FOR ME, THE READER'S CHOICE results are kind of like reading the sports pages. I want to learn the horse-race finishes, of course, I want to see how my own fan favorites performed against the competition, and I hope some new teams and players will grab my eye. For instance: Everyone who pays attention to the spa sector knows that Ten Thousand Waves and Ojo Caliente are world-class resorts. But now, thanks to our voters (and managing editor Kate Nelson, who corroborates based on her experience there), the Hyatt Regency Tamaya Mist Spa is newly on my radar as a place Mrs. Herndon deserves to become familiar with.
Gaining this kind of reader-to-reader feedback is invaluable. Thanks to Leslie Kuhn, who wrote so eloquently about driving the Jémez Mountain Trail National Scenic Byway in the responses in Mailbag, I’m wondering what I’ve been doing with the past six years of my life. How have I not driven this loop yet? It’s my business to know the state as thoroughly as possible, yet I keep gaining inspiration about new places to go, things to see and do, right here in my backyard.
David Pike had a similar experience in Truth or Consequences. As the author of highly recommended guidebooks (Roadside New Mexico and Detour New Mexico), plus numerous deep-dive articles in this magazine, Pike knows his way around as well as anyone. But he still found new things to recommend in his own childhood hometown (See 20 Things to Love About Truth or Consequences).
Of course, sometimes you just have to take it from an expert, and there’s no one more knowledgeable about the state’s food scene than Cheryl Alters Jamison. Her report on Tacos, New Mexico Style includes a list of Twelve Great Taco Stops. Based on her tip, I checked out the Taqueria Gracias Madre food truck. Yesssss. I picked a winner!