Ruidoso, New Mexico

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Seeing what he could see from the Monjeau Lookout

My mom’s family has been going to Ruidoso, NM for as long as I can remember. We would rent a house and grandparents, cousins, aunts, uncles would pile in. We’d spend the week going on ridiculous hikes up ski slopes, taking turns “hugging the porcelain throne” with rotating bouts of mountain sickness, and learning the fine art of horse betting at Ruidoso Downs. In the evenings, we would pile in cars and drive to the dumpsters to watch the black bear come dig through them for dinner.

In the past few years, my parents have been to Ruidoso to regularly attend the All American Quarter Horse Race. Finding themselves there more and more and wanting a reason to go more often, they decided to buy a vacation home there. Week before last, Finn and I went out with my mom to spend some time.

It was so funny to drive around and see the houses we’d rented when I was a kid. I can remember bowling in one of the driveways with some plastic bottles, my cousin and I trying to out spit each other off of one of the decks (ever the ladies ; )), and playing putt-putt in another house that I’m sure lead to more than a few timeouts.

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So, with my mom as a trusty tour guide, I decided to give you a list of some of our favorite things in Ruidoso in case you ever find yourself lucky enough to be there. This is not a comprehensive guide, but just some things I highly recommend!

Eats

Sights/Entertainment

  • Ruidoso Downs – watching the horse races is always fun
  • Monjeau Fire Lookout – you have to drive up a windy mountain road, and then walk up to the lookout, but the views can’t be beat. It also has some historical significance
  • Inn of the Mountain Gods Casino – the casino was recently rebuilt and there are tables now too. And a zipline across the lake. Apparently the golf course is also beautiful.
  • Sacred Grounds – open mic night on Friday and a movie showing on Saturday and sometimes live music.

Shopping

  • Indulgence at Stetthiemers – one of my favorites for jewelry and well-priced clothes
  • Burnell’s – great outdoor shoes and apparel. Lots of cute Patagonia dresses, Pendleton home goods, etc.
  • The Olive Branch – flavored/infused olive oil and balsamic vinegars
  • Lotza Stuff – a flea market with, you guessed it, lotza stuff! Seriously though, there are some really good finds.
  • Casa Decor – really great home furnishings store that I could spend hours browsing

Day Trips

  • Cloudcroft, NM – a small town with a very mountain feel and lots of hiking trails near and around
  • Lincoln, NM – like being in the wild west. Great for kids and you can go to the jail where Billy the Kid escaped.
  • Smokey the Bear Park in Capitan, NM – we loved this as kids. You can learn all about how little Smokey was found/saved
  • White Sands National Monument – Don’t go without a toboggan or cardboard or something to slide down the dunes. I’ve never hiked there, but be careful if you do and take lots of water. Remember, its a desert.

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