On our first road trip, twenty-eight years ago, we came to Taos, enjoying the scent of earth and sage, the look of adobe, mesas, and mountains, our newly in love eyes sharing the mutual feast of New Mexico. I love how, after all these years, it continues to inspire, delight, and restore, a mirror of our own love.
And for a bit of a change (the photos after LAFYOGI), we took a route untraveled, winding east along 64 to Cimarron. We enjoyed a good snoop and delicious lunch (fish & chips and smothered bison burger) at the St. James Hotel (a place famous for ghosts and gangsters and history) before another beautiful drive home, some of it during a massive and much needed rain fall.
Hi there! Way back in January, when the global pandemic was not even an inkling of a possibility in my mind, I laid plans for another birthday celebration in Taos. As the day grew closer, Greg and I fretted over whether or not we should go, not wanting to be at risk or put others in harm’s way with our travel. I am pleased to report all went smoothly, distances were kept, and masks were worn in all the appropriate places – by us and others. Best of all, the trip soothed like a balm.
A highlight – we made all of our meals in our rental’s kitchen, stocking up at our favorite grocer and bringing much of our own fare from home, which is a long prelude to this bit of excitement: I smoked trout! It was fabulous with salad and purple potatoes and as delightful as store bought at a fraction of the price. Toot, toot, toot the horns of glee!
Good morning, Santa Fe! The handsome hubster enjoys the little yard at our casita. We’d already walked to Dolina’s Bakery, where the service is adorable and patiently kind, and the pastry choices difficult to make. We bought croissants and a slice of amazing coffee cake.
Silly Juniper would not run through the tunnel! We tossed the ball halfway, and she darted in and backed her way out. We also forgot to bring her water to the dog park, so she made due with snow. Eeek, that dog is so stinking cute!
I am slightly embarrassed to admit that we haven’t spent much of our Santa Fe time on Museum Hill. We got to work on it, with a trip to the glorious Museum of International Folk Art. What fun that was, with every manner of joyful treasure I adore: amazing rugs, guitars made from license plates and cigar boxes, straw dolls, miniature after miniature, treasures from trash (the moose made by kids from Santa Clara Pueblo), and a memory of my time at Standing Rock. Woot!
We spent an evening at the Rail Yard, enjoying The Gentlemen at the Violet Crown. We’d never been, and were sure glad to go. Everyone was super friendly, the snacks and drinks top notch, and the theater was pretty posh, too, with those seats that make you feel you aren’t really at the movies. The fil-um satisfied, providing laugh after laugh, in an uber-clever Guy Ritchie caper way.
I vacillated on my decision to show you our treasures, mostly because I feel slightly boorish saying, “Look what I got!!” The more I thought on it, however, I realized I want the people behind them to get their due. It is their bread and butter, after all. These are in pretty random order, so get our your magnifier and use your beautiful eyes!
The Anasazi beans (so delicious!), mild green chile powder, and Chimayo chile powder (only a few families in the area grow them – pretty special), as well as the barely discernible tiny spoon charm came from El Potrero Trading Post in Chimayo. They ship, should you have a hankering and not be lucky enough to go.
The other charms and strings of beads came from Glorianna’s, the oldest bead shop in Santa Fe. Chockablock with every manner of beautiful bead, I had a hard time restraining myself. The woman who runs the shop is Starr, the daughter of Glorianna, who passed in 2018, and is so kind and helpful. She was wearing a beautiful velveteen suit her mother made in the 50s – a stunner! What a treasure of a place.
The blue corn pinon pancake mix from Santa Fe Culinaria is delicious, but contains soy flour which makes my tummy scream, ruh-roh! Greg is luxuriating in a selfish pancake moment. The milagro heart and cross with pink flowers are from the Palace Hotel in Las Vegas and look fabulous among their New Mexico kin on my basement bathroom wall.
Fun and yummy red chile chocolate bar from Los Muertos. Another round of the best cola in the mundo – Zia Pinon, as well as several more bags of our favorite Casa Blanca Red Chile Jerky. The magnet with the car is from El Zocalo in Las Vegas, a very dangerous place for me. They have a stellar selection of paintings, jewelry, pottery, just about everything an art lover wants to take home.
The ornament was made by Rita Johnson, a Navajo Sandpainter we met on the plaza. She doesn’t have a website, but if you’re interested in her work, as she does more than ornaments, message me on my about page, and I’ll hook you up with her phone number.
Oops! I nearly forgot the wee Huichol bowl, purchased at the Folk Art Museum and the super cool thunderbird belt Greg bought at the Tin-Nee-Ann Trading Post in Santa Fe. It’s one of the old school places that’s been open longer than I’ve been alive. We finally made it in. A trip of firsts…
Our fantastic Casita was everything we could ask for in a home away from home and was a lovely walk from the Plaza.
We made an unexpected change for our first meal, enjoying Italian at il piatto rather than the New Mexican that is our go-to. We’re so glad we did, with yummy wine, a fab Caesar salad, scallops, mussels, and the best gnocchi I’ve ever tasted. The pretty roasted pear panna cotta wasn’t too shabby, either. Our resident chocoholic adored it!
What made it even better was our fine server, named Greg (I know!!). He and his girlfriend moved from Long Island to Santa Fe on a lark back in December, after she whispered in his good ear. A great story! We hope all that is wonderful about Santa Fe keeps them there.
The light! The adobe! They don’t call it the Land of Enchantment for nothing.
Our cutie pie was weary of the fire. It made noises at her. We made up for it with long walks, extra treats, and cuddle after cuddle.
San Jose de Gracia Church in Las Trampas, looking much as it did when it was built, circa 1770 – 1776. I stand in awe of the strength of such modest and beautiful structures.
The friendliest conquistador greets us at Centinela Traditional Arts in Chimayo. It is a cooperative run by Lisa and Irvin Trujillo, some of the finest weavers in the world. They were off on a rare vacation, and their daughter Emily was our wonderful guide. She was warm, funny, modest (You’re lovely and big hearted. Be kinder to yourself!), highly knowledgeable, and let us see the back room, where the hand dyed yarns, many of which with insects and local plants, were in full splendor.
I also appreciated her patience, as I initially couldn’t decide between two weavings by Victoria Verry. After a bit of hemming and hawing, I bought them both. Which reminds me, I also bought a weaving in Mora, and will show them all to you in my final post, in a round up of our treasures.
El Santuario de Chimayo is considered one of, if not the most important Catholic pilgrimage site in the United States. It is no doubt magical and beautiful (no photos allowed of the interior, sadly), but my reasons for visiting were not of the typical variety. I believe my Great Grandmother Esquipula, who was born nearby in 1825, was named for the original church and most definitely, along with many of my local ancestors, attended mass here.
The thrumming in my heart, all those joyful spirits cozied up beside me as I sat in contemplation, was utterly spellbinding, and, no surprise, brought me to tears.
If ever you decide to visit, be sure to make a stop at El Potrero Trading Post. They have a wonderful selection of milagros, local beans and chiles, sweet treats, and every manner of Chimayo treasure.