New Mexico is Magic.

“And we back/And we back/And we back”-Chance the Rapper and Me.

After a long hiatus (I made few apologies. Turns out, planning a wedding takes up a lot of your time. Who knew?) I am back to share some of my outdoor travel adventures.

My fiance and I, scratch that, husband and I went to Albuquerque, NM for a mini-moon. Albuquerque, known as Tiguex to the Tewa Pueblo Natives.

Why Albuquerque? Well, each year they throw a party called the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta and it’s lit. You don’t have to be a balloon fanatic to appreciate the majesty of hot air balloons taking flight en masse. As an added bonus, we got to ascend on a hot air balloon with Art of Air Carriage LLC and experience the surreal feeling of floating suspended by hot air and grace above a city, away from the hustle and bustle.

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Before our hot air balloon adventure, we had the honor of visiting the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center on Indigenous People’s Day. New Mexico is home to 22 Native tribes and 19 Pueblos. We learned so much at the cultural center and were honored to experience dancers from a variety of pueblos. If you’re ever in the area, the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center is a must!


In between playing in Albuquerque, we hopped on the 25 up to Santa Fe to experience the charms of this little town. Similarly to Old Town Albuquerque, Old Town Santa Fe has many cute shops with plenty of souvenirs to take back with you. It was important to us that we patronize Native-owned businesses as much as possible and especially artisans when possible-Keshi-the Zuni Connection did not disappoint. For starters, Keshi was founded more than 30 years ago as a co-op by Zuni educators and artists as a way to highlight their culture and heritage and provide a way for these amazing artists to earn a living through their craft. When you walk into the store you’re greeted by a helpful primer on what you’re about to experience. Deborah educated us about the importance of the store, the artisans, and the Zuni culture of which she is apart. I felt good knowing that our (beautiful) purchases were supporting Indigenous artists at a fair price and that education was a critical part of the stores mission. Check them out in person or online for beautiful, authentic pieces that are for the culture.

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Albuquerque and Santa Fe Suggestions

  • Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta-Mark your calendar for October 5, 2019 - October 13, 2019.

  • Air Carriage LLC-Come for the hot air balloon ride, stay for Art’s jokes.

  • CAMPO at Los Poblanos Historic Inn & Organic Farm-Dinner at this idyllic lavender farm was definitely a highlight of our trip. The Lavender Chicken Breast was so satisfying!

  • Keshi-The Zuni Connection-Go for the education and the beautiful, buyable, art.

  • Q’s Cakes-I came across Q’s Cakes at Balloon Fiesta when I was in need of coffee. I was intrigued and then immediately sold when I saw a small sign that said “Support Veteran-owned Businesses” AND “Portion of proceeds go to support NSBE scholarships”. Get the biscochito! The apple brandy flavor was a delightful twist on the traditional cinnamon flavor.

  • Sunrise Springs Resort-I have never been so relaxed in my life. Go for a soak in your own private outdoor pool and get your life!

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I’ll be back.

Cibola National Forest

Kayle Barnes

San Francisco, CA