Author’s Note: My next installment related to a previous post called “How Do I Get Naked in America?” Long-time readers know that my wife and I have developed quite an affinity for naturist travel to international destinations, with a particular fondness for those in France and Croatia. But in this most unusual summer of 2020, the immediate prospects for getting on an airplane to go anyplace are somewhere between dicey and impossible. And thus, the Meandering Naturist has adopted a new mission of becoming more familiar with naturist places in the United States – now, as we’re traveling coast-to-coast. This post is another chapter in a quest that seeks to encourage family naturism here and abroad, based on the presumption that knowledge is power – and the more you know about where you’re going, the more likely you are to have an enjoyable experience once you get there.
Mi Casa Bed and Breakfast: It’s like staying with a friend you haven’t met yet!
As it happens, that friend is Yvonne, and for seventeen years now, she’s been running Mi Casa Clothing-optional Bed and Breakfast in Albuquerque, New Mexico. And sure enough, once you meet her, you’ll likely say – “You know, you’re like that long-lost friend that I simply hadn’t met yet. And by the way, that Santa Fe Omelet is absolutely AMAZING!
First of all, let me assure you, breakfast at Mi Casa is most certainly amazing! You can click through here to see a recent version of the menu, but if you can’t find what you’re hankering for in print, just let Yvonne know and she’ll make it happen. Dietary restrictions? No problem. Cheese from grass-fed New Mexico cows? What else would you expect? In fact, one could argue that people come here for the breakfast and stay for the naked conversation at the pool or the hot tub, as well as a quiet place for a good night’s sleep, of course.
Let’s be clear. Mi Casa is not your typical B&B, nor is it part of the Marriott Bonvoy entourage. To that end, it really is like staying with a friend, in a suburban tract home, in a quiet residential neighborhood in the city. I think it’s fair to say that Yvonne is not terribly concerned about handmade quilts and quaint ornaments on the walls, but she most certainly is concerned about keeping the pool at a toasty 87 degrees-Fahrenheit (in season) and the hot tub appropriately chlorinated! For a person without clothes, those are the main attractions – that is, until you try her breakfast.
I’ve actually had my eye on this place for a long time, a bit bewildered by the fact that there is apparently only one option for naturist accommodations in all of New Mexico. (Actually, we have found a second one from whence I am writing this post, but you’ll have to tune in next week to hear about that.) Yvonne, your hostess, is a wealth of information, not only about naturism, but about the entire region in and around Albuquerque, including the ghosts in Old Town, the best views from Sandia Crest, and the absolute must-see attractions in Santa Fe.
I suspect it would not be surprising to my readers that we were on the prowl for “Naked New Mexico,” during COVID, no less, at which time we learned that New Mexico has amongst the most stringent health restrictions in the country. We were largely okay with that, having just come from a region where nobody wore masks and social distancing seemed to be a ritual relegated to dating fifth-graders. But here in the Land of Enchantment, they are taking all this very seriously, with what appeared to be 100% face-mask compliance on a Saturday afternoon in Santa Fe. We haven’t seen that anywhere, including at home.
But, I digress. It might be overstated to say that Mi Casa is a naturist destination, but we think that New Mexico certainly is, especially in those shoulder seasons of late spring and early autumn. A weekday visit to Red Rock State Park (near Gallup) found us sharing the entire recreation area with only one other visitor, and the surrounding mountain ranges offer innumerable hiking trails as well. Rumor has it that the clothing-optional traditions at the region’s hot springs have slowly been eroding away, but that was a moot point, since the actual pools at most locations are closed due to COVID. Regardless, Yvonne tells us that nudity has become very much the exception, rather than the norm, and at many hot spring locations the threat of stiff penalties is a real thing.
But the trails!! I’m a good bit more daring than my wife on this front (no pun intended), though to be fair, I am able to cover up with one quick maneuver of a Velcro man-skirt! Wooosh! The goods are covered. Interestingly, a follower on social media tells me he’s been walking the trails… naked… around Albuquerque since the mid-90s, and has never experienced a negative reaction from those he’s met on the path, even at Sandia. Such reportage is anecdotal, of course, and it only takes one ugly interaction with a park ranger to wreck a naked day in the woods, but equipped with a man-skirt, the possibilities seem limitless.
But back to Mi Casa. Yvonne reports that she has developed a dedicated clientele of repeat visitors over the years, many of whom are simply in transit from one place to another and are seeking a good bed, a hearty breakfast, and a couple hours in the sun or the pool before turning in for the night. (I’m paraphrasing, but I think I’ve got that right.) Some guests stay much longer – even weeks at a time – but our stay of four nights seemed longer than most. We had exclusive use of the bathroom for most of our stay, though when she’s fully booked (up to two and a half rooms) one of the bathrooms becomes communal. If that’s a big deal to you, you should make that clear when you book.
Though I was a bit surprised at the “homey” nature of the place (“Like staying with a friend!”), and given that the timing of our visit coincided with a freak early autumn storm, we were truly taken aback by Yvonne’s welcoming demeanor and her unflagging commitment to creating this little naturist haven from the everyday chaotic world. In fact, our last night, we met another couple from our own state in the northeast-corridor. They are still trying out the naturism thing – as a couple, at least – and this was just the right balance of privacy and convenience before they set off on a back-packing trip through the mountains of northern New Mexico. It seems that Mi Casa for them, like many others, may have been the perfect segue into the world of social nudity.
But before I sign off, I need to revisit the breakfast menu, which if the weather is more cooperative than it was for most of our stay, can be enjoyed au naturel on the terrace near the pool. Yvonne takes breakfast very, very seriously! The breakfast burrito, the shrimp and crab quiche, the Santa Fe Omelet, the sweet potato hash-browns (OMG!) – if you can think of it, she can make it, even if it requires a midnight run to the supermarket to procure fresh ingredients. Honestly, we’ve paid more for breakfast for two at a mediocre restaurant than we paid for room and breakfast at Mi Casa. And if you fancy having breakfast in the nude… Well. This is your moment.
As I keep reiterating in the preface to our naturist travels in America, we think the most important element of travel is having some idea of what to expect before you get there. If you want to have a new naturist bestie in New Mexico, and clothing optional accommodations, you can’t go wrong with a visit to Mi Casa. No worries about eating too much at breakfast. You won’t need to fuss with buttoning your pants!