inexperience.
Are you into camping? Take a look at Silver Lake, Eagle Creek and the cabins at Mescalero if you are planning a trek during the summer. Are you an adventurer with an eye toward the zip-line? I wish I were one of you! I think Andy might be tempted to give the cables at Apache Eagle ZipRider over Lake Mescalero a test. I will seriously consider it. No, I will! I was pretty tempted when we were in Costa Rica, and the views here look incredible.
I’m inclined to visit this area in the warmer months, but the winter certainly has its appeal. For instance, the winter sleigh rides in Upper Canyon during the holidays look nothing short of magical. Do you live for the rush of downhill skiing? Ski Apache could be perfect for you. There are also tubing and snowboarding options waiting for you that are great for the whole family.
An Escape Filled with History
If you are like us, you love to add a bit of history to your getaways. Here, you can visit The Hubbard Museum of the American West and the Fort Stanton State Historic Site. You can see the original structures (17 in all) of the Lincoln State Historic Site which reveals what life looked like in Lincoln County in the 1870s and 1880s. Billy the Kid and Pat Garrett called Lincoln home. Do you love ghost towns? If you’ve read this blog for a while, you know how much Andy and I do. If we head to visit Ruidoso, we can also explore the White Oaks Ghost Town. It was a boomtown in 1879 and went the way of many of the California mining towns we have explored did. No word on whether or not they are actually visited by ghosts, but we’re willing to find out and report back to you.
A Chance to Relax and Indulge
There is no doubt that Ruidoso is a great place to get outdoors and experience the natural wonders of the area. But I know that after a long day, I’m going to want a little pampering and relaxing. Good news! There are three day spas that look exactly like the kind of rejuvenating spots I would need. There are also Yoga zones and even a flotation station (!) right in the middle of the Village.
That’s not all! There are numerous performing arts facilities and opportunities to enjoy incredible music. There are art galleries to be visited and horse races to be seen. And, of course, barbeque to be eaten!
Where would we stay? Right now, The Inn of the Mountain Gods Resort and Casino on the Mescalero Apache reservation looks very tempting. The views of the lake and the forest, as well as all the entertainment, could be a fun treat. I can also see us spending some time in the Storybook Cabins for a quieter getaway.
How about you? Do you have any favorite spots in New Mexico? Have you ever visited Ruidoso? What is on your 2018 travel wish list?