--- or How I Gained 7 Pounds in One Week
John and I spent last week in magical Santa Fe, New Mexico. Santa Fe is an amazing amalgam of Native American, Hispanic, and Anglo cultures--as sophisticated or funky as you want. We were there the week after Indian Market, so the city was relatively empty.
We drove north from Albuquerque via the old Turquoise Trail, through a number of small towns, rolling hills covered with chamisa, multibranched sunflowers, and sage. Madrid has become an art center--we stopped at the Johnsons Gallery, which the wonderful New Mexico Fiber Trails brochure informed us would have many fiber-related goods.
After we arrived at our hotel (the lovely Inn on the Alameda), we went walking to downtown Santa Fe, where we found wonderful enchiladas bathed in New Mexico chile sauce at the Plaza Cafe (which we returned to several times). Here's where we ate breakfast at our hotel:
The next day was spent at several museums: Museum of Spanish Colonial Art, the International Folk Museum, and the Museum of Indian Arts & Culture. Here's John, walking between the museums, which are thoughtfully placed next to each other.
An afternoon thunderstorm forced us to relax in our room, and then we sought out the Kakawa Chocolate House--this place, which is easy to overlook, serves historically correct Meso-American chocolate drinks. If you thought you knew hot chocolate, well, until you've tried these elixirs you don't know anything! The top of your head could fly off....
I discovered a great yarn shop downtown--Tutto--that carries Jamieson Shetland yarn, along with other fine quality non-bulky yarns.
One day we drove the high road to Taos, passing through the Spanish colonial weaving town of Chimayo and it's intriguing Sanctuario, where Holy Week pilgrims left hundreds of handmade crosses.
Other towns were scattered along the way, and we pulled off the 2-lane road to explore a few of them as we made our way north. Weaving Southwest in Taos was my goal: this shop promotes the tapestry weaving of southwestern artists, and it never disappoints. You can also purchase knitting and weaving wools there.
Thursday was spent at El Rancho de los Golondrinas, a sort of New Mexican Williamsburg. The place, a Spanish land grant hacienda nestled into a charming valley, is huge. You start at the original fortress-like dwelling that was built around 1700--and restored in 1932.
Costumed interpreters talk about the life of the people who lived there (those of you who are American Girl Doll fans will recognize this part of the rancho--Josefina lived here, and the people who wrote the stories and illustrated them used the ranch for their research). The churro sheep were in the pen right outside, and one room was filled with the tools for spinning and weaving the wool.
Wandering down the hill and crossing a stream we found the recreated mountain village, circa 1850-1870. These buildings were moved here from other parts of the state.
The interpreter had just picked some peaches from the small orchard--because we were the only people who had come through that day we got to pause and enjoy the treat while discussing adobe architecture (we were there after schools had started but before the school outings had begun, so we got lots of private attention!)
The most interesting building on the ranch was the morada, or meeting place, a religious building for the penitentes. This is an authorized and blessed copy of a morada in the north part of the state; the hermanos use it for their holy week ceremonies. Such moradas are normally hidden, and certainly not accessible to non-members, so having the chance to learn about this Catholic society and its history was fascinating.
After we had been there for hours, we went to the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum in the city, enjoyed the photography exhibit at the Governor's Mansion, purchased more chocolates at Kakawa, and collapsed.
Our balcony was a lovely place to rest--I found The Thread of New Mexico, a wonderful collection of portraits of New Mexican weavers, at Weaving Southwest.
In between all of these adventures we ate--and ate, and ate. Lovely New Mexican chile, red or green, flavored everything I ordered: enchiladas, stuffed sopapillas, tamales. And I would be remiss if I didn't tell you about the fantastic homemade pies at the Plaza Cafe.
Needless to say, I'm on a diet now that I'm home.... but it was so worth it!