At Acoma, we'll have a chance to see the pueblo's visitors center prior to exploring, with a Native American expert, the mesa-top where the ancient part of Acoma Pueblo is located.
Acoma Pueblo, known as "Sky City," was settled possibly as early as A.D. 900. It is situated on top of a 376 foot high sandstone bluff.
We'll learn about the Spanish conquistadors who occupied it in 1599, the filmmakers who helped build the road that goes to the top of the mesa, and the 6,000 residents who today either live in two nearby villages or in the Pueblo itself.
As we walk through the ancient village, we'll see the large mission church and meet some of the pueblo residents.
(Please note that, since this is an expanded program, the group will be split into two groups for many activities. Both groups will see and do the same things, but the order of activity may vary from that shown in this itinerary.)Lunch: Lunch at the Y'aak'a Café at AcomaAfternoon: Travel to Santa Fe and check into hotelDinner: Dinner at the hotelEvening: This evening we'll hear music of the southwest by Native American professional musician and scholar, Ronald Roybal.
Ron is an award-winning musician dedicated to the preservation of traditional Native American music as well as being a composer of some of his own. He's a fine singer, guitarist and Native American flute player.Lodging: Courtyard by Marriott Santa FeMeals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
We'll then go to the Museum of International Folk Art and the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture, both part of the State of New Mexico Museums system.
The MIAC offers a huge collection of pottery, basketry, rugs, jewelry and artifacts, mostly from tribes of the southwest region. The exhibits are beautifully displayed and documented.
The Museum of International Folk Art features the huge collection of folk art of Alexander Girard displayed in charming scenarios. (Both museums have great gift shops as well!)Lunch: Lunch at Museum Hill CaféAfternoon: After lunch we'll go downtown for a walking exploration of the Plaza area. Our bus then goes to the Courtyard for those who want to return to the hotel.
Those who wish can opt to spend more time exploring the downtown area on their own. Nearby state museums include the Palace of the Governors, the New Mexico Museum of Art, and the New Mexico History Museum. (Those who don't return to the hotel on our bus will need to arrange for their own transportation back to the hotel via city bus or taxi.)Dinner: Dinner on your ownEvening: Evening at leisureLodging: Courtyard by Marriott Santa FeMeals Included: Breakfast, Lunch
After the Pueblo, the bus will travel to the Millicent Rogers Museum. Here, visitors enjoy many outstanding historical collections of Native American art and jewelry, contemporary paintings, weavings, and pottery, including the Maria Martinez family collection. Also showcased are Hispanic textiles, metal work, and sculpture, as well as a wide range of contemporary Anglo-European southwestern art.
The bus then departs for the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge, locally known as the "High Bridge." This is a cantilever truss bridge across the Rio Grande Gorge 10 miles northwest of Taos. At 650 feet above the Rio Grande, it is the fifth highest bridge in the United States.Lunch: Boxed lunch at the picnic area at Rio Grande Gorge BridgeAfternoon: After lunch, we'll go to downtown Taos and visit the Ernest Blumenschein Home and Museum. This was the home of painter Ernest L. Blumenschein, a co-founder of the Taos Art Colony and one of the "Famous Seven." It was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1965.
We'll then have some free time for independent explorations of the Plaza and Bent Street areas. There are a number of colorful galleries and shops in this area, as well as other museums, all within walking distance of Taos Plaza.
Return to the hotel before dinner.Dinner: Dinner at a selected restaurantEvening: Optional video at the hotelLodging: Sagebrush Inn & SuitesMeals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
We'll visit the Santuario de Chimayó, famous for the reputed healing powers of the earth found inside. The Santuario also offers some remarkable folk art, from its beautiful retablos, stations of the cross, and bultos (statues of the saints). This little church is a very special one with a fascinating history; it's a great example of the simple faith of northern New Mexicans.
We'll also visit a weaving gallery where we'll see some examples of the beautiful Hispanic weavings that have been created by generations of local families.Lunch: Lunch at Rancho de Chimayó, local favorite. This charming restaurant is housed in an old hacienda, and offers tradiitonal northern New Mexican cuisine. Chimayó is known for its heirloom chiles, and many dishes are served with red or green chile. (The official state question of New Mexico is "Red or green?") If you'd like to try both, order "Christmas!"Afternoon: After lunch, we depart for Pecos National Historical Monument, an example of late Anasazi pueblo ruins and Spanish colonization. The site, on ranch land (the Forked Lightning Ranch) owned by the late Greer Garson and her husband, Buddy Fogelson, was donated with the hope that the monument would be preserved for visitors. The museum/visitors' center features a film narrated by Ms. Garson. A mile-long, paved hiking trail circles the site which has remains of pueblo dwellings, kivas and a mission church, all located on remarkably beautiful land in the Pecos valley 30 miles northeast of Santa Fe.
Continue on to Albuquerque and check into hotel.Dinner: Dinner at the hotelEvening: Optional videoLodging: MCM EleganteMeals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Four to seven centuries ago, the Rio Grande's Pueblo people carved or painted images into the boulders along the 17-mile long section known as the West Mesa.
As we listen to the ranger and walk some of the trails, we'll speculate about what these images mean, why they were created and what the people who made them were like.Lunch: Lunch at a selected restaurantAfternoon: After lunch, we will depart for Old Town Albuquerque. This charming area offers many examples of authentic adobe architecture; the beautiful old church there is open to visitors, and we can explore Old Town with our group leader's guidance.
We'll then go to the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, dedicated to preserving and perpetuating Pueblo culture and advancing understanding by presenting with dignity and respect, the accomplishments and evolving history of the Pueblo people of New Mexico.Dinner: Dinner at the hotelEvening: Optional video or evening at leisure. We have an early departure tomorrow morning, so may want to turn in early tonight.Lodging: MCM EleganteMeals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
We'll then return to the hotel for some time at leisure.Lunch: Early lunch at the hotelAfternoon: After lunch, we'll go to the Museum of Natural History.Dinner: Early dinner and program closing comments at the hotelEvening: Depart for Balloon Fiesta Park after dinner. This evening's activities include the Balloon Glow and AfterGlow Fireworks Show.
Bus returns to the hotel after the Fireworks Show.Lodging: MCM EleganteMeals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Checkout time is by 12:00 noon.
The hotel has a free shuttle to the airport or train station; arrangements should be made with the front desk the evening before, if possible.Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel from 7:00 to 9:00 AM. Checkout time is no later than 12:00 noon.Meals Included: Breakfast