Saturday, September 1, 2012

Santa Fe, New Mexico

Santa Fe is an exciting city. History is around every corner, beautiful scenery extends in every direction, dining opportunities abound. And then there is the art community. Everyone needs to visit this city at least once in their lives.

We spent a week in the city, and we enjoyed ourselves. We especially love the adobe architecture of this part of the country. But Santa Fe is an expensive city for tourists. Quaint, unique shops beckon to tourists, and restaurants are a bit more expensive than what we are accustomed to. Since we are not shoppers – remember, we just had a garage sale to get rid of our junk, so we certainly don’t need any more – the shops  of Santa Fe don’t really appeal to us. And although I enjoy art, I’m not an art connoisseur, and there is a very large art colony in the area. So after a week, we were ready to move on to our next destination.

We did get out and see a lot. Our first outing was to the downtown area of old Santa Fe. Because of my love of history, I wanted to visit the Palace of the Governors, a place we had visited about 25 years ago. We purchased a day pass to the Palace and the neighboring New Mexico History Museum for $9 per person. History in New Mexico, and Santa Fe in particular, goes way back when compared to Texas, so there is much to see.

Palace of the Governors, with Native American vendors along the front selling jewelry and other goods.
After our museum tour, we walked the streets around the plaza. The area teems with dining options and shops selling art, clothes, and locally-made jewelry and trinkets. But these things don’t appeal to us, and dining out can get expensive, so avoided these places. We did purchase fajita burritos from a vendor in the plaza. We love street food, which is usually cheap and tasty, so we enjoyed this.

Plaza, in historic downtown Santa Fe

Typical street scene around the Plaza

After our stroll downtown, we visited a couple of nearby churches.

The Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi
Parking in Santa Fe is a problem, and it can be costly. In fact, it seems that everything costs something in the city. The downtown streets are narrow, with many running one way. We parked one day in a downtown parking lot. It cost us $6 for about 3 hours or so, and the spaces were barely big enough to accommodate our Tundra. To live in Santa Fe, you need a small vehicle, which I would gladly have if I did not need to pull our trailer.

On another day, we got out early to visit the local Farmers’ Market. Remember, we live in our trailer, so we still have to do laundry, clean the trailer, and cook food. I loved this market. It is located right next to the railroad tracks, and we saw passenger trains pull through while there. The produce was beautiful, and the variety was excellent, though a bit pricey for a farmers’ market.  We especially enjoyed the roasted peppers we bought there, though other items were all good.

Farmers' Market at the Railyard on a cool morning in Santa Fe
Vendor roasting peppers at the market

Lots of quality produce at each stall
We love the climate of Santa Fe. Daily temps ranged from lows in upper 50s or lower 60s to daily highs in the mid 80s. We did not have any rain during our stay, but clouds did blow in a time or two.

We also enjoy the traditional architecture of the area. On one day, we drove up Canyon Drive, a narrow lane that winds among art galleries and tree shaded adobe structures. It's a very picturesque city street.  

Along with such storied cities as San Antonio, New Orleans, and San Francisco, everyone should make at least one visit to Santa Fe sometime in their lives. It's an exciting city with much to do and see.

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