Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Blogging in the Land of Enchantment

While I am waiting to move to New Mexico, I can keep in touch with life in New Mexico through my favorite bloggers in the state:

The Zees Go West. clairz moved to Clovis, New Mexico from New England earlier this year, and her blog is full of information about the state ~ everything she is learning and researching. Every time she posts a new entry, there is more for me to learn!

Santa Fe Journal. The blogger of this journal lives in the area near Santa Fe that I will be moving, so her blog is of special interest to me, because she is just a wealth of information that will be so helpful to us when we move.

Exile in Portales. Buck, who blogs at this site, is a retired military guy; he blogs about New Mexico but also about military, cultural, and political stuff....and I agree with his political views about 99% of the time.

If The Creek Don't Rise. The blogger, Lin, and her husband are a couple living off the grid in Northern New Mexico...and her blog is fascinating. Reading their trials and tribulations, I am amazed and know I could never do what they are doing. Wonderful writer!

New Mexico bloggers have given me a lot of information and entertainment, and they help me to get the feel of life in New Mexico even though I cannot be there yet. And, maybe best of all, reading other blogs helps me, a newbie blogger, learn how to improve my entries.


Thursday, October 25, 2007

Majoring in New Mexico 101 this fall

It feels like we are in a holding pattern right now. We cannot move to Santa Fe until May 2008. We cannot put our house here up for sale until early spring. We cannot buy a house in Santa Fe until the same time.

So. We continue our work on our house, getting it readly to sell. We still can find things to donate or throw away. We still find things to pack up. But spring of next year sure seems a long way off.

Here in the midwest for the present time, I use my spare time to learn more about New Mexico. There is a rich array of New Mexico websites out there, as well as some excellent work by New Mexico bloggers.

My favorite New Mexico websites: - I love the New Mexico forum, and am learning so much from the members who post there. The City-Data site also has a wealth of statistics about the state.

Santa Fe New - The Santa Fe daily newspaper carries news from all over northern New Mexico. It is my lifeline to the latest community news from my future home. Lots of great features.

Kent Jones Eldorado Area Real Estate - Kent is our realtor in Santa Fe. He has a great website that has the latest information on available homes in the area. I check it often to see what is on the market, even though it will be months before we are out there to buy a house.

Santa -
Santa Fe Always Online -
These are my two favorite Santa Fe sites. A wealth of information about the city.

El - A really fun site about things to do in New Mexico.

New - Website of the New Mexico Department of Tourism

New Mexico Scenic Byways - Wonderful site for planning trips around the state.

New Mexico Magazine - We get the magazine in the mail, but the website provides a quick reference to features from the magazine.

Off the Road - Another great site for NM trip-planning.

Spanish Santa Fe - Highlighting the spanish culture of Santa Fe, NM.

Duke City Fix - Everything you need to know about the city of Albuquerque, NM

Gil's Thrilling Web Site - Gil has traveled all over the state reviewing restaurants. I love his insights and opinions, and I will never have time to eat at as many NM restaurants as he has!

This is just a sampling of my favorite web sites featuring New Mexico.

Next post: I'll list my favorite New Mexico blogs.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Good Eats in New Mexico

We did some mighty fine eating on our trip to New Mexico the first weekend in October:

Cedar Crest Grille, Cedar Crest, New Mexico. This is a small local place with a simple inexpensive menu. My husband had a chicken breast sandwich, and I had black bean tostadas. The highlights of the place: blackberry cobbler with ice cream on top (yum!) and a really nice hostess who really knew how to do her job well.

La Choza, Santa Fe, NM. I guess I would say La Choza is our favorite place for New Mexican cuisine in Santa Fe, and is the first place we head when we get to the city. It never disappoints! Our favorite menu item there? The posole that comes with all the entrees. And they have GREAT green chile. Inexpensive and casual.

Harry’s Roadhouse, Santa Fe, NM. A visit to Santa Fe is never complete without a trip to Harry’s Roadhouse. This year our realtor treated us to lunch there. Great food but one oddity: we got there a little before noon on a Saturday…and the waitress told us they do not serve lunch until 12:10, so we had to order from the breakfast menu. (Which was still good.)

Tortilla Flats, Santa Fe, NM. Had never been to this restaurant before, and glad we tried it. Decent New Mexican food …friendly service and we will go back there.

The Pantry, Santa Fe, NM. We have been hearing about this restaurant, so we tried it early on Sunday morning ahead of the crowd. Not fancy décor, but awesome food. I had a breakfast burrito that was just loaded with wonderful green chile.

Blake’s Lotaburger, Santa Fe, NM. What can I say? New Mexico institution. Can’t spend a weekend in NM and not stop at Blake’s. Green chile cheeseburger.. MMMMMM…..

Maria’s, Santa Fe, NM. Our trips to Maria’s date back for years; probably one of the very first restaurants we ever ate at in Santa Fe. The margaritas are the best in town, the décor is so cozy and fun, the servers are always nice. But it seems to me the quality of the food has declined in recent years. We still go back….but not what it used to be, in our opinion.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Eldorado at Santa Fe

The Eldorado subdivision was created in the 1970s as a solar community. I remember back at the beginning our cousin in Santa Fe believed that there was not enough water in the area to support the number of homes planned for the subdivision. His predictions never came to pass, but the solar concept did not last as other kinds of affordable energy became available. There are still accommodations made to draw in solar energy in most of the homes.

Eldorado is located off U.S. Highway 285 10 miles southeast of Santa Fe and 55 miles from Albuquerque. Small towns nearby are Lamy (4.6 miles), Galisteo (10 miles), and Glorieta (11.7 miles.) Interstate 25 is just a couple of miles to the northeast.

There are approximately 2700 homes in Eldorado; the population in 2000 was 5,799. The median age of residents is 44.2. Eldorado is predominately Anglo (82.6%) and Hispanic (13.5%). 98.6% of the residents have a high school education or higher, 62.2% bachelor’s degree or higher, and 32.4% a graduate or professional degree.

Eldorado is comprised of 1-2 acre homesites. Water comes from the public Eldorado Area Water and Sanitation District or by private or shared wells. Homes are served by septic systems. All utilities are underground. Most of the lots in the subdivision have been developed. The best feature of Eldorado for many residents is that nearly every home site has a view of the Sangre de Cristo, Jemez, Ortiz or Sandia Mountains, as well as a dramatic view of the sunsets and the night sky.

The subdivision is supervised by the ECIA (Eldorado Community Improvement Association), which uses a covenant system, with the “express purposes of protecting the natural beauty and environment of the community of Eldorado at Santa Fe, providing an attractive rural setting for residential neighborhoods and home sites and preserving property values.” The covenant covers the architectural design required in homes (architectural styles of Santa Fe”); this is from the covenant statement:

…“characterized by stucco or adobe walls, flat or pitched roofs, red tile or metal roofs, earth colors, vigas, portals, verandas, courtyards, patios and walkways, occasionally incorporating design elements of metal, stone, brick, wood and stained glass. These design motifs are derived from the Spanish Pueblo.”

Some might consider the covenant to be strict, but to me it is a way to preserve the charm of Eldorado.

Property owners in Eldorado enjoy a community center with swimming pool, tennis courts, soccer fields, a dog park, hiking trails, horse stables and a 4,000 acre wilderness area for hiking and horseback riding. The subdivision has a fire department, an elementary school, a library, and a senior center, as well as a small shopping mall, The Agora, with a supermarket, several stores and restaurants. A new business park is being developed, with more restaurants, a video store, and a fitness center.

To me, there is a lot of energy in Eldorado: social and educational activities and community events, pride in the appearance of the homes, continuing improvement and development … and always the glory of the wonderful views.

It’s exciting looking forward to becoming a resident of Eldorado, a responsible homeowner and a good neighbor.


Information from:

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Considering the best option for us...

As I posted earlier, we spent the first weekend of October in New Mexico, looking at our options for the future.

On Friday, we entered New Mexico over Raton Pass from Colorado. In my own opinion, Raton Pass is one of the most scenic ways to enter the state; the beauty is breath-taking. Our route took us south past Raton, Springer, Wagon Mound, and Las Vegas. West of Las Vegas, we took state road NM3 from I-25 south to I-40. We had never been on this road before …what a wonderful scenic pretty trip; after we move we will take this road again and get pictures.

At I-40 we went west to Cedar Crest(in the mountains east of Albuquerque), where we had an appointment with the fourth builder we are considering. He took us to a home way up in the mountains, where he is doing a large addition. It was beautiful, BUT we were a little concerned when he told us this addition has been under construction for over a year and is still not finished. In talking with him at length, we got the impression that he is a perfectionist who works very slowly at his own pace. He looks at each job as a personal project, which is commendable but left us feeling he would be doing this for his satisfaction, and not to build us a good affordable home in a timely manner. The other consideration was that we asked for a bid weeks ago, and he seemed to not even be close to having one ready. Sadly, we crossed him off our list.

On Saturday, in Santa Fe, we met with a real estate agent, Kent Jones, who spent the entire day with us, taking us to see 14 available homes in Eldorado that met all of our criteria. We saw some really beautiful homes, including about 4 that appealed to us A LOT. Later on, running the numbers, we realized that we can purchase a much bigger and nicer home than anything we could build. All of these homes are move-in ready, and have some features it would take us a long time to get incorporated into a new home. Also, the sheer fact that buying a home would save us all the headaches and stress and hassle of building, is certainly appealing to us, especially living out of state as we do. Best of all, we were very pleased with what we saw that day.
I guess those two days really made up our mind for us. Although it means giving up our dream house that we have designed and selling our lot that we have owned for 15 years, buying an existing home is going to be the answer for us.

Our latest plan is this: return to Santa Fe in the early spring to look at the homes available at that time, and finally make our decision on a house to buy. Here in the Midwest, we will put our home up for sale around the same time, hoping it will sell quickly. That would make the target date for our move approximately May, 2008. Having some decisions made, especially the schedule, gives us a real goal to work towards.


Monday, October 15, 2007

My own environmental plan

I understand today is being recognized as a blogger environmental awareness day. Let me say I do not consider myself a greenie by any means. I think global warming is a lot of hooey. I don't worship the environment as a religion. I don't see much evidence of concern for the environment among most people that I know.

However, I DO feel a personal responsibility to be a good steward of things that I can do to make a difference.

We will be moving to Santa Fe, New Mexico in 2008...and I have been compiling a list of things I can do personally to help the fragile high desert environment where I will be living:

1. Save rainwater to water plants.
2. Recycle! (Plastic bags and containers, cans, glass, newspaper)
3. Library and second hand book stores instead of new books.
4. Eat leftovers; throw away less food.
5. Lights out when not in a room.
6. Purchase locally grown fresh products (farmer's markets, farms)
7. Vegetable/herb garden.
8. Use the concept of xeriscaping for gardening.
9. Put up some bird feeders to attract and feed the local bird population.
10. Make a bunch of reuable cloth dinner napkins.
11. Turn off water when showering, brushing teeth and washing dishes.
12. Soak dishes prior to washing; makes washing very quick. (I don't use a dishwasher!)
13. Low water washing machine.

I add to my list as I think of more things.

Nothing scientific for me; just common sense.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

We are heading to Santa Fe.

It's time for a trip to Santa Fe. We will be leaving in two days.

This is not a pleasure trip (although EVERY trip to New Mexcio is a pleasure). This trip is to determine our future plans.

We have appointments with a builder and a real estate agent. We will get information from the builder about how much he is bidding to build us a home on our property in Eldorado at Santa Fe.

And we will look at some homes for sale in Eldorado, to get some idea whether it might be more feasible for us to buy an existing home. We've been doing our homework, and have a folder of about 15 homes that are possiblities that will meet our needs...that we wish to look at.

Not much time for fun this trip .... BUT we will enjoy seeing the aspens in their fall color in the mountains above Santa Fe ... and EVERY trip to NM gives us an opportunity to eat great New Mexican food at our favorite Santa Fe restaurants.

Getting anxious to hit the road west ....