Hi friends! In case you didn't know, which you probably did, Tim and I took our first trip to Albuquerque, New Mexico. Instead of doing gifts for Christmas and buying the basic cologne for him and fancy watch for her, we decided to gift each other a trip. Something that was fun, something we would both enjoy, and something where we could make memories together! We were really happy with this decision and even though we didn't go during Christmas time, it was a nice little getaway for the two of us. With that being said, we are 100% set on doing that for every Christmas.
So before we get started, you're probably asking yourself, why New Mexico? Well to make the trip a little more fun and spontaneous, we decided to make it completely random. Tim and I both have a bajillion places on our list we would love to go, and we couldn't completely come to an agreement. Another thing we have in common is wanting to visit all 50 states-- definitely on our bucket list! So we did the modern way of picking out of a hat, went to this website, and got NM. It isn't what either of us had in mind, like at all lol, but we went with it!
Like I said, throughout this journey we are going to be going on many trips, so I decided to start a season of Travel Diaries on Danielle Alana where I could share with you all the details in one place. Outfits, where we stayed, where we ate, and everything you need to know! I figured it was easier than breaking it up into multiple blog posts. SO over the years of traveling, I will eventually add drop down bars under my Travel tab and you can click the place you want to see and it'll take you to the blog post. Eek! Let's get to the details...
Day #1-- Travel Outfit
Tim and I would love to stay at a 5 star resort, don't get me wrong. But for this trip we really wanted to get the feel of Albuquerque and see what homes were like here. Plus, the only hotels we could find were right by the airport and were extremely overpriced for just an average hotel room. No thanks!
So we went with AirBnB and stayed HERE. It was exactly what we needed! 1 bathroom, 2 beds, and a tiny family room and kitchen. I enjoyed having 2 rooms just so I could have somewhere to lay out my clothes, luggage, and put my bag. I like to be organized and don't like things to be too cluttered, so this really helped me. But if you asked Tim, he'd say we didn't need it ;) I also really enjoyed having a family room, since there was no TV in either bedroom. We were able to eat our dessert and watch a movie on the couch at night which was nice! Also, the morning of leaving we really just wanted to sleep in and pack since we needed to leave at 10 AM. So we were able to cook breakfast at "home" which was also a huge plus if you want to stay in some nights.
I will say though, you aren't in Orange County anymore when you're there! Ha! We 100% felt completely safe the whole time, but I remember pulling up and feeling concerned that there were bars on the windows, and also knowing that back home that neighborhood would've been called ghetto, or a dump, without a doubt. I mean we got woken up by roosters every morning! Lol! But after talking with a friend from high school that lives there, thats just how Albuquerque is. Unless you are in the hills, that is just what its like. It was really refreshing to see this and know this, and the vibe that it gave off was really welcoming. It reminded me that there are people EVERYWHERE who don't live in Orange County...and they are doing just fine. ;)
WHAT WE DID
Four corners. Arizona, Colorado, Utah and New Mexico are the only 4 states out of 50 that all touch corners. It's a monument that I feel like is a bucket list item/must see, so we decided to get it done while we were here! IF you plan on going here, regardless of which of the four states you are in, definitely bring food and water. We bought snacks and extra large water bottles, but it is located in the middle of no where and being stranded with no service, food, water, or radio would be a complete disaster! Looking back on it, if we had known the food stands were going to be closed on Sunday's (heads up!) we probably would've gotten sandwiches from somewhere and eaten them in the car.
This was probably my favorite activity! I don't get to relax often, so coming here was a relief. It was an hour drive from where we were staying which was nothing compared to our road trip drive! Neither drive was boring since the scenic view on all of our routes was just jaw dropping. We even stopped on the way there because we couldn't believe how beautiful it was! The Hot Springs themselves were even better, because we came on a weekday and ended up having the place to ourself the majority of the time we were there. There was 4 pools, each at a different temperature, and lounge chairs and hammocks to relax in. They also had a bathroom with a changing area to get ready in if you were coming in from a drive, along with drinks and small snacks you could order.
***WHAT WE WILL DO NEXT TIME/WOULD DO IF WE WENT AGAIN: Hot air balloon ride, walk around the local mall, visit White Sands National Monument, Carlsbad Caverns National Park, Sandia Peak Tramway.
WHERE WE ATE
WOAH, was my first impression. I'm not a HUGE BBQ person, so for me this was a little too much. Tim on the other hand though, loved it, and so did everyone else! The line was almost out the door when we got there and probably was a 15-20 minute wait just to order, so it definitely is a fan favorite. I ordered a pulled pork sandwich and cream corn, and that was probably my favorite. I was seriously debating for 5 minutes whether to get back in line just to order more corn, thats how good it was. The place was packed and was family owned, which made my heart happy. You can tell all the employees loved their job and it was just the place to be on a Saturday night in Albuquerque. Tim's Aunt and Uncle recommended this place to us and I can see why now after going! (PS notice our heigh difference lol!)
Delicious! But definitely similar to what I'd call a Denny's. I would definitely eat there again I just wouldn't order the eggs lol, too watery! But my pancakes were to die for and that was the first time I had finished a breakfast in awhile (except the eggs). I eat in pretty small quantities, so for me to finish a meal is a HUGE deal. It was Sunday morning bright and early when we ate here, so it was empty for us which was nice because we got the best service before heading out on our road trip.
BAMBOO CHINESE RESTAURANT
This place was a crack up/ total accident. Tim and I road tripped to the Four Corners, because we knew it was a bucket list item and something we both wanted to see. The other three states which are Utah, Arizona and Colorado, have plenty to do. So we decided to knock it out while we were in New Mexico. When researching what was by the four corners, it said that they would have food at the monument and we could eat lunch there...well we didn't take into consideration that it was a Sunday, so of course like most places, it was closed. We ended up here because it was the closest thing we could find! Of course there were drive-thrus, but Tim and I made it a rule to not eat at places that we have back home, and to eat only places that are local to where we are visiting. This place was yummy, really quiet and small, but I would go again if we ever went back.
HOME. A friend from high school recommended us go here since I was in the market for places to eat! We went here after our long day in the car and it was the perfect place. Chips & guac always hit the spot, so we definitely found a winner here. We were able to veg out and have Mexican food for dinner (our fave) and it really felt somewhat like home. In Orange County, there are a ton of yummy Mexican restaurants and hole in the walls, so coming here in New Mexico was perfect. It's a must eat place so if we ever go back you can find us here! (BTW, I swear we like we each other. We were so delusional at this point that we were barely staying awake!)
EGG & I
This was our relaxing day, so we didn't get in for breakfast until a little later, but luckily it was a Monday so it wasn't crowded. Compared to Village Inn, I liked this place for breakfast much better. It seemed family owned and not like a chain, so it was unique to its menu and also the food was delicious! I didn't have the watery eggs problem here, lol. I got waffles, of course, because pancakes and waffles are my total weakness. Overall this place was super cute and I would totally go back!
JEMEZ STAGE STOP
This was right next to the Hot Springs that we visited, so we ended up just walking next door! Again, this was another mom and pop shop that was super small and also really casual. Everything is very "New Mexcany" as Tim would say, ha! It's hard to explain other than it being just very laid back and relaxed, and also the design of all these places. I ended up getting a grilled cheese and Tim got a soup, and we were able to just hang out and cool off after being in the hot springs!
This was our last night and also our fancy dinner. This was the most dressed up we got, even though to us it was just fancy casual! I guess the appropriate way to explain why I called it fancy was because most of the entrees ranged from $30-$60. So definitely not like any of the other places we went too! Our meals were definitely good, but after dinner we both voiced that we preferred just going to the casual local shops. It makes it more fun getting a feel for the city and its vibe rather than going to what place is the nicest. Don't get me wrong though, the crab cakes were to die for! Also the bread...warm bread. Gets me every time. And I ordered my all time favorite "fancy" meal, shrimp scampi!
FUN FACT: Tim and I discussed how people like to collect things on trips and we wanted to do that too but weren't entirely sure on what to get. We didn't want shot glasses or things that would break, get lost, or were useless. So even though they aren't pictured, we decided to go with collecting license plates. It's a goal of ours to have a nice garage one day, so we thought hanging these on a wall to admire all the places we've been would be a pretty rad idea. And as a little thing, I print out pictures of places we go so we got postcards to write down our favorite memory from the trip and I'll put those in our photo albums.
And that about wraps it up! I asked Tim if I missed anything important and he said no, but if YOU can think of anything or questions let me know and I'll get back to you asap! Tim and I's next adventure is to Catalina Island in June for our One Year Anniversary! I'm so excited to do that travel diary! Anyways, hope you guys had a great weekend.