About Heritage Inspirations
At Heritage Inspirations we intimately know and love the adventure, art, culture, heritage and wild places of Northern New Mexico. We aim to take you beyond the ordinary tourist route and transcend traditional boundaries through authentically curated New Mexican excursions. To do that, we offer immersive cultural and active guided tours that introduce you to the people, their voices and stories, the history and cultural sites, the landscapes and natural wonders, which when combined amplify the magic that make New Mexico incredibly special and unique. You’ll see why we’re New Mexico’s premiere travel company because we create inspirational travel excursions that provide an intimate opportunity to explore and discover New Mexico’s enchantment.
With more than twenty all-inclusive guided itineraries across the Santa Fe, Albuquerque, Taos and Las Cruces region, plus the option to custom craft your own unique journey, whether you’re looking for an active outdoor expedition, a specially curated walking tour or a roving glamping adventure, we have a unique and dynamic tour option that aligns with your travel plans. Explore our calendar and find a travel program that thoughtfully anticipates your needs and feeds your soul with an unparalleled and transformative experience aimed to infuse New Mexico’s wild spirit into your heart.
“I think New Mexico was the greatest experience from the outside world that I have ever had. It certainly changed me for ever…. But the moment I saw the brilliant, proud morning shine up over the deserts of Santa Fe, something stood still in my soul, and I started to attend.”
~ D.H. Lawrence
Angelisa Murray, Owner & Guide
I can remember the first adult road trip I took to Taos in my early 20’s. Even back then I felt something spiritual about the land. The dramatic skies seemed to evoke a sensation that longed to become intimate with the evident mystery in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. I spent over seventeen years of my life as an active travel guide exploring and wandering all over the world, and yet no matter where I went, New Mexico called to me.
I spent a few years living in the quirky and quaint towns saturated by unforgettable characters in Pecos, Madrid, Santa Fe and now Taos. This is my home and after spending years excavating and learning from this wild place of heritage, culture and natural wonder, there is no greater inspiration to me than to share it.
Part of that may be due to this region’s connection to my heritage. Just north of Taos the surname Espinoza, my maiden name’s lineage, can be tracked from southern Colorado’s San Luis Valley and extends throughout northern New Mexico. In Taos, there is an intersection with the cross streets, Espinoza and Maestas, which are my grandparents surnames. This is a constant reminder how blessed I am to share in this culturally rich land through part of my family’s ancestry.
Working for over a decade as an active travel guide for a variety of premiere adventure companies, I guided others to experience the local beauty, culture and adventure activities of many special places. For most of those guiding years, I fortunately spent a majority of my time developing expertise here in the Land of Enchantment, through biking, hiking, rafting, fly-fishing, climbing, skiing, and learning about the geology, culture and history, which abounds throughout this state. The people you meet here have lines on their faces that tell many stories. They make you laugh and cry, they teach you, they sing to you, they share their colorful stories about eclectically living here, but probably one of the most inspiring truths is that everyone here practices art or some creative outlet on the side.
New Mexico is one of those places that is often overlooked or even mistaken as a foreign country. Many people think of this state as flat, brown and dry. It’s true, there are definitely those places that force solitude and silence amongst the sage flats, the gypsum sand dunes and the arroyos, but there is nothing dull about this vast landscape.
These tours I’ve developed are about unveiling the other truths that are often not known or seen, like 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. Monumental rocks and earth are layered and stacked, eroded and split open, just awaiting the artist’s canvas. There is so much to share here it’s inspiring! Your New Mexico trip will change you and welcome another pace of life, even if just for a few days.
My name is Angelisa Murray and I’m the owner of Heritage Inspirations LLC. I have partnered with Heritage Hotels & Resorts, New Mexico’s most distinctive cultural hotels. Our team would love to host you on an authentic experience and creative sojourn here in New Mexico and imbue the spirit of New Mexico in you, that has so attracted us. I look forward to sharing many of the secrets of this colorfully dynamic, diverse, spiritual and multicultural place with you!
Enjoy this article written about Angelisa on TaosStyle.net: “Angelisa’s Inspirations”
Our Inspired Guides
Noah Blessey, Operations Manager & Santa Fe Guide
Noah’s love for New Mexico was born the minute he laid eyes on the landscape in 1996 after his family relocated to Santa Fe from the East Coast. His own relocation to “The City Different” in the early 2000s further developed his love and respect for the diverse cultures of Santa Fe and allowed for full exploration of The Land of Enchantment. Careers in the business world sent him off to Northern California, Colorado and back to the East Coast, all the while New Mexico was calling him back. His dream of returning became a reality in early 2018, whereby we were honored and excited to grab him as a tour guide so he could share his enthusiasm, knowledge and appreciation of all things New Mexican with our guests.
A world traveler, whose preference in exploring the planet’s more exotic cultures and landscapes include traversing the dusty roads of Namibia, winding on a road bike through the Tatra Mountains of Slovakia, hiking the national parks of Madagascar, engaging with local villagers in the Sundarban Islands of India, and enjoying the beaches of Sri Lanka. His passion for exploring the world at large and the majority of the United States has only solidified his belief that New Mexico is one of the most unique places in the world.
Join Noah as he guides you on two of his most favorite and beautiful hikes in the area: Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks and Bandelier National Monument.
Lesley Evelyn Morgan, Taos Guide
When Lesley visited New Mexico for the first time in September of 1997, she felt she had entered a magical new world. She was immediately hooked on the expansive blue skies, endless sunshine, and high desert environment and found herself moving to Taos the next year to pursue her love of art and the outdoors. By working in a local artist’s studio as well as in a Bent Street gallery, she was able to intimately connect with the local art scene and quickly get her finger on the pulse of Taos’ art communit
Lately, preserving Taos’ historical art colony story has been her passion because she sees the artists and their creations as the uniting foundation behind this exciting, unique and different community. Lesley effuses when discussing Taos, “The diversity of cultures combined with the mixture of backgrounds keeps Taos exciting! Everyone here is truly an artist and they’re constantly exploring the beauty of their surroundings as well as their souls. I can’t wait to share this ever-evolving Taos art story, and the characters behind it, with you!”
Join Lesley on our Taos Immersive Artisan Walking Tour or our Taos Half Day Cultural Tour.
Sally Pryor, Taos Guide
Sally’s love of the outdoors grew from the formative time spent with family in Chesapeake Bay and later in the Appalachian Mountains, where as a child she combed the seashore for shells, trolled through swampy forests and hiked the rolling Appalachians. This became the platform for her outdoor ambitions. At 20, she decided to attempt a solo northbound thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail, and somehow made it. That defining accomplishment paved the way for a life of showing others the accessibility and importance of enjoying and protecting the outdoors.
From teaching month-long wilderness leadership courses to pursing formal education in forestry as a member of the Northern New Mexico Climate Change Corps, Sally has built a full life around the remote back country, which is one of the reasons why she is so excited to put this introductory backpacking experience together and share her love for our natural environment. She believes backpacking allows you to know the power of your body and challenges you to experience the elements, thereby giving you wings to grow. Plus, the Sangre de Cristos are a very special locale due to their cultural and geological significance and that background will definitely be an educational aspect of her tour.
Bobby Gonzales, Chaco Canyon & ABQ Guide
Having grown up in the Northern New Mexican village of Pojoaque, Bobby found himself frequently outside making playgrounds out of alfalfa fields and hiking nearby bluffs and hillsides. One of his fondest childhood pastimes was replicating mini handmade sun-dried mud bricks for Pojoaque’s adobe structures. That unique architecture, plus the abundance and variety of cultures and traditions, make up New Mexico’s foundation. As Bobby says, “New Mexico is magical because of its traditions in architecture, artwork, food and the passing down of stories from generation to generation, that are all reflective of our natural surroundings. I still love getting my hands dirty and it’s apparent that I have always loved this land.”
Now living in Albuquerque after traveling the world, he finds New Mexico has always been his home and there is still much to discover and explore here. He loves having the opportunity to share a slice of New Mexico and continually looks forward to showcasing his love for New Mexico with newfound friends. You’ll definitely experience Bobby’s passion for New Mexico and get an insider’s perspective with his tours.
Bobby has specially formulated the Mezcla de Culturas and El Bosque Chiquito tours for Heritage Inspirations and leads Chaco Canyon day trips.
Kayla Wolf, Inspired Guide
An avid adventurer with a deep love and respect for her home state, Kayla grew up fascinated with the geology, geography and the beauty of New Mexico. Luckily, Kayla’s grandfather was a cattle rancher in Western New Mexico who encouraged her curiosity and motivated her to explore the road less travelled. And thus, from a young age Kayla knew she wanted to live a life that allowed her a deeper connection with the land of enchantment. “I have always been captivated by the sheer magnitude and depth of experience available in New Mexico.”
Through that desire, she learned about the rich history of the indigenous peoples, the volcanic activity, and the forces of nature that shape the world around us. These concepts took root in her soul and years later Kayla graduated from the University of New Mexico with a Bachelor of Science in Anthropology. While the mathematical and scientific aspects of the human connection to earth are continually fascinating, Kayla has found herself at a crossroads with life that only a deeper spiritual connection can foster, so she still takes great solace in the twisted and winding backroads of New Mexico where she can explore the rich history, experience breathtaking beauty, study the complex geography, and sit in gratitude for its soulful enrichment.
Kayla leads guests along the vast sandhill bluffs and dark lava tubes of El Malpais.
Marianne Sundquist, Inspired Chef
As a child born into an Italian family, Marianne quickly realized that the kitchen was the heart of the home, and cooking for each other translated into love. With large holiday family gatherings in New York City, she could see how gathering around a table was a unique part of everyday life. “The real enchantment of these visits, the memories that are etched in my heart forever, are the flavors, sounds, smells, and connections that came from cooking and eating together. To me, this potential was nothing short of magical.”
Thus, from an early age Chef Marianne wanted in on this business of making people feel happy, nourished, and cared for through food. After graduating from The French Culinary Institute in New York City in 2002, Marianne worked her way up through opportunities with famed Chefs and coveted restaurant positions, participating in the menu creating process and eventually focusing in on sustainable, locally resourced ingredients centered around globally inspired dishes.
With decades of success, her dream of moving to New Mexico after visiting her parents in the Land of Enchantment and feeling something she had never felt before – a feeling of home, her and her family relocated here in 2016. You’ll be blessed to experience that powerful exchange between cook and stranger, cook and family, cook and friend, with Marianne as she continues to translate those yearly New York trips into her cooking, sharing a portal of sorts through food that is a passageway towards thankfulness, peacefulness, thoughtfulness, forgiveness, and even love.
Experience Marianne’s cooking love on our overnight Chaco Canyon & Taos Glamping tours.
Willamarie Moore, Wellness Inspired Guide
Willamarie still remembers the first time she flew into New Mexico — from her window seat in the airplane, she wondered, “Are we landing on the moon?!” Though she had traveled and lived in distant parts of the world by that time in her life, including Europe, Japan, China, Cambodia, Vietnam, and the Philippines, the high desert of the Southwestern U.S. was nothing like she had ever experienced before. After her first few days of exploring Northern NM she knew deep in her heart that someday she would live here.
Fast forward a couple of decades, including multiple trips back to New Mexico for weeklong visits at a time, the Land of Enchantment finally called her back for good. Since 2015, Willamarie has called New Mexico home and delights in the opportunity to share it with others. Based in Santa Fe, she leads people in immersive, transformative experiences through mindfulness practices in Writing, Art, Yoga, and Nature with her signature program, WAYiN. Through a combination of these practices people “Go WAYiN to find their way out” of unhealthy patterns and habits. Her program works to get them calm, gain clarity, and build the courage to make lasting and sustainable changes in their lives.
Willamarie is Heritage Inspirations’ phenomenal wellness guide. She adds a spiritual / healing dimension to our Glamping program and can also be requested for the tailored needs and desires of our guests.
Irene Oliver-Lewis, Southern New Mexico Ambassador & Las Cruces/Mesilla Guide
A native New Mexican, Irene Oliver-Lewis was born in Las Cruces, the historic townsite of the pioneer families of Dona Ana and Mesilla. As a native of the area, Irene has a personal knowledge and insight into the region’s cultural history and she shares this insight through stories of her family and their connections going back to her great-great grandparents in the 1800’s to the present. Irene’s dad is known for his skills as a traditional Spanish/Territorial wood furniture carver. In fact, he was one of five Mesilleros who were part of the WPA (Works Progress Administration) training program during WWII to revive this traditional New Mexican craft. Her mother was known for her culinary talents and made the “best red chile in the city.” Irene’s traditions, language, and knowledge of the Hispanic/Mexican culture and family legacy influence her passion to design tours in the Las Cruces and La Mesilla area. She also assists in the creation of a variety of Artisan, Cultural, and Adventure tours in Southern New Mexico.
Having traveled and worked throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia in arts and culture integration as an Artist in Residence in theatre and writing, she brings her artistic background to designing and leading the tours. Her accomplishments have been rewarded with numerous arts awards including a recent international award on best practices for cultural tourism. With joy, honor, and enthusiasm, she brings this personal and authentic perspective and living legacy to the Heritage Inspiration tours in the region.
Irene has designed and leads La Entrada de Las Cruces, Los Colores de Mesilla, and Dia de los Muertos tours.