After working as a travel guide for over a decade in the Land of Enchantment, last year Angelisa Espinoza partnered with Heritage Hotels & Resorts to create Heritage Inspirations.
I had first heard about Angelisa from Maresa Thompson when I joined her for dinner at the El Monte Segrado Resort & Spa last Fall. Angelisa had been working at the El Monte when she met Jim Long the CEO of Heritage Resorts & Spas.
After sharing her dream of owning her own Travel Company here in New Mexico, Long decided to back her and Heritage Inspirations LLC., was born.
“Considering my many years of experience as a travel expert and guide, this partnership seemed like a natural fit.” Angelisa tells me as we sit and chat in the Matriarch Room (dedicated to Mabel Dodge Luhan) at the Palacio de Marquesa, where Asia Golden is graciously hosting us.
I had run into the two of them a couple of weeks prior at a popular cafe, where Asia introduced me to Angelisa. I had been following her on Facebook and Instagram, taken by the fabulous photographs she posts as well as the enthusiasm for living that comes through every word she writes and every picture she takes!
I’d been out of the loop for some months due to health issues but recovery has been swift and I was ready to get back to work. I was at the cafe for another meeting, but made plans with the two of them and now here we were. As we enjoyed a lovely bottle of wine, we got to know one another and Angelisa’s high energy is infectious and inspiring.
“I remember a road trip I took to Taos in my early 20’s, I had felt something spiritual about the land, she recalls, “The dramatic skies seemed to evoke a sensation out of me that longed to become intimate with the mystery that seemed evident in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains.”
Neither Asia nor I are rooted in these parts although we have both lived here for years and feel deeply connected to both the land and its people, but Angelisa has roots here, even though she grew up in California.
“This region of New Mexico is the root of my heritage; just north of Taos, my Espinoza lineage starts in southern Colorado in the San Luis Valley and extends throughout northern New Mexico.” She explains. “In Taos there are two street signs that cross with my grandparents surnames, Espinoza and Maestas reminding me how blessed I am to share in this culturally rich land as apart of my family lineage that is now a part of me.”
Angelisa went on to explain that online genealogy resources were crucial when it came down to researching her family history. Thanks to the internet, Angelisa was able to access census records and obituary archives dating back to the 1900s. If you would like more information about 1900s census records, you can check here. It is so fascinating to me that people can track down their family history in this way. In fact, I would love to do some genealogical research of my own one day.
As for Angelisa though, not only do her roots go deep, her knowledge of the terrain is impressive. After working as a travel guide for a variety of adventure companies for over a decade, mostly in New Mexico, her experience as a trip expert, itinerary developer, wilderness and rafting guide, bike and hiking guide, fly fishing, skiing, climbing – the list goes on – serves her well. It is her love of geology, history and culture that sets her apart, and make her tours memorable.
“I want to provide an authentic experience and creative sojourn here in New Mexico.” She says. “Many people think of this state as flat, brown and dry, and It’s true, there are definitely those places that force solitude and silence amongst the sage flats, the gypsum sand dunes and the arroyos.” She continues, “but these tours are about unveiling the other truths that are often not known about; the wild diversity of over 10,000-foot mountains saturated in aspens, hemlocks and wildflowers in rich green meadows while only 30 miles to the west the land is painted in oranges, pinks, reds and whites stacked, eroded and split open to invite the artist’s canvas and the river rat’s vessel.”
Her poetic nature has lifted her vision – inspiration is what guides this remarkable young woman, it is her North Star, the love of the land she generously shares with all who sign up for her tours. As we sit together chatting about a myriad of shared interests, I’m struck by the continuum of Remarkable Women in Taos; even nowadays, women continue to mold and shape this town’s future and destiny, (many of them from far-flung places) just like Mabel and her friends did in their time.
This is what makes Angelisa special; she too relocated here, but the Land of Enchantment is part of her personal heritage which give her tours an authenticity many others cannot claim.
Heritage Inspirations tours run the gamut from day trips to weekend excursions – “dynamic, diverse and authentic” just like their founder, there is something for everyone!
For more information about Angelisa and Heritage Inspirations please visit the site linked below this post.
All images c/o Angelisa Espinoza