2022 CHRISTMAS in Albuquerque, NM

Road Scholar 14369


This is a repeat of a very similar 2015 trip.

Revel in the displays at BioPark’s River of Lights, attend Christmas Day dances at Jemez and Kewa Pueblos and learn about New Mexican arts as you celebrate Christmas in Albuquerque.

At a Glance: Be a part of the diverse holiday traditions of multicultural Albuquerque, New Mexico’s largest city. See Old Town decorated for the holidays and attend the River of Lights Celebration at Albuquerque Bio Park. Take a fun, hands-on traditional New Mexican handcrafts class. Attend traditional Christmas Day dances at Jemez and Kewa Pueblos.

On Your Feet: Walking up to a mile daily on varied terrain and ground conditions with inclines. Standing up to 2 hours. Elevations of 5,000-7,000 feet.

Best of all, you'll ...
* See Albuquerque’s idyllic Old Town all dressed up for the holidays.
* Learn about traditional New Mexican arts and crafts as you create your own piece of folk art with creative instructors.
* Enjoy festive light displays at Albuquerque's annual "River of Lights" at the BioPark - or skip it.

Rode Skalur made several changes to the schedule between the 2015 trip and this much scaled back trip.

Day 1 – Albuquerque – Registration - Dinner
Activity note: Check-in available from 3:00 p.m.

(D) Fly to Albuquerque. Air from 2015.

United UA 5102IAH – ABQ2:35P – 4:02P2:27

Estimated travel time from airport to check in location: 15 minutes (Approximately 5 miles) Ground Transportation Options: Sunport Shuttle (Commercial Van/Shuttle), 505-883-4966. $28 round trip.

Program Registration, 3:00-5:00 p.m.: Come over to the Road Scholar table to register with the program staff, to get your welcome packet containing your name-tag, up-to-date schedule and other important information, and to confirm the time and location of the Orientation session. At 5:00 p.m. the Group Leader will review the program theme, the up-to-date daily schedule and any changes, and answer any questions you may have. Transportation for program-related activities will be via motorcoach unless specified otherwise. Dinner is a Buffet or plated meal in hotel meeting room at 6:30. Hotel: Albuquerque at Old Town (all nights)

Day 2 – History of NM & Albuquerque, Old Town, River of Lights
Activity note: Walking up to 1 mile over the course of the day; paved terrain; standing up to 1 hour at River of Lights. The River of Lights is an outdoor venue and will be very cold, so please dress accordingly.

(BLD) This morning we'll learn about the history of the area that is now New Mexico, from its earliest Ancestral Puebloan inhabitants to the Spanish and American soldiers and settlers who followed. We'll then walk to Old Town, which has been the focal point of community life since Albuquerque was founded in 1706. About ten blocks of historic adobe buildings surround the central plaza, including San Felipe de Neri Church, which dates back to 1793. The city's settlers built their homes, shops and government offices here; many of these have been converted into the restaurants, art galleries and shops that we'll see today.

Lunch is a plated meal at an Old Town. This afternoon is free Time. Take this opportunity for personal independent explorations of the area. Nearby museums include the New Mexico Museum of Art & History, considered one of the leading institutions for art, history and culture in the Southwest. The New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science is across from Old Town on Mountain Road.

Dinner is at a local favorite restaurant. We'll board our coach and ride to the Albuquerque BioPark for the annual "River of Lights," New Mexico's largest walk-through light show. But I will probably skip this since I didn’t much care for it the first time. There are many sculptures and displays designed and constructed by Albuquerque BioPark artists and craftsmen, as well as live musical entertainment.

Day 3 - Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, Hands-on Art Class
Activity note: Getting on/off motorcoach; walking and standing at the Pueblo Cultural Center.

(BLD) This morning, we'll board our motorcoach and depart on a field trip to the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center. This beautiful, unique center preserves and perpetuates Pueblo culture and advances understanding of the accomplishments and evolving history of the Pueblo people of New Mexico. We'll see the tribally-curated exhibits that present Pueblo legacy through art and oral histories of the Native Americans of the region. Native American dances will also be performed during our visit.

At the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, enjoy a plated meal or buffet featuring local cuisine.

After returning to the hotel we’ll be joined by an award-winning local artist who will teach us about some traditional New Mexican handcrafts as we create our own piece of folk art to take home (materials provided.) Then we have a Buffet or plated meal in our private meeting room.

Day 4 – Holiday Music
Activity note: Getting on/off motorcoach.

(BLD) This morning we'll be treated to a performance of festive holiday music presented by "Music for All Seasons," local vocalists and multi-instrumentalists Irma and Scott Reeder. Coach departs for lunch destination following the performance.

In this morning's "Music for All Seasons" presentation, we re-learn the New Mexico version of the 12 days of Christmas.

On the First Day of Christmas, my true love gave to me
1 a RoadRunner in a Pinon tree
On the Second Day of Christmas, my ...
2 Red and Green Chilies
3 Mariachis
4 hot air balloons
5 turquoise rings
6 sopapillas
7 bowls of posole
8 bright red reistras
9 margaritas
10 pork tamales
11 bscochitos
12 luminarias

Lunch is at a local favorite restaurant. This afternoon, visit to a museum or other activity depending on holiday schedule. Dinner is at the hotel or a select Old Town restaurant.

Day 5 – Jemez Pueblo Field Trip, Holiday Luncheon, Kewa Pueblo
Activity note: Getting on/off motorcoach; traveling 180 miles for 3 hours over the course of the day; walking several hundred feet over varied, possible snowy or muddy terrain; standing for up to 3 hours at the Pueblos with no seating available. It may be very cold and snowy, please dress accordingly.

(BLD) Merry Christmas! We'll board our motorcoach and travel 50 miles northwest to Jemez Pueblo to observe the Buffalo Dance. Pueblo dances are a blend of religious ceremonies with seasonal celebrations of Native American culture and beliefs that are deeply meaningful to members of the community. They are not public performances, and it is a privilege for us to attend. Please observe quietly and respectfully without comments or applause; photography is not allowed. See the Etiquette Guide for Pueblo Visits in the "Web Links" section of your Information Packet for guidelines regarding Native American cultural etiquette during Pueblo visits. Return to the hotel after seeing the dancing.

Holiday luncheon at the hotel. After lunch, we'll travel 40 miles north to Kewa Pueblo (formerly known as Santo Domingo). Kewa is one of the most populous yet least open of all New Mexican Pueblos. It is home to many talented artists who rely on contact with outside markets for their livelihood and are happy to see visitors. The Pueblo has an especially lovely Catholic church and some fine arts and crafts shops.

Dinner is at the hotel.

Day 6 – Santa Fe, Museum Hill, Free Afternoon, Dinner
Activity note: Getting on/off motorcoach; traveling 120 miles for 3 hours over the course of the day; walking several blocks up to a mile over uneven paved, possibly icy terrain with inclines.

(B--D) This morning we'll depart via motorcoach for Santa Fe, the capital of New Mexico. It is the oldest capital city in the U.S. and the highest in elevation. Our first stop will be Museum Hill for self-directed visits to the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture and the Museum of International Folk Art. The MIAC offers a huge collection of pottery, basketry, rugs, jewelry and artifacts, mostly from tribes of the southwest region. The exhibits are beautifully displayed and documented. The Museum of International Folk Art's holdings constitute the largest collection of international folk art in the world, including wings featuring some of the 106,000 pieces donated by collectors Alexander and Susan Girard and Lloyd Cotsen's Neutrogena collection.

Lunch is on our own – our only meal to buy. Then we have free time. Take this opportunity for personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most. There are three state museums adjacent to the Plaza: the Palace of the Governors, New Mexico Museum of Art, and New Mexico History Museum. We’ll meet at a designated time and location for the ride back to Albuquerque.

Dinner is a plated meal at a local Albuquerque restaurant featuring Southwestern cuisine. Then back at the hotel, we’ll gather as a group one last time in our hotel meeting room.

Day 7 – Program Concludes, Departures
Activity note: Hotel check out by 12:00 Noon.

(B) Hotel buffet breakfast and then figure out how to get to the airport.