Fresh off a visit to Santa Fe, most people set the cruise control on 60 mph, blast up the Española Valley toward Taos on U.S. 84/285 ― and breeze right by a romantic treasure. Their loss.
Tucked on the Rio Grande's banks near the hamlet of Alcalde is Historic Los Luceros, a lush, 140-acre estate and hacienda museum that was home to art heiress Mary Cabot Wheelwright from 1923 to 1958. Preserved by her family, the estate opened to the public in 2004 and is now budding with lilacs and daffodils. So pull over ― and while you're at it, check out a few other gems along the way.
Historic Los Luceros
WHAT: An elegant 1800s Territorial-style hacienda ― with creaky floors, period artwork, and furnishings that reflect both New Mexico's regional style and Wheelwright's New England roots. Acres of formal gardens, dotted with high-desert blooms, shaggy sheep, and shady footpaths. WHEN: By reservation in April; 10-4 Fri-Mon, by reservation Tue-Thu May 1-Oct 31. HOW MUCH: $5. WHERE: County Rd. 48, Los Luceros (1 mi. north of Alcalde); www.loslucerosmuseum.org, 505/852-3245, or 505/852-1895.
Historic Los Luceros gift shop/bookstore
WHAT: Northern New Mexico titles and pretty postcards, plus watercolors, woodwork, and jewelry by local artists. WHEN: In April, a visit is included with a reservation to see the estate and hacienda.