Summer is time for the family road trip! Follow Kids Activities Blog and Julie Blair and her family as they travel 8 states in 30 days for the ultimate road trip story ¦
American Girl fans, heads’ up: You can visit the adobe house of Josefina at El Rancho de las Golondrinas in Santa Fe, New Mexico, for a fraction of the cost of a new doll dress.
Scoop the black beans on Josefina’s table. Try the little chair by her clay oven. Admire the baby cradle suspended from the ceiling.
For a mere $7, kids can take a special 90-minute Josefina tour through all the buildings illustrated in the popular book series about growing up in New Mexico in the 1800s. (Call the museum’s tour office for times and days: 505-473-4169)
Not an AG fan? Or, are you the brother of one?
Not to worry: There’s plenty to do while Sis and her doll take the tour.
This gem of a living history museum showcases life in 1800s New Mexico in 34 exhibits across 200 stunning acres.
Watch as a blacksmith molds a single pointed nail with fire and muscle. Taste hot, homemade bread from a Spanish “horno” slathered in fresh basil butter. Learn to make toy animals out of willow branches. Spin yard from sheep’s wool. Hike the gravely, red hills to the adobe church.
Docents in period costume are knowledgeable and fun, telling stories and cracking jokes.
In fact, we were so engrossed, we found ourselves suddenly starving at 2 p.m.
We followed the live marimba music to Nana’s kitchen. The museum’s open-air restaurant offers sopapillas filled with chicken, tasty burritos and some of the best watermelon we’ve had this side of Michigan.
Alas, Elizabeth’s meal grew cold: We could not tear her away from the on-site lavender festival, where she sat chatting and weaving a lavender sachet with a museum docent.
It turns out the museum features several such special events throughout the year, so call ahead to see what’s going on.
We were privileged to taste lavender cookies made with a 100-year-old recipe and lavender-lemonade. Our girls also purchased lavender lip balm and bath fizzies.
After four hours–yes, four hours!–Jim and I had to drag the kids home to the casita because the museum was closing.
(I snuck into the well-appointed gift shop when my family was packing up to pick up two books in the Josefina series for our kiddie literature collection, sure that everyone would be ready for a read-aloud in the days ahead.)
In short, this museum did what every other one aims to do: Las Golondrinas brought to life an era and opened conversations about how we lived then–and now.
We’ll be back for sure.