I grew up not far from Taos, New Mexico. Fifty years ago, my family had friends in Albuquerque. I’m sure we traveled through Santa Fe on our trips to their house, but I couldn’t recall a single image of the city. My father teasingly says there’s good reason for that—in those days, there was nothing worth remembering.
He may be right. But today, that’s what makes Santa Fe so unique. Time seems to have passed it by.
Hidden in the foothills of the Sangre de Cristo mountain range, Santa Fe is off the beaten track. Since I was a child, the sleepy capital of New Mexico has attracted artists of all mediums…painters, musicians and writers. Creative folks and famous names have filled the surrounding hills and re-energized the native population of ranchers and Pueblo Indians to forge a new and distinctive atmosphere.
Now the town boasts a good many modern amenities. Fantastic shopping. Ultra modern housing tracts in the pueblo-style with flat roofs and posts protruding from the walls. Art galleries by the dozens. Spas and resorts hidden in canyons. Even a state-of-the-art, open-air opera house. All of these new, modern additions share space with remnants of the city’s Spanish colonial origins, including the country’s oldest Catholic cathedral and a central plaza where Comanche Indians traded with Comancheros, and Native Americans still sell their hand-crafted silver and turquoise jewelry.
Santa Fe boasts its own culinary style, stuffed sopapillas—Indian fry bread filled with delectable spicy meats, corn and cheese. Hamburgers smothered in green chilies. Even the fashion scene is specific to the region’s Spanish, Indian and cowboy past. Old and new combine to make Santa Fe a desert diamond, resplendent with modern facets flawlessly cut into a priceless heritage.
A trip to Santa Fe is always a worthwhile effort. A chance to step off the beaten path and stay for a while. No visitor will regret time spent in this desert gem. If you simply can’t get away, pick up a copy of my book and enjoy an armchair visit. I’ve been told it’s almost as good as a trip.
Just a note. Many of my author friends are like me and “discover” their stories when they travel. With more armchair traveling in mind—mine and yours—I’ve invited some of my friends to tell us about their journeys. In the next few months, my blog will visit India, Ireland, France and England. I hope you’ll look forward to the upcoming trips as much as I do!