Tag Archives: field trips

New Mexico Bucket List – D ~ Blogging Through The Alphabet

Blogging Through The Alphabet D vertical image

I have two wildly different options for you today – desert petroglyphs and duck races. Something old and something new. Your choice. Or maybe you’d like to do both. Isn’t it fun to have choices?

Desert Petroglyphs

Petroglyphs are rock art. This is created by carving the rock face to reveal the lighter colored rock below the surface. This chipping away creates the images that we can see today. Petroglyphs are different than pictographs. Pictographs are created by painting the surface rather than the chipping and carving that is used to create the petroglyphs.

There are actually a few places in the New Mexico deserts where you can find petroglyphs. Three Rivers is the first place that comes to mind for me because it is not too far from my childhood home. The petroglyphs at Three Rivers date back to between 900 and 1400 AD. They were created by Jornada Mogollon peoples. There are over 21,000 glyphs scattered around the area, which is about 50 acres. There are trails that allow you close access to the petroglyphs and also take you to a partially excavated village site. Three Rivers is managed by the Bureau of Land Management. This site is located in the south-central part of New Mexico, between Carrizozo and Tularosa/Alamogordo.

Petroglyph National Monument is another site in New Mexico where you can see rock art carved by Native Americans and Spanish settlers to the area 400 to 700 years ago. This monument protects one of the largest petroglyph areas in North America. You can find information on the pstroglyphs at the visitor center and then hike through different trails to get to the glyphs. There are an estimated 25,000 petroglyphs in the monument’s boundaries. It is believed that 90% of these were created by Puebloan peoples. This monument is located very near Albuquerque.

Duck Races

Yes, you read that right – duck races. The city of Deming, NM, holds an annual festival for the Great American Duck Race. Each year the festival bring ducks together to race on both wet and dry tracks. Check out this short video I found.

The Great American Duck Race runs for one weekend each August, Friday through Sunday. It seems to bring out the whole community. Many people wrangle their ducks for about six months prior to the race, from the time they are ducklings. From a parade to hot air balloons to craft vendors and entertainment, this is a weekend highlighted by the swimming and running ducks.

D Duck Race image

I am sure there are plenty of other things in New Mexico for the letter D but these are ones that I think are fun, interesting, and unique. Enjoy.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

Blogging Through The Alphabet D big

Join in the link party by clicking the link below.

Inlinkz Link Party

Each week we will be linking up with the hosts of Blogging Through the Alphabet. Please visit some of these other blogs to get things like book lists, vegan recipes, and wonderful places to visit, just to name the topics I can think of off the top of my head.

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You can also join us and link up your own Blogging Through The Alphabet Post!! Just be sure to follow these simple rules–

* Each post must be family friendly. If it is not, we have the right to remove it.
* When linking up to this post, you give us permission to share your post and/or a photo from your post in future posts and social media shares.
* Place the Blog Button from the site onto the post you are linking up.
* Use the hashtag #abcblogging when promoting your post. This will help us find you and help us promote you as well.
* If you have time, check out a few of the other posts and share the love.
* The most important rule is to make sure you are having fun! This is not something we want you to be stressed out over. We want to see all the fun ideas that everyone comes up with for the letters!

New Mexico Bucket List – C ~ Blogging Through The Alphabet

Blogging Through The Alphabet C image

Challenging is not even how to describe this letter! I have too many things to share so I either share them all without giving all the good details or I skip a place or two. What to do . . . what to do . . .

Okay – I’m sharing them all!

Carlsbad vacation 2013

Carlsbad Caverns is where I will start since I have a long memory of the caverns and all of the memories are good ones. Also, I have shared a couple of different times here on the blog about the caverns so I’ll link those and not be too wordy about it. But, I do want to share what a wonderful place the caverns are to visit. Even if you can’t do the whole walking tour, if you can only visit the Big Room, it is worth the stop. The caverns are amazing. God’s work on the formations through the drips and drops of water are stunning. I enjoy looking back on the pictures we have taken and remembering the awe in the girls’ voices. Even remembering back to when I was little and I can remember the amazement of the caverns.Carlsbad vacation 2013

The caverns are amazing to visit. The size will cause big eyes and amazed voices in almost anyone. The long trail from the natural mouth of the caverns down into the dark and through it all truly is a tough hike. It is all paved but there are narrow areas, it is dark, and some are wet so they could end up slick. But the lighting they have added is stunning and truly highlights the amazing limestone features of the caverns.

Stick around until dusk and watch the bats come out, if it is at all possible. If you are just going to go for the bats and not do the cavern, there is no cost except the gas to drive out to the site. Listening to the wings and sounds of millions of bats swooping out and circling above – there is just nothing like it. This is one of my all-time favorite places. I would go every year if I could.Carlsbad vacation 2013

We took the girls at the beginning of our homeschool jouney and then again about a year and a half ago. Both good visits!

Christmas on the Pecos

Christmas on the Pecos is another fun thing to do in Carlsbad, though this one is on the Pecos River through town and not off at the edge of town like the caverns. Each holiday season, a large number of the homes and places visible from the river decorate with lights. All sorts of fun scenes and sights can be seen. There is a boat launch site and large boats that seat bunches of people line up and take folks up and down the river for a few hours after dark to see the lights.

With over 100 homeowners and corporate sponsors, the light show is spectacular. Gliding along the darkened river and seeing all the sparkling, twinkling Christmas lights is such a joy. When we went, the girls were still fairly young and I can still picture the wonder and joy on their faces. One sight in particular caused one of the girls to squeal “Look at the penguins!” She loved seeing them in lights, sliding down a slide on an igloo (I think!).

This is a nationally known set of holiday lights so if you have the opportunity, definitely go see them. They are so much fun.

Cloudcroft is a small mountain town not too far from where I grew up. It was originally founded as an excursion town with a railroad up the mountain to it from the desert valley below and Alamogordo. It brought goods down the mountain (think logging) from the forests above and brought people up to the cooler weather. A few stayed on and thus the town was born.

Cloudcroft is still an excursion town, though people drive to it now. There are plenty of activities. In the summer, it is still a great place to get away from the heat. You can also find golf, hiking, camping, and more. In the winter, there is hunting, skiing and snow-mobiles. Year-round there is shopping and plenty of artists to visit and restaurants to enjoy.

Accommodations available in the area include The Lodge, a beautiful old historical place. With unique furnishings and a beautiful setting, this is a lovely place to visit.

Unfortunately, I cannot find any pictures of either Cloudcroft or the Cumbres & Toltec that I have the rights to share. Visit their sites to see more about those places.

The Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railway is another of those long memories that I have. I remember visiting this narrow gauge railway when I was much younger with my family, my grandparents, and my great-grandma. (To be fair, I could be remembering people telling me about visiting because it has been so long since I have gone!) This rail trip runs through the mountains of northern New Mexico. The NM base for this railway is in Chama, NM. It runs up to Antonito, CO. You can ride one way and take a bus back or take a bus up and ride the train back. Sorry – not a bus but a luxury motor coach. 🙂

This is definitely a “bucket list” item as the cost is not cheap. But, oh, I so want to take the girls! The railway was part of the silver mining industry in the late 1800s. When that slowed, there just wasn’t enough business to convert the rails to the larger size so it was slow going for a while. After WWII, there was a small natural gas boom that brought some business and then, well, it was time to disassemble the rails.

Luckily a group of local folks fought to keep some of the rails intact through the most scenic parts of the area. Thus, the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railway came about in the 1970s. It is a beautiful trip through the lovely Rocky Mountains, back and forth over the border of NM and CO. What a lovely way to spend a day!

So, there you have them – 4 different place to tackle for the letter C in New Mexico. The richness of the state continues to amaze me!

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

Click on the link below to join the party!

Inlinkz Link Party

Each week we will be linking up with the hosts of Blogging Through the Alphabet. Please visit some of these other blogs to get things like book lists, vegan recipes, and wonderful places to visit, just to name the topics I can think of off the top of my head.

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You can also join us and link up your own Blogging Through The Alphabet Post!! Just be sure to follow these simple rules–

* Each post must be family friendly. If it is not, we have the right to remove it.
* When linking up to this post, you give us permission to share your post and/or a photo from your post in future posts and social media shares.
* Place the Blog Button from the site onto the post you are linking up.
* Use the hashtag #abcblogging when promoting your post. This will help us find you and help us promote you as well.
* If you have time, check out a few of the other posts and share the love.
* The most important rule is to make sure you are having fun! This is not something we want you to be stressed out over. We want to see all the fun ideas that everyone comes up with for the letters!

New Mexico Bucket List – B ~ Blogging Through The Alphabet

Blogging Through The Alphabet B image

Today, I have two places for your consideration when creating a Bucket List of things to do and see in New Mexico. Both are amazingly beautiful and completely different from each other – Bandelier and Bosque del Apache. One is an historical park of the ancient cliff dwellers places and their ceremonial places. The other is a nature preserve that is on a major flyway for beautiful birds. Both are worth the visit.

Bandelier National Monument 

Bandelier is a beautiful canyon set into the high mountains of northern New Mexico. Santa Fe is a good place to stay for your visit to Bandelier, as there is not much in the immediate vicinity of the park. Throughout a large part of the year, entry into the park is by a park bus accessible from the visitor’s center. This center is located at White Rock, which is basically the top of Frijoles Canyon where the park is.

community summer dwelling

Bandelier has a long history, dating back to the ancient Puebloan cliff dwelling people. These peoples worked hard to live here and were here for about 400 years, from about 1100 AD -1450 AD. They created homes, many of which can still be seen and accessed. These homes were dug into the volcanic tuff, a soft but strong rock substance that is found as the canyon walls. They farmed and grew large agricultural plots on the tops of the cliffs, along the Pajarito Plateau. Corn, beans, and squash were central to their diet. They also used many native plants, including the cacti. Animals were killed for their meat and skins and the people had domesticated turkeys that were used for meat and for their feathers.

one of the cave dwellings

The thing that makes Bandelier special is that the trails take you through their dwellings. You walk through the major summer community that is estimated to have had about 400 rooms built around a central area. You walk up and down the rough paths to ladders that allow you to go up into storage rooms, dwelling areas, and other places carved out of the cliff face. There are lots of these cave-type openings to climb into. Inside, we can see writings and drawings, soot patterns, and even insects. Not many archeological sites are open like this. It is a special place to visit.

There is one site within the park that is above all else. Literally. Alcove House is built halfway up the cliff face and is accessible only by steep ladders. At over 140 feet above the canyon floor, Alcove House looks out across the valley and has a stunning view. It is estimated that a group of about 25 probably lived in this dwelling. There are viga holes (large supporting roof timbers) and a kiva all the way up here.

Alcove House ladder

Whether or not you are up for the climb, if you can make it on the trail to be able to view Alcove House, it is worth it. It is an additional mile or so on the trail to get to the view of Alcove House but I always enjoy thinking about seeing the opening in the cliff, high above everything else.

I am sure there is a ton more I could write about Bandelier. It is worth the visit. Check out our visit from a couple of summers ago.

Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge

Situated on the Rio Grande River, the Bosque del Apache is a wildlife refuge run by the US Fish and Wildlife Service. There are over 50,000 acres for the wildlife and the area is a major migration stop and winter ground for a variety of species. Ducks, geese, and cranes are often spotted here.

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Throughout the year, there are beautiful animals and sights to see on the Bosque. There is a page on their site that lets you know about which birds you are likely to see at what time of year, as well as what other animals you might encounter in the wildlife refuge.

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These photos were taken back in November. You will find plenty of beautiful photos and videos on the Facebook page for Bosque del Apache. And no matter when you visit, you will find plenty of wildlife showing off the beauty God gave each of them.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

Click the following link to join the linkup party and to see others who have linked up to this ABC series.

Letter B Linkup – Inlinkz Link Party

Each week we will be linking up with the hosts of Blogging Through the Alphabet. Please visit some of these other blogs to get things like book lists, vegan recipes, and wonderful places to visit, just to name the topics I can think of off the top of my head.

abcblogging image lg

You can also join us and link up your own Blogging Through The Alphabet Post!! Just be sure to follow these simple rules–

* Each post must be family friendly. If it is not, we have the right to remove it.
* When linking up to this post, you give us permission to share your post and/or a photo from your post in future posts and social media shares.
* Place the Blog Button from the site onto the post you are linking up.
* Use the hashtag #abcblogging when promoting your post. This will help us find you and help us promote you as well.
* If you have time, check out a few of the other posts and share the love.
* The most important rule is to make sure you are having fun! This is not something we want you to be stressed out over. We want to see all the fun ideas that everyone comes up with for the letters!

Colonial Williamsburg ~ Mega Field Trip 2018

Mega Field Trip - Colonial Williamsburg

After eating lunch at Pocahontas State Park, we headed into Williamsburg and checked into our hotel. We had found a great deal on a package with one of the Colonial Williamsburg hotels. If you visit, I would suggest checking to see the prices. We were able to stay at the hotel within walking distance of the entrance AND get our passes for three days (we only used one) for about what it would have cost us for a hotel elsewhere in the area. So, we basically got our passes for free. And the hotel had a fabulous continental breakfast included.

As I stated, we checked in during the late afternoon. It was really too late to head over since much of Colonial Williamsburg closes at 5 unless you have tickets for some of their special events. We knew we would be extremely tired by this point in our trip and so we elected to not push it. We stayed in the hotel room, vegged out, took a swim, ate dinner, and slept. We woke refreshed and eager the next morning.

We got into Colonial Williamsburg about the time it opened. We took a tour of the Governor’s Palace right off the bat. It was spectacular. The armament was basically kept here and there were TONS of weapons. They created beautiful decor in the entry way. They also would have served well to warn folks about how serious the area was in their protection. The gentleman we had giving us the tour was well versed in his material and knew not just about the Governor’s Palace but was able to answer questions about all of the city and the history and time period. He did a wonderful job of acquainting us with the time and all that was going on in the area.

The Palace was beautiful. It was furnished as close as they could to an original set up, including ordering rugs and paint colors to be done exactly as they would have originally. It was beautiful.

From there, we hurried across the way to a museum so that we could hear a performance of the glass armonica. This is the instrument that Benjamin Franklin invented. It is glass and played by spinning the glass instrument quickly and playing the edges with wetted fingers. It was lovely and the music is ethereal. Dean Shostak is a well known musician and talked much about how to play the armonica, as well as how it is made. He performed a number of pieces on it for us. He also pulled out a glass violin he had had made. Now, it had nothing to do with the colonial time period but it was a stunning instrument. His performance on it was stunning, too. Needless to say, we came away with several of his recordings.

glass armonica picture

After that, we just kind of wandered through the area. We ended up following a school tour and that allowed us to hear quite a bit more than if we had just come through on our own in several of the craftsmen’s shops. We did find that most of the folks were less than eager to answer questions, which was a bit disappointing. So, following the school group was a good thing for us.

We visited the tin smith, the leather smith, the dress maker, the silver smith, the tavern, and the school. Many places were closed, which we found very odd.

Another of my favorite parts came at the close of the day – the drum and fife group. We hung around to be able to hear them play their day ending ceremonies. They were dressed in stunning red uniforms and marched military style to their performances. They performed a number of pieces and it was lovely to watch. The drum and fife group would have been fairly essential to the life of the colony and it was a neat way to close out the day.

I did find myself wishing we had time to go back the next day but we decided we needed to head on. We were heading to New Bern, NC, to meet someone for lunch so we couldn’t dawdle too long. Our time at Colonial Williamsburg was very interesting and the girls still talk about hearing the glass armonica. That will be a lasting memory and well worth the trip.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

National Museum of the American Indian ~ Mega Field Trip 2018

Mega Field Trip - Museum of the American Indian

Another museum we visited in Washington, D.C., was the National Museum of the American Indian. I grew up in an area strongly populated by Indians. I think the history of these people native to America is fascinating – both interesting and horrifying. I have wanted to visit this museum since it was established. It was not open when I got to first visit DC so it was high on my “must do” list this time around.

The museum did not disappoint. It is densely packed with exhibits and information that helps each of us understand more about these peoples and their history. From artifacts to badly done movies and advertisements, this museum covers it all.

One area that we found fascinating was the artifact exhibit that showcased hundred of items. Each item is number and listed. There are electronic screens close by that you can touch to find out more about the items that interest you. Each item seemed to have information on where the item came from, the Indian group that it is associated with, how old it is suspected to be, and what it was used for. There were many items that were similar but from different Indian groups and those were interesting to look at and compare. We spent a fair amount of time in this area.

Another interesting area showcased articled that had been intricately beaded. One of the most fascinating was an American flag that had Indian group named embedded in the beads of the strips of the flags and the initial of each state on the stars. It is stunning!

We made sure to visit the floor that covered many of the different Indian Nations and their history. It was presented well and we went from group to group, seeing the difference in what they ate, how they dressed, the different ceremonies they had, and other things that made each nation unique. It was extremely well done.

There was a small area that had seating close to some video screens. Those screens were showing animated tales and legends from the Indian nations. It was interesting to listen to the legends and stories, to see them animated. Miss J was particularly interested in these tales.

The last part we had time to visit was the advertising and other promotional items area. This was a huge room that had every advertising thing that had ever been done with any relation to an Indian or native peoples group. From Barbie dolls, which the girls found interesting, to Big Chief Tablets, from motels in teepee shapes to drinks named after Indians, it was really a unique look at how our nation saw/sees these Americans.

One the main floor there are several examples of canoes and other water craft. These life sized craft were interesting and really help see how the area of the country the people lived in influenced their construction. This was also true just outside the exit, where we were able to see some crops planted and some outdoor ovens.

From the walkway up to the entrance through the exit and onto the sidewalk going away from the museum, this was a fascinating place to visit. I enjoyed it very much and truly wish I could remember many of the things we read in that building. It was stunningly created and displayed and a stop I would highly recommend.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

New Mexico Bucket List ~ Blogging Through The Alphabet

Blogging Through The Alphabet Intro

It’s time for another round of Blogging Through the Alphabet. This time, we are going to visit New Mexico.

Why NM?

Well, I love that state. I may be living in Texas but I will always be a New Mexico girl. I grew up there and love visiting several times a year. Whether we go and just sit on the porch and enjoy the summertime or sit through a massive snowstorm that dumps 2 feet of snow on the ground, I enjoy it.

New Mexico has an amazing variety of climates and ecosystems. From the hot, dry desert to the high mountain deserts to the pine forests to the plains with their flat, grassy areas, you can see such a variety of nature.

Many of these things on the NM Bucket List are things I have been privileged to do or see. Many are still on my own bucket list. In putting this together, I enlisted the help of my parents to see what they would suggest. They had some neat things on their ABC list so I am just going to combine the two.

What are you getting during the next 26 weeks?Blogging Through The Alphabet Intro image copy

  • places to visit
  • things to do
  • wonders to see
  • food to taste
  • beauty to behold

New Mexico is called the Land of Enchantment and I do believe they have earned it. Join me over the next few months to see just why NM is known as the Land of Enchantment as we go Blogging Through the Alphabet. Letter A begins next Friday, 2/22/19.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

Each week we will be linking up with the hosts of Blogging Through the Alphabet. Please visit some of these other blogs to get things like book lists, vegan recipes, and wonderful places to visit, just to name the topics I can think of off the top of my head.

abcblogging image lg

You can also join us and link up your own Blogging Through The Alphabet Post!! Just be sure to follow these simple rules–

* Each post must be family friendly. If it is not, we have the right to remove it.
* When linking up to this post, you give us permission to share your post and/or a photo from your post in future posts and social media shares.
* Place the Blog Button from the site onto the post you are linking up.
* Use the hashtag #abcblogging when promoting your post. This will help us find you and help us promote you as well.
* If you have time, check out a few of the other posts and share the love.
* The most important rule is to make sure you are having fun! This is not something we want you to be stressed out over. We want to see all the fun ideas that everyone comes up with for the letters!

Natural History Museum ~ Mega Field Trip 2018

Mega Field Trip - Natural History Museum

In Washington, D.C., we made sure to visit the Smithsonian’s Natural History Museum. It is humongous museum packed full of exhibits. We knew it would be a huge hit for two reasons – minerals and gems and the live butterfly exhibit. Miss J – age 9 – and Miss L – age 12 – we excited for those reasons. We went to the Natural History Museum while At Home Dad and Miss E visited the Holocaust Museum.

The Natural History Museum has so many amazing parts to it to visit. A large elephant greets you as you enter the museum. From there, you really have to choose what to see. We went straight to the butterfly exhibit. It was an additional cost but well worth the price. We spent over an hour just watching the different butterflies. We learned the names of several and just watched them fly, land, eat, rest, and whatever else it is that butterflies do. Miss L is still very fascinated by butterflies so she was elated the entire time we were there. Her highlight was when a butterfly finally landed on her and rested there. Because photos were allowed, I gave her the camera and let her take as many pictures as she wanted. She loved that!

The blue morpho butterflies were just stunning. As beautiful as they were, though, I liked many of the smaller ones more. I particularly enjoy watching yellow butterflies. There were helpful attendants throughout the exhibit and they were pleased to answer any questions that they were asked.

While we were enjoying the butterflies, my sister-in-law was enjoying the medical exhibit that talked about epidemics. Totally not something I am interested in but right up her alley. So, we did the flying things and she did the germs. 🙂

We met up after that and visited the gems and minerals exhibit. The gems were stunning and I truly enjoyed their beauty. Miss J, surprisingly, got really bored, even looking at the Hope Diamond and crown jewels! When we got to the end of that exhibit and stepped into the minerals? She came to life. She absolutely was thrilled to spend time in the gigantic mineral exhibit. She enjoyed the hands-on part where a computer went through the different crystal structures, pointing out many of the minerals that are created by that. It was a wonderful way for her to learn more about what was fascinating to her. She would look around her and try to identify some of the minerals that were using what the computer was showing her.

We spent a very long time in the minerals, probably another hour. Then we got some lunch. It isn’t cheap to eat in the museums. However, the convenience can’t be beat and the food carts and such outside were not any cheaper
overall.

We spent the afternoon looking at many different animal exhibits. There was one that showed a whole lot of animals from different countries and their habitats. The taxidermy was interesting and the girls found some of the animals interesting. Of course, Miss J loved the giraffes. I thought the tigers were neat. From these very large creatures to some very small ones like owls, there were lots of animals to look at.

There was a dinosaur section but it isn’t fascinating for the girls so we did not spend much time there. The insect section behind the butterflies was short-lived for us. There were too many creepy-crawlies for us.

We visited the ocean exhibit that showed many of the creatures found in the oceans and described the different parts of the ocean. (It ended up being a great precursor to the Marine Biology class that Miss L is taking now.) There were some really unique animals they had exhibited from the different depths of the ocean.

There was so much more that we could have looked at. We could easily have spent a few more hours due to the amount of material there. However, we were museumed out for the day so we called it quits at this point.

Blessings,
At Home.

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