The Honeymoon

The day after our (fabulous – ok, not bragging, but really it was fabulous!) wedding, we flew to Albuquerque, New Mexico and drove to the El Monte Segrado resort in Taos, New Mexico.  The El Monte Sagrado is part of the Kessler boutique hotel collection, a set of one-of-a-kind hotels scattered throughout the US and partnered with Marriott.  We previously had stayed at one of them, the Grand Bohemian in Orlando when we met there in February, and had such a great time that we decided another would be a fine place for a honeymoon.  

The El Monte Sagrado was, in a word, spectacular.  Not in a glitzy glam way, but in a natural, quietly elegant Southwest adobe kind of way.  Framed by the mountains that surround Taos, it had an art gallery, art on the walls, a formal restaurant, a more casual breakfast area (that looked like you were in a tropical-ish garden), a bar whose notable feature was a HUGE rounded snake statue “slithering” between floor and ceiling, a beautiful indoor pool, and bathrooms that were works of art themselves being paneled in cork bark and dark wood with levered sinks meant to evoke a stream in the forest.  Just friggin’ awesome.  

 Above, the grounds around our room, and the front and back.  Below, the grounds outside the main building with an iconic Elk statue at the end
Alison in the Foyer of the hotel

The swimming pool and breakfast nook
 The totally awesome men's room finished in bark

The day after arriving, we hiked the canyon along the Rio Grande Gorge bridge, which featured spectacular views and a variety of wildlife, including Tarantula hawk wasps and a herd of mountain goats with a number of kids (i.e., baby goats, not kid kids).  And it, too, was totally awesome.

Wednesday was spa day because, you know, we hadn’t had enough awesomeness yet on the vacation! 

On Thursday, we traveled down to Bandolier National Monument, a canyon carved out of the Jemez Volcanic field in the Jemez mountains.  The volcanic ash was compressed to rock but was riddled with holes and soft spots like Swiss cheese, leaving shallow caves along the entire length of the valley, and was settled more than 10,000 years ago and then abandoned by the Anasazi indians.  It makes for spectacular scenery and a fascinating view into the life of the people that had settled here so long ago.  It included a 140 foot vertical climb to the “alcove house,” a domed ancient ceremonial chamber high up the cliff face with million mile views of the canyon and beyond.  
We continued on that day to Santé Fe for some window shopping followed by dinner at a restaurant in the middle of the art district, Geronimo.  The restaurant was fabulous.  Alison had her first-ever mushroom tasting course, and Dave had Elk for the first time and is now considering taking up hunting.  It was that good.  

The last day, Friday, we drove over to Angel Fire ski area.  We rode the chairlift to the top of the mounting for some amazing views with fields of wildflowers we thought only existed in movies. 
And, just for fun, two shots from the trip that Dave thinks are pretty funny; one, the cockpit of the flight to New Mexico, with a Minion planted in it, plus proof that there really are 75 MPH highways in the US (which Dave didn't know until we actually saw the speed limit sign).