Oct 1, 2013

A Day Trip to Santa Fe

We reached our destination of Santa Fe a short time after finishing lunch in Madrid.

If you missed that post, be sure to read it here:
Albuquerque: Settling In and Driving the Turquoise Trail

Santa Fe is a very creative city and heavily into the arts. Naturally, our first stop was to see some art at SITE Santa Fe.

Next up, we did our own walking tour of The Plaza area.

We started off at Burro Alley.

We walked up to The Plaza. Along the way, there were a ton of beautiful buildings, including this one that had gates that opened up into a courtyard. 

One of the main buildings in The Plaza is the Palace of the Governors, an adobe structure from 1610 that once served as the seat of government. Now, it is the site of the New Mexico History Museum. Along the outside of the building Native American vendors set up their wares, including jewelry and pottery, for sale.

Along the square, many different architectural styles are represented, including this Italianate-style building called Catron Block.

...while the Museum of Fine Arts is an example of pueblo revival.

The Delgado House is another example of the differing architectural influences that can be seen in Santa Fe. This house is in the Victorian style and now houses an art gallery, S.R. Brennan Fine Art.

The Santa Fe Historic District has many art galleries of all styles, and we took our time visiting the ones that piqued our interest before continuing on our way.

As we walked around, we passed by the Georgia O'Keefe Museum, a number of other historic homes and the First Presbyterian Church.

We also came across this outdoor sculpture called "Santa Fe Current" of fish heads coming out of the gravel.

Everywhere we went there were these hanging strands of dried red chile peppers called ristas. I found them to be so cheerful and brought a lot of color to wherever they were.

Of course, I had to capture all of the beautiful colors we saw...

and the giant iguana hiding under the table. 

One of my favorite places we visited was Sena Plaza. The courtyard is like a green wonderland. Don't mind the very strange giant avocado sculpture. 

Sena Plaza is occupied by a restaurant and some boutiques. I just love the wooden stairs and second floor.

As we didn't have a lot of time, we didn't stop into many of the landmarks of Santa Fe. We were there mostly to admire the architecture and pop into a few galleries and shops here and there. 

One place where we did stop was St. Francis Cathedral

The cathedral was built by Archbishop Lamy (or as Raisin Bread kept calling him "Father Larry" because he misread the name) and was completed in 1886.

Bronze doors of St Francis Cathedral

Rose Window and Altar

One of the features I liked the most were the Stations of the Cross. I found out that they are actually not original to the cathedral but were added in the 1990s in the historical style. I loved the simplicity of the artwork.

We ended our walking tour at Loretto Chapel. Since it no longer functions as a church, the company that operates it actually charge an entrance fee. 

Outside the chapel is a tree covered in rosaries. I found it to be quite pretty. 

But what makes the chapel special is its spiral staircase, the so-called "miraculous staircase." It is called this because there is no visible or central support. For the time it was built, it took some innovation to create a staircase like this, and the Sisters of Loretto believed that St. Joseph himself built the staircase. 

After ending our walking tour, we came across part of the Old Santa Fe Trail while we were walking back to our car. 

We left the Historic District and drove to Museum Hill to spend a few hours that afternoon at the Museum of International Folk Art. This was the first museum of international folk art in the world and also holds the largest collection of folk art in the world. 

The collection is so expansive that it was very cool to be able to see so many and such different pieces all together in one place. 

While we were there, the museum had a temporary exhibition of Japanese kites on view which I totally loved. The exhibit was called "Tako Kichi," which means kite crazy. We even got to make our own kites.

We headed back to the Plaza for dinner at, of all places, The Plaza Cafe. I needed to start getting my fill of green chiles, so I ordered carne asada enchiladas with green chile. So yummy.

Our meal came with a basket of sopaipillas, which I would have many more of during our trip. Who doesn't like fried dough with honey?

Coincidentally, there was an antique car show going on this evening all along the square. We took some time after dinner to admire all of the cool cars that were on display. My favorite was the blue car with a matching hitch. So funny. 

Santa Fe is my kind of town. Tons of art, great food and amazing weather. I wished we had more time to explore the city, but I am definitely glad we were able to fit even one day in during this trip. We headed back to our abode in Albuquerque for a good night's rest before another fun-filled day in New Mexico!

The Plaza Cafe
54 Lincoln Avenue
Santa Fe, NM 87501


  1. That place looks amazing! :) That's my kind of town too! :) I love their architectural designs! :)

    1. It's a beautiful city and I would love to spend some more time there!