Vista Encantada New Mexico Real Estate Wed, 14 Oct 2020 16:19:51 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Vista Encantada 32 32 Clean the Windows Wed, 14 Oct 2020 15:49:42 +0000 Eyes are the window to our soul…

Nonnie and sweet baby boy

I love clean windows.  We were once on a drive with my husband’s beautiful, witty, totally classy grandmother, Nonnie.  She loved going for drives, so as a surprise we picked her up from her apartment in Milwaukee and drove down to Oak Park, IL for a trip down memory lane. She had been so busy playing with and entertaining our baby next to her in the backseat, that she had no idea where we were until we were parked in front of the home where she and her late husband had once lived.  It was magical to see her light up.

We slowly drove through the neighborhood, taking in the gorgeous Chicago style bungalows where Frank Lloyd Wright had made a name for himself.  At one point, we stopped to gaze at a magnificent historic estate, and I heard Nonnie say, “Would you look at how clean those windows are!?”  I can’t say I really noticed a home’s clean windows until then, buy my goodness, she was on to something.  It truly made the homes even more spectacular.  From then on, I would make a better effort to keep my windows clean.

My son’s favorite spot in our downtown historic home

Our home in the heart of downtown Albuquerque has awesome windows…the kind that are so old, they are wavy and cast the most gorgeous patterns when sunlight hits them at dawn and dusk. And our loft that we’ve been working on for the past decade has the most gorgeous 180 degree sunset views from its 2nd story bank of windows.  I’m a fanatic for having open windows and I’m most content when my windows are clear of any obstruction to the outside world.

Sunset from our loft


You can ask my husband what is one of Mandy’s favorite and happiest days, and he’ll tell you it’s the day my windows are washed.  Just this weekend, my incredible husband blessed me with such a day as he grabbed his bucket and squeegees and took to the windows at our home here in Colorado.  Whether looking out at the giant age-old mulberry and elm trees from our 2nd story in Albuquerque, or my current view of grand evergreens and fields of grass, gazing out of clean windows makes everything look better inside and out.


Me when the windows to my soul are clean

It is said that our eyes are the windows to our soul.  There have been times in the recent months when my “windows” needed a good cleaning.  Perspective is hard when a window is clouded over. When it comes to my eyes, the troubled times and challenges from recent social, relational, and situational hardship have put dirt and spots all over my view.  With more isolation and required distance from each other, my view, both figuratively and literally, has needed to be cleaned…regularly cleaned.  And whereas a bucket and some squeegees will suffice for my home’s windows, the windows to my soul require reminding myself who I am (joyful, content, fun, social, quick with a smile, and gracious) and resisting who I do not want to be (critical, sad, lonely, irritated, even judgmental).

I’d like to issue a challenge; for the sake of our homes and those who travel by…for the sake of our relationships and our souls.  Open our windows, wipe them clean, allow for improvement on our perspectives, and make it easier to take in the beauty of our surroundings, situations, and fellow human beings.  It will never be a once and for all exercise, but don’t let the cloudiness and dirt accumulate for too long.  Let us choose to do what it takes to keep our windows clean.

This is my Vista Encantada

-Mandy Herzog, Marketing and Relocation Director

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Color Tue, 22 Sep 2020 17:00:32 +0000 One summer I had been traveling for a few weeks.   While I was gone, it rained every afternoon as is common in my favorite season, our fifth season, Monsoon Season.   Upon my return, I was showing homes to a lady from Georgia.    As we drove around town, I kept commenting on how green everything looked due the rain over the last few weeks.   The medians were green, the open space was green with wild flowers popping up in between the grass and even the distant mesas had a green sheen.   The lady from Georgia didn’t really engage in my green comments.   Finally, at the end of the day and after one more exclamation from me about how green everything looked, she turned to me and said, “Honey, you and I don’t see green the same!”

We laughed and talked about how everything comes down to your reference point.    Admittedly, the green I was seeing everywhere was celery green, which as compared to brown, looked green!   She was used to the verdant Kelly green of the humid climates of the south, so celery green did not seem remarkable to her.

What WAS remarkable to her however, was how far she could see into the distance.   Due to the lack of humidity and the mountainous terrain, she could see those “green” mesas that are more than 20 miles away!   She could see the distant blue mountains of Santa Fe and the Jemez Mountains which are 60 miles away!   Though I see those things every day too, they are part of my normal.  We enjoy clear air, blue skies and vast vistas almost every day of our lives here.

People new to the area often say about our landscape, “it is so BROWN”!   I always think to myself, well, it depends on where you look.   As I mentioned above, when the reference point is brown due to the desert landscape, New Mexicans see color in subtle hues sometimes, or color captured in unexpected moments depending on how our amazing sunshine spotlights a pop of color.   That sunlight we enjoy 330 days of the year is what drew artists like Georgia O’Keefe to New Mexico to capture those amazing moments of color and light on their canvases.

Starting with vivid sunrises, my days take me all over ABQ and the surrounding area and I delight in the special discoveries of color and light.  I see distant views and close up landscape vignettes tucked into courtyards and corners, and I know we are so lucky.

Brown – yes, it is brown here, but only as the neutral background- the canvas you could call it – for the dramatic beauty of the High Desert.

Each and every day closes with the finale, the most amazing gift we are given –  our sunsets.

I love it here – this is my Vista Encantada-Kurstin Johnson

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Megan England featured in Real Producer Magazine! Tue, 22 Sep 2020 16:10:07 +0000

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Joyous New Mexico Morning! Fri, 11 Sep 2020 18:44:36 +0000 Sunrise pushes up behind the big blue mountains pulling us up with it into the cool high desert air.   Hummingbirds zip around squabbling and fussing –  much ado about keeping each other away from the feeder …… and then finally bellying up to the bar to guzzle sweet nectar side by side after some peace treaty has been reached.

Morning bike ride downhill weeeeeee! Meeting Burquenos blearily getting their morning steps in or early birds walking with a bounce in their step and happy happy dogs with tails wagging leading the way.  COVID morning greetings range from a “Mornin”, a wave, downcast averted eyes, and judgmental frowns to backs turned as you pass…. Ah well.  Everyone doing their best to make it through.

A rock garden of hope messages along the path – maybe since our mouths are masked we share our words of encouragements on rocks.   The positive finding its way out.

Pandora on shuffle in my ears with Dave Brubek’s clarinet winding around the thoughts in my head, then Jack Johnson and Latin Jazz.  A road runner swishes his tail to the Latin beat as another looks on with a cocked head…..  SAMBA!

Golden mesas in the distance basking in the morning sun with hot air balloons dotting the sky.

Smell fresh cut grass as I cruise past the golf course with the sound of mask muffled chit chat and thwack of a good hit.

Uphill now because what goes down must come go up– ugh-  huff puff huff puff – Zak Brown’s banjo in my ear and the mountain, our beautiful blue mountain, always pulls me home.

A morning, a moment  – with me and My Vista Encantada.

I love it here.

-Kurstin Johnson

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These are a few of my favorite things Thu, 29 Aug 2019 22:46:21 +0000 As New Mexico’s most beloved season approaches, I can’t help but hear Julie Andrews singing, “These are a few of my favorite things…”.  Our wonderful Associate Broker, Lori Roybal, had this great idea of compiling a list of favorite things to do in NM in the Fall.  We are happy to provide this interactive guide to savoring the next few magical months in the Land of Enchantment!

NM State Fair:

September 5-15


Aquarium Overnight

September 20-21


Japanese Fall Festival

September 22


Fall leaf changing

Mid-September through Mid-October – (Lori’s Favorite spot is Fireworks Canyon)

Website: Fall Colors

Website: Find Beautiful Fall Colors

Somos Albuquerque

September 28


Corrales Harvest Festival

September 28-29


Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta

October 5-13


Grecian Festival

Oct 4th – 6th


Rio Grande Arts and Crafts Festivals

October 4-6 & 11-13


NM Brew Fest

October 12



October 26


Doggy Dash and Doddle

November 3


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Can’t Touch This. Wed, 17 Jul 2019 15:40:45 +0000 I recently noticed my social media feeds blowing up with hilarious memes about our sacred New Mexico green chile. 

Apparently, the governor of Colorado had a Facebook post where he made a claim that Colorado green chile is superior to New Mexico.  ‘Round here, them are fightin’ words!

KRQE News Link

I became highly entertained by the humorous ways people lashed out, and it made my heart pitter patter over the intense love and pride that my New Mexico has in the things we claim as uniquely ours.

Chile is definitely #1.  The common slogan heard only within the borders of New Mexico is, “Red or Green?”.  Upon your first experience ordering a breakfast burrito, enchiladas, huevos rancheros, carne adovada, or any other signature New Mexican dish, guaranteed you’ll be asked that question.  It refers to the choice of having the plate gloriously smothered in either red chile sauce, green chile, or my personal favorite: “Christmas” (BOTH!).  You can always spot a newbie by the look of confusion when asked “Red or Green?” the first time.  But, it only takes one bite to fall in love and realize this whole chile thing is pretty special.  It’s like you can taste the love of a grandmita going straight to your soul. It’s beyond taste; in fact, I’d venture to say it may be one of the most powerful comfort foods I’ve ever experienced.

#2: Hot Air Balloons.  I’ve had people from other states tell me nonchalantly, “Oh, we have a balloon fiesta!”  Unless you’ve been up at 5:00 am the first Saturday of October, breakfast burrito and a steaming cup of coffee in hand, sitting in a line of traffic streaming toward the Balloon Fiesta Park, Honey, you ain’t seen nothing yet!  Get a taste here.  For 9 days, 650 hot air balloon pilots from around the world with hundreds and hundreds of balloons in all shapes and sizes turn our town into one of the most magical places I’ve ever been (yes, I’ve been to Disney…doesn’t hold a candle!).  Over 886,000 people came to see this brilliant spectacle in 2018, and it grows every year.  Whether you are right there on the field during an early morning mass ascension, witnessing a delightful “Balloon Glow” and fireworks show in the evening, or just happen to be witnessing the sky brightly dotted with hundreds of balloons as you drive to work…it NEVER gets old.  Turns me into a giddy little girl every time!

And to wrap up my top 3: Vistas.  We dwell in an expanse so huge, so brilliant with sunsets, with forever blue skies, rain that falls in curtains across the desert land, and majestic mountains that turn the color of watermelons just about every night (hence, the name “Sandia (Watermelon) Mountains”).  At first, many people feel impacted by the barren landscape of our high desert.  But stick around for sunset, and you’ll find your jaw dropping and your breath catching at the sight.  Watch the sky literally fall when the storms roll in. (See this blog post ) Revel in the beauty of the lush Bosque that marks the path of our beloved Rio Grande river.

Bosque view from our listing at 3600 Vista Grande NW, MLS# 928957 More Info

There really is nothing like it, and you’ll understand pretty quick why we’re called The Land of Enchantment.

So, circling back to #1: Colorado…you’ve got so much going for you!  You don’t need to try to stake a claim on green chile.  Think of it like New Mexico suddenly claiming we have the best Rocky Mountains.  Sure, New Mexico has mountains.  But you have MOUNTAINS!  You may have green chile as an option on a few of your menus, but we have a little thing called HATCH, NM  (aka the Chile Capital of the World).  It’s a little tiny spot on the map, but it is a force to be reckoned with!

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Be Your Own Guest! Thu, 13 Dec 2018 18:56:34 +0000 In my husband’s upbringing, there was an unspoken rule that the downstairs guest room was off-limits and set apart as a special place, always prepared to receive guests.  This priority of setting aside our best for guests has been carried into our household.  At first, I didn’t take to it all that well.  For as a young bride I wanted the pretty new bedroom furniture for myself!  After a little coaxing and reevaluation, the front guest bedroom of our quaint 1920’s bungalow won out.  Our finest furnishings and linens waited prim and poised, ready to receive guests at a moment’s notice.

Our Guest Room

As we’ve moved, our guest accommodations have remained a priority in each of our homes.  Recently, due to some renovation projects, my husband and I got to be the guests and stay in our downstairs guest room.  I’m not going to lie, it felt kind of special and almost an indulgence!  What I noticed though, is that while the accommodations are quite nice, there’s a few ways I can make the space even more comfortable.

For instance, over time the closet became an extra storage space, leaving little room for guests to hang their clothes or tuck away a suitcase.  The extra furnishings like the antique rocking chair and tall dresser look nice, but take up space that otherwise could accommodate a stand for a suitcase.

The Charming Guest Bath

Then there’s the guest bath, incredibly charming with a claw-foot tub and pedestal sink.  But I noticed it leaves a little to be desired when it comes to having enough space to put toiletries and getting ready in the morning. A small bathroom cabinet and maybe a dressing table with a mirror in the guest room would be a great improvement!

With the holidays upon us, you may find yourself welcoming overnight guests into your home.  I would encourage you, take a trial run and be your own guest!  Sleep in the bed, get ready in the guest bath.  Notice what little improvements you can make that would cause your guest space to be all the more comfortable and accommodating.

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Curtains of the Sky Tue, 30 Oct 2018 00:22:17 +0000

I love curtains.  Especially sheer curtains that dress a window without blocking my view to the outside world.  It adds the most elegant touch, even from the outside.

On a recent drive home through Northern New Mexico, I was mesmerized by the sage-green landscapes, spotted with hearty grazing cattle and wild antelope.  Clusters of ridiculously happy little sunflowers waved continuously to us from the edges of the road, as if begging for our attention.  How can you not smile at the sight of all those little displays of sunshine dancing in the breeze?!

And the storms!  You haven’t lived till you’ve witnessed how the sky falls here.  It’s as if the storm clouds suddenly decide it’s time to share, refreshing the desert terrain below.  They pick a defined strip of land and gracefully descend, flowing like sheer curtains from dramatic valances of thunderclouds.

To the East, rainbows peeked in and out of distant clouds, and flashes of lightening competed for attention in all directions.  If you happen to be heading straight into one of those curtains, a terrifying experience awaits as heavy sheets of blinding rain envelope you.  It takes only a few minutes before you emerge on the other side into a shockingly calm, bright, and colorful new realm.

My great-aunt says it best…the storms here have personality.  They are welcomed, longed for, and often rejoiced in, painting for us the most gorgeous, ever-changing vistas.

-Mandy, Vista Encantada Realtors Marketing Director

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Morning Walk and the Great Divide Thu, 13 Sep 2018 16:06:33 +0000 Still kind of drowsy with eyes closed, I can feel the pull of the sun as it rises up from behind our beautiful Sandia Mountain –  drawing me up out of bed with it as it gains momentum getting higher in our big pink sky.   Great things await!  Simple things.

Beep beep beep.   The coffee is done.   (Auto timed coffee makers one of the best inventions ever!).

A hummingbird greets me on the patio hovering in that pink light, wanting some breakfast, like he too thinks it is the best meal of the day.

Awake now I set off for my morning walk in the cool air.  It is soft and sweet.   This is a time for the mind to be free, not yet cluttered with the debris of the day to come and able to absorb the simple beauty that presents itself daily here, if you take time to look or your mind has space to let it in.

John B. Robert Dam

The path behind my house runs alongside Bear Canyon arroyo leading down to Arroyo del Oso Golf course or uphill to the John B. Robert Dam.    I always go up hill first to get the hard part over early.    The jing jing of a bike bell lets me know a bike is coming up behind me.   “Morning!” we say.    Each person I pass has a greeting.   Through the rest of the day rarely do I get such greetings.   Maybe we are not yet overwhelmed by the responsibilities of the day and still willing to offer common grace.

Happy little sunflowers

Along the way the sunflowers growing in the arroyo smile into the sun.   I see wild purple Morning Glory flowers, yellow and white blooms from wild gourds and I spy a tiny silhouette of a ballerina painted on a cinder block wall, a hidden treasure whose story makes me wonder.    Simple things.   Simple beauties.   Simple gifts.

Morning Glories

Eventually I arrive at my turn around spot.   Standing on top of John B. Robert Dam (also seen in Terminator Salvation movie!) , the great cement divide between city to the west and open space ending in that big blue mountain to the east, with one foot in each world,  I can see forever here – Mount Taylor, the Jemez, the day ahead.

I revel in the simple beauty of our Albuquerque.


By Kurstin Johnson

Pam Highstrete | Transaction Broker Thu, 29 Mar 2018 22:10:25 +0000