Angelisa Murray provides enchanting New Mexico experiences for visitors and locals alike. Photograph by Minesh Bacrania.
ANGELISA MURRAY LEARNED to fly-fish in Alaska, tried her hand at surfing in New Zealand, and earned her yoga certification in Thailand. She’s a student of the world, but as a guide and trip planner, her favorite classroom is New Mexico. A self-described “four-foot-ten, tiny little brown person,” she possesses a personality that could fill the Albuquerque Convention Center—especially if she’s talking about the Land of Enchantment. As CEO of Heritage Inspirations, in Taos, Murray aims to do more than showcase the wonders of New Mexico; she strives to “make people feel alive again.”
Inspired by Heritage: While growing up in Arizona, Murray made frequent family trips to visit relatives in southern Colorado and northern New Mexico. One highlight of those childhood trips: her grandmother’s tortillas, which Murray calls “the best on the planet.” Too bad she had to share them with her numerous cousins. As each tortilla came off the griddle, a child would butter it, take a bite, and pass it to the next kid. Murray now recognizes that the delicious assembly line was really something much more profound: They were breaking bread together. “That unifies you,” she says. “That has impacted everything for how I want to curate our experiences.”
The Calling: An internship at the historic Lake McDonald Lodge, in Montana’s Glacier National Park, kick-started Murray’s tour-guiding career. “I realized that I have a servant’s heart, that I love people, and that there’s no way I could work indoors,” she says.
Enchanting Dreams: Toward the end of a yearlong stint in New Zealand—where she guided bicycle tours and managed a restaurant at a ski resort—Murray began having dreams about New Mexico. “All these years later, I’ve realized that I was dreaming about my sanctuary and where I live now,” she says.
Adventure at Any Speed: While Heritage Inspirations’ tours often center on pursuits like backpacking and snowshoeing, Murray also creates slower-paced art walks and cultural tours that feature the “authenticity and the integrity of New Mexico.” Adapting to pandemic travel restrictions, Heritage began hosting virtual cooking classes focused on traditional New Mexican recipes and offering road-trip itineraries, complete with step-by-step directions and insider details.
Unforgettable: All of Heritage Inspirations’ excursions are designed to be memorable, but Murray says the three-day glamping adventure outside Taos is truly magical. “To fall asleep under an International Dark Sky in an epicenter of so much culture,” she says, “there is nothing in the world like it.” The next morning, guests rise early to watch the sun tiptoe over the Sangre de Cristos. That’s when you learn something about yourself, she says: “New Mexico does that.”