Naturally, when most people think of fall colors, they think of the east coast. Coming up from the Appalachian, through the Allegheny and Blue Ridge Mountains, through New England and up to the State of Maine, everywhere fall foliage is bursting into color. Reds, yellows, and oranges are a glorious sign of the impending arrival of winter, and warmly welcome the flocks of tourists heading north and east, as numerous as birds migrating south.
Northern New Mexico is always a place to experience colors in the Fall; a burning-red chili ristra alone is worth the trip. These appear all over New Mexico about this time of year when the famous Hatch, NM green chili harvest occurs. We may not have as many pumpkins as a New England town square, but our native squashes turn just as beautiful. Like the chilis and pumpkins changing their summer clothes, in the case of trees and their leaves, it is the arrival of cooler days and longer nights, which slow and then cease the photosynthesis process, trapping sugars in the leaves – a timeless process, which results in the robust reds. As the green chlorophyll dies, the trees’ leaves begin to try and salvage other nutrients and the carotenoids, masked by the green chlorophyll during the summer, and create the glory of autumnal hues.
Each October and early November, there is almost always plenty of time to see these wonderful fall colors in and around Santa Fe. Valley cottonwoods turn golden and orange, aspens turn yellow, the Chinese Pistache becomes a ravaging deep red, and Gamble Oaks are cloaked in a soft blend of warm, burnt color. Purple Mountain Ash, ornamental crab apples and fruit trees join the chorus, while vista-wide Chamisa sprout plumes of blossoms whose bright golden yellow is unrivalled even by the mighty maples, hickories, oaks and beeches of the East Coast. One of he most amazing of all the sights is to see the quaking aspens covering the entire Sangre de Cristo mountain range just above town, while they are turning into a rippling carpet of shimmering yellows, highlighted by green pines and firs bursting above the sea of aspen gold. Hiking or mountain biking at this time of year on the many gentle – or if you prefer arduous – trails in the glorious Sangre de Cristos is just unbelievable.
An autumn stay at the Inn on the Alameda allows one an opportunity to revel in our artistic landscaping planned to capture the beauty of fall foliage concentrated on our beautiful 2 acres perfectly situated along the cottonwood lined Santa Fe River. With November just around the corner, meet at the Agoyo Lounge for dinner in front of the glowing fireplace and savor one of our specialty cocktails – maybe a hot-toddie on the patio or a warm apple cider. Whatever your taste, the Inn on the Alameda will always accommodate and satisfy your desires in an inimitable setting.
Among the many natural resources the state has to offer, few are as conducive to well being as the hot springs. Soaking in hot, natural waters, is one of the primal pleasures of humanity – a pleasure shared by many cultures, and even other species, as seen in the Macaque monkeys of Japan.
Some of New Mexico’s most fabled hot springs are found in the Jemez mountains, the resort town of Ojo Caliente, the historic pools of Montezuma near Las Vegas, and the artesian springs of Truth or Consequences. A brief description of them should help the visitor decide which of these unique offerings might best fit their needs or itinerary.
Ojo Caliente is a true jewel of a town, located about 50 miles north of Santa Fe. Named by the early Spanish explorer Cabeza De Vaca, the earliest description dates to the 16th century.
“The greatest treasure I have I found these strange people to possess,” De Vaca wrote, “are hot springs which burst from out of the foot of the mountain…. so powerful are the chemicals contained in this water that the inhabitants believe they were given to them by the gods.”
Image of Round Barn from ojospa.com
Nestled in, and fully a part of the landscape, the hot springs of Ojo Caliente offer much to appeal to the visitor. The historical amenities offered by the resort include several buildings entered in the National Registry of Historic Places. These include the famous ‘Round Barn’ who’s unique architecture and design remain remarkably appealing to the visitor.
The hot waters of the town of Jemez Springs have tempted Santa Feans to make the trip for decades. Named for the nearbly Pueblo of Jemez, the small town offers numerous springs and bathhouses. The atmosphere of the Jemez Valley is a special and spiritual one, being home to both Catholic monasteries and Zen Buddhism centers.
Retreats and spas are found throughout the valley, including a village owned non-profit spa whose proceeds are invested within the community. The Jemez Bath House is over a hundred years old and remains a hub for community life.
Visitors can also find numerous free natural springs throughout the valley and are advised to check visitor reports for current conditions here.
Truth or Consequences has become synonymous for misguided civic boosterism. Originally named Hot Springs, after the myriad natural pools and springs, the city changed its name to that of a popular Radio show in 1950 as an effort to boost tourism. The town contains numerous resorts and baths, though there are significantly fewer than there used to be. Before World War 2, there were around 40 registered spas. Today there are ten, all featuring the minerally rich and complex waters of the region.
Many of these resorts can be found here, and a discerning traveler should be able to find “The cure for what ails them” through judicial booking and soaking.
Image from ojospa.com
As you can see, New Mexico has many geothermal amenities for the visitor. Assistance with booking or visiting any of these locations can be obtained through the Inn on the Alameda. We can’t wait to hear about your epic NM hot spring soaks!