Sept 8th-15th: From Missions to Monuments, Museums, Fort Marcy and even Meow Wolf .... mmmm, mmmm, good! .... it is truly the Land of Enchantment (New Mexico slogan)!! Janet and I spent a wonderful week in the Santa Fe, New Mexico area along with our daughter, Jane, who was able to schedule some time off from her work at the State. And I don't ever remember having such a great stretch of weather. Mornings started out cool and crisp, enough to need a sweater, but the skies were always clear and the sun soon warmed things up. Oh, ... and zero humidity. Only downside was the occasional nose bleed caused by the dry air. Even the locals were commenting on the nice stretch of weather they were experiencing.
The history of this area is quite remarkable. Of course this was home to some of the earliest known inhabitants of our country. Santa Fe also is home to the oldest house in the country, as well as the oldest church and oldest government building all constructed during the 1600's.
After flying to Albuquerque, we rented a car and had an uneventful drive to Santa Fe up I-25. Once settled in to our hotel, we only had time to make a quick walking loop walking of the main plaza area. As it happened Fiesta de Santa Fe was just wrapping up from a ten day extravaganza, so we got to experience some of the music, dancing and crowds.
Sunday, Day 2: We drove east to Pecos National Historical Park. There, we saw the remains of one of the earliest Spanish mission churches. Pueblo Indian ruins and Kivas were also close by. Jane and I got to go inside a covered Kiva, which was really a unique experience.
We, then, drove back west of Santa Fe to visit Bandelier National Monument. Jane and I hiked some of the Indian ruins in the main valley area.
Monday, Day 3: We spent the day in Santa Fe and found plenty of things to see and do. I started out with an early morning walk to the Santa Fe National Veterans Cemetery, which was fairly close to our hotel (I learned it is one of only fourteen in the Country). At sun rise it was a very reverential space. We all went back to main city area to see several high points. San Miguel Church -- oldest Church, the oldest House next door, Loretto Church with the miracle staircase, the main Plaza area without the crowds, and St. Francis de Assisi Cathedral. After lunch, we drove to Museum Hill to visit the Folk Art Museum. The warehouse size Alexander Girard collection of Folk Art items was a must see for Janet. I wonder where he kept all that stuff while he was still alive.
Tuesday, Day 4: HAPPY BIRTHDAY, JANE!! We drove to the Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument and completed a short hike in that area. Amazing and magical scenery! Wish we could have done more. Then it was back to Santa Fe. I wanted to see the Railyard district (a ten year old redevelopment area) and they were having another market day. Great grilled peppers! I finally got to see one of their Railrunners in action, which is a commuter train service between Santa Fe and Albuquerque and points west. We took Jane to La Fonda for her birthday lunch celebration. Jane and I checked out the poolside hot tub back at the hotel in the afternoon.
Wednesday, Day 5: We made another rode trip north towards Taos. Probably the biggest unexpected nice surprise of the whole trip was discovering Rio Grande del Norte National Monument. This Monument was created in March of 2013 by President Obama, but I believe it had to have been a State of New Mexico recreation area or park before that. Well worth the visit and hardly any visitors! Then it was on to the Earthships community northwest of Taos founded by Michael Reynolds ... sustainable biotecture. This community is entirely off-grid, but they are growing fruits and vegetables and have flush toilets. The we had to stop at the Rio Grande Gorge bridge to take in the vistas and walk to the middle. We visited Taos Pueblo and finally made a stop at the Millicent Roger's Museum before heading back to Santa Fe.
Thursday, Day 6: After our Taos day trip, we wanted a non-stress low key day, so spent the morning at the art galleries on Canyon Road in Santa Fe. Jane and I discovered Fort Marcy park on our way back to the hotel. The view of city and surrounding mountains from the top of the fort site is spectacular.
Friday, Day 7: First thing in the early morning, I had to walk back to Fort Marcy park to watch the sun rise and enjoy the peace and serenity. Then we all drove back to Museum Hill to see the Botanic Gardens. Jane had wanted to see Meow Wolf (which I'd never even heard of), and that experience turned out to be another gem. I would say it is basically a super fun, Fun House for adults created by the makers of Game of Thrones and well worth the $25/person admission price. They installed it in an old bowling alley. It is a for profit enterprise after all and doing quite nicely for its investors. I heard they plan on expanding to other cities and why not?