Spring! When (theoretically) at least we should be experiencing a massive thaw and revival of flowers and greenery. This year that has not exactly been the case thanks to erratic weather conditions, but several of my family members and myself did experience one seasonal rite of passage; Spring Break. We went to Santa Fe, New Mexico, a family favorite for its spectacular scenery, breathtaking views, plethora of museums and art galleries, and multitude of shops and restaurants.
Sunday-Sadly I have to spent most of the day on planes and in airport terminals, flying from Pittsburgh to Los Angeles and then to Albuquerque. This is of course why paperbacks were invented. From Albuquerque airport, we rent a car and drive to Santa Fe. It’s quite a scenic drive that allows one to appreciate the rare beauty and majesty of the American Southwest. We check in at the Inn of the Governors. The Inn of the Governors has a lovely casual ranch ambience, numerous real wood burning fireplaces, comfortable rooms and an outdoor heated pool. They also offer a great complimentary breakfast buffet every morning (their pastries are scrumptious!), complimentary tea and sherry in the afternoon, and they claim the best House Margarita in town. That night I make I point of winding down with a House Margarita as well as the local dish; Frito Pie.
Monday-In the morning we visit the Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian located at Santa Fe’s Museum Hill. Founded in 1937, the Wheelwright is New Mexico’s oldest, non-profit independent museum. They offer excellent exhibitions of both historic and contemporary Native American art. In the afternoon, we explore the Atalaya hiking trail that begins in the parking lot of St. John’s College and climbs to the summit of Atalaya mountain. That night we eat at Maria’s, a local restaurant in business since the 50’s that offers gluten free options as well as over a 100 varieties of Margaritas!
Tuesday-Today we drive up to the non-profit Ghost Ranch Education and Retreat Center in Abiquiu. Surrounded by red hills and incredible multi-layered cliff walls, Ghost Ranch was the summer home to Georgia O’Keefe who painted many of her most renowned works right on the property. Ansel Adams, Andy Warhol, and others were regular guests as well. There’s a number of hikes available, from short walks along the mesa to all day backtrack expeditions. We go on a horseback ride that was probably the best horse ride I’ve ever experienced. The weather was perfect, the guide quite informative, the horses were great, and the views were simply breathtakingly beautiful. We circled Georgia O’Keefe’s home and studio and oohed and aahed at the landscapes O’Keefe immortalized. Ghost Ranch also sports museums for paleontology and anthropology and has been the shooting location for numerous films including City Slickers, Wyatt Earp, and No Country for Old Men.
Wednesday-Today we take a road trip to Taos. We pay homage to the historic San Francisco de Asis Mission Church, which was another popular painting subject for Georgia O’Keefe and is one of the finest examples of Spanish Colonial architecture in the world. We eat lunch at the Historic Taos Inn founded in 1936 which has hosted the likes of Greta Garbo, D.H. Lawrence, Robert Redford, and Jessica Lange. We then visit the Harwood Museum of Art which currently has an exhibition of the works of Agnes Martin and in fact the museum seems to have an unofficial theme for the moment of exhibiting women artists. Their collection is simply stunning. We do some sight-seeing and shopping in Taos before heading back to Santa Fe. On the drive you can see views of the Rio Grande river canyon.
Thursday-Today our party splits into multiple groups. The group with children goes to visit Meow Wolf an interactive, immersive art experience designed to take visitors to new realms as they try to solve mysteries. (Warning it’s extremely popular so tickets must be purchased in advance and you may well have to wait in line a while.) Others continue to explore Santa Fe’s Museums including the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture and the Georgia O’Keefe museum. Or you can take a walking tour learning more about Santa Fe’s rich history and the local arts culture, with a concluding visit to the Loretto Chapel and its miraculous staircase. Essentially Santa Fe is a town with so many things going for it, you’re sure to find something for anyone. That night there’s dinner at El Farol which has been in business since 1835 and every night there’s live music and a Flamenco Dinner Show.
Friday-Get up early to do a last walk along the palazzo and visit a local bookshop before we have to make the drive back to Albuquerque airport. The family is already discussing another visit to Santa Fe again in the not too distant future.
Top photo: Bigstock