Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Santa Fe Sojourn

Star here: I lived in Santa Fe for close to ten years before relocating Wilmington, NC. I loved everything about Santa Fe: the wide open spaces, the dramatic vistas, the unique sculptural architecture, and the rich culture and history. Living there is truly a singular experience as it attracts very interesting and creative people.

The landscape is open and unfettered by many fences and roads. I used to ride cross- country with my horse from the barn; I could ride for hours with fifty-to-one-hundred-mile views most of the trip.

It had been almost a decade since my last visit, but this year I was fortunate return to Santa Fe on two occasions. The first time was over the Easter holiday with my boyfriend, Robert. We enjoyed a quick weekend of visiting friends and hiking in the mountains. That just whetted my appetite for more of New Mexico. I hadn’t realized just how much I missed the Southwest.

So I scheduled a week to return with Nancy Noel May and Debby Brandt in the early fall with a plan to focus on visiting and meeting artists, collecting art references for paintings and jewelry designs, visiting galleries, shopping, and of course, enjoying fabulous restaurants.

I had a blast designing a trip that would introduce my friends to Santa Fe and expose them to the true flavor of Northern New Mexico. Nancy kept a travel journal of the trip and here are some excerpts:

Friday, August 28, 2009

First Impressions
This place is beautiful! Star rode us through the historic plaza area and then we stopped at a grocery for a few provisions. We are staying in a delightful guest apartment attached to the home of Michael Sugarman and Christie Frantz who are jewelers we represent at Spectrum. There are gorgeous views from every window and we are located just minutes from the Plaza. (See their house in the photo above)

This photo is from Canyon Road. I loved the blue shutters and colorful flower pots. I've created a painting from this image which is currently in the gallery.

After getting settled and enjoying a glass of wine and conversation with Michael and Christie, we headed out to Canyon Road, famous for it’s dozens of fine art galleries, to do a little window shopping and take photos. On impulse we stopped at El Farol, Santa Fe's Oldest Restaurant & Cantina, a Spanish tapas restaurant and bar for drinks and dinner. Turned out to be their weekly Blues Jam so we had entertainment as well!

About the Shopping:
We enjoyed perusing the offerings of the many Native American vendors set up under the portal of the Palace of the Governor’s. They had jewelry, pottery, wood carvings, sand paintings and much more. It was fascinating to speak with them and learn more about each person’s craft. Debby and I always pick up a Christmas ornament wherever our travels take us and we both selected ones in hand tooled copper.

Michael referred us to a great consignment shop on Guadalupe Street called "Double Take". It is a huge, but well organized place with boots, clothes, jewelry and more. I was hunting for cool cowboy boots and found many options, but most were out of my price range. Star lucked out and found a great leather jacket for only $40.

Of course there are hundreds of gorgeous and interesting shops near the Santa Fe Plaza. It’s overwhelming just how much outstanding jewelry, clothing, collectibles, artifacts and art exists in such a small area. Star took us to many of her favorite places and also to visit her many old friends in the area. Debby and I both purchased gold charms at Fairchild’s to add to our travel bracelets.

The Food:
We also enjoyed a great lunch of Northern New Mexican specialties at Tia Sophia's. Don't pass up the sopapillas (lightly fried dough: you split it open and pour in some honey, then you sprinkle it cinnamon—delicious!). Also, remember that everything comes with either red or green chili in New Mexico. Typically the green is hottest, but you need to ask first. We enjoyed “Christmas” style which is a little of both (red & green).

The Coyote Cantina is a wonderful rooftop cafe/bar. It’s a very lively spot with great food and margaritas. It is a part of the famous Coyote Café which is located next door.

More adventures await, tune in for the next installment. Nancy

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