Santa Fe is one of the most charming places one can visit. My parents first showed me Santa Fe on a cross country driving trip from Chicago to Los Angeles. I will never forget our stop in Santa Fe, walking around the main square with native Americans displaying and selling their handmade items under the covered pavilion. In my childish point of view, I found this so exotic and different, coupled with the delicious treat, called sopapillas, every evening for dinner. These have always been fond memories, so any repeat visit to Santa Fe is a joy. Recently I returned there for several days, coming south from Telluride, Colorado, on our way back to Tucson. Santa Fe is the perfect jumping off point. I wanted to focus on new and different experiences which I am eager to highlight for you.

Choice of where to stay is so important to me. Santa Fe provides delightful options depending on your pocketbook. Certainly, you cannot go wrong with the relatively new Rosewood Inn of the Anasazi (named after an ancient indigenous culture in that region), with hotel located just a block off the main square. Or you might choose the vibrant historical La Fonda Hotel, situated right in the center of the plaza. This has the oldest history dating back 400-years, although the current hotel dates from 1922, and was subsequently leased to the famous Fred Harvey, who acquired hotels along the railroad lines, providing prestigious dining for passengers, with his Harvey Girls concept. But I decided to choose a lovely B&B (there are many to choose from in Santa Fe) called Casa Culinaria. Indeed, it was a great choice… location was just a short ride from center, the suites were spacious and well-appointed with both Indian and Mexican artifacts and décor. Linens and towels were luscious, and the bathroom was super roomy. It was beautiful and we were delighted with the choice.

For this trip, I focused my time on seeing some new and different museums and restaurants. For museums, one must always take a drive out to Museum Hill. There, you can find some awesome choices like the International Folk Art and the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture. But this time, we went to the Spanish Colonial Arts Society (in a relatively new building called Stockman Collections Center). For whatever reason, I adore Spanish Colonial Art! Santa Fe was considered a hub of international trade in the 1800’s with a prolific exchange of goods and materials from Spanish, Mexican, American Indian and US cultures, resulting in a uniquely New Mexican style of art. By the way, each year the museum hosts a Traditional Spanish Market which had just occurred prior to our visit, but you can mark your calendar for the next one, Saturday, July 30 to Sunday, July 31, 2022.

We also went to see the New Mexico Museum of Art, nestled in an old, hacienda-style building near the plaza. It is fun to just sit in the inner courtyard and enjoy the painted murals, the gardens and some major sculpture pieces in a side yard, including a dramatic O’Gorman native woman. But also, this time, they had a special collection called Southwest Rising (it had recently been shown in the Tucson Museum of Art (TMA), arranged by Julie Sasse, TMA’s curator, who has been friends many years with Elaine Horwitch. The show focused on the legacy of Horwitch, a well-known gallery owner in Scottsdale in the 1970s, who championed Native American and Latino art as well as contemporary art of the Southwest, bringing unknown artists into the mainstream, such as Georgia O’Keefe, Bill Schenk, Fritz Scholder, etc.

Now for food and drink! Santa Fe is a mecca for this at any time of the day and we had many choices in and around the plaza. For breakfast, we chose a small place called Tia Sophia’s. My omelet stuffed with cheese and avocado with some fresh jalapenos on the side was delectable. Rooftop bars are fun and one night, we went to one of the oldest called Thunderbird, upstairs on the plaza. There we had delicious nachos and pozole soup. Get there early to be sure you can sit outside on the balcony and watch the action in the plaza. For our last night, we went to Coyote Canyon, a place which dates back to the 1980s. I had been noticing a dish called Frito Pie on many menus, so I selected that. Wow, just scrumptious and something to make at home for guests… Fritos in the bottom of bowl, covered with grated cheese, then chili and beans and finished with shredded lettuce, chopped tomato, dollop of sour cream. Again, fun colorful spot on a rooftop!

Linda Stack is owner of Travelinda, LLC. She can be reached at LLStack9597@gmail.com.


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