Visiting the Lincoln National Forest in New Mexico the easy way…

The Lincoln National Forest in New Mexico is part of the 154 national forests and 20 national grasslands in the United States administered by the USFS (United States Forest Service).
It is composed of 1,103,897 acres of forest proclaimed in 1902 as the Lincoln Forest Preserve.

With three ranger districts; The Sacramento, The Smokey Bear, and the Guadalupe districts, all contain parts of four different mountain ranges, including a good variety of environmental areas as well. Ranging from desert to heavily forested mountains and sub-alpine grasslands.

The Lincoln Forest Circuit is a network of communities in and around the Lincoln National Forest interconnected through Highway 70, 54, and 380 forming a circuit and making your visit easy. Traveling through the Circuit you will be able to enjoy the best things within our communities and the vast natural landmarks that surround our beautiful landscape.

Armed with this strategical piece of knowledge, you are now only in need of a map with a list of all the best places you must visit in order to enjoy the best experiences in our area. This is that list, with zero fluff!

Tour New Mexico; Observe Listen, Engage, and Learn.

Tour New Mexico; Observe, Listen, Engage, and Learn. An Awesome Way to Travel.

If you’re a visual learner, you’d be able to understand how important our senses are to learning.

Listening to experts, engaging in conversations, asking questions, and seeking further information helps stimulate our thinking process, challenges our preconceived notions and beliefs, and helps our minds grow.

For these and other reasons, Tours are an awesome way to experience New Mexico.

NOTE: Some of these tours are by appointment. If you are unable to find any specific info on the linked websites, give them a call. I’ve done my homework and all these tours are available as of March 2019.

Here is a list of Tours in our area you won’t be able to find anywhere else!

Click on any one of these if you’re interested in learning about the beautiful Land of Enchantment.

Authentic Southwestern Cuisine; New Mexico Style

New Mexican cuisine has its own unique style. It is not Mexican. It is not Mexican-American. And it’s definitely not Tex-Mex. It’s true to the Southwestern Spirit of New Mexico’s rich cultural heritage. It is a blend of American Cowboy, Native American, Spanish Colonial, and post-Columbian Mexican.

The Chiricahua, Comanche, Mescalero, and Navajo influence on New Mexican food is expressed through the use of piñones, corn, chile, beans, and squash.

The use of wheat, rice, and lamb were introduced to the Southwestern Cuisine by the Spaniards. Arroz con leche, atole, bizcochitos, calabacitas, and flan are some of the Spanish dishes that have come to enrich New Mexican traditions.

Another example of cultural influence in New Mexican cooking is the Puebloan Horno; a mud adobe-built outdoor oven. Originally introduced to the Iberian Peninsula by the Moors, it was quickly adopted and carried to all Spanish-occupied lands. The Puebloan Horno was used by Native Americans and early settlers of North America, and became an authentic tradition in the Southwest.

The most iconic characteristic of true New Mexican Cuisine is the use of Hatch Chile, which is not the same as the serrano chile used in Mexican Cuisine.  

Within our local food landscape you will find:

So, what should you be looking for when you are in search of a true, authentic experience of the southwest?

  • Bizcochitos – The Official New Mexican Cookie
  • Carne adovada – slow-cooked cubes of pork marinated in red chile sauce, oregano, and garlic
  • Green chile stew
  • Navajo Tacos – made with fry bread instead of a tortillas
  • Sopapillas – fried pastry dough typically used as an edible scoop for salsas and sauces
  • Albondigas (meatball soup)
  • Chiles Rellenos – whole green chiles stuffed with cheese, dipped in egg batter and fried
  • Enchiladas – corn tortillas filled with chicken, meat or cheese, rolled or stacked and covered with chile sauce and cheese
  • Flan – caramel custard
  • Tamales – meat rolled in cornmeal dough and wrapped in corn husks
  • Indian fry bread – a traditional thick flatbread of deep-fried dough

Where to stay in Ruidoso, NM? A Guide from a Local Explorer

So, you have done your research and realized that Ruidoso, New Mexico is the-place-to-go this winter.

You are planning to visit Ski Apache, take awesome pictures at Sierra Blanca Peak (weather and health permitting), shop for souvenirs at Tanner Tradition and have lunch at Rachel’s; one of the best restaurants in Ruidoso.

Awesome, but… where are you staying?

Noisy Water Lodge is an option. These are pet-friendly rental cabins, surrounded by the amazing Lincoln National Forest and overlooking the world-famous Rio Ruidoso. Only 2 miles from downtown (and 20 miles from Sky Apache), these cabins are accessible to all Ruidoso attractions and activities.

They do not have a Google Virtual Tour, but here is a Street View image where you are able to view them from the street:

Their ratings are phenomenal and their reviews are stellar:

If the cabin experience is not for you, a vacation rental will probably interest you. Two Ruidoso Redheads have some amazing vacation options in different locations.

How does a vacation townhome rental sound to you? … I know!!!

Sorry, no Google Virtual Tours. But you can check out their photos, rating and reviews here!

If you are traveling with kids, don’t forget about the best local attractions to enjoy:

Winter in Ruidoso? Sleigh Rides!

If you are looking for something to do in Ruidoso, especially if it is kid-friendly, have I got the answer for you … sleigh rides!

During the summer we can enjoy Grindstone Stables horse rides. These are one-hour tours, and children 5 years and up can ride their own horse! If Special Needs is a concern, you can call [ (575)257-2241 ] and they might be able to help you with that too.

Grindstone’s carriage rides through mid-town will provide you (and your tired kids) with an awesome break from shopping. Plus, the experience is just phenomenal!

Their Sleigh rides are available from Thanksgiving ’till the beginning of January.

Horse-drawn sleigh rides through historic Upper Canyon, sleigh bells ringing, Christmas lights on every house, snow covered driveways, and neighbors waving and wishing merry Christmas is a magical experience. It doesn’t get better than that!

This is the one we took last year. We can’t wait to ride again this year!


 

 

 

 

 

#NMeats Culture, History, and Tradition; Bizcochitos.

So, you are visiting The Land of Enchantment and are looking for the culture, the tradition, the history…and also happen to have a sweet tooth?

Then a must try for you is bizcochitos; a treat where culture, history, tradition (and sugar) collide.

Bizcochitos became New Mexico’s official State Cookie in 1989, in an effort to help preserve this cultural tradition. The Spanish roots of this traditional cookie were, for centuries, influenced by all the local cultures  until it became a traditional New Mexican delight served at weddings, baptisms, and during the Christmas season.

“Bizcochito” is Spanish for “pastry”, and is flavored with cinnamon and anise. They are traditionally shaped like stars or crescent moons, and are paired with hot chocolate. Don’t worry if anise is just not what you are into, most bakeries avoid it for that reason.

If you are in the area, you can find traditional bizcochitos at Alamogordo‘s Amigo’s Bakery, Tularosa‘s Loredo’s Bakery, and Ruidoso‘s Cornerstone Bakery.

As with all foods, there is a slight difference between made from scratch, and store bought. If you enjoy baking, there are many different recipes for bizcochitos online.

Bizcochito recipes are family heirlooms handed down from generation to generation, and ingredients may vary. Lard, bourbon, Brandy, anise, orange juice, vanilla, red wine, etc.

NOTE: My personal preference is having milk hot-chocolate, instead of water chocolate. The richness and creaminess make for a great palate experience.

 

Wood’s Inspiring Nature

The previous owner of Casa del Rio (the home our family lives in today), told me a few of her stories about being a kid in New Mexico. One of those stories was going for walks with her Dad, and picking up palitos (sticks) and piedras (rocks) to bring back home. She had a couple of them in the house to hold doors open, which she left behind.

A google search showed me this is not an unusual practice, and it is strange to see that for so many of us, wood; with it’s shades, shapes, and textures, provokes such fascination. We bend it, shape it, carve it, roast it,  burn it, weave it, glue it, chip it…

And we chainsaw it…

Up on the mountain towns of the southwest, chainsaw carving is becoming a strong tradition. A bit because of the inspiring nature of wood; and a bit because chainsaw carving matches so well with the ruggedness, and wildness of the Spirit of the Southwest.

My friends at Bears R Us in Ruidoso posted this video, showing their process. After you watch the video, head over to their Instagram Gallery and see their work!