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, CEO & Inspired 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’ve spent over nineteen 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, snowshoeing 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, pines 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 day.
My name is Angelisa Murray and I’m the CEO 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
Lesley Evelyn Morgan, Taos Inspired 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 community.
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.
Bobby Gonzales, Chaco Canyon & Albuquerque Ambassador & Inspired 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.
Tam Chavez, Chaco Canyon & Albuquerque Inspired Guide
Tam Chavez was born and raised in Northern New Jersey. In 1988 she took her first trip to the desert, a ten day wilderness backpacking adventure with the Sierra Club. On the way to the Albuquerque airport, they drove through Chaco Canyon and from that moment she knew that she wanted to call New Mexico home. She explains, “I thought: is it always this sunny? I love the high elevation, it is so dry, I love the fresh air!!”
She spent the next decade coming to the Four Corners every chance that she could. Finally in 1993, she made the leap and moved across the country to Albuquerque. Tam’s second language is American Sign Language, so she got a job with the Albuquerque Public Schools, working with the hearing impaired. This position left her summers free to go camping in Chaco Canyon. She was such a regular in Chaco, that they asked her to move into the staff housing and become a volunteer ranger. She spent the next three summers as a volunteer ranger in Chaco giving tours of the dwellings and patrolling the backcountry.
Tam has been a professional tour guide off and on since 1995 and she considers the Four Corners her backyard. Tam loves to guide guests through these enchanted places and her passion shines through. Tam leads tours in Santa Fe, Albuquerque, and of course Chaco Canyon.
Stephanie Anne Landers, Albuquerque Inspired Guide
Stephanie Anne Landers is a native New Mexican and has lived in Albuquerque most of her life. After graduating college with a Bachelor of Arts in Theater Acting from the University of New Mexico, she left to explore the world and live in New York City for a while. However, she soon realized that big expansive skies and green chile are in her blood so she returned to fully embrace life in the Land of Enchantment. She gets unending delight exploring the mountains, mesas, broad vistas, and desert flora and fauna of the state. Stephanie explains, “the landscapes in New Mexico and the Southwest showcase what I call the bones of the earth, the exquisite raw beauty of nature.”
In addition to the natural beauty, Stephanie loves to explore and share the rich culture and history of Albuquerque and the surrounding areas. Stephanie is enthusiastic and passionate about sharing her beloved city with guests. She enjoys weaving the complex history of New Mexico into stories relating the past to the present when leading tours. She is always quick to come up with local culinary recommendations and knowledgeable about various events and festivals taking place in the Albuquerque area. Stephanie mainly leads tours in Old Town, Downtown, and the Bosque of Albuquerque and she is excited to share her beloved city with you!
Kayla Wolf, Albuquerque 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, Culinary Program Developer & Inspired Glamping 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.
Brandon Shepard, Taos Inspired Guide
Brandon felt an immediate connection with New Mexico from the moment he first arrived as a teenager in 1997. He remembers that it changed his perception of how diversely rich a region can be in every way imaginable. He was captivated from this first visit!
Brandon explains, “I have always been driven by wonder to explore the world around me, whether it be via backpacking, hiking, skiing, or mountaineering. There are the fascinating people and powerful moments that stick with you from visiting artists, museums, and galleries, or discovering the perfect cup of coffee or world class chocolate. This is what makes me feel alive and connected with the world.There are not many places in the world better suited for this than New Mexico.”
Brandon earned a BA in Business from the University of North Carolina and a Masters in Tourism Management from Colorado State University. Since graduating from school he has led tours from Colorado to Costa Rica. Brandon traveled countless miles consistently returning to and exploring the Land of Enchantment before officially making it his home in 2019.
Brandon leads all Taos Tours and specializes in the Taos Artisan Walking Tour and our Overnight Backpacking adventure in the Enchanted Circle.
Daniel Gibson, Santa Fe Inspired Guide
Daniel is a native New Mexican, raised in the North Valley of Albuquerque. He developed his connection with nature and the Land of Enchantment as a young boy when his family went on outings to their cabin on a remote creek and skiing in the winter. Daniel’s love for the great outdoors was further developed when he attended the National Outdoor Leadership School in the Wind River Range of Wyoming at age 15, and developed even further when he spent 16 months crossing the Pacific Ocean on a sailboat at the age of 17.
Daniel’s love of nature and fascination with culture led him to study journalism and photography at the University of New Mexico. Following his studies he began a career as a reporter, magazine writer, editor, columnist and book author. Among his many accomplishments, Daniel has authored several guidebooks about New Mexico including the popular and award-winning Pueblos of the Rio Grande: A Visitor’s Guide (2001, Rio Nuevo Publishing), the Audubon Guide to the National Wildlife Refuges: Southwest (2000, St. Martin’s), and the recently released Skiing New Mexico: Guide to Snow Sports in the Land of Enchantment (UNM Press).
In 2011 Daniel translated his storytelling skills from writing to become a professional guide, focusing on Southwestern cultural, historic and scenic tours, plus customized outdoor adventures. Daniel leads tours out of Santa Fe, specifically our Santa Fe Architectural & Interiors Walking Tour and Hiking Tour in Bandelier National Monument.