Maybe it’s the nip in the air, or the last dregs of late-day sunshine—but, there’s something about fall that makes me want to hit the road. This is one of the loveliest northern New Mexico day trips I have taken: October, Santa Fe to La Cueva by way of Las Vegas, then back to The City Different on a big, scenic loop through Mora and Taos. It was one of the most beautiful drives and pretty, sunny days I could have asked for, with lots of fun stops along the way.
The old Grist Mill in La Cueva (Spanish for ‘The Cave’) can be found at the junction of New Mexico Route 518 and 442. According to the historic wooden marker, legend has it that village founder Vicente Romero named the town this way because he lived in a nearby cavern while building his ranch house in 1851.
Another sweet local gem is Salman Raspberry Ranch. The harvest season is typically August through October, depending on the first hard frost of the season. We grabbed four delicious pounds of warm, you-pick-it berries from the field (and probably devoured that many more on the spot). We then proceeded to the cafe to eat raspberry pie with raspberry ice-cream and raspberry sauce, topped with more fresh raspberries.
Cosmos, roses, sunflowers, and sage are in the last stages of full bloom, and bustling with bumblebees in wildflower gardens throughout the old village. A walk through the paths was the perfect way to soak up some precious golden-afternoon autumn light.
Our drive capped off winding through the country roads of Mora Valley, beside the river and beneath aspen leaves turning yellow—ending with a little live music and tequila at the Taos Inn‘s Adobe Bar, and a mountain sunset seen from the driver’s seat as we dropped back down toward Santa Fe.