Updated: Aug 12, 2021
Santa Fe…Just the name congers up images of adobe houses, dried chile ristras hanging under the eaves, beautiful pottery, turquoise jewelry, and amazing plates of enchiladas. When a friend and I had to cancel our August trip to France due to COVID, we decided a quick trip to Santa Fe would still give us a little adventure albeit closer to home. While I have visited Santa Fe many times, I looked forward to sharing all my favorite spots, finding a few new things to experience and hunting for the perfect silver cuff bracelet to add to my collection.
Here is my completely biased list of places I go back to again and again. I included locations I find inspiring or magical, some stops of cultural interest as well as a few place to take in the New Mexico vistas and countryside.
Santa Fe Plaza – It’s touristy and bit kitsch but authentic spots can be still be found down the side streets and alleys. It is a delightful way to spend a day exploring and people watching.
The Georgia O’Keeffe Museum – Don’t miss this small jewel tucked away just off the Plaza.
Bandelier National Monument – About a hour drive just past Los Alamos, Bandelier is a place I return to again and again. My kids loved learning to climb up the ladders into the caves while piecing together the history and the stories of the people that lived here. This trip, I still got a thrill climbing 140 feet up to the largest dwelling with incredible views down the valley and soaking my feet in the cool stream on the way back to the visitor’s center.
Tsankawi – Blink and you will miss the parking and trail head for this unique section of Bandelier on the way back Santa Fe. The high mesas, trails, petroglyphs and a blue sky that only happens in New Mexico make you feel as if you have stepped back in time. I have a few painting ideas already mulling around in my brain from this hike.
High Road to Taos/Chimayo – Spend a day meandering along this lovely country road. There are several old adobe churches along the way, the most historic being the Sactuario de Chimayo. There’s something incredibly special and healing about this place of pilgrimage. The town of Chimayo is also known for it’s weavers and amazing food.
I took loads of photos and kept a sketchbook of the trip. But most importantly, my energy and spirit have been recharged. It’s the first trip away since this COVID nightmare started and just making a plan, packing a suitcase and being in an airport made me so happy (with a side-order of anxiety!).
And yes, I did find a new bracelet to add to my collection… While browsing the jewelry offered by Native Americans artisans along the Palace of the Governors, I spotted a slim band with unique stamped details. After chatting with the artist AP, he happened to recognize some of the other bracelets I was wearing from 20+ years ago as the work of his brother. So thanks to fate or luck, a new bracelet has been added to my collection and along with more fond memories of Santa Fe.