My vow to simply travel to Albuquerque, visit a friend and not think about getting any blog material out of it lasted about, oh, four hours, until we hit spectacular Bandelier National Monument. I couldn’t stand it; the camera and notebook came out.
Later on that day, after a pause at Valles Caldera, we stopped along the Jemez Mountain Trail Scenic Byway in the unexpectedly comfy, tucked-in-the mountains town of Jemez Springs (sort of reminiscent of artistic haven Eureka Springs, Arkansas, where one can still find the spirit of “live and let live.”)
There are places to eat in Jemez Springs and a few shops, but I mostly liked poking around in the Jemez Springs Bath House, which was built in the 1870s and is owned and operated by the town itself, offering mineral bath soaks, massages and herbal sweat wraps.
Prices are very reasonable because this isn’t a super-fancy place, but it’s clean and friendly. The full Jemez Package is US$105 and includes a 1/2 hour mineral bath soak, an herbal wrap AND a 60 minute massage.
The springs in the canyon have been used for centuries by Native Americans and then Spaniards; the Bath House spring is enclosed by a supporting structure that was built by the WPA during the Depression.
You’ll be happy to know that after all that mellowing, you can pour yourself into one of the rooms at the equally no-fuss Jemez Mountain Inn, right up the road from the baths.
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