Alamogordo To Santa Fe, Nm
Oct 3, 2008
|Our drive to Santa Fe was along the backroads of Highways 54/285, a distance of approximately 230 miles. We had made reservations several weeks ago for two nights at the Trailer Ranch, highly recommended by a few friends and a really nice park though expensive, especially this time of year with the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta soon to start and parking at a premium, even 60 miles away. Our location also provided access to public transportation and is located relatively near the downtown sightseeing/tourist areas.
We have not been to Santa Fe for at least 10 years and a beautiful and historic city such as this calls for a revisit. But the main reason is to reconnect with our step-daughter Caitlin and her 12 year old son Jordan. Though we keep in touch via phone and email we have not seen them for 7 years when they moved from Half Moon Bay to Santa Fe. Howard and Caitlin's mom Dory were married for 13 years until she passed away in 1988. Caitlin and Terri were best of friends through much of their school years and she became like a daughter to me, long before Howard and I got together. We have lots of history!
Please keep in mind as you peruse the plethora of pictures (sorry, I can't help myself sometimes) that we only have one full day to sightsee! We spent Friday evening after our arrival with Caitlin and Jordan with plans for Caitlin to pick us up Saturday morning for a trip to the famous Farmers Market held at the Railyard. This historic area is being reborn as a plaza and park with shops, restaurants, galleries, and museums in addition to the weekly market. As you can see this is the chili pepper capital with more chilies grown here than in any other state! We purchased a small chili ristra, a string of bright red chilies, to hang in our galley.
Santa Fe is a very old city and will be celebrating its 400th Anniversary in 2010. It was honored as the first American city in the UNESCO Creative Cities Network. Creativity certainly enriches this city in many ways - in art, performing arts, museums, architecture and cuisine. The spectacular setting amid mountains and mesas is always dramatic and with one full night of rain showers we awoke Sunday morning with snow-capped mountains!
The distinctive cultures here are cherished and evident throughout the plazas and galleries. The few hundred Spanish settlers who established Santa Fe were determined and resourceful. The Native Americans, who lost lands and suffered religious suppression with the arrival of the Europeans, today play a vital role in the character and commerce of the city.
We started our walking tour along the Old Santa Fe Trail at the Loretto Church. Legends surround this lovely chapel and its famous "miraculous" staircase. The stairway confounds architects, engineers and master craftsmen. It makes over two complete 360-degree turns, stands 20’ tall and has no center support. It rests solely on its base and against the choir loft. The risers of the 33 steps are all of the same height. Made of an apparently extinct wood species, it was constructed with only square wooden pegs without glue or nails.
This same Santa Fe Trail area is also home to the State Capitol building which is built in the shape of the state's Zia sun symbol and is nicknamed the "Round House". There is also the San Miguel Mission Church. In Spanish Colonial times, this was the church of the working people who lived in the Barrio de Analco, the oldest neighborhood in America.
The Plaza area, the heartbeat of the city, surrounds itself with marvelous galleries, local crafts and artisans displaying their wares. The architecture, the art, the colors and smells of local New Mexican cuisine is intoxicating! The New Mexico Museum of Art, an architectural treasure, set the standard for Pueblo/Spanish Revival style. The Georgia O'Keefe Gallery is only a short walk away.
After a full day of sightseeing we later met up with Caitlin and Jordan for dinner and to celebrate our October birthdays, Caitlin and Lynda being a day apart! A good friend who knows this area well had recommended The Shed, a top-rated restaurant offering delicious New Mexican/Southwestern cuisine. We thoroughly enjoyed the enchiladas with both green, red and "Christmas" sauce, a combo of the two. The fish taco plate was excellent also.
On to Albuquerque and the Balloon Fiesta!