Planning an Albuquerque vacation? Think of the high desert region that encompasses Corrales, Albuquerque, and Santa Fe, New Mexico. Over and over we hear our guests say - "We had no idea there is so much to see and do here." "We wish we had planned to stay longer." Or "We ran out of time." Never has a guest said, "We stayed too long."
Nestled beneath the Sandia Mountains in the Rio Grande Valley, the Corrales/Albuquerque/Rio Rancho area is loaded with exciting Albuquerque area attractions and opportunities for enthusiasts of all interests, whether it's culture, history, the arts, or nature and outdoor activities. All of it is embraced in wonderful weather, incredible scenery, and warm southwest hospitality. The Chocolate Turtle Bed and Breakfast is conveniently located in the heart of central New Mexico.
Since we cannot begin to describe in this space all there is to see and do close to the Chocolate Turtle, we have provided a sampling of what a Corrales/Albuquerque, NM vacation has to offer. Links to Web sites have been provided where available.
From casual fare to fine dining, our Albuquerque area restaurants offer guests a wide variety of menus and atmospheres from which to choose.
That is certainly true in the Village of Corrales, where the zesty flavors of the Southwest blend with American and continental cuisines to provide a dining experience for your taste buds that is second to none. With well over 300 days of sunshine a year and the dry, mild, high desert climate, outdoor dining is a way of life with many of the Corrales restaurants on their wonderful outdoor patios.
New Mexico chile, as much a staple here as bread is in many other parts of the world, adds wonderful flavor to any dish, along with widely varying degrees of spiciness. There are both green and red chiles, which actually are the same pepper harvested at different times. Each has its own distinctive taste. It is said that New Mexico is the only state with an official state question – "Red or Green?" Say "Christmas" and you will get both.
In Corrales there are several very fine restaurants with interesting and varied menus. For lunch you may want to consider Hannah & Nate's for traditional lunch fare (salads and sandwiches) interspersed with New Mexican seasonings, or for an authentic New Mexican lunch in a historic setting, Perea's is a must.
Restaurants that are open for lunch and dinner include:
Art, jewelry, and pottery, southwestern or contemporary in design, made by local and regional artisans and craftsmen, are available in shops, galleries, and working studios in the Village of Corrales. Antique shops, boutiques, and upscale consignment shops are also part of the Corrales shopping scene.
Whether you want to buy something for yourself or as a gift, chances are you can find it here. As with the restaurants, space does not permit a complete listing of all of the shops, galleries, and studios. Several shopping experiences that are truly unique to Corrales are the Growers Market, the Frontier Mart, Hanselmann Pottery, and Quilts Ole. The Growers Market is held on Wednesdays and Sundays from late April to October. In addition to locally grown foods, including many organic items, an assortment of soaps, cheeses, and decorative items may also be purchased. The Frontier Mart is not your typical convenience store. Although they carry the usual staples, the Frontier Mart also has an outstanding wine selection and a wonderful assortment of New Mexico gourmet gifts. Hanselmann Pottery makes and sells beautiful handcrafted stoneware. You can shop their display room 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. Quilts Ole has been recognized as one of the best quilt shops in the country. If you want to expand your horizon, there are plenty of opportunities for Albuquerque shopping, especially in Old Town's specialty shops and galleries and the fashionable boutiques in Nob Hill.
Indian Pueblo Cultural Center
Acoma Pueblo "Sky City"
National Hispanic Cultural Center
San Ysidro Historic Home in Corrales
Petroglyph National Monument
Jemez State Monument
Coronado State Monument
Old Town Albuquerque
If you plan to visit any of the Pueblos or the Navajo or Apache Nations, you may wish to read about cultural etiquette for visitors.
Sandia Peak Tramway and Ski Area
Albuquerque Biological Park (Botanic Gardens, Aquarium, and Zoo)
Rio Grande Nature Center State Park
Corrales Bosque Nature Preserve (great for walking and bird watching)
Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge
Valles Caldera National Preserve
Bandelier National Monument
Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument
Hot Air Ballooning
Sandia Mountain foothills biking and hiking trails
Gentle breezes, warm sunshine, beautiful cloudless blue skies, and incredible vistas - that's just the beginning of your New Mexico golf vacation experience! Now imagine world-class golf courses, reasonable fees, and virtually year-round golfing weather, and you've got the ultimate golf destination! Whether you are a beginner or an experienced scratch golfer, there is a course to fit your level of play. The best part – Chocolate Turtle is centrally located to the golfing action.
Golfers from around the country are discovering New Mexico golf courses, and the Albuquerque area golf courses continue to receive acclaim from the golfing world.
A small sampling of the accolades follows. Be sure to check the various course Web sites for a complete listing of their recognitions.
Acclaimed courses, wonderful weather, fantastic views, reasonable fees and the Chocolate Turtle add up to a great golf vacation, whether it's your regular foursome or the you're a golfing couple looking for a new experience.
For more information, visit New Mexico Golf Destinations!
If you've ever dreamed of soaring into the sky like an eagle, then hot air ballooning is the sport for you, Albuquerque, NM is the place for you, the Albuquerque Balloon Festival is the event for you, and the Chocolate Turtle is the B&B for you.
Whether floating serenely above the landscape viewing the desert wild flowers and catching glimpses of jack rabbits and coyotes, or doing a "splash and dash" in the Rio Grande River, the experience of hot air ballooning is truly unique. Albuquerque has been named the "Ballooning Capital of the World" and for good reason. The generally temperate climate along with the atmospheric conditions (different wind directions at various altitudes - known as the "Albuquerque Box") makes it the perfect environment to fly year round. Rare is the day when you do not see at least one and often many brightly colored balloons dotting the early morning sky.
There are monthly sponsored ballooning events, and many pilots fly on their own at any opportunity. In addition, there are professional balloon ride companies with whom you can contract for a ride.
Our Up, Up, and Away Package includes a balloon ride.
The crown jewel of ballooning is the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta beginning the first full weekend in October every year. For nine days each October, over 500 balloonists from around the world gather at Balloon Fiesta Park to participate in mass ascensions, flying events, evening balloon glows, and general good fun and camaraderie. The best part is, as a spectator, you are right on the launch field, not sitting in some grandstand at a distance from the action. In fact, you are more of a participant than a spectator as you stroll among the festively colored balloons as they inflate and take off.
The Chocolate Turtle is one of the closest bed and breakfasts to Fiesta Park. We have a real insight into the festivities, including getting to the Park, parking, the best times to be there to maximize your experience, and even which vendor has the best breakfast burritos. We would be delighted to have you stay at The Turtle and be your Balloon Fiesta "experts." You need to reserve your guestroom early, because we usually sell out quickly.
To learn about the beginnings and history of ballooning, a visit to the Anderson-Abruzzo International Balloon Museum at Balloon Fiesta Park is a must.
STOP, before you decide that Albuquerque is just the place to fly into and out of for your Southwestern getaway, continue reading "Six Days, Seven Nights at the Turtle" and plan to stay for an Albuquerque, New Mexico vacation.
You'll see that the Albuquerque area is truly a vacation destination offering a variety of experiences that can keep you actively engaged for days, if not weeks. And the Chocolate Turtle B&B is right in the middle of it all, serving as a home base that is conveniently located for all of your explorations and activities, yet it is in the idyllic setting of the Village of Corrales. Truly - so near, yet so far.
So where do you begin?
To help plan your stay, we've prepared a sampling of favorite day trips that we and our guests have enjoyed. This is just the beginning, so after you review "Six Days, Seven Nights at The Turtle" check out the additional things to do and see under our Activities tab. We would be delighted to assist you in customizing your itinerary.
Unwind and explore the Village of Corrales. This quaint historic farming village, home of the Chocolate Turtle, is the perfect beginning point for your exploration of the region. After breakfast take a leisurely stroll along one of the acequia walking trails or the Corrales Bosque Preserve (woodland along the Rio Grande River and stopover nesting habitat for 183 species of birds).
Explore Casa San Ysidro and the Old Mission Church, a circa 1870 home with authentic reconstructions of New Mexican Spanish Colonial and Territorial rooms and farm buildings with a rare collection of Hispanic New Mexican artifacts.
After a delicious lunch at one of the unique restaurants in the Village, visit the galleries and charming shops along Corrales Road, or if wine is your thing do a little tasting at either Corrales Winery, Acequia Vineyards & Winery or Milagro Vineyards and Winery. Relax on the portal of the Chocolate Turtle and complete your day with dinner at one of the excellent Corrales restaurants.
Begin the day with a visit to the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center in Albuquerque. Owned and operated by the 19 Indian Pueblos of New Mexico, the Cultural Center Museum houses impressive exhibits highlighting the history, traditions, language, art, and craftsmanship of the 19 Pueblos. The gift shop offers authentic art, jewelry, pottery, and paintings by local and regional Indian artisans.
Enjoy lunch at the Pueblo Harvest Cafe at the Cultural Center offering Southwest Native American cuisine, and then make your way to Old Town Albuquerque. If hunger has not set in, head to Old Town and grab a bite at one of the numerous restaurants that surround the Plaza in Old Town.
Old Town is the birthplace of Albuquerque, founded in 1706. You will truly feel like you've stepped back in time as you stroll around the plaza, narrow streets, and meandering courtyards with the collection of historic buildings that house shops, galleries, and restaurants. A must do is a tour of Albuquerque aboard the ABQ Trolley Company's unique open air trolley, which departs from Old Town. If you prefer museums to shopping, they are abundant around Old Town with the Museum of Art & History, the Museum of Natural History and Science, and Explora (a hands-on science museum for all ages), to name a few. Other options are a trolley tour, a visit to the Albuquerque Biological Park or the National Museum of Nuclear Science & History near the airport. Choose a restaurant in Old Town or try another one in Corrales for dinner.
Become more immersed in the Native American culture and history of the region with a trip to the Acoma Pueblo "Sky City." Located an easy 1-hour drive west of Corrales, Sky City is the oldest continuously inhabited community in North America, dating back to 1100 A.D.
Situated on a sandstone mesa rising 370 feet above the valley floor, Sky City is a living monument to the Acoma people. Tours of Sky City, conducted by Native Acoma guides, provide a captivating insight into the history and perseverance of these Pueblo People. The Haaku Museum in the Sky City Cultural Center in the valley offers an excellent display of the art, artifacts, and history of Acoma. Sky City is considered a "must do" by all of our guests who have visited there.
Return to Corrales to relax and then get a different perspective on the countryside by taking the Sandia Peak Tramway to the top of the Sandia Mountains rising over 10,000 feet above sea level. The longest aerial tramway in the world, it takes you above deep canyons and breathtaking terrain on the 2.7 - mile trip to the top. The views ARE spectacular! Most of our guests like to make this trip later in the afternoon so they can enjoy the panorama and then watch the sunset from the peak. The High Finance Restaurant at the top of the Tramway offers a unique dining experience 2 miles up, or come back “down to earth” and enjoy dinner in Corrales or Albuquerque.
Time to get some exercise and enjoy the landscape up close and personal. Start the day with a trip to the Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument, less than an hour from the Chocolate Turtle. Tent Rocks offers an outstanding view at how the forces and processes of nature shape our landscape.
The cone-shaped rock formations are the products of volcanic eruptions. Over time, wind and water cut into these deposits, creating canyons and arroyos, contouring the rocks into tent-like shapes. The Canyon Trail is a 1.5-mile, one-way trek into a narrow canyon. Being in the canyon is like being inside of a giant conch shell. You can climb to the mesa top for a panoramic view or walk as far into the canyon as you wish and return to the entrance.
If you're looking for a little more light exercise to work off all that delicious food you've been eating, head to the Sandia Mountain foothills and walk one of the many hiking trails that meander through the gently rolling terrain at the base of the Mountain.
An option for those who find Tent Rocks sufficient exercise is a visit to the Anderson-Abruzzo International Balloon Museum. With Albuquerque being the "Ballooning Capital of the World," the museum is dedicated to the history, science, and art of ballooning. Located at Fiesta Park, home of the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, the museum is close to the Chocolate Turtle.
Ready for one of the most delightful and leisurely scenic drives around? Plan a day on Route 4 in the Jemez Mountains. The route takes you through some of the most beautiful and diverse landscape you'll ever see. The trip starts with the typical rugged desert landscape that, as you drive through the Jemez River canyon, gives way to some of the most beautiful red rock formations this side of Sedona.
The drive takes you through the quaint villages of Jemez and Jemez Springs with its hot mineral springs, and you skirt the Pueblo of Jemez. A stop at the Walatowa Visitor Center is definitely worthwhile. As you climb in altitude you notice that the barren rock formations have begun to give way to pine and pinion trees, and before you know it you are surrounded by towering evergreens. Stopping to at least view, if not visit, the Valles Caldera National Preserve is a must. This 89,000-acre preserve offers a rare opportunity to see herds of elk, wild turkey, coyotes, and on occasion a bear in their natural setting.
Bandelier National Monument should be your next stop. One of the ancestral homes of the Pueblo people, Bandelier has the ruins of several thousand pueblo buildings highlighted by the Alcove House Kiva, an accessible cave dwelling in the canyon wall. There are several easily traversable walking trails of various lengths that take you to the various archeological sites.
There are two options for returning to the Turtle. You can back track down Route 4 for a different perspective, or as an alternative, drive down the other side of the mountain to Pojoaque ("Po-WAH-kee"), head east, connect with Interstate 25 just south of Santa Fe, and head toward Albuquerque.
Take a day trip to Santa Fe, which is an easy 1-hour drive north on Interstate 25 from the Chocolate Turtle Bed and Breakfast. Stroll the Plaza and streets and visit the many shops and galleries. The historic Palace of the Governors on the Plaza, now a Southwestern history museum, was constructed as a government building by the Spanish in 1610. It remains the nation's oldest public building still in continuous use. Native American artists sell their wares under its historic portal as part of the Native American Vendors Program.
The architecture of Santa Fe is one of its most charming traits. A great way to see the buildings and adobe walls is by taking one of the narrated small van tours of the city. They depart from the Plaza and reservations are not needed. Art galleries and museums abound in Santa Fe. While many of the notable ones are on Canyon Road, the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum is just off the downtown Plaza.
As with Corrales and Albuquerque, Santa Fe has many wonderful local restaurants that are open for lunch and dinner.