Saturday, November 19, 2011

Westward American Road Diary: Santa Fe

The courtyard shines bright at the Museum of New Mexico.

There are just some places you know in your heart you will love even before you laid eyes on it. Santa Fe was one of these for me. I would go back anytime. I loved the earthy scents, the food, the people, the landscape and the artist community whose work celebrate the natural world as a spiritual being. The sacred is everywhere around us.

In the Museum of New Mexico's courtyard, Will Shuster's The Voice of Water mural. Signs in hotels throughout the trip reminded us often of water conservation in modern life, and the awareness of preserving water in the West seems much more in the forefront than here in the East. Shuster, who came to New Mexico in 1920 to seek relief after getting tuberculosis during a gas attack in World War 1, painted other murals here portraying the earth, sky and emergence from the underworld (sipapu), and of daily life of winnowing wheat and pottery making. Honoring Pueblo Indian traditions when these were painted during the Great Depression, I think of what is most sacred during our own hard economic times, and how we should not betray the Earth with bad policy decisions in the false name of economic expansion. Clean water, air, soil and land - these are basic human rights.

The cowgirl room at the Casa Cuma Bed and Breakfast. At $169 plus tax a night (we stayed for two), this was a "splurge" place. We stayed at plenty of $60 a night cornflake breakfast roadside motels on this trip.

What were the lives of these cowgirls like?

Almond-encrusted French Toast in a warm peach sauce. My daily breakfast routine is so rushed, it was nice to savor a delicious start to the day in a beautiful setting with good conversation.

Breakfast quesadillas. Yum!

Prickly pear margarita, $7.50, and cheese enchiladas, Christmas style (half green, half red sauce), made with blue corn tortillas (common in New Mexio), $10.95, at The Shed.

Lemon souffle with raspberry sauce and whipped cream, $4.25, at The Shed. Steve and I went here based on a recommendation of our B&B host, but I recalled as soon as I saw the soufflé that Rachel Ray went here on her $40 a Day show. I love that show and its emphasis on eating great food on a budget.

A path in Bandolier National Monument, about 45 minutes outside of Santa Fe.

I pondered the lives of those who climbed stairs to mysterious dwellings... the Loretto Chapel Staircase, built by a mysterious carpenter after prayer by the nuns. The carpenter left after it was finished and asked for no compensation. Read about the story here.

You'll see sign markers at the end of the Santa Fe Trail, which according to Wikipedia, "was a 19th-century transportation route through central North America that connected Missouri with Santa Fe...Pioneered in 1822 by William Becknell, it served as a vital commercial and military highway until the introduction of the railroad to Santa Fe in 1880. At first an international trade route between the United States and Mexico, it was the 1846 U.S. invasion route of New Mexico during the Mexican–American War."

Jewelry merchants in the main square.

Artwork by the fireplace at the Casa Cuma. I admire people who have the gift of painting.

A postcard from the Georgia O'Keeffe museum (no photos were allowed in the museum, which I like). It's not hard to understand her intense attraction to New Mexico.

Ornaments in a storefront celebrate New Mexico's famous balloons.

On the road to Taos, we spotted a full rainbow.


  1. parisbreakfastNovember 24, 2011

    At least I have been to Santa Fe and two times at that! YAHOO
    I am not going to be happy with today's breakfast after all you've shown here.
    I have to admit that pinkish napkin looks a lot like a slice of ham and I don't even like meat, but the brain is churning.
    You covered a lot of turf here...
    merci carolg

  2. Thanks Carol! I so enjoy seeing photos from your trips in Paris, Venice, Maine, etc. And lucky - Santa Fe twice! Those breakfasts were a big change from my usual oatmeal or bowl of cold cereal. So funny about the pink ham napkin. I had a vegetarian recently tell me his favorite smell was bacon. I prefer Smart vegan bacon.