We woke this morning in Santa Fe, and split our day between Santa Fe and Taos, New Mexico.
We started off the day with a Loretto Line tour of Santa Fe in an open air tram. We were very lucky, because this tour almost didn’t happen! We left the hotel a little before 9, planning on making the 10 AM tour from Loretto Chapel. Susie had read that they started selling tickets a half hour before the tour, so after parking, we headed to the chapel. We figured we were in like flynn when we were the first people to arrive, only to have a guy from the tour company show up and tell us the 10 AM tour was all sold out! He told us to go around the corner to the front of the La Fonda Hotel, and talk to Larry on the 10:30 tour, who had lots of tickets. Well, it turned out that we got the last two seats on the 10:30 tour, and sat there and watched 10 to 15 people turned away. We were happy that we’d just made it under the wire!
Our guide Larry had only been in Santa Fe for 11 years, having come from Seattle, but had learned to love Santa Fe, and his information during the tour showed that. He started off telling us about Santa Fe, how it came to be, why here, and who were the original inhabitants. Then we were off on the tour, first seeing the Historic District of the town, where space is at a premium, and where he told us some merchants pay up to $30,000 a month in rent!
Then we drove down Canyon Road, which is the Art District of Santa Fe. Larry explained how important the art scene is to Santa Fe, and about all the great things the galleries bring to the city. While we didn’t stop, driving past all the galleries, we were able to see the amazing large scale art work, that couldn’t fit inside the galleries, which were built in old historic buildings.
Then we were on the outskirts of town, traveled down Museum Row, and to the place the Wagon Trains on the Santa Fe trail stopped. Larry explained that most of these wagon trains were full of goods to supply the merchants of Santa Fe or to be shipped down the El Camino Real to Mexico. As such, Santa Fe was the first trade link between the US and Mexico. To commemorate the spot, there is a wonderful sculpture.
One of our last stops was at the State Capital building, which unlike every other state capital building, does not have a dome. There was a very impressive sculpture out front of the capital building, which notes every Native American tribe that is extinct.
Having skipped breakfast, by the time the tour was over, we were hungry. Just down the street from the tour stop, in the La Fonda Hotel, was a great little place. Called the French Pastry Shop and Creperie, they had a wonderful French menu, and we decided to have lunch there. Having heard about them for years, but never having had them, Susie and I both had Croque Madame sandwiches, and they were incredible. To stay in the French mode, we finished up lunch with a couple of Eclairs! A perfect lunch!
Then it was time to head to Taos, which is about an hour and a half drive north of Santa Fe. There were two things we wanted to see, the Kit Carson House and Museum and the Taos Pueblo.
Wandering through the Kit Carson house, we couldn’t help but think of our friend Kit Carson, who died two years ago, at much too young an age. I first met Kit back in the late 80s, when as a young struggling actor, he took a job opening Rush Limbaugh’s mail at WABC to make some extra money. Kit began doing more and more for Rush, and eventually became a very necessary part of the Rush Limbaugh Show. Eventually he met his wife to be, Theresa, got married, and had two sons. We’d had many good times over the years with Kit and Theresa, and it was a very sad shock when he died two years ago. If I’m not mistaken, Kit told me that his family was slightly related to “The” Kit Carson, and I always remember him telling me that his Dad’s name was Johnny Carson! Miss you Kit!
We enjoyed watching the movie and looking at all the exhibits at the Carson house, and before we knew it, we’d spent more time there than we’d planned, and it was too late to get to the Pueblo before it closed. Susie and I agree that the Santa Fe area is indeed a place we’d like to come back to again, and spend more time, so it will definitely be on the top of our next time list!
Tonight we spend our second night in Santa Fe, and tomorrow it’s off to Roswell, New Mexico! Hopefully we won’t be abducted by Aliens, or even someone from outer space! Wish us luck!