Hotel Luna Mystica
Hotel Luna Mystica in Taos, New Mexico
You know how sometimes you see things on Instagram and you're just like...I have to go there right now. I feel like, for me at least, those things are almost always on the other side of the globe - there's no realistic way that I could get to them anytime soon. But, that was not the case when I saw Holly Mandarich posting about Hotel Luna Mystica on both Instagram and The Outbound. Taos, New Mexico is only 4.5 hours away from Denver - we could easily turn that into a weekend adventure (sometimes I'm still stuck in Virginia geographically and get very surprised when I find out places in the southwest are within driving distance). We picked out three trailers we'd be happy staying in, picked out 5 weekends we could make the trip, and that flexibility led us to staying in Judd a week after we finalized our plans!
We drove down after work on Friday, giddy and ready for 4 hours of the Babysitters Club Club. The moon was full and it lit the landscape up enough that I was going a little crazy not being able to actually see it. Once we crossed over into New Mexico, we were especially thankful for the extra light because there were three herds of elk between the border and Taos. I was texting one of the owners about our ETA because we were scheduled to get in after they had left for the evening. They decided to stick around because of a show going on at the brewery next door, so Tristan was able to walk us to our trailer and get us all set up.
Hotel Luna Mystica is, by their own definition, a vintage trailer hotel + starlight campground. I would try to explain it myself, but they do a much better job: "Hotel Luna Mystica: 12-plus acres of mesa, 10 vintage trailers, 60 campsites, one planet, one moon, a gazillion stars. Head out of Taos and aim for the Rio Grande, turn right at the friendly lights over the Taos Mesa Brewery. The adventure awaits. Disconnect, and reconnect with your natural self. Restore your balance. This is a place of opportunity and tranquility. Community and solitude. Outer space and inner peace. Test yourself. Rest yourself. Reclaim yourself. Experience nature without the hassle."
Who wouldn't want to stay there?! While checking us in, Tristan excitedly showed off Judd, one of the original trailers they got for the hotel. They've only been open for about 9 months, so I feel really lucky to have gotten to stay there and experience it so early on.
I took a few pictures when we arrived at 11:15. We were tired from the drive, but I had surprised Logan with an adorable game of Yahtzee that we had to play so that I could kick his butt. We played games until almost 2 am (wayyyy past our city bedtimes) and then crawled into the most comfortable bed ever. I was really warm from sitting next to the heater while playing games, so I turned the little heater in the bedroom down so that we wouldn't get too hot at night. BIG mistake....I woke up at 4 am freeeeeezing cold. I turned the heater all the way back up and blasted it, but it was too late - I had to try and steal Logan's warmth and eventually the sun shining through the windows warmed me enough to go to sleep. We had kind of planned on going to watch the sunrise that morning, but then accepted the trip for what it was - a lazy, feel-good, restorative weekend. Not one where we were going to follow a tight schedule and stress ourselves out on. So we slept until 9:30 and then I made omelettes that we ate on the little patio in front of Judd.
Driving in in the dark, we didn't get to see much of the area around us except for some shadowy outlines of mountains and shrubs. So when we woke up and Logan went to open the curtains, the first thing he said was, "holy shit. You have to come look at this." The view was amazing. Judd is right on the edge of the hotel so we had an unobstructed view of the most amazing mountains. We sat out there and ate our breakfast and planned the rest of our day.
Our plan was to go hiking in the Rio Grande del Norte National monument and then potentially swing by some hot springs afterwards. We stopped at Walmart because there was not a cloud in the sky and Logan knew we would need sunscreen. I'm so glad he thought of that because we would have gotten burnt to a crisp! The hike, though, was beautiful. 5 miles following the bank of the Rio Grande, and we only saw 4 other people on the trail. We decided to not do the hot springs afterwards, instead opting for a nap and some tacos. The drive home was amazing - the road goes from paved to steep and dirt/gravel as you drive up what feels like the straight side of the gorge. It was beautiful, but we were thankful to have approached our hike from the southern side because it meant we didn't have to drive down that road.
From there we had to cross the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge to get back to the Hotel. This is where I had wanted to watch sunrise, but we pulled over to just take a look. It's a very sturdy bridge, and I wasn't nervous to go out on it but Logan was a little anxious. We didn't stay long because the wind was howling and we wanted our tacos and beer!
Back at the trailer, I opted for a pre-dinner nap. Hotel Luna Mystica is right next door to Taos Mesa Brewing. Tristan told us they were having a bluegrass show Saturday night, so we decided that was where we were going to spend our night! I took my nap and woke up in time for tacos, beer, and some local Taos bands. The atmosphere was so cool (definitely a place our friend, Luke, would hang out) and the tacos were amazing. Eventually we decided to go back to Judd for more Yahtzee. On our walk back I looked up and was just amazed by how many stars I could see. "Starlight Campground" is such a perfect way to advertise this magical place.
After an hour or so of running around breathlessly in the dark, still listening to the bluegrass band off in the distance and laughing so much I couldn't get a focused picture of the two of us, we went inside. More Yahtzee was played and more pictures were taken before we fell asleep (this time with lots of extra blankets). We woke up in the morning and packed all of our belongings up. It's always a little hard to leave places, but it felt like we were breaking a spell. Hotel Luna Mystica is magical in ways that I can't really describe, but that you have to experience for yourself to truly understand. All I know is that I believe there is power in what the desert offers us, and that I am so grateful for a weekend spend soaking up that power.
After checking out we headed back to the Rio Grande Gorge bridge (pictured earlier) before going to get some brunch and heading on to the Great Sand Dunes. I cannot recommend this place enough - it is such a cool place to stay and Taos is such a great area. If you're looking for a weekend getaway, look no further.