Does your family love to learn on the go? Do you have a child who’s interested in Native American history or culture? Are you studying about Native Americans as part of your homeschool in the coming years? If so, we would love to have your family join us on our next road trip to New Mexico–the Land of Enchantment!
Native Americans and their history and culture are fascinating subjects, and they are topics that our children should learn and understand more about. For that reason, we are so excited to announce this Homeschool Enrichment Adventure Road Trip (We call them HEART trips.) ♥ to New Mexico on October 13-17, 2019!
What Is a HEART Trip?
If you’re not familiar with our HEART trips, they are simply educational road trips. We think of them as extended educational field trips for the whole family! It’s hard to believe that we started these road trips four years ago, and this will be our sixth trip. We’re enjoying meeting and traveling with so many homeschooling families, including several families who’ve joined us on every one of our trips so far! We love accompanying you on these educational family road trips, getting to know you, and sharing in some exciting educational experiences together.
We always have fun educational activities, and we always build in some time for families to get to know each other and make connections with other like-minded families. We all know that our kids (contrary to popular belief) typically spend plenty of time socializing, but we parents are the ones who don’t often have time to create true friendships! On these trips, we make time for educational activities and do plenty of learning, but we also make time for building life-long friendships with other homeschooling families–moms and dads included! Note: It is not required that both parents attend these trips, but we do encourage dads to attend when they can!
Most nights after dinner (even when we are not enjoying dinner as a group), we will have a group gathering. One night we will have game night, so be sure to bring your favorite games, and we will have a table set up for it! One night will be pizza and painting (there will be alternatives if pizza is a no go in your house). We know this community aspect is what makes our trips different. We will always put an emphasis on bringing families together and making memories!
For more information about what we’ll be doing on our trip, keep reading!
Research shows when you engage your senses, you are able to retain the information better… so we plan to not only engage every one of your senses on this trip but to delight them! From feasting your eyes on the most beautiful New Mexico vistas to creating your own beauty with a painting of our experience. Or how about the sounds of calming water as we raft a gentle Rio Grande? But we don’t stop there… your taste buds and olfactory senses will be transformed after you experience green chile… because they say you haven’t had chile until you’ve had New Mexico’s green chile (not to mention the most amazing savory breakfast burritos we’ve ever tasted)! Finally, we will not only gaze upon and appreciate these gorgeous vistas from afar, we will actually hike to some and get up close and personal with them! This trip will immerse you and your children in the Native American world, and we expect it will be an educational experience you won’t forget!!
Los Rios River Runners
NATIVE CULTURES FEAST & FLOAT
We are so very excited to be going on a Native Cultures Feast & Float on the beautiful Rio Grande! The Rio Grande valley has been home for over a thousand years to many Pueblo Indian tribes who still follow their traditional ways. On calm waters, we will jump right into an immersive study as we learn about their culture from our interpretive guide who will share about Pueblo history and tradition.
After our float, we will enjoy a delicious traditional feast meal! This meal will be prepared and served by a Pueblo Indian family and will include red chile stew, blue corn posole (a thick, hearty soup), calabacitas (a delicious side dish made of vegetables), fry bread, Indian pie, and Indian tea.
To get more details on our float, click this link and watch the video below. This gentleman and his family, along with many skilled rafters, will be our guides on this gentle float down the Rio Grande.
Over 1,000 years of Tradition
Taos Pueblo is a sovereign Pueblo Indian community located in Taos County in northern New Mexico where we will see multi-storied adobe buildings that are estimated to be over 1,000 years old! The Red Willow People have continuously inhabited Taos Pueblo for over 1000 years, and it is the only living community to be listed in the Registry of National Historic Landmarks and recognized by the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as a World Heritage Site.
When the Spanish came to Pueblo country, some assumed they had found their “Cities of Gold” because the micca used to mud the buildings glitters like gold. The homes there are still used for religious and cultural activities.
The shops in Taos Pueblo have operated for three generations and are still in business. Each one carries a variety of handcrafted arts and crafts. The shopkeepers will be happy to tell you how and where your purchase was created!
Artisans of the community
Unlike other communities, many artisans here interact directly with visitors. Their shops, which are owned and operated by the artist and family members, feature pottery, paintings, sculptures, and more.
Rio Grande Gorge
We will experience the beautiful Rio Grande Gorge and this magnificent bridge–the second highest bridge on the U.S. Highway System and the fifth highest bridge in the United States. The bridge is a three-span steel continuous-deck-truss structure with a concrete-filled steel-grid deck. It was called the “bridge to nowhere” while it was being built because the funding did not exist to continue the road on the other side. It is a1280 foot cantilever bridge and it provides a major east-west highway in north-central New Mexico.
When we leave Taos we enter a broad and flat plain. This desert area has very little vegetation and spreads out for miles. If it wasn’t for the vision of that amazing bridge ahead, you wouldn’t have any idea that the ground opens up into a huge chasm. Here, the gorge is about 800 feet deep and is where you will find the Rio Grande River.
It has even been named “Most Beautiful Steel Bridge” in the “Long Span” category. The bridge has appeared in several films, including Paul, Terminator Salvation, Natural Born Killers, Wild Hogs, and White Sands.
We are excited to visit and learn about Earthships while we are in New Mexico! An Earthship is a brand of passive solar earth shelter that is made of both natural and upcycled materials such as tires. The Earthship was pioneered by architect Michael Reynolds. The Earthships address six principles or human needs:
- thermo-solar heating and cooling
- solar and wind electricity
- self-contained sewage treatment
- building with natural and recycled materials
- water harvesting and long term storage
- some internal food production capability
Earthship structures are intended to be “off-the-grid-ready” homes. In other words, they have little dependence on public utilities or fossil fuels and instead rely primarily on natural resources–especially the sun and rain water. They are constructed to use available natural resources.
Architect Mike Reynolds is quite the character. The 2007 film, Garbage Warrior, is about him. It tells the story of how he developed this idea and style of buildings and then how he struggled with the laws of Taos for permission to build these homes that don’t fit into local building codes. These building are not just functional they are beautiful and inspiring!
San Francisco De Asis
We will visit the San Francisco de Asis Mission Church. It is a late example of Spanish Colonial architecture and is a perfect case study in modern preservation practices. This mission was made iconic in paintings and photographs by artists such as Georgia O’Keefe and Ansel Adams. The Mission is now fixed in the popular imagination as an archetypical image of New Mexico. It is significant because of its history and architecture and was built between 1772 and 1816. It is listed as a National Historic Landmark.
Chimayó is a community that was founded near the end of the 17th century by Spanish settlers in a fertile valley nourished by the Santa Cruz River.
The settlers who founded it became experts at farming, stock raising, and wool weaving. They also built the last surviving fortified plaza, the plaza of San Buenaventura (now the Plaza del Cerro) to protect themselves from threats.
The descendants of the original settlers are still known for their high-quality weaving, red chile, horse and sheep raising, and fruit orchards. The area is also famous for traditional Hispanic and Tewa Indian arts including wood carving, paintings of saints on retablos (flat wood slabs) and bultos (sculptures), tin working, colcha embriodery, and pottery.
Chimayó is also believed by many to be the site of a miracle which occurred about 200 years ago. Because of that miracle, a chapel, el Santuario de Nuestro Señor de Esquipulas, was built there. This chapel, now commonly called el Santuario de Chimayó, is the destination of thousands of pilgrims and travelers each year.
Many believers in the Santo Niño de Atocha also come to Chimayó. In the beginning of World War II many New Mexico soldiers were stationed in the Phillipines because of their fluency in Spanish.
During the long siege of Corregidor and the subsequent Bataan Death March many of our soldiers prayed to the Santo Niño de Atocha and many believed that they survived as a result of his intercession. After the war these soldiers began the annual Easter tradition of walking to el Santuario de Chimayó in honor of the Santo Niño de Atocha and in memory of the Bataan Death March. The tradition flourished, and in the days leading up to Easter the roads and paths in north-central New Mexico are filled with people young and old making the journey on foot.
For many, Chimayó is the starting point and most important stop on the High Road to Taos, the breathtaking trip that begins at the Rio Grande river and winds through high alpine forests of dark ponderosa pine and golden aspen and tiny, ancient adobe communities nestled in the Sangre de Cristo mountains. The journey ends in the skiing and art community of Taos.
Puye Cliff Dwellings
We will drive seven miles over rolling hills that flatten out as we continue to climb until we reach the towering Puye Cliff Dwellings. There, we will enjoy a tour of the ruins and will see a view very similar to the one that visitors saw in the early part of the 20th century. Two buildings are at the base of the mesa, and both were built with blocks made from shaped volcanic tuff which was found at the site. This spectacular mesa-top pueblo is the largest ancestral native settlement on the Pajarito Plateau, and it once supported 1,500 people.
From the late 1100s until 1580, Puye Cliffs was home to 1,500 Pueblo Indians. In the late 1500s, the inhabitants moved into the Rio Grande River valley–probably because of drought. Today’s Santa Clara people are descendants of the Puye Cliffs people.
The Puye Cliffs consist of two levels of cliff dwellings cut into the cliff face and dwellings on the mesa top. The first level if over a mile long and runs the entire length of the base of the mesa. The second level is about 2,100 feet long. Stairways and paths were cut into the face of the rock to connect the two levels and to allow people to climb to the top of the mesa.
We will learn much more about these dwellings and their history during our visit. We will see some reconstructions and visit the Fred Harvey House–which is used as the visitor center.
Jemez National Historic Landmark
The Jemez National Historic Landmark is one of the most beautiful prehistoric and historic sites in the Southwest. It includes the stone ruins of a 500 year old Indian village and the San José de los Jemez church dating to 1621/2. The village of Giusewa was built in the narrow San Diego Canyon by the ancestors of the present-day people of Jemez (Walatowa) Pueblo. The name Giusewa refers to the natural springs in the area.
The history of the area and the people is rich and interesting, and we’ll have the opportunity to learn more about it during our trip!
Valles Caldera National Park
Valles Caldera National Preserve is located in the center and at the top of the Jemez Mountains in north-central New Mexico. The 88,900-acre preserve encompasses almost all of the volcanic caldera (large depressions formed when a volcano erupts and collapses) that were created by a volcanic eruption which took place long ago. In fact, Valles Caldera is the third largest super caldera in the U.S. and is one of the world’s best examples of an intact volcanic caldera. It also displays signs of volcanic life like hot springs and boiling sulphuric acid fumaroles (volcanic gas eruptions).
Valles Caldera is a place where we will experience pre-agricultural heritage and better understand how hunting and gathering were practiced. We will also learn how the area drew people because of its rich deposits of obsidian for tools and weapons.
We will also learn about early Spanish and Mexican settlement across the present-day American Southwest as well as the beautiful and varied landscapes in the area.
Bandelier National Park
Bandelier’s human history extends back to a time when hunger-gatherers followed migrating wildlife across the mesas and canyons. Later, the Ancestral Pueblo people built more permanent settlements and then eventually moved to pueblos along the Rio Grande.
In the mid-1700s, Spanish settlers lived in the Frijoles Canyon. Jose Montoya of Cochiti Pueblo brought Adolph F. A. Bandelier to Frijoles Canyon to show Bandelier his people’s ancestral homelands. In 1916, legislation to create Bandelier National Monument was signed by President Woodrow Wilson. For several years during World War II, the park was closed to the public and the Bandelier lodge was used to house Manhattan Project scientists and military personnel.
Tent Rocks National Park
At Tent Rocks, we will have the opportunity to observe, study, and experience the geologic processes that shape natural landscapes. The cone-shaped tent rock formations are the products of the volcanic eruptions at Valles Caldera that left pumice, ash, and tuff deposits (tuff is a light, porous rock formed by consolidation of volcanic ash) that are over 1,000 feet thick.
Tent Rocks is like a mini version of Arizona’s Antelope Wells crossed with Turkey’s Cappadocia. Eighty to ninety Tent Tocks were created by the erosion of the soft, air-laden volcanic stone underneath that leaves harder stone intact on top (cap rock).
Indian Pueblo Cultural Center
The Indian Pueblo Cultural Center boasts a schedule of rotating exhibits in their South Gallery, but their main attraction is their permanent exhibit, “We Are of This Place: The Pueblo Story.” This exhibit shares the Pueblo people’s legacy using their own words and voices. Even the design of the exhibit is inspired by traditions that have been passed down for generations.
At the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, we will enjoy a “pre contact” dishes from the Pueblo people’s past and gain insight into the wealth of flavors found in indigenous diets before Europeans colonized the Americas. It may be a surprise to some of us that beef, chicken, wheat, butter, refined sugar, and common rice won’t be among the foods we will try since these weren’t a part of the Pueblo people’s past until they were later introduced in North America. This experience will open a cultural and educational dialogue about the origins of the foods that Americans do or do not consume on a regular basis and why.
We will add a registration form and pricing information in the next few days! For now, we want you to see the dates and the places we’ll visit so you can start making plans to go with us!
When: October 13 – 17, 2019 (5 days / 4 nights)
Where: Northern New Mexico
Payments: Please see the information below for pricing and payment information. Each family will need to pay a registration fee of $250 at time of registration and will need to pay 1/4 of your balance each month (June, July, August, and September). Later registrations will require larger payments each month in order to pay the total amount by the due date.
The cost for this trip has several components:
- Registration fee of $250 per family
- Activity fee per person (ages 5 and up)
- Accommodations (by family)
- Add-on activities (per person)
- Add-on meals (per person–available at a later date)
Registration Fee: Because we try very hard to charge reasonable prices for activities, meals, and hotels, we have had to start charging a registration fee. This $250 fee is the amount we charge per family to ensure that your family is signed up to attend the trip with us and to cover the services listed below. Because we have a limited number of available “spaces” for families to attend, paying the registration fee ensures that your family has secured one of those spaces. And because we work so hard to plan our trips and all the necessary details, this registration fee helps cover a small part of the time we contribute to researching, planning, phone calls, paperwork, and so on. For more information about what this fee covers, please see the list below.
- searching for and securing accommodations for families who travel with us (including paying deposits to secure blocks of rooms at hotels, RV parks, campgrounds, etc.)
- researching and choosing destinations to include in our trip
- working with destinations to plan activities, tours, and so on
- paying guides who will accompany us on our travels to teach, answer questions, and make our trip enjoyable and educational
- researching and planning for meals that are included in our activities
- researching and planning for meals to offer as add-ons for those meals that aren’t included in our activities
- traveling (several months ahead of time) to the hotels, RV parks, campgrounds, and destinations to take a closer look at accommodations and destinations we’ll be using during our trip
This will be our first trip where we don’t stay in the same place for the entire trip. Because everything in New Mexico takes so much time to get to, we decided we would rather move than spend so much time commuting back and forth for hours. We will offer both the RV model and the cabin / hotel model this time.
More information will be on the registration form so you can choose which type of accommodations you would like for each of the sites.
Many of our meals are included in the Activity Fee. Included meals are listed below. Please see the information below the listed meals for more information about each meal and what’s special about it!
- breakfast all 4 mornings (Monday through Thursday) for those staying in the hotel*
- Native American Cultural Immersion Feast (dinner on the first night)
- Pizza from Dion’s (dinner on the third night)
- Indian Pueblo Cultural Center-Pueblo Harvest (lunch on the last day)
Native American Cultural Immersion Feast: After floating on the Rio Grande for about an hour and a half, we will disembark to find a delicious traditional feast waiting for us! This meal will be prepared and served by a Pueblo Indian family and will include red chile stew, blue corn posole, calabacitas, oven bread or fry bread, Indian pie, and Indian tea.
Pizza from Dion’s: This Albuquerque-based chain offers sandwiches, pizzas, and salads. Pizza dough is made fresh at the store, and breads, brownies, cookies, and salad dressings are made at the Dion’s “commissary” in Albuquerque, supplying all locations with the same high-quality goods. They offer specialty menus for food allergies including gluten free options. (Yay!!)
Indian Pueblo Cultural Center-Pueblo Harvest: Located inside the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, Pueblo Harvest is a full service restaurant known for extraordinary regional and Native-sourced, Pueblo-inspired cuisine that blends honoring legacy and history with exhibiting artistry and modernity. Here we will enjoy a rich flavor palette from the past and gain meaningful insight into the wealth of flavors found in indigenous diets before Europeans colonized the Americas. These dishes will open for us a cultural and educational dialogue about the origins of the foods that Americans do or do not consumer on a regular basis and why.
Payments, Cancellations, and Refund Policies
Your non-refundable registration fee of $250 is due upon registration. We cannot make any changes nor can we offer any refunds after July 1st. Note, we will need at least 10 families to register to be able to confirm this trip. You will be able to pay your registration fee once the registration form has been added to this article. If you are on our email list, you’ll receive an email once registration opens. We will also post on our Hip Homeschool Moms Facebook page and our Homeschool Road Trips Facebook page. Also, be sure to come back and look at this article again since you’re not guaranteed to see our posts on Facebook.
Cost for this add-on: $150 + tax per person. Restrictions apply. Please see “important information” below.
We are thrilled to offer an add-on hot air balloon flight for those who want to participate. (And we highly suggest that you do!) We took hot air balloon flights ourselves before we decided for certain whether to offer this add-on. After our flights, we knew we had to include this option!
Albuquerque balloon adventures all begin at sunrise. We will gather at the launch site to help get these beautiful balloons aloft! We will learn about how and why they work. We will watch the balloons as they are inflated (which is so cool to watch!!). Then we’ll lift off for a peaceful journey over the Rio Grande Valley. Balloons can carry up to 12 passengers, and our flights will last about an hour.
After our flights, the World Balloon crew will greet us and help us celebrate our voyages with the traditional champagne (or sparkling cider) toast, a light continental breakfast, and commemorative flight certificate suitable for framing. And of course you’ll also have memories to last a lifetime!
Albequerque has the distinction of being “The Balloon Capital of the World” because of the beautiful flying conditions, being home to over 300 balloon pilots, and hosting the largest balloon event anywhere. (The Albuquerque International Balloon Festival is held for 9 days each year in October.) In fact, the founder of World Balloon, Sid Cutter, was also the founder of the Fiesta, so it’s no surprise that World Balloon has been, and continues to be Albuquerque’s highest rated balloon operator since 1973.
IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT BALLOON FLIGHTS:
Please understand that, if weather conditions do not permit, our hot air balloon flights won’t be possible.
There are some restrictions on passengers for the hot air balloon flights. These are strictly enforced.
- All passengers must be 6 years of age or older. Age 6-18 requires parent or guardian to fly.
- Maximum weight per passenger cannot exceed 280 lbs. Passengers may be asked to be weighed for accuracy at check-in.
Passengers with the following conditions cannot fly:
- Expectant Mothers.
- Back, Neck, Knee, Hip, Joint, Bone, Osteoporosis or Similar Physical issues within 2 years.
- Inability to walk unassisted or stand for one hour unassisted. Canes / Walkers / Wheel chairs / Scooters not permitted.
- Recent Surgeries or Other Conditions that may be aggravated during flight and landing.
Accessibility and service animals:
Unfortunately none of the aircraft are considered handicapped accessible. They are unable to accommodate wheel chairs and do not have doors to allow for access other than climbing over the sidewall of the basket. There is also no way for the aircraft to be modified to be made handicapped accessible. Additionally, they love animals and want them to be safe and protected. This unfortunately means that they do not allow service animals onboard or around the aircraft. Hot Air Balloon burners are loud and will scare many animals. It is simply not safe or prudent to allow a service animal in or around the aircraft.
Ready to Register?
Once we open registration, we will create a private Facebook group just for those who have registered and paid registration fees for the New Mexico trip. (We do this for each of our HEART trips.) This allows those who will be attending to start getting to know each other. It also give us a place to share important information with those who will attend. We’ve seen many life-long friendships begin on our trips, and we expect the same thing to happen in New Mexico! That is one of the greatest missions of these HEART trips–building community for families living the home education lifestyle. We can’t wait to meet you!! ♥ ♥ ♥
If you have any questions, please email us, and we will be glad to help!! Be sure to put “New Mexico Questions” in your subject line.
We hope to see you in New Mexico!