Santa Fe, NM, April, 2017

Santa Fe feels like home to us.  We have been coming here since 1980, every two to three years or so.  We have stayed at every campground in town in our coach or in our van camper. We have stayed at two different Bed and Breakfast places. We have stayed twice at the Campanilla Compound with very comfortable town houses for rent.  

Santa Fe is an old city. It has been a Capital City for more than 400 years.  It competes with St Augustine, FL for the oldest city bragging rights but the claimed dates are within months of each other.  There is real history everywhere here. 

This time we are staying at Cochiti Lake COE campground about 30 miles south of Santa Fe. We have been here before. It is comfortable and inexpensive and with a park and ride on the commuter rail into Santa Fe only five miles away,  it seemed like a good place to stay again.

We got to ride on a train.  Sheldon was so envious.

Here comes the train. Right on time.  The trains run all day long, more in the morning and later afternoon.  They start about 5:30 in the morning and run until about 10 at night.  They connect Albuquerque and Santa Fe. There is a stop at the State Capital and at the train station next to the Farmer’s Market.

Big shiney double decker rail cars.  You can buy tickets on line or on your phone or in person on the train.  

Round trip from Kewa Pueblo to the Train Station in Santa Fe is only $3 and it includes an all day Santa Fe bus pass.  Our first trip was on a Wednesday.  The big smiles were because on Wednesdays Seniors ride free.  Whee!  We rode the train into town this day and once more.

It is a short walk from the train station to the Plaza, the heart of Santa Fe.  And right off the corner of the plaza in the La Fonda Hotel is the French Pastry Shop.  A good stop for lunch.  This family owned shop has been here for more than 40 years. It is in the old bakery and kitchen of the La Fonda.  Most of the hotel was rebuilt in 1922 and was one of the original Harvey Hotels. The La Fonda in one form or another has been here since the 1600’s.

This is a comfortable and familiar place.  We don’t need a map to get around, all of the streets are familiar and our sense of direction still works.

A short bus ride up to Museum Hill got us over to the Wheelwright Museum where a new gallery of jewelry was waiting for us.  It was almost two years ago last time we were here in 2015 but not yet open.  They were letting it air out before moving the jewelry collection in for display.  This is worth seeing. But no pictures.  The collection includes jewlery made by Native Americans since the early 1800’s highlighting the development of techniques and styles all the way up to contemporary masters. We see jewelry on display and for sale almost everywhere but this helps us understand how all of these styles are connected.

In another part of the Wheelwright (where pictures were allowed) I noticed this Apache Womans Tunic. It is even more detailed and stunning than the one we saw at the Heard Museum in Phoenix.

It was windy and much cooler when we came out.  An obvious weather front was moving through.

Another trip into Santa Fe on the train for breakfast at Cafe Pasquals.  It is just down from Burro Alley.

One of the original functions of the Plaza was a place for the burros that did the heavy lifting long ago.  The burros are long gone but are remembered at the end of the narrow lane near the Plaza. 

Cafe Pasquals is a tiny little place that is always busy because the food is good.  It is much more of a locals place than tourist.  But it is both.

It was Good Friday and there were services at many churchs.  Santuario De Guadalupe puts on a Good Friday Pagent.   Jesus, the Cross, Roman soldiers, whips and all.  Huge crowd. 

Art Hunting.

We made another trip up toward Chimayo and then toward Truchas where there are many artists and crafts people.  Weaving, pottery, metal craft, wood working and much more can be found up this way … if they are open.  We stopped for lunch at another one of our favorites, Ranch de Chimayo.  Wonderful!

On a narrow dirt road leading back into a tiny town named Vallé there was a funeral going on at this cemetary established in 1750.

We found a Spanish Colonial Furniture maker who showed us his gallery.  He was a school teacher who started woodworking when he retired. Spanish Colonial is common in this area and he has made some beautiful award winning pieces.  They are made from Ponderosa Pine, locally cut and milled.

This is typical of the style.  Lots of carving and turning. Many have painted details.

There is so much to do in Santa Fe.  We just keep coming back for more.

Time to head for home.  More later,

Roger and Susan

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