Spend an Old-Fashioned Christmas in the Mountains

December 1, 2014 in Blog

After 11 months of crowded streets and hectic traffic, why not spend an old-fashioned Christmas with your family in Cloudcroft, New Mexico. Our charming town is a winter wonderland, nestled in the Rocky Mountains.

cloudcroft "santa land" santa holiday

 

There are many ways to enjoy the holidays in Cloudcroft. Start the day with a day of shopping at Cricklewood & Company for fragrant candles, soaps and lotions or find handmade silver and turquoise jewelry at Sam’s Silver Lining. After holiday gift shopping, stop by Big Daddy’s Diner for lunch or a slice of homemade pie.

 

Holiday Events in Cloudcroft

 

Cloudcroft’s Annual Light Christmas Parade and Tree Lighting

Saturday, December 6, 2014, at 7:00p

The tree lighting will take place on Burro Street, after the parade. Bring an ornament and you can help decorate the tree! Refreshments will be available, starting at 5:00p.

Ullr Fest 2014

Cloudcroft Skating Rink

December 6, 2014, at 8:00p

“Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!” Come celebrate winter with a blazing bonfire at this holiday festival.

Santa Land Bonfire

Zenith Park Pavillion

Saturday, December 20, 2014, at 4:00p

Bring your children to see Santa Claus at Zenith Park. The whole family will enjoy a festive holiday afternoon, while drinking hot chocolate and roasting marshmallows. Santa and Mrs. Claus arrive at 5 p.m. with holiday cookies for the children.

Visit Cloudcroft for the holidays and enjoy the small-town charm and snowcapped mountains views from a custom built log home.

Rentals are available for Christmas, visit Amigo Realty to book your reservation online or call 1-866-682-3312 for more information.

Where to Stay During Hunting Season in Cloudcroft New Mexico

November 7, 2014 in Blog

hunting cloudcroft "new mexico"And just like that, hunting season has begun with a “BANG”! If you’re anything like me, this is my favorite time of year. This is a time to leave the busy, hectic hustle and bustle of big city living and return to nature. It’s time to regain our innermost senses, time to feel like a human once again and rely on our most primitive instincts and impulses. The meat fridge in your garage has once again become bare and it’s up to you to fill it back up. I have a feeling you’re not planning on calling Sam the Butcher to do the job for you! Heck no, he could never supply you with the quality non-gmo injected meat that a healthy free-roaming animal could provide. No meat supplier could ever give you the joy and satisfaction offered by successfully hunting an animal on your own."new mexico" hunting cloudcroft

If you already have your tags and license ready, there’s only one thing more you need. That one thing is a place to relax and mentally prepare yourself for the days hunt while you’re out here in God’s country. No rinky-dink, 30-minute drive Holiday-Inn is going to do it for you either. You are going to need something close… really close. Look at it this way, you’re getting up before the crack of dawn anyway, do you want to wake up even earlier and drive for 15 or more minutes before you even start your hike into the brush? The Spruce Cabins in Cloudcroft, NM is your ideal spot for keeping your mind on your hunt while enjoying all the simple comforts that are necessary. I’ve found that I can reach all my favorite spots around the Lincoln National Park with ease in just a matter of minutes from the cabins. Book your next stay with Spruce and be sure to send us a picture of your next trophy!

You Fish for Fishing in New Mexico

October 9, 2014 in Blog

"silver springs" trout fishing "new mexico"I learned how to fish in New Mexico from my dad. We didn’t have anything fancy, nor did we go to a stocked pond. I grew up in the country and Mr. Nevill gave us free reign to go exploring and using his land as long as we didn’t spook the cows. Dad bought me a cheap rod and reel from a local sporting goods store, and we carried a small under-equipped tackle box, a shovel to look for worms, and a cooler filled with Dr. Pepper. In all the times that we ventured out there over five or six years, I think we actually caught about three fish. I didn’t really care about the catch though. As a wise man once said, you don’t fish for fish. You fish for fishing.

Catching a lot of fish or hauling in one great dinner satisfies the serious fisherman, but for all of the rest of us the activity is an excuse to relax, share a good time with friends or family, and enjoy the water.

cloudcroft fall "new mexico"Silver Springs Trout Pond has plenty of pond to go around, and it’s stocked with fresh trout. This means they offer great family time on the lake, which is my fond memory, but they have also greatly increased your chances of coming home with dinner.

Silver Springs cares about getting you out to the lake, no matter your skill level. They charge seveny-five cents to cast into the water, and your catches are only sixth-five cents an inch. To make the outing even more enticing, the employees will clean and bag your fish for you. Just take them your catches, and they’ll you home ready for the grill.

Anytime of year is perfect for fishing, but Fall in New Mexico might be our favorite. With the leaves changing color in Cloudcroft right now, it truly is the best time to enjoy our beautiful southern New Mexico home outside!

What to Expect When You Stay at Spruce Cabins for the First Time

September 16, 2014 in Blog

On your first trip to Cloudcroft, the first thing you are going to notice is the beautiful scenery that surrounds you as you climb up the mountain to the elevation of 8,600 feet. Making the sharp right and left curves on the 2 lane road allow you to focus on all of the aspects that this majestic land has to offer. Nestled next to Lincoln National Park, Cloudcroft’s endless amount of vegetation, wildlife, and rock formations creates the perfect countryside backdrop. If you can’t wait to see it, a fellow admirer posted a YouTube video of the beautiful trip here:

Once you’ve reached the village of Cloudcroft, you will be engulfed by the sight of a small community that has kept the feel of traditional American virtues. You will experience a spectacle that might incite a sense of nostalgia. Looking from outside, Cloudcroft is a village untouched by hustle and bustle of the big city life. However, if you look closely, you will notice that this village has most of the modern amenities and conveniences offered by most American towns. Cloudcroft offers a fair amount of restaurants to choose from, a bank with an ATM, a grocery store, and a multitude of little shops offering everything from wine and cheese tastings to custom jewelry.

"spruce cabins" cloudcroftAfter your trek though the historic commerce area of Cloudcroft, you will pass by the award winning schools where a large amount of the current residents spent their childhood days. A sharp right turn after the school will lead you up the inclined drive to the Spruce Cabins. The first cabin to your left is the main office. Inside you will find a friendly employee to assist you by handing you your cabin keys and answering all of your questions. All of the Spruce Cabins are walking distance from the main office, so you can easily walk or drive to your designated lodge.

Entering your cozy abode, you will notice that it has all the amenities you would expect from a lustrous resort. Each cabin comes equipped with ceiling fans, flat screen TV’s, wifi, full kitchens, bathrooms, and much more. Now that you’ve arrived at your home away from home, you can lay down on the bed and watch TV, sit at the kitchen table and play cards, or enjoy one of the numerous activities this community has to offer you.

We know you are going to love your stay in Cloudcroft and are going to do everything in our power to make sure your first visit is as memorable as your 100th!

New Mexico’s First Railroad Museum, The Toy Train Depot

August 2, 2014 in Blog

"train depot" alamogordo "new mexico"Just a few miles off the western border of Lincoln National Forest, sits Alamogordo and New Mexico’s first railroad museum, The Toy Train Depot. Remember the little trains you used to ride in a big arc around the zoo or theme park, sitting next to mom and dad with your head out of the top? This museum focuses on these rides, many of which have been retired from those attraction sites. Rick Haskell is the museum’s curator, a train engineer, and a rail historian. If you ask him, he will tell you the fascinating story of an ancient decree by Caesar involving the width of two horse’s rear ends that directly influenced the current width of railroads in America today. Seriously.

Wednesday through Sunday, the Depot runs three 16” narrow gauge railway rides. This is a great outing for the family and a fun ride for the kids. The museum is a non-profit educational foundation, and you can enjoy learning some of the history of these vehicles after the 10-scale mile ride. Built in a "new mexico" alamogordo "train depot"now retired actual train depot, which was erected in 1898, the museum has memorabilia from the real national rail system, model trains of all types and sizes, huge displays of old rails more than a hundred years old, original railway art, and a golden spike that was awarded to John Koval, the original collector whose prizes became this museum.

Whether you are a serious fan of trains, want to become more acquainted with this hobby, or just looking for a fun day out with the kids, The Toy Train Depot can provide a great afternoon.

The Gillespie Ranch in the Southern Sacramento Mountains of New Mexico

July 12, 2014 in Blog

"gillespie ranch" cloudcroft "new Mexico"Fourteen years ago, a cowboy and girl moved from Arizona to the southern Sacramento Mountains of New Mexico, and they started a ranch. Kent Gillespie has worked as a farmer or rancher for his entire life, and Susan, once a biochemical engineer, doesn’t know a life without horses. Their land is situated in the middle of the beautiful Lincoln National Forest, covered with mountains and dense with trees. Today the Gillespie Ranch has visitors year round for a variety of reasons, but it was not built as a tourist attraction. 15,000 acres are set aside for their cattle operation, which they both work everyday. Susan checks the cows and even feeds some by hand. Kent and his son mount horseback and work the cattle daily when he is not meeting with guests or accommodating their vacations.

Visitors have several options for how they will enjoy the Ranch. A four-person cabin allows small groups or families to simply bask in the scenic forest and find a respite after some gorgeous hiking. Twelve RV hookups let others do the same in their own accommodations. The Gilliespies also board horses for the short or long term, so riders can bring their own mount and trail ride the easygoing flat land or challenge themselves on the steep, rocky mountainside. Each September, all the guest spots are taken by hunting "gillespie ranch" cloudcroftparties, which Kent and Susan will guide through the forest. And once in a while, Kent will approach lucky and brave guests the night before the cattle rotation, and invite them to take a horse and accompany them in the cowboy work the next morning.

The Gillespies’ ranch is clearly not only a job for them. They cowboy together, and Kent wouldn’t have it any other way. He gladly admits that Susan is a much better roper than he. “She’s quite the horseman. I’m just a lucky redneck.”

The Gila Cliff Dwelling National Monument in New Mexico

June 24, 2014 in Blog

"Gila Cliff Dwellings" Gila "national park" "new mexico"The Gila Cliff Dwelling National Monument lies in the mountainous desert almost five hours west of Cloudcroft. Located near the Morgollon Historic District in Catron County, the Gila is a fascinating look into some of New Mexico’s earliest inhabitants, a tribe of the Mogollon peoples who populated the southwestern United states and northern Mexico.

Thought to have been occupied for around 25 years at the turn of the 14th century, the dwellings were originally formed in the face of the cliffs from volcanic activity, behind thick growths of trees. They provided good shelter, the five caves having been built into 46 rooms; the nearby woods also concealed the dwellings from potentially dangerous passerby. Today, the monument is accessible by hiking about a mile up a trail; you’ll also find a museum and visitor’s center.

"gila cliff dwellings" gila cave "new Mexico"While a five hour drive from Cloudcroft is kind of intimidating, the Mogollon Mountains and Gila River areas offer plenty of other hiking opportunities, as well as more ancient Amerindian sites and river rafting—if you’re staying in Cloudcroft (say at Spruce Cabins, for example) for a week, spending a couple days exploring the sites in the Gila Wilderness is a great addition to a summer vacation in southern New Mexico.

Fishing in New Mexico

June 4, 2014 in Blog

People often associate fishing with places in Colorado or up north in Idaho, but here in southern New Mexico, we are blessed with several good spots for angling. The biggest variety of fish can be found in Brantley Lake near Carlsbad, but even closer to Cloudcroft, fly fishers have opportunities to test their skill (and luck)."brantely lake" "new mexico" fishing

Brantley Lake, created from an impoundment of the Pecos River, is a catch-and-release only zone, but you’re likely to catch some pretty big catfish, crappie, walleye, and bluegill. The upper parts of the lake are good spots to catch largemouth and white bass, as well "new mexico" fishingas catfish. Near Cloudcroft, steer your fishing excursion to Rio Penasco. The Penasco is a spring creek on private land, where the water is a trout-friendly temperature between 52 and 60 degrees all year round, and its full of wild rainbow and brown trouts, some of which can reach 20 inches in length! Several tour companies provide access to the fishing. Near Ruidoso, the Ruidoso River provides a viable fishing spot if the water level is decent; currently it’s suffering from drought. Grindstone Lake and Bonito Lake are currently closed to fishing due to water quality issues.

If you’re taking a vacation in Cloudcroft to “play outside,” a trip to a southern New Mexico fishing destination is a great idea. Pack your rod and grab your bait!

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!

ET’s Home in the Land of Enchantment

April 27, 2014 in Blog

"New Mexico" "land of enchantment"As everyone knows, New Mexico is the Land of Enchantment. From stunning vistas of the southwestern desert to the gypsum crystals that give White Sands its name, our great state is full of natural treasures. Of course, there are also the aliens, most famously the ones who supposedly crash landed near Roswell in 1947. Whether or not they were real is anyone’s guess, one famous alien creature really did find its way to New Mexico soil, though he himself was a fictional character. We’re talking about E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, the star of Steven Spielberg’s 1982 blockbuster.

And actually, E.T. didn’t actually make it here, but most of the unsold copies of a video game based on the movie did. Famed video game company Atari released an E.T. game after the movie in 1983, thinking it could capitalize on the film’s runaway success, but the resulting product was terrible, and Atari decided to take it off toy store shelves.

ET Alamogordo atariOne day in the fall of ’83, the Alamogordo Daily News reported between 10 and 20 truckloads of the game were transported to an Alamogordo landfill for disposal. The site was chosen because excavation of the landfill was prohibited, and its refuse was crushed nightly.

Thirty years later, the city gave a Canadian entertainment company a six month window to dig up the landfill in order to produce a documentary; on April 26, 2014, the digging began. Hopefully they found more concrete evidence that these “aliens” were actually there!