The first day of fall just arrived this month. It sent off spontaneous celebrations for Pumpkin Spice, knee high boots and bonfires. Don’t’ get me wrong, I enjoy ALL these things and there is nothing I love more than to see Autumn coming, but it hard to celebrate the season when the high outside is 82. So to get in the spirit of the fall season Daddy and I took the kids berry picking, apple harvesting, started stockpiling bales of hay. All these things compliment the feeling of fall, but there is something lacking in southern New Mexico that we often miss. Colors.
Nestled in the mountains of the Taos Ski Valley sits the tiny town of Red River. Home to a magnificent ski resort that offers oodles of winter fun, Red River is also an amazing fall destination. The high elevations above 8000ft. allow for gorgeous, tall aspen to grow among the pines and spruce that surround the rustic town and cascade the mountainside. Red River has a lot to offer this time of year and should certainly be on your travel list as a great, family friendly destination to end your summer perfectly.
- Aspencade Art & Crafts Festival
This amazing local artisans market is held in Brandenburg Park in the center of the town of Red River the last weekend of September. Brandenburg Park is within walking distance from everything, you can browse booths filled with pottery from nearby Taos Pueblo, hand carved sculptures from local felled trees, unique glass work, art, soaps and foods. The Apencade Arts and Crafts Festival has been taking place in Red River for several years and participants come from all around New Mexico and Colorado to show off their goods at this Arts and Crafts Festival. The theme this year was Steam Punk, and I have it on good authority that the same theme will be making a resurgence for Aspencade 2017! The festivities were highlighted with a Steam Punk fashion show, where all ages took the stage to show off their best garb and prime Festival Goers for the Tea Duel that would close out festivities on Sunday. You might be asking yourself just what exactly is a tea duel? Its competitive biscuit dipping, and it’s fantastic!
- Disc Golf
Not really into art and crafts? It’s ok because there is much more this tiny town has to offer. Ride the chairlift a mile up the mountain and watch (or play!) in the Annual Drew Judycki Memorial Disc Golf Tourney. Red River is actually heavy on the disc golf scene, with two courses straddling the town. If you’re not a professional, you can rent your disc golf equipment at the top of the mountain and give this fun sport a try.
- Red River Folk Festival
I’ve got to say that I am very impressed by Red River’s ability to “bring the noise.” Folk artists began their performances in Brandenburg park at the Arts & Crafts Festival, filling the center of town with great music. The Lost Love Saloon, Texas Red’s Steakhouse and The Motherlode all served as amazing venues for various folk artists to perform. Max Gomez, Thom Brash, Elizabeth Cook and Sam Baker are a few of the names that performed around town this past weekend. Amazing music, amazing food and nice cold drinks led to a morning that had to be followed by the hair of the dog. Luckily for us, Hotel Ryland woke us with a complimentary Bloody Mary Bar on Saturday morning.
- Zip Lining Through Mountainside
So I hadn’t realized just how fun it is to dangle precariously in the air on a cable until I experienced the Pioneer Flyer in Red River. The Pioneer Flyer made its debut over Pioneer Ave. 2 years ago as a summer attraction. It’s a seated zip line that hauls you backwards at 35mph to a point 70 feet above Pioneer Ave. You catch your breath and then you are released to zip down over the fishing pond, where fishermen laugh at you as you giggle past them. I have to admit, I was a little freaked out, but it’s so exhilarating and you have such a beautiful view at the top, you almost forget… almost. The Ski Resort also offers
- Exploring the Ski Resort
It is quite possibly the best way to spend an hour with the one you love. Get your tickets at Red River Ski Resort guest services and hop on the lift. It takes you 1600 feet up the mountain, about 1 ¼ miles, through the changing leaves of the aspen trees. You catch the most astounding view of the valley as you slowly ascend the changing mountainside. Once you reach the top, you can grab a beer and glass of wine and enjoy the view from the lodge. We trekked around the peak for a few before beginning our trip down the mountain, where we could see the entire town as the sun set. Breathtaking.
- The Scenery
I feel like I can’t say this enough. New Mexico may not be the first place you think of when you think fall foliage, but the Taos Ski Valley in northern New Mexico has some of the most stunning landscapes as fall begins to take hold in the higher elevations. Red River is part of The Enchanted Circle, a scenic by way through several town and mountainous landscapes that treat your peepers to amazing fall colors. Also, where else in New Mexico can you experience a little September Snow?! That’s right, the summit recorded snow during our stay, and I of course was fully prepared for the weather.
- The People
There is something to be said about Red River and its hospitality. The locals are friendly and welcoming to tourists from all over the southwest. Red River attracts people from Texas, Colorado, Utah and even Arkansas for the annual Aspencade festival. Our weekend there has quickly cemented Red River as one of my favorite places and I can hardly wait for the snow pack so that we can haul the kids north and send them down the mountain!