Sunday, August 27, 2017

How To Spend a Great Day in Santa Fe

We are staying in Albuquerque out at the Kirtland AFB FamCamp.  It is a great stop for us.  Very convenient getting into from the Eubank Gate and we like the big gravel sites.  We always try to go up to Santa Fe at least one time during our time here and yesterday was the day.

We started off the day with breakfast at Frontier Restaurant on Central.
Its right across from UNM and one of the premier places to eat and people watch in the city.  Not to mention we like the food.
You can't go wrong with a breakfast burrito with green chile or Huevos Lite with red chile sauce, coffee and one of those dietary sweet rolls (heated).

The drive to Santa Fe on I-25 took about 55 minutes.  The speed limit is 75 but we got passed frequently.  Before you know it you are on top of La Bajada Hill and looking down into Santa Fe against the backdrop of the Sangre de Christo mountains.

We took the exit for Cerrillos (suh-REE-yos) Road.  It is always amazing to me to see how this end of town has grown and changed so dramatically.

We were a little early to meet up with Steve and Karen, so we got picked up some tourist maps and info at the Santa Fe Outlet Stores.  We weren't sure if the stores were open (they weren't at 9:30) but they did have a self service tourism kiosk where we were able to pick up a couple of city maps and tourist info.

This was the inaugural effort of Roadrunner Tour: Santa Fe, so we wanted to do it right and have some handouts.  Santa Fe is known as "The City Different" for its blending of some many cultures,  and for its art, architecture and chiles.  It was founded in 1610 by Spanish colonists and the oldest church in the United States (San Miguel) still stands.  It continues to be a record setting city with attractive vistas and a popular tourist destination.

Besides that, it's my hometown and I love to come back for a visit when we can.  And yesterday it was fun to share it with good friends.

I always love a good map and find them useful to get oriented.  Here are some I found:
We still had some time and went to one of the many Car Washes on Cerrillos Rd.  First one cost $19.  Oops wrong one.  Next one was $9. Better (similar to the $3 car wash we go to in Virginia Beach, but hey-- you are in Santa Fe!)

After the tour limo (our Honda CRV) was cleaned and vacuumed, we went to the Santa Fe Skies RV park and met Steve and Karen.  I think the last time we saw them was over a year ago in Red Bay.  Good to see them again.

Off we went for the first stop which just off Cerrillos Road and a drive by of my old house where I grew up.  I keep hoping that the broken down appearance and cars (in the front yard) would be replaced by some owners with a sense of pride and orderliness.  Nope -- still in a needy condition and no where near the grass lawn and shade trees and flowers that we worked hard to bring about in the 1960's and 1970's.

Next, we continued on toward downtown past the old Kinney Shoe Store, St. Michael's College, El Rey Motel,

Ashbaugh Park, and the Indian School (owned by the 19 Pueblos of New Mexico and serving 700 Native American Indians in grades 7-12).

After the passing the School for the deaf and crossing St. Frances Drive, we continued on and turned left to go by the The Railyard District.

The Railroad Yard was established about 15 years ago and now is the terminus for the  Railrunner and host to a number of trendy cafes, art stores and the local Farmer's Market and Art Market.  The Farmer's Market is open daily and the Artist Market is open during the summer on Saturdays.  We recommended Tomasita's Restaurant.  We have eaten there and like it.

Moving through the area, we drove past the Old Capitol building (with the Territorial style buildings) on Don Gaspar, then turned on DeVargas and past the Oldest House and Oldest Church.  We continued on our windshield tour over to Canyon Road and up the art mecca area of the city.  100's of galleries along this famous road.  We continued on the back streets going around the city on Paseo de Peralta and found a city parking garage on Marcy Ave.

From the garage we went over to Sena Plaza and ate at The Shed.
That was a treat!  It never disappoints.  We all had chile with our meals.  Growing up there, I remember green chile being the hotter of the two.  Over the years though that seems to have changed.  Most places in where we eat, they said the red chile is the hottest.  Our waiter took a different approach and said, neither.  They are the same.

More correctly I think is the response, "It depends".  Sometimes the green is the hottest, sometimes its red.  Lately it seems to me that the red is the hottest.  Steve had the red, Karen had the green and Pam and I had red.  Karen and Steve grew up back east and thought the chile is spicey.  I thought it was flavorful.  No matter though -- it added to the burrito, combination plate and Carne Arvado plate that Pam and I shared.  It was simply excellent!
After lunch we stolled along the Plaza, looked at the jewelry from the Indian vendors under the portal of the Palace of the Governors.
Then we continued down Palace Ave past the Georgia O'Keefe Museum.  We walked up Burro Alley, saw the Lensic Theater and the rest of the shops along W. San Francisco Ave.  We went a few blocks to where I remember Woolworth's was and the famous frito pie.  Now the Five and Dime sells it.

Going on past the opposite side of the Palace of the Governor's I noticed how nice the Plaza is these days.  There a plenty of park benches and the green grass and those wonderful shade trees.  It is all a lot nicer than I remember years ago.  There was something was going on at the Bandstand but we kept walking and strolled through the lobby of the La Fonda Hotel.

La Fonda is such a landmark and interesting place.  We walked around for a few minutes then went back out onto San Francisco to the St. Francis Cathedral.  It was built by Bishop Lamy and completed in 1886. What a beautiful cathedral.
We looked around and took a few pictures and then went a couple of streets over to the Loretto Chapel and Miraculous Staircase.
The Staircase was a $3 entry fee but completely worth it. As the story goes when the chapel was being built, the nuns needed a way to get to the choir loft high above. They were at a standstill and there was not enough space in the small church to build a standard staircase.  So they prayed.  Later a mysterious man who was an expert carpenter showed up and figured it out.  Without nails or supports, he completed the task with a circular spiral staircase.  Without fanfare or formal notice he left and told no one.  He was never paid for his work.

On previous visits to the chapel, I don't remember a recording with speakers providing the history and story.  It was a nice way to accommodate the visitors while they wandered around the ornate chapel.  Some stood and looked at the staircase, others sat and listened to the story or gazed upon the beautiful  stained glass windows on one end and the white altar on the other.

That was the last stop on the Roadrunner Tour: Santa Fe and we walked to the Plaza toward our parked car.  As we were moving along we saw a few people gathered and went over to see country and western star Randy Travis enjoying his celebrity with some friends.  The person with him asked if anyone wanted a picture so I accommodated.
A fan was telling him how she won a talent contest in school by singing one of his hits:  "Forever and ever Amen!".  It was released in 1987 and became his third number one single.

We took a drive around the Scottish Rite Temple and around what was Santa Fe Mid-High School.  Back in the day 9th and 10th grades were in the old high school and the new Santa Fe High was built on the edge of town on Yucca St. 

We drove past the old high school, the Government building and Post Office and then out past Rosario Cemetery and De Vargas Mall and took St Francis Drive down to Cerrillos Road and out to the Santa Fe bypass (Highway 599) to Santa Fe Skies RV park.

The few hours went quickly and it was a fun filled day with our good friends Steve and Karen.  Hopefully, you can see our approach to spending a few hours in a place where a week is really not enough to take it all in.  Still, there are some memorable and interesting things to do in only a few hours.

We never tire of seeing Santa Fe and spending some time there.  It was a beautiful day in a beautiful city with beautiful friends.

Thanks for joining us to day on the Roadrunner Chronicles.


  1. That was a very comprehensive post on the day Randy. Perhaps I'll just post a link to it, rather than write up an entire blog post. LOL

  2. That is quite a staircase, nice pic. Sounds like a good day, is it hot there?

    1. I think it was about 83. Santa Fe is at 7,000 feet elevation and was quite pleasant.

  3. Wow! How awesome to see Randy Travis! And you have the picture to prove it! Very cool!