We, rather, he drove a scenic backish road to Santa Fe, Route 104. There is something about driving west across New Mexico for the first time. Unable to quite put my finger on the feeling; a lingering nostalgia of someplace I’ve once been interlaced with wide-eyed awe for having an experience so very new and so very spectacular.
For an hour and a half on Route 104 we saw six other cars. That was it. Six cars. Sleepily winding, wide, open roads, ceaseless swaths of land that drop off the edge of earth, inconspicuous fences lining a spectrum of wildflowers that nature so perfectly planted they stimulate all the senses, and one perfect red barn contrasting silvery green scrub. And now I understand the meaning of purple mountains majesty. Stunning.
Surely, I’m overusing the word, stunning. If I weren’t so lazy, I would do a google search on synonyms for stunning. Okay. Done. There’s a shit-ton of other words I could use. How stunning is that?
We made a pit stop in Las Vegas…New Mexico. I became quite fond of this well maintained, hippster-esque and eclectic pueblo. We hung out at the Historic Plaza Park. Lined with Victorian buildings, the park is inhabited with wooden, post-modern statues symbolizing the struggles and religion of Native Americans.
Feed your soul in Santa Fe, New Mexico. The state capital of New Mexico, Santa Fe, has a population of about 70,000 people and is also the oldest capital in the US and oldest city in New Mexico. A town with a chill vibe, warm adobe architecture, cozy boutiques, cosmopolitan restaurants and friendly folks, Santa Fe is brimming with character. Enchanting. We visited on a weekend, and the plaza was an indubitable mecca of creativity with art fairs at the plaza both days. No dogs allowed in the park during art fairs. Disappointed face emoticon.
We chose two museums to explore: The Museum of Contemporary Native Arts and the Georgia O’Keefe Museum. Check the Santa Fe calendar of events to get the lowdown on what’s happening in town, or maybe a walking tour is more your style.
Museum of Contemporary Native Arts – Institute of American Indian Arts
108 Cathedral Place
Free on Sundays for residents of NM
Free for all indigenous people and veterans
The Museum of Contemporary Native Arts (MoCNA) a center of the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA), is dedicated to increasing public understanding and appreciation of/for contemporary Native art, history and culture through presentation, collection/acquisition, preservation, and interpretation.
I visited this modern, crisp museum with the hopes of learning more about native New Mexican culture through art. And that I did. Much of the art focused on social and mother earth justice. The current exhibitions are ARTiculations in print showcasing various creative and engaging printed matter.
My favorite exhibit, We Hold These Truths, was created by Shan Goshorn. Goshorn’s paintings and baskets focuses on indigenous perspective and activism. The title of her exhibit quotes the U.S. Declaration of Independence, because “most Americans are not aware that national sovereignty can only be recognized by an established sovereign nation,” and “the foundation that Thomas Jefferson used for the Constitution was drawn directly from the observations that he and Ben Franklin made while attending the convening of the Iroquoian Confederacy.” The artist continued to explain how the influence of indigenous communities on American history continues to the present but their source has become invisible like, as she states, the indigenous people.
The museum also presented Native American Short Films by Sundance. I sat comfortably in the cool, dark theatre savoring those films.
The sculpture garden outside is fab.
Georgia O’Keeffe Museum
217 Johnson Street
How could I be in Santa Fe and not check out the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum? Totally worth the $12.00 ticket price. I especially loved the films they show about Georgia and her life. There was a special exhibit displaying the artwork she created in Hawaii along with her friend, Ansel Adams, and his work depicted the continuity between their two artistic styles.
Lodging and Vegan in Santa Fe
We lodged at Motel 6 Santa Fe Plaza Downtown on 646 Cerrillos Road. Clean, comfortable and spacious, this Motel 6 was a good buy and carried a friendly vibe. It’s within walking distance to downtown albeit a tad far in the scorching heat, 1 block from a city park (with picnic spots and walking trails) called Rail Yard, and 1 block from Whole Foods.
Food-wise I didn’t know what to expect out here in the high desert. I was hopeful and doubtful given the cosmopolitan yet down-home feel of Santa Fe. Thai Vegan had great reviews, but we weren’t in the mood for hot spicy Thai on a hot, spicy day. Many restaurants we researched had vegan options (see Happy Cow for a list), but there wasn’t an abundance of options as I had hoped. We ate at India House the first night good veggie options and papadum (yum). The second night we took the 1-block walk to Whole Foods and loaded up on veggie deli foods. Both meals made for a welcomed change. Subway veggie sandwiches and potato chips do get tiresome over time. Well maybe not potato chips.
I’ve been absolutely terrified every moment of my life – and I’ve never let it keep me from doing a single thing I wanted to do.
May the sun bring you new energy by day, may the moon softly restore you by night, may the rain wash away your worries, may the breeze blow new strength into your being, may you walk gently through the world and know its beauty all the days of your life.
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Our Journey West Across the US
Post #1: Macon Music in Georgia
Post #2: Boy from Tupelo, Mississippi
Post #3: Two Must-Sees in Memphis Tennessee
Post #4: Mosey Through the Arkansas Ozarks
Post #5: Gettin’ Our Kicks on Route 66 from Missouri to Sapulpa, Oklahoma
Post #6: More Route 66 Kicks from Sapulpa to Oklahoma City
Post #7: Don’t Mess with Texas on Route 66
Post #8: Route 66 Texas Panhandle
Post #9: Bound for Tucumcari, New Mexico
This is Post #10: Santa Fe’ed Your Soul
Post #11: The Winds of Taos
Post #12: The Good, the Bad, and the Heinous of New Mexico
Post #13: Dusky, Durable Durango
Post #14: Cliff Dwellings of Mesa Verde Colorado
Post #15: Moab Rocks
Post #16: No Clever Title for Richfield, Utah
Post #17: Leavening Las Vegas