Home > Events > 2007
October 27 - 30
Santa Fe, New Mexico

Late October (Saturday October, 27 thru Tuesday October, 30th) we take a trip tf the "Land of Enchantment", Santa Fe, New Mexico. The oldest capital in the US (and the highest at 7,000 feet). The southwest desert, Spanish pueblo architecture, historical American Indian sites, and vibrant art community made it fantastic area of the country to explore and photograph.

Click this link to view larger individual pictures (not captioned) on my .MacGallery website.

Saturday, October 27

We flew from San Francisco to Albuquerque via United Express, a 2 hour non-stop flight (although delayed departure for over an hour). Our departure time of 12:18pm eventually ended up to be 2pm. We arrived in Albuquerque around 5pm, and quickly picked up our luggage and jumped into our rental car (Dodge Magnum) and then hit Interstate 25, north toward Santa Fe.The weather was clear and crisp and the blazing red Southwest sun was setting as we drove north out of Albuquerque. It was getting dark by the time we checked into our hotel in Santa Fe. We stayed at Hotel Santa Fe, just outside the downtown area. This hotel is owned by the Native Americans of the Picurs Pueblo, north of Santa Fe. We stayed in a nice suite. We were getting hungry so we asked the concierge for a good southwest restaurant near by. She recommende Los Mayas just north of the hotel. We sat in a covered patio listening to live music while eating our meal. I had pork sopapillas and Toby had enchilada variety platter. And I had two top shelf margaritas of course. The altitude sure makes to the drinks stronger!

Click the following names for more information on the places we've seen and visited:
Hotel Santa Fe
Los Mayas Restaurant

We leave Albuquerque heading north toward Santa Fe. We pass Sandia Peak, which we were going to visit the following day.

Room 215 in Hotel Santa Fe, just south of downtown, about a 10 minute walk.

Our first meal in Santa Fe was Mexican/Southwest cuisine at Los Mayas restaurant located just west of downtown. We had a lively dinner with music in the patio.

The band at Los Mayas played music while we ate.

Sunday, October 28

Sunday was our first full day in Santa Fe, we woke up early and ordered a continental breakfast for coffee, not aware there was free coffee just outside the door by the elevator. We hit the road early and drive down on I-25 to Albuquerque to take the tram up Sandia Peak. The weather was crystal clear but a little chilly (40s). The tram opened at 9am, we arrived around 9:30am. We quickly bought a ticket just in time to board the next departing tram car up the mountain. The tram built, in 1965, took us up 4,000 feet near the top of Sandia Peak in 15 minutes. It's the world's longest aerial tramway. At the top we had absolutely breath taking views of Albuquerque. We hiked along a 2 mile trail to the Kiwana's Cabin which is perched at the edge of peak. The views from this vantage point was worth the hike. We had lunch at the High Finance Restaurant located at the top by the tram station. We both ordered cheeseburgers!

Back at the base station, we jump into the car and head north toward Bandalier National Monument located south of Los Alamos. This canyon was occupied by the Pueblo Indians from 1100 - 1500s. We had to drive north past Santa Fe and then west over the Rio Grande river. We arrived at Bandalier around 2:30pm. The weather was warming up and we changed into shorts. We walked along the trail past the Big Kiva (large circular ceremonial pit) thru the ruins of Tyuonyi Indian Village. The trail went along the cliff edge to the Talus Houses (cliff dwellings), there was one unit you could climb a ladder into. Further along the trail was Long House, ruins of multistoried dwellings. We hiked half a mile into the Frijoles Canyon to the Alcove House, a ceremonial cliff dwelling 140' above the canyon floor. We climbed up four tall wood ladders to reach the top. In this 'cave' opening they reconstructed an actual covered ceremonial Kiva. After the climb to Alcove House, we hiked back to the car and hit the road back to Santa Fe. On the way back we stopped off to see "Camel Rock" formation just off the freeway.

Once back in Santa Fe, the sun was setting and it was time to get ready for dinner. We drive into downtown Santa Fe and walk around the plaza before deciding to eat at Coyote Cafe on Water Street. We first tried the outdoor Cantina portion of Coyote Cafe but it was to 'loud' for our taste, so after my margarita, we head indoors to the nicer elegant portion of the restaurant. We had a nice dinner with a southwest flair. I had pumpkin bean soup, and red snapper.

Click the following names for more information on the places we've seen and visited:
Sandia Peak Tramway
Bandalier National Monument
Coyote Cafe Restaurant

Early Sunday morning we head back to Albuquerque to ride the tram up Sandia Peak.

The ride took about 15 minutes and rose up over 4,000 feet.

The tram covers over 2 miles on it's ascent up Sandia Peak. The scenery on the journey up was magnificent.

The clear crisp weather at the top made for incredible vistas. Behind Toby on the peak is the Kiwanis Cabin, we later decide to hike there.

You could see forever from this vantage point. The town of Albuquerque lays in the valley below.

We take the 2 mile hike over to the Kiwanis cabin, we had some great views along the way.

The white trunks of the aspen trees made for some nice photos.

It was still early, and we were the only people on our hike and the only people at the Kiwanis cabin. The tram station is in background of this photo.

The cabin was originally constructed as a rest haven for hikers if they encounter bad weather.

This was the perfect location for our jumping photos! On our hike back, we passed numerous hikers heading toward the cabin.

After our early lunch at the High Finance Restaurant, we catch the tram back down the mountain.

Alan and Toby at the top tram station on Sandia Peak. You can see the Kiwanis cabin in the background on the peak to the right of Toby.

View from over 4,000 feet above Albuquerque at the top station on Sandia Peak, +10,300 feet elevation. Note: The Kiwanis cabin is located on top of the peak at the very right of the photo.

This is what the tram looks like from the bottom station.

The open desert and mountains were great subjects to photograph on our drive toward Bandalier National Park.

We arrive at Bandalier around 2:00. This vista point before entering the valley shows the cliffs where the indians once lived.

Tyuonyi village ruins. A large ceramonial Kiva is located just outside these ruins.

The trail leads up toward the base of the cliffs where numerous dwellings (Talus houses) were carved out of the soft rock.

One set of wooden ladders led up to one of the cliff dwellings.

There were numerous dwellings where visitors could climb and enter.

The cliff trail made for a great vantage point to view the village ruins below.

Up the trail is Long House cliff dwellings which had multi storied dwellings.

There were dwellings all along the base of the long cliff canyon.

After a short half mile hike we ascend the 140' ladders to Alcove House a ceremonial cliff dwelling high up on the cliff wall.

Up at Alcove House there was a complete Kiva.

We were the only people up at Alcove House. We entered the Kiva which was surprisingly cool.

We also had great views of Frijoles canyon from this vantage point.

Toby on top of the Kiva.

Alan descending one of the four ladders from Alcove House.

On our drive back to Santa Fe we stop to see Camel Rock located right off the highway.

Outside Palace of the Governors in downtown Santa Fe. We cruise the town for a dinner spot.

We decide to have a nice dinner out at Coyote Cafe.

Monday, October 29

Monday morning we again woke up early and had the free coffee. We hit the road early and stopped off at McD's for a quick breakfast. We drove north again on Highway 285, we exit route 502 toward Chimayo. On this route we drive through open land with very interesting rock formations. The route quickly brought us to the community of Chimayo, were we stop to visit the famed 'Miracle' church: El Santuario de Chimayo. The church was founded on a well of 'holy dirt' which supposedly has healing power. The devoute religious pilgrimage to this church during the Easter season. There were numerous alters with 'rocks' written with people's wishes for cures. To my surprise, you were able to take some 'dirt', so I purchased a small container and brought some home.

After this moving experience, we hit the road (Highway 76) east on the "High Road to Taos". The drive took us up the Truncas Plateau through quaint little towns like Las Tramps where there is an example of one of the best preserved adobe churches, San José de Gracia Church.

The high road went through pine forests as we descended the slopes down to the art community of Taos. Just past Taos is the Taos Pueblo, the oldest continuously inhabited community in the United States. The Native American Indians constructed these pueblos around 1000 AD, They appear much as they did when the first Spanish explorers arrived in 1540 AD. The famed church which Ansel Adams photographed is located in the center of this Pueblo.

After touring the Pueblo, we head north along route 64 heading toward the Rio Grande Gorge. We stop at the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge, the second tallest cantilever truss bridge in the country. The bridge was constructed in 1965 and is over 650 feet above the river.

After this short stop we head back into Taos where we have a late lunch at Doc Martin's restaurant located in the historic Taos Inn. We then walk along the streets of Taos which are lined with numerous art galleries, we stop off a the Plaza to rest. We then south to Rancho de Taos and stop off at one of the most photographed and painted mission church, San Francisco de Asis Church. This church was most notably painted by Georgia O'Keefe. After this stop, we hit the road back to Santa Fe.

While back in Santa Fe, the sun was still up so we head back into downtown Santa Fe to walk around. Although most of the sites were closed for the day the setting sun made for dramatic lightling. We walked pasted Mission San Jose and Loretta Chapel and around the numerous shops along the plaza. Later that evening we head out for a nice Italian dinner at Ostera D'Assisi.

Click the following names for more information on the places we've seen and visited:
El Santuario de Chimayo "Lourdes of America"
San Jose de Gracia Church in Las Trampas
Taos Pueblo
Rio Grande Gorge Bridge
Doc Martin's Restaurant at the Taos Inn
San Francisco de Asis Church
Taos Vacation Guide
Osteria D'Assisi Ristorante Italiano

The exterior of our hotel, a spanish pueblo style three story building. We head out early to drive north toward Chimayo and Taos.

Chimayo had some great fall color.

Numerous shrines and alters surrounded the church in Chimayo.

Toby outside the gates of Santuario de Chhimayo.

I bought a small vile to take a small sample of the sacred healing dirt.

The visit to this church was a very moving experience. We depart just before the 11am mass to head up toward Taos.

Panorama view from top of Truncas Mesa looking west toward Chimayo on the "High Road to Taos" (Hwy 76)

The church at Las Trampas was a great example of an adobe structure.

Alan at Las Trampas' San Jose de Gracia adobe church.

Our drive north took us to the Taos Pueblo, the oldest continuously occupied community in the country.

Adobe walls surround the remains of the old St. Jerome chapel.

The newer St. Jerome chapel is located in the center of the pueblo.

This is "North House" one of the oldest structures in this community.

St. Jerome was made famous when Ansel Adams photographed it in 1941.

After Taos Pueblo we drove 10 miles north toward the Rio Grande Gorge.

Route 64 crossed the Rio Grande River with the second tallest cantilever truss bridge.

We walk about a third of the way over the bridge. As cars drove over the bridge the entire structure shook.

The river is over 650 feet below. Our tiny shadow can be seen on the river bed below.

Our rental Dodge Magnum.

We stop for lunch at Doc Martin's within the historic Taos Inn.

We rest at the Taos Plaza before hitting the road back to Santa Fe.

On our drive back we make a stop at San Francisco de Asis church just outside of Taos.

The San Francisco de Asis church was often painted by Georgia O'Keefe.

Back in downtown Santa Fe, we catch the setting sun which illumintated the numerous sites.

San Miguel mission glowed in the setting sun, although the church itself was closed for the day.

We walk by the closed Loretta Chapel.

Later that night we have a nice Italian dinner at Osteria d'Assis.

Tuesday, October 30

On our last morning in Santa Fe, we woke up early to pack up all our belongings to check out of the hotel before 10am. The weather was again bright and clear, although a bit chilly. After checking out we drove into town, parked the car and walked over to the San Miguel Mission. The church opened it's door at 9am so we were able to enter (it was closed when we visited the day before). To my surprise, we were able to take interior photos, unlike all the other churches we visited earlier. This is the oldest church in the country, well parts of the church foundations is built on top of an Indian Pueblo dating back to 1300AD. We then walked down the street to the newer Loretta Chapel (built 1878) famed for it's miraculous staircase, which apparently was built with no visible means of support, and no nails! It has been the subject of many articles and TV specials like "Unsolved Mysteries".

We then headed over to the historic La Fonda Hotel to have brunch at their La Plazuela Restaurant. The restaurant is located in a very colorful covered courtyard in the center of the hotel. We had a nice relaxing brunch before heading out into town. We walked past the Indian merchants lining the sidewalk in front of the Palace of the Govenrnors. I carefully looked over the various indian artworks for sale, so I can purchase stuff later. We then walked over to the Georgia O'Keefe museum. At the museum we learned how she fell in love with the desert southwest and eventually made it her home. Many of her later works of art reflected the southwest landscape and culture.

After the visit in the museum, we ventured out on the town for shopping. We bought some items from the Indian vendors like small holiday ornaments and a bracelet made of torqouise and shells. We stopped and had some coffee before heading back to our car. We did a quick drive through Canyon Road to see the numerous art galleries and restaurants with lined the street.

Then it was off to Albuquerque to return the car and go to the airport. We thought we were running late, since we had to find gas to fill up the rental car before we returned it. (Where are all the gas stations?) We find out that our 4:18pm flight was delayed tto 5:50pm! So we had a burrito at the airport for dinner while we waited. We arrived back to San Francisco before 8pm that evening.

We both enjoyed the southwest community of Santa Fe and the numerous sites we visited. We both did a lot of research prior to our travel to learn as much of the area as possible, the actual journey we took proved to be very rewarding and surpassed all our expectations.

Click the following names for more information on the places we've seen and visited:
EL San Miguel Mission
Loretta Chapel
La Plazuela Restaurant in La Fonda Hotel
Saint Francis Chathedral
Palace of the Governors
Georgia O'Keefe Museum

Early Tuesday morning we head back to San Miguel mission which was open for the day.

We were able to take photos inside the mission.

The miraculous staircase at Loretta Chapel.

Alan and the staircase.

The staircase was constructed without any nails and no visible means of support.

We then have brunch at La Plazuela Restaurant in the central courtyard of the La Fonda Hotel.

The restaurant was surrounded with colorful painted window panels.

After brunch we head over toward the large St. Francis Cathedral.

The impressive church was built on top of a much older adobe church.

The church had impressive stained glass windows.

Tuesday, we spent a good amount of time shopping.

I bought some authentic indian ornaments and tourqouise bracelet from the Indian merchants outside the Palace of the Governors.

We learn about the life of famed painted Georgia O'Keefe at her museum in town.