Los Alamos/Espanola

Apologies–a helpful reader wrote to tell me the phone number for Atomic City Van Tours is wrong. It should be 505-662-3965.

She also reported that the Chimayo Trading Post in Espanola appears to be on a serious downhill slide–it does not smell good! This doesn’t bode well for the very elderly owner. End of an era, alas!

Silver City updates

Figures: as soon as I highlight Silver City as a great place to eat, a bunch of the restaurants close! Don’t get me wrong, it’s still a good place to eat–but the scene has changed.

–Alotta Gelato closed.
–Shevek & Co. closed. But the owner is taking over the Alotta Gelato space with a new casual spot serving burgers and brownies and beer.

–Buffalo Bar has closed. (This happened a while ago–felt like I should’ve heard a bulletin on Dive Bar Wire.) This at least means it’s quieter at the Palace Hotel.

–The Curious Kumquat *will* be closing at some point in the coming year. The exact date depends on when he sells the building.

Outside Albuquerque

The church at Laguna is now open officially only 9am-3pm Mon-Fri. When I dropped by, Alfred Pino wasn’t around, though the woman in the church office said he still comes by from time to time.

The Cerrillos Hills B&B is closed.

In Mountainair, the Shaffer Hotel has new management, as of this spring, and looks in great shape again. Excellent homemade pie in the dining room, and it’s open 6am-9pm most days.

Albuquerque changes

The Candy Lady has moved, just one block, to 424 San Felipe St. NW. (The sneaky thing is that a different candy shop took over the old location–don’t be fooled.)

Hispaniae, the shop in Old Town, is closing.

Routes, the bike-rental company, has moved to a spot in Old Town: 404 San Felipe St. NW.

The A Store, a shop in Nob Hill, has moved a few blocks, to 3339 Central NE.

Stevie’s Happy Bikes, in Corrales, has moved a little bit north, to 4685 Corrales Rd.

Santa Fe changes

Just a couple of preliminary details:

La Cocina de Dona Clara has changed its menu [AND its name!] in its plaza location, I guess to cater more to tourists looking for New Mexican things–so you can’t get the full array of Mexican stuff here that you used to find. (But the main Dona Clara joint, out on Airport Road, still serves the usual menu.)

Play, the children’s store, has moved to 505 Cerrillos Road closed.

Enchanted Circle

Well, that didn’t take long: Los Amigos in Questa is closed. Which means there’s really nowhere good to eat here. The situation is bad enough that you might suggest driving the Enchanted Circle route the other direction (Questa first, then Red River, etc.), then you could eat late lunch at Hatcha’s in Angel Fire.

On the other hand, the DH Lawrence Ranch is OPEN! I had a rather bleak outlook on this when I was updating the book last fall. But now UNM has made some upgrades, and there’s a docent on-site three days a week: Monday, Thursday and Saturday, 10am to 4pm, through October. (Not yet sure if it will be open at all in the winter–I suspect not, as it’s a pretty rugged dirt road.)

Finally, the Elizabethtown Museum is CLOSED on Sundays.

This means you might not want to drive the Enchanted Circle on a Sunday, unless you’re going purely for scenery. Just too much is shut.

Jemez Springs

Los Ojos isn’t the only dinner option here now–the Jemez Stage Stop Cafe, just across the street, is open for dinner on Fridays and Mondays as well.

Also, the directions for Spence Hot Springs are still a bit garbled (oof, didn’t I correct these after the first edition?). The parking area for the trail to the springs is 2 miles north of Battleship Rock–not just half a mile. The trail down to the river is now quite wide and smooth; it’s going back up the hill on the other side that’s a bit more work.

And finally, a change in history: Jemez Historic Site (which was called Jemez State Monument) has revised its archaeological information. Research now apparently suggests that the site was not abandoned in the mid-1600s, as was previously believed, and that people inhabited the site at least until 1694. A small detail–but a good reminder that even the past sometimes needs updating.

NM news

A few items of very specific local interest, which I’m posting here to remind myself, and perhaps for others to check out while passing through:

  • The podcast 99% invisible recently did a piece on a strange Cold War underground elementary school/nuclear fallout shelter in Artesia. Follow the link for cool photos from inside the school!
  • Gordon Ramsay’s Hotel Hell show visited Meson de Mesilla, a hotel in Las Cruces that is not in the book, because…well, it needed a makeover. I don’t know whether Ramsay’s touch produces really helpful change, or just high-volume TV–but I’ll keep an eye on the reviews of the place. Meson de Mesilla is in a handy location, very close to Mesilla, and if it is made over well, it will be a good addition to that area.
  • Also in Las Cruces, Hotel Encanto is now the official hotel of Virgin Galactic. Which means, it seems, that there will be a few crazy-high-end suites. Probably not useful for the average traveler, but it probably does mean the general infrastructure of this hotel will continue to be kept up well.

Santa Rosa

Lake Park in Santa Rosa is now charging a $5 (cash only) parking fee. This is ostensibly to pay for upkeep of the park–but at the moment, says a friend, the lake is looking pretty grungy and not very well maintained. Plus, the diving board is closed!

Here’s hoping Santa Rosa will put the cash infusion to good use–the lake there is normally a great refreshing spot just off the interstate.

The New Edition Is Here!

moonnm3Please welcome the new, the lovely, the FULL-COLOR Moon New Mexico 2014!

True to form, there is of course already one correction to add:

Triple J Cafe in Lordsburg looked pretty dead when I zipped by on the Amtrak recently (For Rent sign in the window). But Ramona’s is still open.

I’m heading back to New Mexico in a few weeks, to update Moon Santa Fe, Taos & Albuquerque, so there will likely be more updates posted here soon.

Los Alamos

The Hill Diner is closed. Probably for a while now…

On the plus side, Pajarito Brewpub has opened, and it looks pretty popular. It’s in the same mini-mall area as Blue Window Bistro, kitty-corner across the parking lot.


Heavy rains have done damage all over the state, closing some areas and roads. Check www.nmroads.com for road status (a useful link anytime), and be sure to call ahead to parks and other attractions in more remote areas. (Gila Cliff Dwellings, for instance, is currently closed due to flooding.)

Santa Fe Food

I mentioned earlier that Trattoria Nostrani had changed to a French place, Vivre. Now that’s closed too, as is the ramen place adjacent, Shibumi Ramenya.

I also mentioned that Bobcat Bite closed. Happily, it has reopened as Santa Fe Bite, in Garrett’s Desert Inn, at the corner of Old Santa Fe Trail and Alameda. Same great burgers, big new space, and everyone seems really happy.


Whoa, Colt Motel is pretty much done for. Really down at the heels. Sorry to see this.

Also, the Budget Host Melody Lane has changed owners, just FYI. Everything seems fine so far, but the previous owner had the highest standards imaginable, so it will be tough to follow. But the steam baths are still there and working…

And, WOW: the Maverick Motel! I don’t normally mention new discoveries here in the updates, but this place is *so* time-capsule wonderful, I have to tell everyone. Super-1940s, snug rooms, chenille bedspreads, all adorable and museum-ish. Very south edge of town, by the ramps to I-25.

Other closings: Chris’s Bakery is gone (sigh, no more doughnuts). Crystal Cafe was not open, when it should have been–but it didn’t look out of business. Anyway, Boomers BBQ, just south of there, is new and great.

Las Cruces

Ono Grindz restaurant is closed.

The Museum of Natural History has moved out of the mall to a spot downtown, at 450 N. Water St. It’s now called the Museum of Nature and Science.

The Stahmann Farms shop south of Mesilla is closed.

La Union Station is closed.

On the plus side, there’s a neat new coffee shop in La Union, called Johnny Lolita’s. It roasts its own beans and hosts a craft-and-vintage market, and a farmers market. A good excuse to drive down Hwy. 28 on a weekend–check the website for the event schedule.

Fort Stanton

This old fort near Ruidoso is now completely in the hands of a preservation group (no more drug rehab for convicts, as the book says!), and has a very nice little museum in one of the buildings. Now worth the short detour off U.S. 380.

Bosque and Socorro changes

Acosta’s restaurant in San Antonio is now called San Antonio Crane, but is supposedly just as good, if not better. (Acosta’s B&B has shut.)

Manny’s Buckhorn is now just Buckhorn Tavern. (Actually, it has been for a while–sorry!)

The museum on El Camino Real is now called El Camino Real Historic Site, and it’s open only Wednesday to Sunday (not Monday, as the book says). It’s now part of the NM Monuments.

Frank and Lupe’s in Socorro sounds like it might be faltering a bit–proceed with caution. I’ll be back through there soon to check it out.

Fire Season

If you’re visiting NM this summer, keep an eye on the wildfire situation. This blog (nmfireinfo.com) posts bulletins from the Forest Service.

Two current fires could have an impact on your outdoorsy plans: the Tres Lagunas fire is only 10 miles north of Pecos, and a fire north of Silver City has led to evacuations of Hillsboro, on Hwy. 152.

El Malpais

Just read this on the website:

All caves in El Malpais National Monument are closed to recreational use.
This closure is due to a combination of factors including the outbreak of a fungal disease that is killing millions of bats.

Oh no! And a good reminder to always check for alerts/changes before you head out (especially in summer, when fire danger is high).

Carlsbad: Caverns and Elsewhere

Man, if it’s not one thing, it’s another. The current edition mentions delays due to roadwork at the caverns. That’s done, but now they’re renovating the elevators, so there’s a huge backup there. See details at the caverns site here. In the meantime, to alleviate the crowding, you can walk out the Natural Entrance Trail, which you weren’t allowed to do before.

Also, in town, hotel rates are even more extortionate than ever. The one sub-$100 option, Days Inn, has doubled its rates, to about $150, rack rate. Gulp.


Thanks to a nice woman I met on the plane, I can tell you that the Do Drop Inn, in Portales, has moved onto the plaza (211 S. Ave A), which is handy, because the old location was on a one-way street that I personally accidentally drove by a couple of times!

Also, she said the Dalley Windmill Collection (a photo of which is on the opening page of the Southeast chapter) has moved to a bigger, more official location, which I believe is 722 E. Lime Street, just off U.S. 70–so you should be able to see the windmills on the main drive through town.

Glenwood and Reserve

The Blue Front Cafe in Glenwood has closed. This means there’s only very limited dinner options there–a pizza place (Mario’s) open a few nights a week, till 8pm, and the Golden Girls Cafe, also just a couple of nights per week. Golden Girls does good basic breakfast every day, though.

The Rode Inn in Reserve is completely gone. I think it got knocked down for a government parking lot? I honestly can’t tell. I haven’t had a chance to check the alternative lodging options in that town yet.

The Adobe Cafe, outside of Reserve, has reopened. I honestly didn’t know it had closed, and I don’t know yet whether it’s different owners and how/if it has changed, as it was closed on the day I drove by. But for now, proceed cautiously…