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!
Our Inspired Guides
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.
Elie Lerman | Taos Inspired Guide
Elie was born and raised in Taos, New Mexico and has a deep connection with land. She left to study at the University of Denver where she majored in International Studies with a minor in Anthropology. After college Elie wanted to see the world, so she traveled through Europe, the Middle East and Central America, eventually making her way back home to Taos.
Elie loves New Mexico for its cultural and historic diversity, outdoor activities including skiing, hiking, rafting, and mountain biking and the food, especially red and green chile. She worked as a camp counselor at the Field Institute of Taos and loves working outside and educating people about our surroundings and creating connections with mother nature. Elie also has experience as a rafting and mountain biking guide in Pilar. She loves meeting new people and sharing her passion for Taos, New Mexico, and the outdoors.
Elie guides the Taos Alpine Hiking Adventure, Taos Wild, Taos Glamping Adventure, Taos Half Day Active Tour, Taos Snowshoeing Day Tours, Hike and Kayak the Rio Grande, and the Taos Backcountry Rio Grande Hiking Adventure. She can’t wait to share her love and intimate knowledge of Taos and the Land of Enchantment with you.
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.
Josh Willette | Taos Inspired Guide + Chef
Josh was born in Exeter, New Hampshire but moved to Taos, where he grew up, when he was only 1 year old. He left New Mexico after high school to pursue his dreams of being a ski bum, and traveled around Utah, Colorado, and eventually Washington state. After a few years of being a ski bum, he changed directions and began working in restaurants. Josh worked his way up in the restaurant world through several fine dining establishments in the Seattle area. This work experience served as his training in the culinary world to eventually become a Chef.
After changing careers and training in the culinary industry, Josh’s work led him all around Washington and eventually to Napa California. While in Napa Josh ran a catering company called Smoke Open Fire Catering. The premise of the company was to cook in front of the guests, using only local meats and vegetables, on an open fire and in a rustic outdoor setting. These dinners were often held at wineries and served as extravagant wine paired meals. “I got to work very closely with not only the wineries, but with the growers and farmers in the area, to create these unique experiences that combined a rustic feel with the refined quality of a fine dining experience. The experience is similar to what we create with the glamping excursions at HI” Josh explains.
In 2018, he decided it was a good time to move home to be closer to his family and the places he loves the most. His favorite things about New Mexico are the outdoors and all they have to offer: majestic mountains, rivers, lakes and deserts are all his playground. He also has a pretty severe green and red chile addiction. His passion for both the outdoors and for the local flavors of New Mexico led him back to Taos. After cooking and working as Sous Chef at Medley in Taos, he met Angelisa and found HI and knew it was a perfect fit! Josh guides our Taos Tours, Glamping Excursions, and Culinary Outdoor Adventures.
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!
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..
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.
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.
Travis Gibson | Santa Fe Inspired E-Bike Guide + Wellness Walking Guide
An avid hiker, biker and skier, Travis Gibson was born and raised in Santa Fe, New Mexico. After graduating from high school, he went on to study Political Economy and Environmental Policy at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, WA. He then returned to the southwest, working on various projects related to local food production and security in and around Santa Fe. Travis has explored many places both on and off the beaten paths of New Mexico. As a tour guide he is able to combine his interests in the outdoors and history and share his love of Santa Fe and New Mexico with visitors and residents alike.
Travis loves exploring New Mexico from the mountains to the desert canyons and finds nothing better than camping under a starry night. He is also passionate about the history of New Mexico and has a wealth of knowledge to share. From skiing in Taos to backpacking in the Gila Wilderness and Sangre de Cristos, New Mexico continually amazes Travis with its beauty and culture. Exploring Santa Fe on e-bikes with our guests allows Travis to combine his love of the outdoors, history and education to create an unforgettable experience.
Mickey Fong | Santa Fe Inspired Guide
Mickey is Dine (Navajo) born and raised in New Mexico. Her ancestral Navajo lineage has deep roots in New Mexico which makes her feel very connected to the land. She has lived in New Mexico her entire life moving between Albuquerque and Santa Fe. She never wanted to leave as the Land of Enchantment has everything that she needs: skiing, fly fishing, hiking, cycling, trail running, camping, kayaking, beautiful vistas and most importantly – green chile!
Her initial career was as a draughtsperson for a Native owned civil & structural engineering firm in Santa Fe. She recently changed career paths to focus on the outdoor opportunities in New Mexico by bicycle. Mickey led skills clinics, group rides, and organized cycling events. Through these experiences, she naturally came into a career as a guide. First as a mountain bike guide sharing the local lore of the places that the groups cycled through. From there she became a tour guide for cultural places such as Bandelier National Monument, Ghost Ranch, Chimayo, and Taos. “Sharing my knowledge, experiences, and stories of living here in the southwest is what I love to do!” she explains.
Mickey leads the City Different E-Bike Tour, the Historic Architecture and Interiors Walking & Wine Tasting Tour in Santa Fe, Ghost Ranch Hiking Tour and the Bandelier National Monument Hiking Tour.
Sandy Katz | Santa Fe Inspired Walking Tour Guide
Sandy Katz was born and raised in Southern Minnesota. She visited New Mexico for the first time in 1997 and immediately fell in love with the Land of Enchantment. She explains, “When I got here, it all made sense. The skies, the clarity of colors, and the amazingly clean air. I knew that I wanted to make this my home” After a few more visits and some planning, Sandy moved to Santa Fe in 2005. Through her love of history and New Mexico, she joined the Santa Fe 400th Anniversary Committee, where she helped organize a series of events to commemorate this historic moment for the oldest capital in the United States.
Sandy has a BA in English, with a Minor in Humanities and an M.Ed in Education from the University of Minnesota. She spent the first years of her professional life as an educator in the nonprofit sector. As the person in charge of programming and community outreach for the Santa Fe 400th Committee, Sandy was embraced by the community and met with open arms. She took the opportunity to be a true student of Santa Fe’s history and learned firsthand about the perspectives shared by Santa Fe’s communities. This experience gives Sandy an in-depth knowledge and appreciation of the rich history that Santa Fe holds. She’s excited to share her knowledge with you as she leads the Santa Fe Architectural and Interiors Walking Tours. Sandy explains, “Guiding tours gives me the opportunity to meet people from all over the world and share the beauty and unique history of Santa Fe.”
Hilary Kilpatric | Santa Fe Inspired Guide + Content Writer
Hilary Kilpatric was born and raised in Santa Fe, New Mexico. After graduating high school, she wanted to explore the world and she moved to California where she earned a BA in Business Economics from the University of California at Santa Barbara. After working for a few years as a CPA in San Francisco, Hilary decided she wanted a career with more meaning so she joined the Peace Corps. Hilary’s assignment in the Peace Corps was in Guatemala building community tourism as a means of economic development. She learned about the area and began guiding tours with the help of local guides.
After the Peace Corps Hilary returned to Santa Fe and worked at the International Folk Art Market, helping artisans build and scale their businesses. In 2017, ready for another adventure, Hilary moved to Luang Prabang, Laos to work with one of these groups first hand. She worked in tourism, guiding tours of the weaving center and collaborating with the local tourism coalition to ban single use plastics in the hospitality industry. In 2019 Hilary returned home to New Mexico. She explains, “I am lucky to be from such a beautiful place. I feel at home in the wide open spaces of the Land of Enchantment. I also love the culture and as a native have a true understanding of how it works. I am passionate about sharing my home state with you.”