About the Santa Fe travel narrative I was going to write, when the New York Times beat me to it. It was in the Sunday Travel Section, “ Is Santa Fe Ready For a Makeover.?” 8/06/2007. If you read it then you know, that mod is flowing through the alleys and walkways of Santa Fe, more so than adobe mud. Lofts have landed at The Railyard, and once they open, then comes the attachment to more mod café’s, shops, movie theaters and people. I add this ancedote, four years later, it didn’t get too mod.
My answer is yes, Santa Fe is already under the mask of revival. My perspective comes from the duality of being a tourist and a resident. I have not lived here long enough to shed the distinctive air of a gambler who has just won the jackpot. It feels very much like a home that I left years ago. Beginning in 1984, I used to come here regularly, wearing a two piece blue suit, and carrying a leather briefcase. I was a commercial property manager based in San Diego, and one of my portfolio buildings was in Albuquerque. The second trip out here I took the company rental car and zipped over to Santa Fe and stayed at La Posada. Every month my trip to Albuquerque included a weekend in Santa Fe. I invited friends, family, and co-workers to travel along. After I left that position I returned less frequently, but it was never crossed off the list.
Today, I live across the street from La Posada. I still walk through the Plaza once a day to see the groove of live bands on the stage and snap internal photographs of the multitude of activities, conversations, expressions, and festivities surrounding Spanish and Indian Market month. On the park benches, moldy hippies sing along. Children scatter between the adults, while families sit under trees, sipping thermoses of cool aid and eating home made tamales. As you cross over to San Francisco Street and pass Starbucks, you will step over the hillbilly from Arkansas, whose sidewalk show includes a dog, cat, and several mice playing nicely. His message is, animals get along why can’t people? You will never read this sort of description in the travel narrative.
Just before dusk, the city streets empty for about an hour, and the shinning light spreads evenly over the adobe walls and rooftops. That is, if it’s not raining. This summer, it is not just a thundershower. The rain pounds the earth, the lighting and thunder shake the windows, and the cats run under the bed. I stand on the porch and watch, mostly because summer rain is the most romantic of all weather moods. That comes from a distant memory under raps. If you have a balcony, or find your way to the Rooftop of La Fonda, or Coyote Café, take a seat. Just watch and listen to the operatic electrical storm. They do not last too long.
The best time to walk is early morning. There are several roads to hike just beyond Canyon Road that lead you to the Audubon Society. From there, you can choose from a dozen rated hikes. From beginners to Aztec tribal strength. When in Santa Fe walk as much as possible, bring a pocket umbrella, and keep your eyes on the road. There are dazzling surprises everywhere you look.
The travel narrative always ends with, What To See, Where to Go, Where to Eat, and Where to Stay.
WHAT TO SEE & WHERE TO GO.
IAIA MUSEUM. 108 CATHREDRAL PLACE. The museum exhibitions have a purity of purpose rarely seen in museums today. It is unpretentious. The staff is undeniably the most receptive, and the gift shop is stocked with worthwhile purchases.
GEORGIA O’ KEEFE: 217 JOHNSON STREET. Not only a museum, a place of worship. Do not go through the salons until you’ve seen the short documentary film about her life, it runs continuously. The outdoor Café is where you will see many local art setters and sponsors having lunch beneath a canopy of umbrellas.
SHIDONI SANTA FE: OLD BISHOP’S ROAD: 5 MILES FROM THE PLAZA. Imagine a bronze art foundry, sculpture garden, and gallery representing over 100 artists spread out over 8 acres of apple orchard. You can spend the day there without too much effort.
TEN THOUSAND WAVES:` A resplendent way to begin the adventure is at this hillside sanctuary wrapped in bonsai and green tea leaves. Guests tiptoe in Kimonos across stone steps, into private and public outdoor baths, treatment rooms, and get kissing close to Nirvana. If you are in need of bodily rearrangement, ask for Wayne, he will delicately remove your head.
SANTA FE OPERA: TESUQUE: 5miles from the Plaza. I have heard thunder and seen lighting crack the horizon, during the arias of Madam Butterfly. For ticket less visitors you can actually buy a $10.00 leaning ticket. I know from my friend, Little sister that it is a unique experience, and you can leave at any time.Always provocative, cutting edge adaptations to stir your imagination.
NEW MEXICAN: MARIA’S KITCHEN THE SHED GUATALUPE CAFE
LOCALS GO TO THE COWGIRL HALL OF FAME:: 319 S. GUADALUPE. Known for it’s bronco busting burrito breakfast, it is also a very well-heeled bar for cowboys, music, laughter, barbeque, and skateboarding. It reminds me of the Venice Boardwalk.
THE COMPOUND: 653 CANYON. My choice for lunch because it suits the poor little rich girl. It feels faraway, and the outdoor garden is a tantalizing backdrop for imagining you are faraway. Seasonal creative food at the hands of a celebrity chef. Bar is great for delicacies and cocktails, and the rooms, with shiny mud-packed floors, white washed beams and walls gives you a lift up, to the surreal.
WHERE TO STAY:
LA POSADA RESORT & SPA : 330 E. Palace Av. The scene is very eclectic, it draws people from the Texas ranch, Hollywood, and the Silicone Valley. Favorite pastime, cocktails on the outdoor lounge at dusk, and dinner on the patio facing the theater of events, where performance, music, and weddings take place free of charge. The staff is out of this world.
LA FONDA AT THE PLAZA: The hotel is where I go about any time of day just to see what is going on, who is playing in the bar, whom is holding conference, and to eat the tableside guacamole in the atrium restaurant. Another terrific production crew behind the front desk.
PEOPLE TO MEET: I’ve found meeting people most fascinating at Art Gallery Openings. Check the Pasatiempo (Guide in Santa Fe New Mexican) and the Santa Fe Reporter for a list of events and openings. Friday nights 5-7PM.
The best news is, more non-stop flights from Los Angeles to Albuquerque.
I have written my second travel narrative and I think I’m traveling down the wrong road. Back to adventures in Livingness next week.