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Santa Fe, our old friend, we swear we won't forget you. From the plethora of art galleries, each more inviting and inspiring than the last, the city is truly the epicenter of “The Land of Enchantment.” If you think turquoise is just a shade, a trip to New Mexico will most decidedly change your perspective. The colorful hues of the adobe doors, precious stones, and woven rugs, represent the vibrant spirit of past and present inhabitants. The Wild West mining towns turned artist colonies along historic Route 14 are examples of a culture that has always created beauty from their surroundings. Be it roaming around downtown Santa Fe or riding a hot air balloon above the desert, the feeling that your life could be lived more simply and fulfilled will creep up on you suddenly and often.

For Memorial Day weekend, which coincides with Sasha's birthday, we set out on a southwestern trip that the Lone Ranger would tip his cowboy hat to. Our evening flight on JetBlue from JFK to Albuquerque arrived late at night, so we camped out by the airport at Starwood Preferred Guetst's Sheraton property.

DAY 1:

We woke up early in the morning to pick up our car rental, and after finding a good brunch spot on Yelp, we drove to The Grove Cafe and Market for a delicious and locally sourced breakfast.

After our meal, we began our road trip to the state's capital, driving through Albuquerque's quirky Nobb Hill area, where we made a note to return at the end of our vacation. We decided to take Route 14, the Turquoise Trail National Scenic Byway, to Santa Fe, despite the slightly longer travel time. The Turquoise Trail is a piece of living history; it’s where settlers first searched for gold during the famous Gold Rush. All of the shops, art studios, and eateries still maintain the grit and hope one can only imagine early explorers experienced.