It was a 4 hour drive from Durango to Santa Fe, New Mexico. We checked into the La Fonda, Around 4 p.m. The Tavern level balcony suites are very luxuries and beautiful. The room felt like an apartment, without a kitchen. It was wonderful to have so much room for Adeline to play. There was a wedding held there, it was quite busy, but we couldn’t hear a thing in our room which was perfect. The La Fonda was definitely one of my favorite things about this trip. The art throughout the hotel is amazing and unique. They have multiple luxury shops in the lobby, that are accessible off the plaza as well. It is a historic southwestern-style hotel, with great rooftop views. It’s definitely one of the most luxurious stays in Santa Fe.
Our New Mexico destination was the Balloon Fiesta, in Albuquerque. We left the La Fonda at 3 a.m to beat the traffic to the festival. We arrived at the perfect time. The Fiesta is organized very well. Our goal was to photograph and video the first lit balloons, I’m very proud to say we achieved this.
The Balloon Fiesta was my absolute favorite part of this trip. Adeline loved watching them, and they are just so cool! Ive always been a fan of Hot Air Balloons, this was my first time to see them in person. I believe everyone should experience this at least once in your lifetime. The Air Force even sent some jets out, that drew a heart in the sky about the balloons! I was very excited that I captured this on my 360° Camera. (Video link). Make sure you look up, or angle your phone above you, when you view it.
The Balloon Fiesta started with 13 balloons in 1972. By 1978, it was the largest ballooning event in the world with 273 entries, and now attendance has grown to hundreds of balloons and thousands of pilots participating. Nearly 750,000 visitors attend the Albuquerque, New Mexico hot air balloon festival each year. Zebras are the launch directors who help each crew lift its balloon softly and safely into the air. They wear striped, black-and-white uniforms—hence their nickname—and they’re super-easy to spot. The 86-acre balloon Launch Field has space for over 20 game fields. If you want to see all the Balloons, I would suggest the concierge golf cart program. You want to book this at least 6 months in advance. If you want to book a ride during the event, Rainbow Ryders offers this service. The sooner you book this the better, they sell out very quickly.
We were there on the second day of the Fiesta. When the first balloon lit, the crowd cheered and the energy was so high! I wore tan tennis shoes, this was a bad idea. The field was still wet from the morning dew and my feet were cold and muddy. My suggestion, wear hiking shoes. Also, you might want to bring along a light folding chair. Wear layers of clothes, because it does warm up quickly.
We explored the Anderson Abruzzo International Balloon Museum. They have a great play area for the kids and its one of the best spots to watch the Balloons ascend into the sky.
The Santa Ana Star Casino, is where we stayed our final night of the trip. I loved the view from our room an the eighth floor. It also had plenty of new USB plugs, which worked great for our camera equipment. We flew out of Albuquerque at 6:35 a.m and arrived in DFW at 9:26 a.m. This was one of my all time favorite trips. Everything from the Canyon, Mountains to the Balloons; was simply perfect and even better with my babygirl along for the adventure.