Day 3: Santa Fe

Santa Fe is an art collector’s kind of town. Galleries selling fine art of many varieties abound. Oil paintings, pottery, sculpture, jewelry, most of which have a southwestern flair can be had for prices that mirror their quality. Additionally, if you are in the market for anything that you might want to wear to a rodeo, there’s a good chance you’ll find something that will strike your fancy if not your pocketbook.

Even if you’re not in the market for art, strolling the streets and admiring the architecture is fun and free. Completed in 1878, Loretto Chapel is home to an engineering marvel, The Miraculous Staircase, a spiral staircase leading to the choir loft built without center or side supports. The Chapel, modeled after Sainte Chapelle in Paris, is now a private museum operated and maintained for the Staircase and events such as concerts and weddings. The small fee is certainly worth the visit.

The highlight of our Palm Sunday visit to Santa Fe was visiting the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum and learning more about her life and work she so clearly loved. Her prolific body of work and contribution to American art in the last century is remarkable.

New Mexicans take their chiles seriously and here, Hatch is king. The famous green beauties are best eaten fresh, and the most popular method of preservation after roasting is to freeze them, making transport outside of New Mexico difficult. I have been told that the dried and jarred variety aren’t quite as good, so I was especially happy to enjoy a New Mexican favorite at the Blue Corn Cafe and Brewery.

After placing our orders, unexpectedly out came a cup of green chili stew for each of us. A huge smile spread over my resident New Mexican friend’s face. “This is one of my favorite things!” And now I know why. It was delicious! A sinus clearing spicy stew of green chili, pork and potato, many locals favor this hearty stew on cold winter days and nights. A bowl of this stuff and a cold beer is a meal unto itself.

When planning a visit to Santa Fe pay attention to operating hours for whatever shops or restaurants you are hoping to explore. Many restaurants, for example, close between lunch and dinner, making timing your meal all the more important if you are only in town for the day, as we were.

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