Santa Fe, New Mexico
Adobe houses, quaint narrow streets, art galleries and Xeric gardens
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Santa Fe, New Mexico is this year's destination — a city completely different than any we have been to before. Built around a central plaza with centuries-old adobe buildings still lining the narrow streets, Santa Fe’s unique architecture is a blend of the native Indians with the Spanish settlers. This Plaza houses the original Spanish colonial buildings that have been preserved in their original condition and is something of a living museum. It is one of the United States most remarkably well-preserved historical districts.
Our luxury hotel – the Inn and Spa at Loretto – just two blocks off the Plaza, and next to the famous Loretto Chapel, is one of the most photographed in Santa Fe. Our picture in black and white doesn’t do it justice. Go to their web site and see it in color. It has everything you could hope for. The hotel was redesigned in 2008 by an internationally famous team and their vision was to transcend space and time to capture the Pueblo Indian’s spirit, ambiance and reverence for life. Conde Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards in 2010 put it in the top 100 Best Hotels in the world.
Sunday, Sept. 16th is your travel day.
If you are coming by air it is easiest to fly into Albuquerque NM and take the Sandia shuttle bus which runs every hour ($47 round trip) and will drop you at the hotel. You can also fly directly to SantaFe from Dallas or Los Angeles three times a day by commuter jet. There are dozens of little restaurants within easy walking distance of our hotel. In fact, part of the charm of Santa Fe is that it is so easy to get around. Your hotel for this travel day is paid for.
Monday, Sept. 17th
After a full breakfast at our hotel we will be met by a docent from the Palace of the Governors who will take us on a walking tour of downtown Santa Fe, including the Loretto Chapel. The Chapel, built in 1873, is notable for its remarkable spiral staircase. It makes two complete 360-degree turns, with no central or other visible support.
We will lunch at The Compound (the chef and owner is a James Beard award winner) on Canyon Rd., the main road where all the interesting shops and galleries are located.
After lunch we will visit El Zaguan, one of the best examples of 19th century adobe architecture and its small but stunning (according to Fodor) Bandelier Garden. Then we’ll go to the garden of Elspeth Bobbs where we will learn about Xeric landscaping and ways to reduce or eliminate the need for supplemental water. This style of gardening is extremely popular throughout the Southwest where water shortages are commonplace. Elspeth Bobbs, when interviewed on National Public Radio, said “after the drought in the 70’s, the lawn was an absolute disaster. So we just covered it with plastic and put bark on top.” You’ll see what was done to make this such an interesting garden.
In the evening we will have dinner at the famous Coyote Café. This upscale restaurant helped put Santa Fe on the culinary map.
Tuesday, Sept. 18th
We will board a bus to take us 50 miles northwest of Santa Fe to the home and studio of one of America’s most famous artists, Georgia O’Keeffe (1887-1986). In 1934 when O’Keeffe first came to Ghost Ranch, north of Abiquiu, she fell in love with the landscape of glorious rock formations over 200 million years old. We will seethe magnificent views that inspired many of O’Keeffe’s best-known paintings.
Lunch on your own at the Abiquiu Inn.
On our return trip to Santa Fe we will stop at the Shidoni Foundry in the village of Tesuque (te-soo-ke). Shidoni is a bronze art foundry, sculpture garden and gallery. There we can watch 2000 degree molten bronze being poured into ceramic shell molds, stroll around the sculpture garden and visit the gallery which represents 100 different sculptors.
On our return to Santa Fe we visit the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum – the largest museum in the United States dedicated solely to an internationally known woman artist – and considered one of the top attractions in Santa Fe. There we will see the art work inspired by the landscapes we saw in the morning
Dinner on your own.
Wednesday, Sept. 19th
This is our garden tour day and we will have the opportunity to see three private gardens. Lunch at The Shed, Creative Cooking. This restaurant occupies a charming 1692 hacienda, nine linked rooms just steps from the historic Palace of the Governors.
In the afternoon we will visit the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture, considered to be one of the most exciting Native American museum experiences in the Southwest. We will begin by entering through a tunnel that symbolizes the sipapu, the ancestral Puebloan entrance into the upper worlds; we are greeted by the sounds of trickling water, drums, and Native American music. Videos show Native Americans telling creation stories. We will see demonstrations of traditional skills by tribal artisans as well as programs in a 70-seat theater. There are more than 70,000 pieces of basketry, pottery, clothing, carpets and jewelry on display
Dinner is on your own.
Thursday, Sept. 20th
After Breakfast we will walk to the Palace of the Governors, built in 1610 as the original capital of New Mexico. The Palace has been in continuous public use longer than any other structure in the United States. We will begin your visit out front, where Native Americans, under the protection of a portico, sell jewelry, pottery, and some weavings. This is a good place to buy, and a fun place to shop especially if you take the time to visit with the artisans about their work.
Adjoining the Palace is the New Mexico History Museum that offers visitors an interactive experience. You will get a better understanding of the region occupied by Pueblo, Navajo and Apache people, followed by the arrival of the Spanish in the 1500’s.
Lunch on your own. Afternoon is free for shopping.
Farewell dinner at the beautiful Luminaria Restaurant in our hotel.
Friday, September 21st
Check out of hotel.
New Mexico Rocked!
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