04 Mar Santa Fe, New Mexico- With a Spirit Uniquely Its Own
Author: Ronnie Greenberg
Photos by: Joe Hilbers
5310 Dubois Ave
Woodland Hills, CA 91367
Santa Fe, New Mexico- With a Spirit Uniquely Its Own
By: Ronnie Greenberg
Photos: Joe Hilbers
Santa Fe’s dreamy Spanish character kindles a heady blend of local color, romance, legacy and spirit. A hidden jewel in New Mexico’s northern desert, the small town capital snuggles in the foothills of the magical Sangre de Cristo Mountains, the southernmost section of the Rocky Mountains.
A feast for the senses, perched at 7,000 feet above sea level, Santa Fe is crowned by an expanse of sun-drenched blue velvet skies, intermingled with puffs of powder-white clouds. In the shadows of the arched iridescent mountains below, red mesas dot the richly hued volcanic earth, and fragrant pinyon trees sway in the desert breeze.
Four centuries ago, New Mexico was the ancestral home of the Pueblo Indians. The Spanish invaded the territory and established the city of Santa Fe in 1610; Anglo pioneers made their entry in 1850. New Mexico, an isolated provincial capital, was over 300 years old when it was admitted to statehood in 1912. The blended tri-cultural heritage of ancient Native Americans, Spanish colonial, and modern Anglos, exists to this day.
The essence of the American Southwest, Santa Fe clings to its architectural heritage and traditions. Buildings are a mix of Spanish adobe and Indian pueblo, in earthy tones of deep to reddish browns and tans. Legend has it that the turquoise-blue trim seen on many houses is to keep evil spirits away.
Highlights of things to do in Santa Fe
Shrouded in tales of lurking ghosts, roaming spirits, and sorcery, Santa Fe whets your appetite for adventure. Whether you are a lover of nature, the arts, an opera buff, historian, poet, romanticist, or love to browse and shop, the mystique of Santa Fe beckons you. Stroll the narrow streets and lanes for a nostalgic journey into the past, a lifestyle which harkens back to bygone days.
Santa Fe Plaza has been the heart of the city since 1610. The tree shaded Square with its inviting park benches, retains its authentic character. It is rimmed with centuries old carefully preserved historic structures, and old adobe buildings that now house chic boutiques, gourmet restaurants and fine art and craft galleries. Around the portal is an open market where Native American vendors sell authentic traditional turquoise and silver jewelry and American arts and crafts. www.santafe.org
To the north under the portal of the adobe is the Palace of the Governors, the oldest public building in America. It is now a history museum and one of four Santa Fe State Museums supervised by the Museum of New Mexico. Artifacts from the city’s colonial past, including a stagecoach are on display here: www.palaceofthegovernors.org. Other state museums are the New Mexico Museum of Art located off the northwest corner of the Plaza. A Santa Fe styled building from the turn-of-the-century that features works of New Mexico’s masters including Georgia O’Keefe. The Museum of Indian Arts and Culture off the Santa Fe trail, has the largest collection of contemporary Indian art in the world, and is where Indian art is demonstrate their work. www.Indianartsandculture.org. The nearby Museum of International Folk Art has one of the world’s largest collections of folk art, including Southwestern Hispanic works in their new wing as well as 130,000 objects from 100 countries.www.internationalfolkart.org
The Santa Fe School of Cooking- Founded by Susan Curtis in 1989 to showcase New Mexican agriculture and food products and distinct cuisine of the region. Chile-accented flavor piques the traditional Southwestern enchiladas, burritos, tamales, tacos, quesadillas, and vegetarian varieties. The school’s director is Nicole Curtis Ammerman and they both invite you to learn to cook New Mexican cuisine by attending a cooking class here. Located at 125 N. Guadalupe Street. www.santafeschoolofcooking.com
Performing Arts-Santa Fe is home to a number of nationally known performing arts that include: The Performing Arts of the Santa Fe Symphony; Center for Contemporary Art; Ensemble of Santa Fe, New Mexico Repertory Theater; New Mexico Dance Coalition; Santa Fe Chamber Music.
Santa Fe Opera attracts people from all over the world for the seasonal Santa Fe Opera. Located 7 miles north of town, opera lovers have enjoyed performances for over 40 years. Sitting majestically atop a mesa, like a gem in a perfect setting, the spectacular outdoor amphitheater replete with a partially opened roof opened in 1998. For information (800) 280-4654 or (505) 986-5900 www.santafeopera.org
The Georgia O’Keefe Museum opened in 1997 and is dedicated to collecting, preserving, and exhibiting the artists’ world famous paintings. The museum houses a permanent collection of her art. Located at 217 Johnson Street, (505)995-0785 www.okeefemuseum.org
Visit an Indian Pueblo-Northeastern New Mexico offers eight native Indian Pueblos, the oldest villages in America. Each pueblo is a sovereign entity with sacred areas, and their own special festivals. www.santafe.org
Historic Loretto Chapel- Located on the grounds of the Inn and Spa at Loretto, the Chapel was built by Bishop Lamy for the Sisters of Loretto in 1853. It is famous for its spiral “miraculous staircase,” built in 1878 without nails or any visible support.
Where to stay
Santa Fe offers a variety of accommodations which include hotels, Inns and B&Bs.
A perfect place to unpack your bags is at the Inn and Spa at Loretto that sits right in the center of town at Old Santa Fe Trail. Its Southwestern architecture is indicative of traditional Santa Fe design, and resembles the ancient adobe style of the Pueblo Indians. The lobby of the Inn is warmed by a kiva fireplace, and is replete with local handmade crafts, rugs and furniture. It is one of the most photographed buildings in the state of New Mexico.
Dining: Luminaria, the onsite award-winning restaurant is surrounded by garden plants and fresh mountain air. It is applauded for both its unique setting and famed cuisine. At night as wind chimes tinkle and kiva hearths kindle, enjoy the most romantic dining in town while sipping a signature strawberry jalapeno margarita. Then be amazed by Executive Chef Sean Sinclair’s globally inspired menu that includes his famous Luminaria’s tortilla soup. Enjoy your choice of honey glazed duck; chicken fried mushrooms; beef short ribs; grilled lamb t-bone; mussels and chorizo; or pan roasted Barramundi.
The Inn and Spa at Loretto is located at 211 Old Santa Fe Trail. (505) 988-5531 or www.hotelloretto.com
Where to shop
Hundreds of unique shops and boutiques are located here. Much of the goods are made in Santa Fe and the Southwest. Santa Fe’s artistic heritage has helped make it the third largest art colony in the nation, with over 220 galleries.
Canyon Road is known as the “art and soul” of Santa Fe, and is where the art galleries are centered. Studios are set in quaint pueblo-styled homes. Jackalope on Cerrillos Road is famous for beautiful Mexican clay planters. Artisans sell jewelry, pottery, rugs, baskets and distressed pine furniture. Nambe’ is a unique artistic line of cookware that has been handcrafted in Santa Fe since 1951.
For further destination information www.santafe.org