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Albuquerque's Balloon Fiesta, Albuquerque's History, New Mexico Cuisine and Wines

Program Number: 6855RJ
Start and End Dates:
10/6/2013 - 10/12/2013; 10/2/2015 - 10/8/2015;
Duration: 6 nights
Location: Albuquerque, New Mexico
Price starting at: $999.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Multi-Topic; Festivals, Misc. Activity Level: t (see description)
Meals: 16; 6 Breakfasts, 5 Lunches, 5 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian; Gluten Free    

Spend fascinating days with insiders at the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, the world’s largest hot-air balloon festival, and learn its history, how a weather phenomenon called the “Albuquerque box” allows balloonists to start and finish at the same spot, see a mass ascension and marvel at hot-air balloons shaped like houses, cars, cacti, bottles and critters thousands of feet in the sky. Delve into the history of the Acoma people and their pueblo — “Sky City” — that is still home to approximately 30 families, and experience authentic New Mexico wine and cuisine.




Highlights

• Venture into Acoma Pueblo as a tribal representative tells of its tragic Colonial history and modern significance as a primary Pueblo pottery center.
• Witness the balloon fiesta’s Mass Ascension.
• Sample the wines of New Mexico and learn about New Mexico's cuisine.



Activity Particulars

Elevation 5,300 feet. Walking up to one mile daily over uneven or paved surfaces in the dark to access Balloon Park; climb a flight of stairs.



Due to the size of this expanded program, the group will be split into two sections. Some lectures and meals will be held jointly, while other activities will be done separately on different days or at different times. If you are travelling with someone with whom you would like to be grouped, please note the names of your traveling companions on your Participant Information Form well in advance of the program's start.



Coordinated by Road Scholar.




Albuquerque

New Mexico's vast history, diversity, creativity, cuisine, beauty and art unite in this vibrant city, founded as a Spanish colonial outpost in 1706 and built in a traditional Spanish village configuration in which civic buildings surround a central plaza. “Old Town” is just one of New Mexico’s largest city’s many gems.



Accommodations
Centrally located hotel, heated pool, spa and exercise room. Free airport or train station shuttle.
Meals and Lodgings
   MCM Elegante
  Albuquerque 6 nights
 MCM Elegante
Type: Full Service Hotel
  Description: Large hotel with mid-town location and free parking
  Contact info: 2020 Menaul NW
Albuquerque, NM 87107 USA
phone: 505-884-2511
web: www.mcmelegantealbuquerque.com
  Room amenities: Data ports, irons, ironing boards, hairdryers, refrigerators upon request
  Facility amenities: Heated pool, spa and exercise room, restaurant and lounge on premises
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: Best seasonal rate Arrange for pre and post hotel nights directly with hotel at (505) 884-2511
  Check in time: 3:00 PM
  Additional nights after: Best seasonal rate Arrange for pre and post hotel nights directly with hotel at (505) 884-2511
  Check out time: 12:00 PM


Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Check-in at the hotel between 3:00 - 5:30 PM. Register with your Road Scholar group leader from 4:00 to 5:30 PM. You will be staying at MCM Elegante that night.
  End of Program:
Program ends after 7:00 AM at hotel. Check-out time is no later than 12:00 noon. You will be staying at MCM Elegante the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required.
  Parking availability:
Parking is free at hotel.
Transportation
To Start of Program
  Location:  Albuquerque
  Nearest highway: I-25 and I-40
  Nearest airport:  Albuquerque International Sunport
  From End of Program
  Location: Albuquerque
    (Additional transportation information same as above)
Travel Details
 

Albuquerque

 

To Airport

 
 

Service:

 

Hotel Shuttle
MCM Elegante Hotel Shuttle
phone: 505-884-2511

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

Shuttle is free
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

15 minutes 

 

Distance:

 

5 miles

   

The evening before your departure day, let the hotel's front desk staff know what time you'll need the shuttle to take you to the airport. If your departure is prior to 5:30 AM, ask the front desk attendant to request a taxi for you, as the shuttle does not run prior to 5:30 AM.

 

Albuquerque

 

From Airport

 
 

Service:

 

Hotel Shuttle
MCM Elegante Hotel Shuttle
phone: 505-884-2511

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

Shuttle is free
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

15 minutes 

 

Distance:

 

5 miles

   

Call hotel (505-884-2511) upon arrival and request a pick-up at the airport. The airport shuttle runs from 5:30 AM until 12 midnight.

 
Driving Directions
  From Albuquerque International Sunport The airport is located on the south end of Albuquerque. Exit the airport west onto Sunport Boulevard, which will take you to Interstate 25. Take the entry ramp onto Interstate 25 and travel north to Exit 225 (Lomas). Continue driving north on the frontage road to Menaul Blvd. where you'll make a right turn. You'll see the hotel on the right-hand side of Menaul, just past the first intersection (at University.)
  From Interstate 25 Interstate 25 runs north and south through the middle of Albuquerque, where it crosses Interstate 40. From the north, take Exit 227 (Comanche, Candelaria, Menaul). Drive south along the frontage road until you reach Menaul (the third major intersection). Turn left on Menaul. Just after the first major intersection, with University Blvd., you'll see the hotel on the right. From the south, take Exit 225 (Lomas). Continue driving north along the frontage road until you reach Menaul. Turn right on Menaul and, just after the first major intersection (University), you'll see the hotel on the right.
  From Interstate 40 Interstate 40 runs east and west through the middle of Albuquerque. Near the center of town, it crosses Interstate 25. From the east, take Exit 159-D (University Blvd.) to the first light, which is Menaul. Turn right on Menaul and you'll see the hotel on the right, just past the intersection. From the west, take Exit 159-A (University Blvd.). Continue east along the frontage road until you reach University; turn left on University. Take a right at the second light, on Menaul, and you'll see the hotel on the right, just past the intersection.
Elevation Note: The elevation is 5,300' in Albuquerque.

The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.


Daily Schedule

Day 1: Arrive in Albuquerque/Orientation & Introductions
(Sunday, October 6)
   
 Arrive To: Arrive at MCM Elegante between 3:00 and 5:30 PM for hotel check-in. Register between 4:00 and 5:30 PM with program's group leader in designated area at hotel.

There may be a brief delay in room readiness as the hotel is usually full all during the event. (Please note that this is a preliminary itinerary and may be subject to change. It is possible that some Balloon Fiesta activities may be cancelled due to inclement weather and wind speed. We will make every effort to provide alternate activities should that be the case.)

 Dinner: Dinner at the hotel from 6:00 to 7:00 PM
 Evening: Program orientation and introductions in hotel meeting room from 7:00 to 8:00 PM
   
Accommodations: MCM Elegante
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Morning Classes at the Hotel/Field Trip: Albuquerque Exploration and Old Town Plaza Visit
(Monday, October 7)

Note: Walking up to one mile over course of the day over paved terrain



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel from 7:00 to 8:00 AM
 Morning: Since there are no special activities at Balloon Fiesta Park this morning, you'll have classes at the hotel. Topics you'll hear about this week include the history of the area, the history of the Balloon Fiesta, Southwest Literature, Pueblo Storytellers, the different cultures of the area, hot-air ballooning, and New Mexican wines and cuisine.
 Lunch: Lunch at the hotel
 Afternoon: Bus departs at 1:30 PM for an exploration of Albuquerque and Old Town Plaza.
 Dinner: Dinner at a selected restaurant
 Evening: Free evening (There are no activities at Balloon Fiesta Park this evening.)
   
Accommodations: MCM Elegante
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Morning Classes at the Hotel/Afternoon Field Trip to Acoma Pueblo
(Tuesday, October 8)

Note: Walking up to one mile over course of the day over uneven packed dirt terrain. Standing for an hour at Acoma Visitors' Center and during Pueblo guided exploration.



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel
 Morning: There are no special activities at Balloon Fiesta Park this morning. Instead, there will be classes at the hotel and a field trip to Acoma Pueblo.
 Lunch: Lunch at the Y'aak'a Cafe
 Afternoon: After lunch, you'll take a bus to the top of the mesa, where you'll have a Native-American guided field trip through the old Pueblo.

Known as "Sky City" because of its location atop a 400' mesa, Acoma Pueblo has a fascinating history.

The pueblo was established at or near its present location as early as A.D. 900. The first non-Native to enter Sky City was Francisco Vasquez de Coronado, in 1540. The pueblo was virtually decimated by Don Juan de Onate in 1599. The Spanish hacked off one foot each from all Acoma males older than twenty-five years of age, and sent the younger males and females to Mexico as slaves.

The injustice of this tragedy still burns in the hearts of the people of Acoma. Guides at the pueblo today will mention that, in the years following their capitulation, the people of Acoma occasionally rose up and gave offending Catholic priests "flying lessons" off the mesa.

In 1982, Acoma became one of the first pueblos to establish a casino-hotel complex.

Most residents live off the mesa, and only thirty or so people reside full time in Sky City.

It is an artistic community and is a primary Pueblo pottery center.

Bus returns to Albuquerque at 4:30 PM.

 Dinner: Dinner at the hotel
 Evening: Optional video (There are no activities scheduled at Balloon Fiesta Park this evening.)
   
Accommodations: MCM Elegante
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Balloon Fiesta Park/Flight of the Nations Mass Ascension/Balloon Museum/Indian Pueblo Cultural Center/Petroglyph National Monument
(Wednesday, October 9)

Note: Walking over uneven, packed dirt terrain up to one mile over course of the day. Standing up to one hour during each Balloon Fiesta Park visit.



   
 Breakfast: Pick up boxed breakfast and board bus from 4:30 - 5:00 AM. (If you wish, there are a number of food vendors at Balloon Fiesta Park, and you can purchase something additional if you need it prior to lunch.)
 Morning: Bus departs at 5:00 AM for Balloon Fiesta Park.

View the Dawn Patrol and the Flight of the Nations Mass Ascension.

Dawn Patrol ballons go up every morning to test the winds aloft, prior to allowing other balloons to fly. After they give the okay, the morning flights begin.

At 7:00 AM, the Flight of the Nations Mass Ascension begins.

The "international" part of the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta has been a tradition since the event's earlies days.

In 1973 and 1975, the Balloon Fiesta hosted the World Hot-Air Balloon Championships.

The Balloon Fiesta has also played host to the world's two most prestigious gas ballooning events, the Coupe Aeronautique Gordon Bennett (twice, in 1993 and 1999) and the World Gas Ballooning Championships (1994).

The Flight of the Nations especially honors pilots from all the nations participating in Balloon Fiesta.

The Wednesday mass ascension begins with flights by representatitve pilots from each country, who launch as their country's national anthem is played, flying their national flag.

Mass Ascensions - a launch of all the participating balloons - have been a feature of Balloon Fiesta since its earliest days and is the most spectacular display of sound and color in all of aviation.

During mass ascensions, balloons launch in two waves. Launch directors, known as "zebras" because of their black-and-white-striped outfits, serve as "traffic cops," coordinating the launch so balloons leave the field in a safe and coordinated manner.

Weather permitting, balloons begin to launch at about 7:15 AM on mass ascension days, led by a balloon flying the American flag to the strains of "The Star Spangled Banner."

Bus departs at 9:00 AM for the hotel, where you'll have the free time from about 9:30 - 11:00 AM.

Depart at 11:00 for the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center.

 Lunch: Lunch at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center
 Afternoon: Visit the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, followed by free time at the hotel
 Dinner: Dinner at the hotel
 Evening: Free evening
   
Accommodations: MCM Elegante
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Morning and Early Afternoon Classes/Boca Negra Petroglyphs/Balloon Fiesta's Special Shape Glowdeo and After-Glow Fireworks Show
(Thursday, October 10)

Note: Walking up to one mile over course of the day on paved and packed dirt or grassy terrain at Balloon Fiesta Park. Standing up to one hour at Indian Pueblo Cultural Center and at each Balloon Park event.



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel from 7:00 to 8:00 AM
 Morning: Morning classes from 8:30 - 11:00 AM
 Lunch: Lunch at the hotel from 11:45 AM to 12:45 PM
 Afternoon: Class on hot-air ballooning from 1:00 to 2:00 PM, followed by a field trip to Petroglyph National Monument.

Bus departs from the Monument at 4:30 to go to Balloon Fiesta Park.

 Dinner: Dinner will be on your own at the Balloon Park; you can choose what you'd like for dinner (there are lots of options!)
 Evening: At 5:45 pm, the Special Shape Glowdeo begins.

Special shape balloons are defined as any balloon that doesn't conform strictly to the normal rounded balloon shapes.

Some shapes are simple - pointed ears and whiskers added to a "regular" balloon to make it into a kitty's head. Others - the flying houses, cars, cacti, chili ristras, bottles, cans, critters, and so on - are computer-designed engineering marvels costing tons of money.

The very first shapes appeared at Balloon Fiesta in the 1970s, and became increasingly common - and crowd favorites - in the 1980s.

In 1989, the Balloon Fiesta created the Special Shapes Rodeo to specially showcase these incredible creations.

The Special Shape Glowdeo features these fabulous balloons - pilots fire their burners and light up at the same time.

These are, perhaps, the most beautiful single moments in all of Balloon Fiesta.

The Glowdeo will be followed by the AfterGlow Fireworks Show, one of New Mexico's most spectacular fireworks display.

Bus returns to hotel around 9:00 PM.

   
Accommodations: MCM Elegante
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 6: Balloon Fiesta Park/Dawn Patrol - Special Shape Rodeo/Balloon Museum/Afternoon Class on New Mexico Wines
(Friday, October 11)

Note: Walking over uneven, packed dirt and grass terrain up to one mile over course of the day. Standing up to one hour during each Balloon Fiesta Park visit.



   
 Breakfast: Pick up boxed breakfast and board bus from 4:30 - 5:00 AM
 Morning: Bus departs for Balloon Park at 5:00 AM. You'll be at the Park from approximately 6:00 AM until 10:00 AM, viewing the Dawn Patrol and Special Shape Rodeo.

From 9:00 - 10:00 AM, you'll visit the Anderson-Abruzzo Albuquerque International Balloon Museum, located at Balloon Fiesta Park. Return to hotel about 10:30 AM, where you'll have some free time before lunch.

 Lunch: Lunch at the hotel
 Afternoon: Class from 2:00 to 4:30 PM on New Mexico's wines, wineries and cuisine, followed by some free time from 4:30 - 5:30 PM
 Dinner: Dinner and closing comments in the hotel dining room at 6:00 - 8:00 PM
   
Accommodations: MCM Elegante
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: Breakfast and Departure
(Saturday, October 12)
   
 Depart From: Independent departures from MCM Elegante in Albuquerque.

Hotel offers free shuttle service to Albuquerque International Sunport.

Checkout time is 12:00 noon.

 Breakfast: Buffet breakfast in hotel dining room between 6:30 and 9:00 AM.

Hotel check-out no later than 12:00 PM.

   
Meals Included: Breakfast
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List


Albuquerque in Our Time: 30 Voices, 300 Years


Author: Hughes, Debra


Description: Albuquerque, New Mexico, a city astride a great river, celebrated its tricentennial in 2006. This book pays homage to the city with a rich medley of narratives by its most colorful residents: well-loved town characters, writers, journalists, politicians, civic and business leaders who have helped shape Albuquerque's character and guided its growth.



Ballooning: A History, 1782-1900


Author: Kotar, S.L. & Gessler, J.E.


Description: This book chronicles the development of the hot air balloon and advances the endeavor from 1782 to the beginning of the 20th century.



Forgotten Albuquerque, NM: Images of America


Author: Bannerman, Ty


Description: In 1706, Spanish colonists founded the Villa de Albuquerque on the banks of the Rio Grande. Three hundred years later, that once quiet farming community has grown to become Albuquerque, the largest city in New Mexico. Using over 200 vintage images from public archives and individual collections, author Ty Bannerman explores the city's many guises over time, from its prehistory as a thriving province of the Pueblo peoples to its post-World-War-II population boom.



Great Escapes: The Stories behind 50 Remarkable Journeys to Freedom


Author: Christianson, Scott


Description: Media of every kind love escape stories. They lead the news, inspire books, and become Hollywood movies. Several of the 50 adventures recounted in this photographic compendium became box-office smashes, including "The Great Escape" (1963), "Papillon" (1973), and "Apollo 13" (1995).



Heaven's Window: A Journey Through Northern New Mexico


Author: Wallis, Michael & Parsons, Jack


Description: Photographer Jack Parson's stunning images reveal the magical qualities of the upper Rio Grande region. this compelling spot in the Southwest, which includes Santa Fe, Taos and the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, has long been a magnetic crossroads. travel with parsons to bustling Indian marketplaces, charming historic churches, ancient petroglyphs, lively fiestas, and haunting old ranchos. Award-winning storyteller, Michael Wallis explores the rich history of this remarkable region. Peeling back the layers of time, Wallis gets at the enchantment, turbulence, and mystery of this very special place and the people - native American, Hispanic, Anglo and others - who inhabit it.



The Spell of New Mexico


Author: Hillerman, Tony (Editor)


Description: A gathering of essays that evoke the unique and mysterious appeal New Mexico has had for some of the twentieth century's best-known writers. included are selections by Mary Austin, Oliver La Farge, Conrad Richter, D.H. Lawrence, C.G. Jung, Winfield Townley Scott, John DeWitt McKee, Ernie Pyle, Harvey Fergusson, and Lawrence Clark Powell. Hillerman's preface and introduction are choice specimens of his incisive humor and his own deep love of the state.





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