Santa Fe, New Mexico, by reading
New Mexico- a City Caught in Time
Zimmerman, Travel Writer. It features a mini, but thorough tour
of the destination, plus all you'll need to know to plan your
trip including getting there, objective information on places to
stay and eat, and things to do. At the end of the article, we've
provided a summary of the contact information for your easy
Santa Fe, New
Mexico- a City Caught in Time
by Sandy Zimmerman, Travel Writer
Ancient Cave dwellings
the land of enchantment, where Indians roamed for many centuries
before the Europeans arrived. Today the beauty and charm of the past
still lives in and around the little city of Santa Fe whose entire
historic district is an outdoor museum, a monument to the past. We can
still see the pueblos, adobe-style architecture, cliff dwellings,
Native American ancient ceremonial dances, and symbols etched in rock
by the Ancient Ones. Imagine, an entire section of Santa Fe holds
important chapters of its history, with each turn offering colorful
stories of the past.
Take a Walking Tour
self-guided walking tour or any of those provided by the city and
private companies. Walk around the historic downtown streets as you
would a museum, pausing at each building to feel the excitement of
another era. With a multi-cultured history and such an exceptionally
extensive historic district, it is impossible to include all of the
historic sites. Santa Fe’s unique charm has attracted photographers,
artists (Georgia O’Keefe), writers (Jack London, Willa Cather),
celebrities (Julia Roberts, "Waltons" star Richard Thomas, Diane
Keaton), VIP’S (Queen Noor of Jordan), and others. For ten years,
composer Igor Stravinsky spent his summers working with the Santa Fe
downtown at the Palace of Governors, stroll through one of the oldest
public buildings in the U. S. (1610). This was the seat of government
under Spanish, Pueblo Indian, Mexican, and United States territorial
rule until 1909. Currently the long, low adobe structure houses a
museum of New Mexico’s history and cultures. Their print shop and
bindery features 19th century printing presses and other equipment
which still operate. Its front sidewalk is usually filled with Native
Americans selling their arts and crafts.
The Plaza has
marked the heart of the city since 1610 and is where all of the East
and West streets begin. Built in 1922, the beautiful multi-storied
pueblo revival-style La Fonda Hotel attracted kings and movie stars (Erroll
Flynn, James Stewart) in its day.
Capitol building is designed in the shape of a Zia sun symbol, the
state’s official emblem. Take a self-guided tour to see where the art
collection and where the state legislature meets.
Sena Plaza is
one of the oldest surviving houses in Santa Fe. It’s part of a land
grant of 1693, and is a former 33-room mansion built for Major Sena,
his wife and their 22 children. Its thick walls enclose a courtyard,
garden, shops and La Casa Sena Restaurant (see Where to Dine for a
Francis Cathedral’s French Romanesque architecture stands out among
the adobe or territorial style buildings. The San Miguel Mission
Church was rebuilt in 1710, and now has a collection of antique
Hispanic art. El Zaguan, an old adobe building, is an exciting example
of 19th century territorial architecture.
Chapel’s famous choir loft staircase was said to have been built in
1878, by an unknown carpenter who disappeared without being paid when
it was finished. He only used a T-square, saw, and hammer, without any
nails or visible support beams. There are two dramatic 360-degree
turns in the staircase. This staircase became known as a miracle, as
legend says, “St. Joseph, the carpenter, divinely guided the work.”
Guadalupe, built in the late l700s, is the United States’ oldest
shrine dedicated to Our Lady of Guadalupe. You can view a rare altar
screen and painting of the virgin dated 1783.
Analco - Mexican Indian laborers originally settled here in one of
America’s oldest neighborhoods. Now shops, galleries and restaurants
occupy these small adobe buildings
Borrego House, built in the mid 1700s, currently houses the Geronimo
Restaurant. It was the former residence of the wealthy Borrego family
for over 75 years.
trails of the ancient Pueblo Indians, today Canyon Road is filled with
art galleries, shops, restaurants, and the center of Santa Fe’s art
colony. Plaza Mercado is an international marketplace with 40
galleries, shops, and 5 restaurants.
The Museum of
New Mexico includes 4 museums and interpretive centers for 5 state
monuments concentrating on the phases and periods of the southwest and
international culture. The Museum of Fine Arts houses historic and
contemporary art from New Mexico.
Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian offers exhibits of historic
and contemporary American Indian art, pottery, jewelry, rugs, baskets,
and sand paintings with an emphasis on the southwest. The building
looks like an eight-sided Navajo Hogan.
O’Keefe Museum is the only museum in the world entirely dedicated to
the artist and her work. O’Keefe spent many summers around the Ghost
Ranch, her Abiquiu home, and the Santa Fe area. She painted “her New
Mexico,” the beautiful cliffs and landscapes along US Routes 285 and
84 North from Espanola. Tours of her Abiquiu home are available.
Picture of 2 Native Americans
Experience a Spa
Santa Fe is
unique in so many ways - a place to relax, pamper yourself, and enjoy
all of the delights it offers! The only Japanese health spa in the U.
S., 10,000 Waves Japanese Health Spa takes you on a journey of mind
and body to the seclusion of their special treatment pagodas/rooms for
an atmosphere of quiet meditation, rejuvenation, and harmony. Likened
to entering another world, you walk through a beautiful garden to the
privacy of a pagoda where the “Thai Massage” combines yoga-style
stretches, pressure points, and dynamic lengthening of your muscles.
The massage is administered without oils while laying on a floor mat.
Clothing is worn and the process takes 85 minutes. The therapist
visits Thailand each year and is one of the leading authorities in
work together during the “Four Hands, One Heart” treatment. Incredible
to experience, the synchronous hands and arms flowing over your body
create a heightened state of relaxation.
Aquatic Massage, you are cradled in the arms of the therapist, your
face supported above water, and moved through body temperature water.
This provides the opportunity for stretches and deep work rarely
achieved on land. It’s a dance; a soothing, thought-free, dreamlike
interlude. Bathing suits are required.
signature facial, the “Japanese Nightingale Facial,” uses Nightingale
droppings as a cleanser and/or mask. Waves is the exclusive importers
of processed Nightingale droppings, which have been used for centuries
by geishas in Japan to lighten and smooth their skin. The droppings
are dried, pulverized, and sanitized with ultraviolet light at the
“farm;” later oils are added.
Walk into the
world of the Native American tribes still living in the Pueblos as
their ancestors did many centuries ago. There are just a small number
of these flat roofed, multilevel adobe or terraced stone dwellings
still in existence. During their feast days or special ceremonies, you
can enjoy ancient dances, drumming, singing, and chanting. Because the
Pueblos are sovereign governments with their own laws, you are advised
to call to inquire whether visitors are allowed.
are close to Sante Fe - Nambe, Picuris, Pojoaque, San Ildefonso, San
Juan, Santa Clara and Tesuque. Spend a few hours or a whole day. The
Santa Clara Pueblo, only 40 miles from Santa Fe, shows the ruins of
cliff dwellings once occupied by 1500 people from the 1100s to 1580.
There are 740 rooms and a restored ceremonial chamber.
Don’t miss the
cliff dwellings along the road and at Bandelier National Monument.
Once home of the Native Americans, you can hike, drive or climb
ladders to examine the ruins.
If you have
time, take a vintage train ride to the historic town of Lamy or to the
scenic Galisteo Overlook on the Santa Fe Southern Railroad. They offer
2 1/2 to 4 hour scenic day rides, evening cocktail, and B. B. Q.
excursions year round.
Dining in Santa Fe
many cultures of Santa Fe, their restaurants are as exciting as the
city. Part of the thrill of experiencing another culture is that Santa
Fe keeps the traditions alive. El Farol, resembling an adobe in a
classic western movie, is Santa Fe’s oldest restaurant and cantina,
entertaining artists, locals and bohemians since 1835. Owner David
Salazar serves award winning traditional and contemporary Spanish
cuisine. Taste 30 delicious hot or cold Spanish tapas like grilled
quail in espresso with a chipotle glaze, tuna ceviche in coconut milk,
roasted duck in Moroccan carrot sauce and baked goat cheese with
pumpkin seed flat bread. Voted “Best Appetizer” is his lobster-chorizo
cannelloni. Try the famous Paella Valencia Mixta. Live entertainment
is served up, too, including jazz, blues, R&B, Flamenco, and soul.
La Casa Sena
brings Las Vegas to Santa Fe! Billed as singing waiters, the
exceptionally talented cast take breaks from their work to perform
Broadway show revues nightly. There’s no cover or minimum; dine or
drink while watching the entertainment. Sena offers a fine menu with
international influences and a southwestern twist - Chilean sea bass,
roasted chorizo stuffed pork loin with peach-onion sauce, grilled
filet of beef with mushroom tomato duxelle, natural citrus marinated
chicken breast with pasilla chile harissa sauce, trucha en
terracotta-trout wrapped in corn husks and baked in clay. Patio
seating is also available.
authentic Native American dishes along with southwestern and
international cuisine at the Amaya Restaurant inside the elegant Hotel
Santa Fe. Mixing classic technique, contemporary flair, and fresh
seasonal ingredients from traditional Native American Indian fare,
Chef Dominic Geraghty creates innovative dishes. Amaya highlights
local pueblo and Northern New Mexican influences, as well as regional
foods from around the U.S. Featured dishes are a 12 oz blackened
buffalo rib eye steak, Picuris (pronounced Pic-ur-ise) Tribe smoked
tenderloin of elk, chipotle grilled quail, boar bacon broiled
tomatoes, as well as lamb chops, salmon and much more.
Native American kiva fireplace
Lodging in Santa Fe
You can enjoy
accommodations at all price ranges. One resort encompasses the sights,
sounds and aromas of the southwest, perhaps because the Hotel Santa Fe
is Native American owned by the Picurise Tribe. The entire resort
expresses the true flavor of their heritage. From the moment you
arrive at the strikingly beautiful earthen colored pueblo shaped
building, the effect is like being transported to another world! Wood
beams crossing the ceiling . . . Kiva Fireplace .. . Native American
arts and crafts adorning the walls and gardens . . .
Hotel Santa Fe
creates an atmosphere for your enjoyment. Everything about the hotel
is unique! The welcome sign greets guests in English and Picurise.
Watch local musicians and storytelling around the kiva fireplace,
ceremonial dances in the courtyard, and have your meeting or dinner in
the teepee. Experience the beauty of a hoop dancer spinning a symbolic
tale . . .the sacredness of the tribal dancers in authentic headdress
and ceremonial attire . . . the notes of a wooden flute filling the
lodge-style interior of the lobby . . .the timeless storytelling of
the resident historian.
sits on the rim of downtown, occupying three acres. The Hotel Santa Fe
received rave reviews from its guests and the press – “Hotel Santa Fe
is testament aplenty to the harmonious fusion of body and spirit,”
National Geographic. There’s complimentary fresh fruit in the lobby
for guests, 4,700 square feet of meeting space, a hot tub, swimming
pool, and your own romantic tee pee for dining, all designed to bring
you the best of both worlds, -- the modern and a tribute to the
ancient ways of the Native Americans. As the Picurise say, “We have
the best views of Santa Fe . . . most of them look back on the past
Hotel Santa Fe
is more than just a hotel; it is as unique as the beautiful city in
which it is located. From the moment they opened their new $8 million
addition, the Hacienda stands as a model of luxury resorts designed to
provide the ultimate experience for travelers who demand the best. Set
apart from the main hotel, in its own private space, but connected by
a Santa Fe-style covered walkway, the Hacienda is the city’s most
luxurious new hotel. Queen Noor of Jordan was the Hacienda’s first
official guest, then Julia Roberts, "Waltons" star Richard Thomas,
Diane Keaton, and many other celebrities.
first step into the reception area, guests enter another culture.
Along each wall are museum-quality works of Native American art,
Navajo rugs, and exhibits. The reception desk? Non-existent in the
traditional sense. A butler takes the information in your room. Just
three stories, 35 rooms and suites, - the Hacienda retains the aura of
an elegant private home. Each guest is treated like a VIP. Every room
in the Hacienda has a fireplace with remote controls that allow
dousing the flames from the warmth of your bed or cushioned sofa. Take
their free shuttle van service to the historic downtown plaza, the
Canyon Road art galleries, museums, restaurants, shops, entertainment,
and all around the Santa Fe area.
Fe where all you need to do is concentrate on enjoying yourself.
other accommodations in the Details Section below. Note that I haven't
personally reviewed those properties at the time that this article was
Most major airlines service Santa Fe through Albuquerque with
connections by shuttle, bus, or car rental.
Shuttle: Take the Sandia Shuttle Express for a great,
comfortable 70-minute van ride to Santa Fe. (888)-775-5696,
The Greyhound Bus Company services these two cities.
Rental: Most major car rental agencies service Albuquerque.
rates and book your reservations using
WTA’s Online Travel Booking Service. Savings can be as much
as 40% off car rentals and 65% off hotels.
is 62 miles northeast of Albuquerque. Route I-25 runs south of
Santa Fe, Routes 285/84 runs north to south through the city.
Cactus Lodge Motel - 2864 Cerrilos Road; $35-85;
Santa Fe and Hacienda Hotel - 1501 Paseo de Peralta; $99-459.
Just 6 miles east of the Plaza. Seasonal Native American dance
demonstrations; gift shop; heated outdoor pool; hot tub;
suites; business center. (800)-825-9876;
Madeleine Bed and Breakfast - $85-180. Historic building; 8
bedrooms, 3 floors, no elevator, shared and private baths. 2
night minimum stay. (888)-877-7622.
Thousand Waves Japanese Health Spa - 3451 Hyde Park Road; $160
and up. 4 miles from the Plaza Cottages. Marble or stone wood
burning fireplaces; free communal tubs; restaurant. (505)
and book your reservations using
WTA’s Online Travel
Booking Service. Deep discounts may apply on
Amaya Restaurant - 1501 Paseo de Peralta. Inside the Hotel Santa
Fe. $7-27. (800) 825-9876;
to Eat with Entertainment
Farol - 808 Canyon Road. $18 & up. (505) 983-9912.
Casa Sena - Sena Plaza, 125 East Palace Avenue; east of the
Plaza. Over $25 in dining room, less in cantina. Selection of
1,400 wines. (505) 988-9232.
Palace of Governors - 105 W. Palace Avenue. (505) 476-5100;
- San Francisco Street, south of the Palace of the Governors.
Fonda Hotel - 100 East San Francisco Street.
Mexico State Capitol - Old Santa Fe Trail, between East De
Vargas and Paseo de Peralta, 4 blocks South of the Plaza.
Plaza - 125 East Palace Avenue, east of the Plaza. $8-57.
Francis Cathedral – 131 Cathedral Place, across from Sena
Plaza. (505) 982-5619;
Loretto Chapel - 207 Old Santa Fe Trail. (505) 982-0092;
Santurario de Guadalupe - 100 S. Guadalupe St., 4 bocks west
of the plaza. (505) 988-2027.
Barrio de Analco - East De Vargas between Don Gaspar Street
and Old Santa Fe Trail.
Miguel Mission Church - 401 Old Santa Fe Trail. (505)
Zaguan - 545 Canyon Road.
Canyon Road - From downtown drive east on Alameda Street along
the river, turn south on Paseo de Peralta.
Opera - Open-air theater. Performances only in the summer.
Standing-room tickets also available. (800) 280-4654.
Fe Walks - 2 - 2-1/2 hour guided tours explore the history,
culture and art of historic downtown, residential and art
communities. Tours start at the Hotel St. Francis. Tours leave
at 9:45 & 1:45. Fee: $10; over 64 - $9; children under 16
free. (505) 988-2774.
in Santa Fe – 2 hours. Guided walks include commentary about
the city’s history and architecture, Anasazi ruins, museums,
and art galleries. Tours start from Hotel Loretto at Old Santa
Fe Trail and Water Street. Run daily at 9:30 a.m. Fee: $10,
children under 16 free with parent. (505)-983-3701.
Tram, Train, & Rafting Tours
Colony Tours - Spend a 1/2 or full day at a variety of art
galleries and museums. (505)-466-6146.
Loretto Line - 75 minute tours that run daily on the hour from
10 a.m. to 3 p.m., April – October. Guided tours on open-air
trams. 211 old Santa Fe Trail, 2 blocks east of the Plaza, at
junction E. Alameda St. Fee: $12, under 12 - $6.
Fe Southern Railroad - 410 S. Guadalupe Street; the depot is
at the corner of Guadalupe Street and Montezuma Avenue. (888)
Fe Rafting Company - Half or full day excursions, evening
dinner floats, ride the rapids, and overnight raft trips.
Waves Japanese Health Spa - (505) 992-9304.
www.tenthousandwaves.com. (See Where to Stay for further
de Cristo Mountain Range – North of the city on Route 285. Has
several ski resorts; open mid-December to mid-March, 52 runs, 5
lifts, 3 snowboarding parks. (505) 982-4429;
Hospital - St. Vincent Hospital, 455 St Michael’s Drive. (505)
Pharmacy - Walgreens, 1096 St. Francis Drive. Open 24 hours.
Notice: This information is current as of November 2003. It is
recommended that you contact the numbers, and/or visit the websites
above to determine any changes to the information.