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Santa Fe: it’s all about the food, art, architecture and very friendly locals

We reluctantly left our spectacular mountain-top hideaway to explore the beautiful and historic town of Santa Fe. But as always, the first order of business was FOOD. Fresh fajitas were being cooked up on the plaza but…NO.


We were holding out for exactly what we were looking for…The Plaza Cafe.

It’s Santa Fe’s oldest restaurant. Serving food since 1905, The Plaza provides real-deal New Mexican cuisine in an old diner. We had a great window seat where we could people watch without getting caught.

For a guy who never eats breakfast, Bart went all out with a gigantic omelet loaded with healthy things like bacon and cheese, and accompanied by sides of green and red salsa. In New Mexico, when you want both salsas, you simply order “Christmas”.


Rorie decided to try a new-fangled, New Mexican treat, a blue corn piñon pancake. Made with blue corn meal and loaded with pine nuts, this was not your everyday IHOP pancake. Warm butter and a stream of thick syrup made this breakfast well worth every carb.


There are lots of specialty shops on streets around the historic Santa Fe Plaza.  The buildings are just as interesting as the inventory inside.


It seemed like the whole town was getting ready for Christmas …hanging lights, decorating store fronts with wreaths and trees. This is how the Loretto Hotel just off the Plaza decorates it’s balconies with luminaries. Stunning.


This Santa Fe chocolatier has been hand making small batch candy since 1971.


So many choices, so full from breakfast. Of course we had to have a tiny sample. Rorie went for one piece of chocolate with caramel and pine nuts (OK so it was the size of a fist!) and Bart tried a few pieces made with hot chili…a treat that set his taste buds dancing.


There are so many museums in Santa Fe but 2 of our favorites were the Georgia O’Keefe Museum and the Museum of Contemporary Native American Arts.

Opened in 1997, the Georgia O’Keefe Museum houses over 3,000 pieces of her work including her iconic paintings of flowers, New York skyscrapers and New Mexico landscapes, and almost 700 drawings. The museum is dedicated to ensuring the world knows about Georgia O’Keefe’s life, art and legacy as the “Mother of American Modernism”.


This is a picture of Georgia O’Keefe hitching a ride back to her home…Ghost Ranch. Bart thought these two were on an earlier Discover Small Town America Tour.


Our 2nd favorite Santa Fe museum was the Museum of Contemporary Native Arts. It’s dedicated to increasing public understanding and appreciation of Native American art, history and culture. The museum houses the largest collection of contemporary Native art in the world. These painted columns and stunning sculpture are in the front of the museum and are just a sample of the interesting pieces you’ll find inside.


The Loretto Chapel, a former Roman Catholic church, is the first Gothic building west of the Mississippi and home of the Miraculous Stairway.


Before entering the Chapel, we saw a small tree loaded with rosaries and silver crosses. We weren’t sure of its significance, but it was an amazing sight. Inside this beautiful old church, the staircase to the choir loft is called miraculous because it consists of 2 helix-shaped spirals that have absolutely no form of support…defying engineering logic. An architect would have a field day trying to figure this one out.


Continuing our stroll through the Plaza and surrounding streets, we were enthralled with all the beautiful old buildings like The Lensic Theater which opened in 1931. We loved the juxtaposition of the old structure with the decidedly modern beer truck.


The Palace of Governors is an old adobe structure built by the Spanish in 1610 and has been the seat of New Mexico’s government for centuries. It’s the oldest continuously occupied public building in the U.S. Under the portico that runs the length of the Palace, local American Indian artists set up shop selling their creations as part of the Native American Vendors Program. We loved the jewelry, pottery, silver items and carvings. So many beautiful things to buy as gifts for anyone on your list.


Just another example of the amazing and diverse forms of art in Santa Fe. This art gallery window display of sculpted women literally stopped us in our tracks.


We spied this local restaurant right off the Plaza that says it’s looking for a new name. Can’t imagine why since this one really got our attention. We did not, however, eat at Bad Ass Sandwich.


After a long day of sightseeing, walking and eating, we know how this guy feels. A nap seems like a good idea for us too.


Does this hat make me look like a real cowgirl?


The cowgirl and her cowpoke husband decided to call it a day. Tomorrow the Tour heads to Taos, which is in northern New Mexico’s high desert, surrounded by the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. Should be quite an adventure!

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