Welcome to New Mexico!

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For me, New Mexico truly is the “Land of Enchantment.” And I had an amazing week exploring my old stomping grounds! I lived in New Mexico for 30 years, from Albuquerque to college in Las Cruces, to summers in Santa Fe, to substitute Ag. Teacher in Eastern NM, and many other places. This desert will always hold a very special place in my heart.

I started off my week with my antiques mentor, Charlotte Merrill. I met Charlotte when I was four years old and she introduced me to American Country Antiques. All that I am in my career today, I owe to her! If you have ever enjoyed a single issue of A Simple Life Magazine, you have this beautiful woman to thank. She has the lions share of my heart, she inspires me, and is my compass through this journey of life. She is my heart and soul – my Charlotte….

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We ate at my all-time favorite restaurant, “The Shed” in Santa Fe.

IMG_1582Next, I had the immense pleasure of visiting Rancho De Las Golondrinas (Ranch of the Swallows) in Santa Fe. It depicts a stop along the Camino Real (the Royal Road from Mexico City to Santa Fe) in 1710. Many of the original structures are there, along with several more that were moved from nearby. This 200 acre ranch is SPECTACULAR and very pure. Watch for an article in an upcoming issue of A Simple Life!

My dad lives in Grants, NM and his brother, my Uncle Pete, lives in California. My cousin Greg, who is like a brother to me, brought my Uncle and met me in Grants for three awesome days of family fun!

Our first stop, the “Ice Cave” located along the Continental Divide, is inside part of a collapsed lava tube, and the temperature never rises above 31º F. The natural layers of the perpetual ice create such an atmosphere that even subspecies of algae can grow fruitful in near freezing conditions. The ice is approximately 20′ thick.  The day we were there it was well over 100 degrees out but freezing down below.


Our next stop was “El Morro,” a shaded oasis in the desert, this site has seen many centuries of travelers. The remains of a mesa top pueblo are atop the promontory where between about 1275 to 1350 AD, up to 1500 people lived there. Travelers left signatures, names, dates, and stories of their treks. People always knew they could get water there for their long journey west across the desert.




One evening, Greg and I went to Gallup where I got to visit my old friend Becky Sheridan at the “Best of the Best Timed Event Finals.” Being back at work at my old gig – selling horse tack & ropes sure felt great, if even for a couple of hours.  Becky and I set up at tons of rodeos and ropings all over the country back in the day, and I’ve missed the smell of leather and horse flesh!


Sadly, it’s time to say goodbye to this enchanting land and start the long journey back to reality with tears in my eyes and a promise to return home again soon…

21 thoughts on “Welcome to New Mexico!

  1. Happy you were able to “go home” for even a short time. I have been to New Mexico several times and it truly is the ” land of enchantment”. There is something so special N.M., it is almost impossible to describe the feelings one has there. For me, it is one of the most spiritual places on earth. Safe travels Jill!!

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  2. Jill, brings back memories for me too. We looked at a log home in Silver City NM in an Air Park. So so pretty driving through all the neat towns along the way. People who think dessert is just sand and nothing, need to see for them selves. So happy we get to share your travels.

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  3. Wow…New Mexico does have it’s own special beauty! Great photos! Like Merle said “Home is where a kid grows up and spends his younger days. Home is where I long to be no matter how far away”.

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  4. OMG I love these pictures and your storiy, Beautiful. I am only sad because I will never see it. I have missed so much in my life and as you say a mentor makes such a difference in your life. Why were you in New Mwxico as a child? and Why did you leave? I would love to hear the story of your life. Maybe you could write a book about this and show more pictures and people who still do crafts and more of that of finished products and what they sell for . It is a whole different life from any most of know. I wouldn’t like the heat. Would like to know more about the ice, how, why, why doesn’t it melt? Write the book.

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    1. It’s a different kind of heat Joan – it’s very dry so it’s much more comfortable to be in than humid air. But I have to admit, they were having record breaking heat waves while I was there! My parents were from Iowa but moved to NM when my dad graduated high school. I loved there 30 years and then the race horse business took me to Texas.

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  5. Beautiful pictures!!I think you could do a book!!!! Aren’t we so very thankful for those special people in our lives who have made a big impact?!?!?! Home is in you…you can’t really leave. But you can always go back!!!! Keep sharing!!!!

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  6. Hi Jill from Paris where we are wrapping up our two week vacation. It has been fun and oh what a beautiful part of France the Bordeaux region is!

    I loved seeing and learning more about this NM visit. Two years ago was the first time I ever visited the state and there was so much beauty to try and cram into one week. It has so many differences in landscape and geological history . A true treasure trove of beauty! Glad to hear you have been able to connect with the very special dear and important friends too!!

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  7. Wow Winnie – I’m thinking of the differences between Paris and New Mexico! ha! Can’t even wrap my brain around that one. But both so very worthy! I hope you had a magical time – and a wonderful trip back home!

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