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Thursday, September 10, 2015

Santa Fe and Surrounds

Over labor day weekend we had the fun opportunity to visit Santa Fe for Cousin Bill's wedding to Patty. We flew in to Albuquerque and the next five days were a mix of wedding, exploring and sketching whenever I had a chance. 

We started by renting a car. Sketching is always a useful pastime when waiting...

Presiding over a main street in downtown Santa Fe sits the Cathedral of St Francis, one of many churches in town. A bronze casting of a dancing Francis sits in the church courtyard. It's a delightful tribute to the well-loved saint.  

San Miguel church is just up the hill. Said to be the oldest church structure in the U.S. and just across the alley sits the oldest house in the U.S. It housed the Mexican Indians while they built the church under the direction of the Franciscan padres in 1610. 

Behind San Miguel is the Lamy Building, originally part of St Michaels College, now a government building and adjacent to where I caught the bus to go to Museum Hill.  

A few miles outside of town is Museum Hill. Four museums surround a large open plaza. 

  • New Mexico Museum of Spanish Colonial Art
  • Santa Fe Museum of Indian Arts
  • New Mexico Museum of International Folk Art
  • Santa Fe Wheelwright Museum

I only had time to visit the Folk Arts Museum and I was delighted to view  an fascinating exhibition called "The Red that Colored the World" which traced the evolution of the red dye produced by the American Cochineal, a tiny scaled insect that produces carminic acid. 

Outside I liked the larger than life sculpture of the Mountain Spirit Dancer by Craig Dan Goseyun.

Shops, museums and galleries line the town plaza. The weekend we were there it was filled with booths celebrating Fiestas, the annual celebration of the date in 1692 when the Spanish re-captured Santa Fe from the Pueblo indians. 

The Palace of the Governors sits on one side of the Plaza. On weekends Native American vendors sell turquoise and silver jewelry and native crafts. I bought a lovely turquoise money clip to weight down bills when I grab my sketching pens.   

We took the High Road towards Taos and wound through small hispanic villages in the rolling hills. 

One of those villages, Chimayo is hosts El Santuario de Chimayo, which is possibly the most important pilgrimage site for Roman Catholics in the United States. 


After Taos we decided to head over to Abiquiu and Ghost Ranch where Georgia O'Keefe lived  and worked. First we had to follow the Rio Grand heading south west to cut across some mountainous area. 

Ghost Ranch, a 21,000 acre retreat and education center north of Abiquiu, was unlike anywhere I'd been. It is open and wild, yet a deep sense of peace pervades the grounds. O'Keefe bought a portion of the ranch after her husband died. She lived and worked therefor many years.

Back in Santa Fe I found Our Lady of Guadalupe church on the westside of town. The statue of our lady presides over the church plaza adorned with flowers and rosaries, all ablaze in the September sun. 

 And oh yes, the wedding!

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