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Enchanting New Mexico

• New Mexico’s longest stretch of highway is Interstate 25 .... more than 462 miles.
• Nine states – Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey and Delaware combined could fit within New Mexico's state lines.

• Tourists are the import into Carlsbad Caverns. Bat guano is an economic export.
• During the Years surrounding the Lincoln County War gunfight obituaries were found in the local paper in their own section, as a condensed monthly summary.

• The word “Mexico” is an Aztec word for “Place of Mexitli,” an Aztec god.

• Ten miles south of Raton is the National Rifle Association’s most extensive firing range in the US – 33,000 acres and 14 shooting ranges.

• The Gold Rush started in the Ortiz Mountains of New Mexico 20 years before the California Gold Rush.

• Six of the earth’s seven “life zones” can be found in New Mexico. And weekend visitors can snow ski and water ski on the same trip.

by Bob Pirillo

Santa Fe is off the beaten track, but well worth the effort. SAN TA FE HOTELS

Fly into Albuquerque, New Mexico, and rent a car or take the Santa Fe shuttle for the hour-long ride. Although the stark scenery along the way is jolting, by the time you reach your destination, high on a 7,000-foot plateau, the topography completely changes and you find yourself in an amazingly verdant town at the foot of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. ALBUQUERQUE HOTELS

The town center is compact and pleasant to see on foot. The Plaza is a tree-filled park, around which are galleries, restaurants, hotels, and the Governor’s Palace, the oldest government building in the US, in continuous use since 1610.

In addition to the galleries, the Native Americans set up their wares; silver, turquoise and pottery on their blankets in the shade of the overhang of the Governor’s Palace. The quality of the artworks offered by Santa Fe’s numerous galleries and street vendors is unsurpassed. Whether painting, sculpture or Native American jewelry, weavings and pottery, the selection is dazzling.

Canyon Road, an art lover's paradise, is also nearby. This ancient two-mile long winding road is home to many galleries, antiques shops and several restaurants. Some of the picturesque historic adobe structures along the road date back to the early 17th century.

There are many types of accommodations in Santa Fe, from motels and cabins to luxury hotels. The Inn and Spa at Loretto is a great choice for high end lodging. Located three short blocks from the Plaza, the Inn is a beautiful traditional adobe structure. The Inn offers indoor and outdoor dining, a spa, boutiques and a lovely outdoor pool.

The Inn is adjacent to the Loretto Chapel, built in the 1870s, which boasts a “miraculous” staircase. After the architect died, it was discovered that no one knew how he intended to build the circular staircase leading to the choir loft. A mysterious carpenter appeared and completed the staircase without nails, and with no visible means of support. The carpenter disappeared before he could be paid or thanked.

If you’d rather stay outside of town, or are fond of horseback riding, The Bishop's Lodge Ranch Resort & Spa just three miles from the town center, is glorious. The property was originally the retirement home of Bishop Lamy, a local legend who was immortalized in Willa Cather’s “Death Comes for the Archbishop”. They have their own stables and over a thousand acres of riding trails through the foothills of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains and the Santa Fe National Forest. Moonlight rides are held monthly.

The main ingredient in New Mexican food is the chile and it is one of the reasons why Santa Fe is famous for its local cuisine. Both green and red version can be mild to very hot. In some restaurants you’ll be asked if you prefer "red or green", and be warned of the heat content.

Santa Fe is a cultural wonderland and home to twelve museums. All have exhibits that are related to the area, whether American Indian arts and culture; both ancient and contemporary, archeology, or natural history. The O’Keeffe Museum houses the works of Georgia O’Keeffe, who lived and worked in the area for decades, until her death in 1986 at the age of 98.

The Museum of International Folk Art is considered one of the finest collections of folk art in the world, and there’s also the Santa Fe Children’s Museum where hands-on participation is encouraged.

The annual Indian Market, held in late August, is the town's busiest event. Over 400 of the best Indian artists in the United States are selected to display and sell their works on the Plaza.

Located in a natural bowl just north of town, the Santa Fe Opera House is open to the elements on the sides to allow views of the spectacular desert sunsets, but covered above to give shelter from the rain. The opera season opens in early July and runs through the summer.

The area surrounding Santa Fe is filled with plenty of day trip possibilities. Indian pueblos (villages) dot the landscape. All New Mexican pueblos hold an annual fiesta to celebrate their patron saint. These are religious ceremonies, not tourists attractions, although tourists are welcome provided they respect the religious rites and follow the rules which prohibit drinking alcohol, and in most cases photographing, sketching or recording the activities.

Bandelier National Park which was the home to the Anasazi tribe and their remarkable cave dwellings is also nearby, and is one of the area’s major attractions.


Photo:: Inn and Spa at Loretto - Photo courtesy Bob Pirillo


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