Above: Cerro de Guadalupe, the remnant of an ancient volcanic eruption, looms to the east of the village of San Luis, in the Río Puerco Valley. Photograph by Andrew Kornylak.

REMEMBER HOW HAPPY WE WERE to leave 2020 behind and embrace what was sure to be a “normal” year? Yeah, not so normal—but not so bad, either. As a travel magazine in a time of (still) social distancing, masking, and looking out for one another, we found more than a few ways to indulge our wanderlust. 

We came up with a comprehensive guide to birding, which is pretty much always done outdoors in remote places, far from madding crowds. As if that wasn’t enough, we also highlighted a whole bunch of ghost towns well worth a drop-in visit. 

We went searching for Bigfoot (and, no, didn’t find him/her/it), marveled at Tucumcari’s neon signs, and exulted in the glory of New Mexico’s quintessential food, art, architecture, geology, culture, and oddities.  

We’re glad you joined us on these rides. Here are ten of our favorite stories from the past 12 months. Just wait ’til you see the ones we have in store for 2022! 

1. Maisel’s Historic Murals 

Historic Murals: Maisel’s Legacy, Pop Chalee’s Animals in the Forest, New Mexico MagazineFor 80 years, a storefront on old Route 66 has sheltered murals by a who’s who of Native American artists.

2. Quintessentially New Mexico

Copy of Quintessential New MexicoOur geology rocks. Our food pops. Even our architecture stands out. Throw in the Wild West, ancient art, and a few UFOs. A celebration of what makes us unique in the nation.

3. Ultimate Guide to Birding in New Mexico

Copy of Wilsons WarblerSet your sights on these full-feathered hikes, hot spots, and ways to attract more variety to your backyard.

4. See the Historic Mills of the Mora Valley

Mora Valley, Cleveland Roller MillThe Mora Valley once boasted seven wheat mills within seven miles. The three that remain (plus one wool mill) have history on their side.

5. Albuquerque's Giant Red Arrow Hits the Mark

Giant Red ArrowAlbuquerque's giant red arrow is legendary.

6. Relicarios: Hidden Jewels

Antique relicariosMartha J. Egan casts new light on an intricate form of centuries-old Catholic jewelry—and encourages a new generation of makers.

7. Essential Guide to Ghost Towns

Chloride's Pioneer Store MuseumHop in the car. We're visiting ghost towns!

8. Meet the Next Generation of Diné Weavers

Kevin AspaasThe latest generation of Diné weavers push their tribe’s traditional art outside the loom—sometimes throwing it away altogether.

9. Route 66 Shines Bright in Tucumcari

Blue Swallow motel in TucumcariTucumcari leaves the lights on for you. Neon lights, that is.

10. In Search of Bigfoot

Jesus Payan Jr. seeks the notoriously shy beast in a forest near Cloudcroft.New Mexico fans of the elusive beast say it’s only a matter of time before we all believe.