New Mexico’s Craft Beer

May 13, 2014 in Blog

"new mexico" "craft beer" beerThese days, you can hardly throw an empty beer can without hitting a craft-beer enthusiast. Craft beer mania is in full swing across the country, and it’s incredibly popular in the Land of Enchantment. New Mexico boasts nearly 40 independent breweries, brewpubs, and taprooms; while most can be found in and around Albuquerque, others are scattered throughout the far reaches of the state. Even Deming and Farmington have craft breweries!

"santa fe" beer "craft beer" New Mexico’s first foray into independently-brewed beer came in 1988 when Santa Fe Brewing Company opened its doors; nowadays, you can find its beers all across the country. In state, Santa Fe beers, like its Happy Camper IPA are hugely popular; connoisseurs also look for beers from outfits like Tractor in Los Lunas, Blue Heron in Embudo, and Turtle Mountain in Rio Rancho.

If you’re interested in taking a “brew-cation”, www.NewMexico.org has a handy New Mexico “ale trail” map. Sometimes a trip to the beach, the mountains, or a big city is a great way to spend a week, but a vacation spent drinking hand-crafted beers is pretty awesome, too!

Spruce Cabins Cloudcroft Photo Contest

April 1, 2014 in Blog

"spruce cabins" cloudcroft "new mexico"Besides our vacation houses available for rent, we also operate the Spruce Cabins, a set of full-apportioned cabins near Cloudcroft’s Chamber of Commerce. They make for a fun place for you and your family to stay, because they’re within walking distance of Cloudcroft’s shopping and dining options, and they’re also close to a wide range of outdoor activities, from hiking and biking to hunting and hiking. For more than fifty years, these cabins have been a well-known and well-regarded stop for travelers and vacationers alike.

This month, Spruce Cabins is running a photo contest to win a two-night stay in one of their cabins, and we’re excited to help them out. In order to enter, you need only “like” Spruce Cabins on Facebook, and then share and tag Spruce Cabins in a picture of you or your family members in or around Cloudcroft. Whether you’re having fun, doing something silly or amazing, or marveling at the surrounding natural beauty, we want to "spruce cabins" cloudcroft "new mexico"see you enjoying our little mountain village.

A stay in the Spruce Cabins is great for out-of-town friends or relatives, as well as people who have visited in the past—rekindle the memories of your last trip in a village landmark! And while you’re at it, feel free to give Amigo Realty’s Facebook page a “like.” We’d love to meet you too, especially if you like Cloudcroft enough to stay!

Natural Allergy Remedies for Spring

March 7, 2014 in Blog

Easily the best part of March in New Mexico is the advent of spring; the weather might not totally change, but all the animals and flowers that have been waiting out winter’s cold start to stir. Of course, along with the spring flora and fauna comes dander, pollen and cloudcroft "new mexico" flower springother allergens. Unless the wildlife moves into your home, the furry part of nature probably isn’t making you sneeze, but the plants sure do—then you’re off to the pharmacy for allergy medicine.

Sometimes, however, the side effects of allergy tables the like are nearly as annoying as the allergens. Either they make you sleepy or they make your heart race. Your nose might not run, but the itchy over-dryness of your nasal passages and throat aren’t much better. If you have trouble with over the counter allergy remedies, you might want to give natural ones a try.

Of course, unless you’re out picking herbs, the natural remedies are still over the counter, but they’re worth trying if you hate the way most antihistamines make you feel. Butterbur is probably the best researched and most effective natural antihistamine. Its primary selling point is that it doesn’t cause the sleepiness of Benadryl or Zyrtec, while still reducing the nasal swelling common to allergy attacks. The preparation is made butterbur allergy cloudcroft "new mexico"from the plants root, but don’t ever eat raw, unprocessed Butterbur root as it is harmful. You can find it as a supplement at most health food stores—just make sure it’s labeled UPA-free.

Spring is one of the most wonderful times in Cloudcroft, as the weather change and frisky critters make good reasons to spend time outdoors. You don’t want to miss out on nature’s awakening because of the sneezes and sniffles, and natural aids like butterbur can make a huge difference.

Spend a Winter Weekend in Cloudcroft New Mexico

January 27, 2014 in Blog

Every year, we look forward to the ski season, and every year, we have to hope that the weather does its part to keep the chairlifts "ice rink" cloudcroft skating running. Unfortunately, that often means the snowpack isn’t sufficient to keep Ski Cloudcroft open consistently; some weeks will be great, and other weeks, well… they’re good for hiking. Still, there are plenty of other wintry outdoor activities to do in Cloudcroft.

Even though a lackluster snowfall might not be good enough for a ski run, tubing and sledding are options, though you still have to be careful about ice. Any gear rental spot in town can point you in the direction of good hills to tube. One such place is the Cloudcroft Ice Rink. Along with its outdoor skating rink and skating rentals, the rink also rents tubing equipment.

"ice rink" cloudcroft skatingOf course, you may want to just skate rather than risk sailing off an icy spot on a hill and landing in a pine tree, and the rink is a safe spot for it—you won’t have to worry about falling into a frozen pond! Besides skating, the Cloudcroft Ice Rink is a fun place to hang out and sip on hot chocolate. It’s open on the weekends, and it features live music or DJs on Saturday evenings from 6-8pm.

From tubing to skating and the occasional awesome week of skiing, Cloudcroft is a great spot to spend a winter weekend—even if you just take it easy in a cabin by the fire.

Cloudcroft Black Bears

November 5, 2013 in Blog

Did you know that the living, breathing Smokey Bear was found as a cub in 1950 by soldiers from Fort Bliss, Texas? The little guy was caught high up in a tree, trying to escape the flames of the Capitan Gap forest fire. The black bear was originally named “Hotfoot Teddy,” "smokey bear" "new Mexico" bearbut the soldiers later renamed him after the US Forest Service’s mascot. Smokey is the most famous black bear from New Mexico, but all black bears are sort of special, since they’re the official state animal of New Mexico.

These days, you often read or hear about stories of black bears invading suburban neighborhoods, and these stories often give the impression that if you go on a camping vacation you have to worry. Certainly, you should be careful about leaving food out, and if you see bear tracks, you probably need to keep your distance. But at least in southern New Mexico, encountering a black bear in the wild is kind of rare; these furry, intelligent creatures are wary and shy, and they are most likely as afraid of you as you are of them.

"new mexico" "black bear" bear Of course, you may actually be on vacation in southern New Mexico to hunt black bears, in which case you’ll probably want to follow the tracks. Running from August through October, black bear season is just about over for 2013, but it is open to all weapons. If you’re only hunting with a camera, you might be able to spot one foraging before winter sets in. Either way, give our animal neighbors plenty of space, and leave the forest like you found—Smokey Bear would approve.

October is One of the Best to Vacation in Cloudcroft

October 14, 2013 in Blog

How’s your fall so far? Along with the seasonal changes to the scenery (falling leaves, people wearing sweaters), fall in Cloudcroft is Cloudcroft fall "new mexico"marked by a busy month for town events—we’ve already had the art festival, and the High Rolls Apple Festival is this weekend, and everyone’s favorite trick-or-treat alternative, Harvestfest is on the 26th. In fact, October is one of the best months to vacation in Cloudcroft, on account of the various happenings throughout the month, not to mention fantastic weather, when there’s a chill in the air but no snow.

The High Rolls Apple Festival, held in nearby High Rolls on October 19-20, is a fun outing for the family. It’s also delicious, as festival-goers can sample apple products to their hearts content. Besides plenty of cider and other treats, the Festival also has children’s activities and arts and crafts for sale. It’s a fun event for the whole family, and a great way to spend a morning—you’ll "high rolls" apple festival fallwant to get there early in the morning too; the parking is free, but the spots fill up!

After you’ve browsed the festival, head up Highway 82 to the Old Apple Barn for lunch. High Rolls is another little gem of a town in southern New Mexico, and the Old Apple Barn is one of its highlights. Besides apple stuff, treat yourself to their delicious gourmet fudge, or grab one of their tasty Sheboygan bratwursts or smoked elk sausage dogs. There’s a gift shop full of fun knickknacks, and you can even bring home a bag of local coffee beans. Whether you stop by the Festival or hang around town, the fall in southern New Mexico is a beautiful time of year to visit, and annual events like the High Rolls Apple Festival will make your stay in Cloudcroft even sweeter!

Stargazing in the Mountains of Southern New Mexico

September 10, 2013 in Blog

“The stars at night, are big and bright…” You can probably finish that line, right? While Texas apparently has good visibility of the night sky according to an old song, we’d just as soon look at the night sky from our own backyards. Cloudcroft’s visibility is so great that you can see the Milky Way galaxy with the naked eye on most clear nights. It’s truly an amazing experience no matter how old you are.

"milky way" stars astronomy "New Mexico"Of course, if you see the night sky above Cloudcroft when you’re a little kid, it is the kind of sight that will stay with you your entire life. Visiting the mountains of southern New Mexico is a great fall vacation idea, and introducing your kids to the wonders of the heavens when they can actually see a dizzying array of constellations without the light pollution common to big cities is a wonderful part of heading to Cloudcroft. While telescopes are certainly useful and fun for kids to operate (once they learn to be careful with all those little knobs and such), the visibility in Cloudcroft makes them a nice option, rather than a necessity. However, a book on identifying the constellations or an iPad app for the same is definitely helpful.

Cloudcroft is full of fun things to do outdoors during the day, and at night, stargazing makes for a fascinating activity that truly captures one’s imagination. And who knows? If you and your kids spend the weekend in Cloudcroft, maybe one of them will point to that trip as the moment she knew she was going to have a career in science!

New Mexico’s Dunn Solar Observatory

August 9, 2013 in Blog

Anyone’s who has ever been momentarily dazed after coming out of a movie theater into the afternoon light knows that a sudden "dunn solar" observatory "new mexico" vacationincrease of light can be a jarring, blinding experience. But staring into the sun is precisely what the Dunn Solar Observatory in Sunspot was made to do. If you’re looking for a daytrip, this observatory is an interesting sojourn a mere 18 miles south of Cloudcroft.

While a weekend vacation in Cloudcroft might not afford you enough time to check out Sunspot and the observatory, you might include a trip to Sunspot in a week long Cloudcroft itinerary. The equipment in the tall, wedge-shaped Dunn tower is used to study sunspots, those swirling maelstroms of energy that darken the surface of the sun. The visitor’s center offers tours of the observatory at 2pm.

Contrasted to The Dunn Solar Observatory’s night time counterpart, the Apache Point Observatory studies the stars at night, rather than focusing on the explosive mysteries of the sun. You can visit the "new mexico" cloudcroft vacation sunsetfacilities, but the telescopes are off-limits, unless you’re a scientist, maybe.

Besides the science on display, the real treat of checking out the observatories is a beautiful drive through the Lincoln National Forest, even more spectacular as the sun is going down. After you’ve visited Sunspot, head back for dinner and drinks on Burro Avenue, and toast another relaxing vacation day in our little mountain town!

Cloudcroft’s Cloud Climbing Rail Trail

July 22, 2013 in Blog

If there’s one must-do hiking trail near Cloudcroft, it’s probably the Cloud Climbing Rail Trail. Covering something like 11 miles, the "cloudcroft railroad" vacation trails Cloudcroft "new mexico"CCRT is a winding, scenic walk through the Lincoln National Forest, combining four trails into a single network. Originally used for the lumber, and later, vacation industry that eventually gave rise to Cloudcroft, what would become the Cloud Climbing Rail Trail was created in 1990 by a retired physicist.

With the help of the New Mexico Rails to Trails Association, Tom Springer planned a trail that provided views of southern New Mexico’s gorgeous panoramas, in particular the dunes of White Sands 30 miles away! Beginning with the Trestle Trail in the Trestle Recreation area, the CCRT climbs 2.5 miles to join the Switchback Trail and the Cross-over Trail, and by crossing the highway, you can get access to the Grandview Trail.

If you’re spending all or part of your New Mexico vacation in Cloudcroft, you should Cloudcroft "new mexico" trails vacationdefinitely do some hiking in the Lincoln National Forest. Besides landmarks like the Bluff Springs Waterfall, trails like the ones that comprise the Cloud Climbing Rail Trail are great examples of our town’s natural beauty. Making a trip to the mountains is a great way to refresh your personal batteries, and a day trip to the CCRT is perfect for rejuvenation—just pack plenty of water, and be prepared to soak in a tub later!

Eating Organic

June 20, 2013 in Blog

What does the word “organic” mean to you? By definition, it refers to anything that is or derived from something alive, but nowadays, "organic food" cloudcroft organic tends to describe foodstuffs, pharmaceuticals, and personal care products that are made without added chemicals, colors, hormones, and a host of other additives the human body is probably better off without, especially pesticides.

Eating organic food is certainly a lifestyle choice, and in at least one way, it tends to be a little difficult; specifically, eating organic vegetables in Cloudcroft is tough because our town is in a mountainous desert region—it’s simply tough to grow a whole lot of produce around here. While some people could probably build a greenhouse or plant a garden and grow their own veggies, a lot of other people lack either the resources and yard space or the green thumb to raise their own mini-crops. If you fall in this last group, what should you do?

"instant karma" cloudcroftInstant Karma has a solution, in the form of an organic vegetable club that delivers a variety of organically grown produce once a week. You sign up at the beginning of the month, and for $35 per delivery and a recycled grocery bag, you’ll get a bag full of yummy veggies sourced from local farms and organic markets like the one in Las Cruces. If you’re interested in tasting the difference, there’s plenty of info on Instant Karma’s site. Bon appetit!