Before the Railrunner, Albuquerque was a day trip and not necessarily a part of a visit to Santa Fe. Now, you can catch the train in the morning, hop a local bus to Old Town (& museums), or out to a shopping mall and be back by the end of the day. So, don't forget to check out the local transportation in Albuquerque and see if it fits your style.
Not surprisingly, New Mexico is one of the bigger hotbeds of Free Masons in the US. The original free thinkers fit into the artistic climate of the colorful state. I knew little of this organization but was intrigued on seeing the Scottish Rite Masonic Center in Santa Fe. Not a true religion but a fraternity of men who accept one's path to God as an individual choice, Free Masonry takes its origin in France but is based on some legends of Scottish conception, hence the name. After the initial three degrees are passed, one can ascribe to a Master's which encompasses 4th through the 32nd degree, with a 33rd one designated for only exceptional service. Though not a religious affiliation, the members have a common belief and devotion to “their” chosen God and have their written scripture on display. Since the predominant religion in the US is Christianity, the Bible is the book generally on display at the altar. It would be interesting to see if the ideals of the original Masons live on today since to become a member you must be invited by a member. Would a Christian member invite a Muslim one? If so, I'm all for it.
Thank you. we are in Santa fe now. Great place ..weather is bad, its colder and rainier than Seattle.
On our way here from Denver on I-25, we drove through a ghost town call Ludlow, it was a nice drive, got to see some amazing landscape and old houses and we stop at las vegas for dinner at a roadside mexican resturant (Johnny's) the food was good and in expensive, but no beer!
North from Santa Fe, towards Bandelier and Los Alamos you can travel into the Jewez Mountains. Less than 15 minutes past Bandelier you will see the Volcano Caldera described below.
In the summer you can look for obsidian along the road way of the volcano. In the winter, you will find snow as pictured below.
This volcano erupted one million years ago with the force of 45 times Mount St. Helens. This will give you an idea of the strength of this blast.
I recommend seeing both Bandelier and this volcano. It takes the better part of a day, but is a good break from the galleries and tourist areas of Santa Fe.
Driving south from Santa Fe towards Albuquerque, you take the Cochiti Pueblo offramp. Then you travel 15 minutes to Tent Rocks National Monument.
These strange rock formations were made from the volcanic blast over a million years ago. This rock was cemented through time and then eroded into the tent formations.
These formations are famous for yielding apache tears, which are black rocks made of volcanic glass called obsidian. These small pebbles are found at the bottom of the cliffs in the white dirt area.
You will find a nice picnic area, toilets, but now water. In the summer you need to bring bottled water.
The entrance fee is the standard US monument fee. $8.00 or the annual pass.
Plan to spend several hours here if you use the first trail. You will need more hours if you go on to the second trail further on.
you will be amazed at these formations....
Drive north and then west from Santa Fe in the direction of Los Alamos. Then watch for signs to Bandelier National Monument.
These well preserved ruins are most interesting. You hike from the visitor's center and go up along the cliff side. The Indians have carved rooms into the cliff. Here you can see petroglyphs.
The view from above is terrific and you can get an idea of what it was like back then.
Some of the houses have been rebuilt to show you what they looked like.
Bandelier is one of our favorite places to visit. Be sure and bring a water bottle in the summer.
There is a snack bar and lots of souvenirs to check out.
The fee for entrance is the standard one for US monuments.
Cloud Cliff Bakery & Restaurant
Excellent bakery and restaurant that is way ahead of the crowd for sustainability.
Sponsors stimulating talks and art events. Hidden away on Second Street, where many good things are emerging.
Some of the staff and managemnt have a bit of "attitude" but it's worth letting it slide.
Soak and maybe try a massage, facial or other treatment at 10,000 Waves up Artists Road, which becomes the Ski Basin Road. The setting is superb. There are communal tubs or you can reserve a private tub for up to 8 I think. Everything is well done. Authentic. Beautifully constructed Japanese architecture. The water is treated through ionization and peroxide? It is much better, healthier, gentler, than chlorinated.
The New Mexico Museum of Art was founded in 1917 as the Art Gallery of the Museum of New Mexico. Its holdings number more than 23,000 objects, focusing on the areas of photography and works on paper; paintings, sculpture and furniture from the 20th century; and contemporary art. There is particular emphasis on work produced in or related to New Mexico. The museum is located at the intersection of Palace and Lincoln Avenues near the northwest corner of the Plaza.
There are many hidden courtyards in Santa Fe. Sena Plaza is one of them. Originally the conquistador, Alfrez Diego de Guiros, received the parcel of land as a reward for his assistance in the re-conquest of Santa Fe after the Pueblo Revolt of 1690. In 1796, Don Juan Sena and his wife bought the land when Santa Fe was still part of Mexico. In the 1830's, Don Juan and his son, Major Jose Sena started building the structure that exists today. It eventually had 33 rooms to house Don Juan's 23 children and their families.
Sena Plaza is located to the northeast of the main Plaza near The Shed Restaurant at 125 East Palace Avenue. It has several shops and its own restaurant, La Casa Sena. However, it is a quiet refuge away from the bustle around the main Plaza.
The Institute of American Indian Arts Museum is "dedicated to showcasing contemporary Native American fine art and to training the next generation of Native museum professionals." It is located in downtown Santa Fe, next to the Cathedral Basilica and the La Fonda Hotel, one block from the historic Santa Fe Plaza and the Palace of the Governors. The Museum’s collection includes over 7,000 works of art.
For a different day, head south to the Turquoise Trail. If you're like me, you'll enjoy most, standing on the edge of Sandia Peak, looking down thousands of feet (hundreds of meter, 300 m to 1000 ft) to Albuqueque. The trail consist of very small towns that remain from the turquoise mines.
North of Santa Fe, outside of Espanola, is El Santuario. It is a small church that has become a pilgramage site for the sick. Miracles have occurred after visiting this site. It's a beautiful drive and a pleasant setting. For the healthy, it is refreshing for the spirit and the body. For more information, see my Chimayo page.
One ancestral home of the Pueblo people, Bandelier National Moument protects the ruins of many communities scatter across the high mesas and the fertile vallies. Where these people came from is still not clear. When they moved to after decades of occupation are the vallies surrounding the Jemez Mountains. The Santa Clara Pueblo has roots in the ruins to their west and the Tsankawi Ruins of the park by the entrance road to the Los Alamos community. The Chochiti Pueblo traces it's ancestry back to the people who occupied the Frijoles Canyon during the height of the Bandelier communities. For suggestions, please see my Bandelier tips.
Heart of the Northern Rio Grande Valley. Access to the Mountain Churches, El Sanctuario, Taos , Taos Pueblo, and Chama. Please see my Espanola travel page for what details I have added so far. It's a work in progress and not all of these topics are there yet. (15, May 2007).