Santa Fe The City Different’s Most Colorful Artists, “El Diferente”

ORDER MY 2019 SANTA FE GUIDE

The abundance and diverse scope of visual arts is one of most compelling reasons to visit Santa Fe. Did you know Santa Fe was ranked the #2 City in the U.S. for Art Vibrancy? For decades, the city’s land, history, and architecture have inspired artists from around the world. Santa Fe has been home to many well-known artists. In the Threads of Santa Fe video below, City of Santa Fe Historian, Ana Pacheco, tells the story of one of Santa Fe’s beloved and colorful artists, Thomas “Tommy” Macaione.

Read More

Make This Your Santa Fe November To Remember: Upcoming Events

November always brings an opportunity to take a deep breath and appreciate the wonders of the season. Here in Santa Fe, we are grateful for the beauty of the mountains and the many diverse experiences that are available. From celebrating sustainability to the kick off of the holiday season, Santa Fe is filled with fun.  So join me in discovering a few of Santa Fe’s best November events.

Read More

Why We Love August (And You Should, Too!)

There is so much to see and do this coming August in Santa Fe! With Summer of Color in full swing and a wide range of events taking place, you’ll see why we love August.

Two Markets, One Weekend  

The Santa Fe Indian Market is one of the biggest events in Santa Fe and also the largest and most prestigious intertribal fine art market in the world. You will see visitors interacting with over 1,000 of the “best of the best” Native artists and designers in this two day festival market. Check out our calendar for more events revolving around Indian Market as numerous galleries and other venues around the city host special events during the week.

One event overlapping Indian Market weekend is the Indigenous Fine Arts Market. IFAM is a celebration of native art and cultures. IFAM’s art events, music and literary programs, aim to create a greater understanding of the complexity and beauty of Native American culture and people as they exist today. IFAM is also a juried art show.

Read More

The Top Three Santa Fe Art Walks You Must See

Here in our beautiful city the “Art Walk” has become a very popular way for art lovers to take in Santa Fe’s many galleries. Santa Fe has over 250 galleries, many clustered in three unique areas, including Canyon Road, the Santa Fe Railyard and Downtown Santa Fe.

What I love about art walks is the wonderful opportunity to interact personally with the artists and gallery owners. They are often available to answer questions and chat. You’ll feel the general “art opening” vibe in the air. This is a great way to meet and strike up a conversation with artists, locals and visitors alike!

If you are an art enthusiast or collector, you will find in Santa Fe an unparalleled diversity of fine art ranging from traditional to contemporary, including painting, sculpture, mixed media, graphic art and textiles.

Order My 2019 Santa Fe Travel Guide

Read More

The Santa Fe Opera: Summer in Song

Singing the praises of Santa Fe––it’s a never-ending tune. This year alone, our International Folk Art Market took top honors as USA Today’s 10 Best Art Festival, with Art Santa Fe close behind; and three Santa Fe hotels scored spots in the 10 Best Hotel Spas. Tuning into the best of the City Different is a skill worth practicing. In less than a month, however, the practicing ends and the music begins when the sun goes down and the lights come up at the renowned Santa Fe Opera. Now that’s worth singing about!

The Santa Fe Opera: The song of summer starts here!
The Santa Fe Opera: The song of summer starts here!

 

Inspiration Has a Santa Fe History

Who could have imagined back in the 1950’s that Santa Fe would be home to a world-class opera company? John Crosby did––by envisioning and creating a place for American singers, both professionals and those on the cusp of their careers, to hone their craft at home. SFO’s mission extends beyond vocal artistry, since the pioneering Apprentice Program cultivates stagecraft too. Over the 59 years since 1957’s inaugural season, Mr. Crosby’s vision has become a glorious reality. His inspirational guidance led the company forward before he ceded leadership in 2000 to the innovative Richard Gaddes, who in 2008 handed over the reins to native Santa Fean Charles MacKay, now SFO’s General Director. And Mr. MacKay knows how to ride into the future––seven successful seasons are about to become eight!

SFO Founder––and General Director for 43 phenomenal seasons––John Crosby watches a rehearsal with his mentor, composer Igor Stravinsky. (Photo Credit: Santa Fe Opera)
SFO Founder––and General Director for 43 phenomenal seasons––John Crosby watches a rehearsal with his mentor, composer Igor Stravinsky. (Photo Credit: Santa Fe Opera)
 It takes a village of skillful apprentices to put on a two-month season at SFO! (Photo Credit: Paul Horpedahl, Santa Fe Opera Production Director)
It takes a village of skillful apprentices to put on a two-month season at SFO! (Photo Credit: Paul Horpedahl, Santa Fe Opera Production Director)

One Opera + Two Months = A Repertoire of Five

From its inception, the Opera has been dedicated to showcasing music, drama and technical wizardry via treasured classics, revivals of neglected works, and remarkable premieres. The 2015 season––a mix of beloved standards and new revelations––is no exception. Five all-new (yes!) productions begin Friday, July 3, as scintillating soprano Anna Christy pours her heart out to Alek Shrader in The Daughter of the Regiment. Expect to feel all misty when the audience stands for the traditional singing of the National Anthem before this comedic Donizetti romp begins! No rest for the crew; Saturday’s quick change readies the stage for Verdi’s masterful Rigoletto, with 2015 Beverly Sills award-winner Quinn Kelsey in the title role. A return to founder Crosby’s favorite composer Richard Strauss comes with Salome when petite powerhouse Alex Penda adds the dance of the seven veils to her arias! Mozart is a Santa Fe regular and SFO offers a vocal bouquet in La Finta Giardiniera (composed at a mere 18 years old!) featuring William Burden, Heidi Stober and Susanna Phillips (another Beverly Sills Award winner). August brings the world-premiere of composer Jennifer Higdon’s Cold Mountain, with Charles Frazier’s best-seller hero and heroine sung by the amazing Nathan Gunn and Isabel Leonard (both previous recipients of the Beverly Sills Award).

It’s easy to imagine barihunk (that’s opera lingo for a dreamy baritone) Nathan Gunn as Inman in the world premiere of Jennifer Higdon’s Cold Mountain! (Photo Credit: M. Sharkey Photography)
It’s easy to imagine barihunk (that’s opera lingo for a dreamy baritone) Nathan Gunn as Inman in the world premiere of Jennifer Higdon’s Cold Mountain! (Photo Credit: M. Sharkey Photography)

Preludes Are Arranged for the Performance

Although what appears onstage is the ultimate draw, a bevy of singular experiences add zest to the vocal fireworks. Before an opera evening, consider daytime education in the newly-renovated hub of stagecraft magic below the stunning outdoor stage. One-hour backstage tours ($10 adults, $8 seniors, kids free) take place 9:00 a.m. Monday-Friday; augment your backstage prowl with a $10 tour of the extensive “Opera Ranch” grounds––including a “Meet the Artist treat––10:00 a.m. on the last Friday of June, July and August. Saturdays from June 6–August 29, the Opera Guild hosts free Insiders Days, with 8:15 a.m. refreshments before the backstage tour.

Even the mannequins waiting patiently in the Santa Fe Opera Costume Shop have roles to perform this summer!
Even the mannequins waiting patiently in the Santa Fe Opera Costume Shop have roles to perform this summer!

Refreshments got your attention? In that case, I recommend dining at the Opera! The July 3–4 Opening Weekend Celebration offers full-bore festivities, and the first performance of every opera is enhanced with an elegant three-course Opening Night dinner set amidst SFO’s lush landscape. Nightly preview buffets include an engaging talk on the performance while you relax over dinner and a glass of wine on the flowery patio. Critical note: once the overture starts, no seating until the first intermission!

Settle in under the white tent for dinner and an informative talk on the night’s performance at a preview buffet.
Settle in under the white tent for dinner and an informative talk on the night’s performance at a preview buffet.

For do-it-yourselfers, SFO tailgate parties are as traditional as at major league games––after all, we’re talking major league opera here. Feel free to go for the works, white tablecloths, candelabras and champagne flutes; or simply bring a pair of chairs and pre-order a tailgate dinner before heading to Stieren Hall for a free prelude talk.

Committed tailgaters like Jennifer and Khristaan Villela dress up the dining canopy to complement the formal wear! (Photo Credit: Lara Nickel)
Committed tailgaters like Jennifer and Khristaan Villela dress up the dining canopy to complement the formal wear! (Photo Credit: Lara Nickel)

Be Prepared to Be Enthralled

Be aware that weather affects fashion and comfort, but you’ll see tuxedos alongside cargo pants and diamonds rubbing elbows with denim. Locals’ tip for visitors: bring a warm wrap to accommodate for our 7,000-foot altitude.

Smart operagoers plan for a spot of changeable Santa Fe weather!
Smart operagoers plan for a spot of changeable Santa Fe weather!

Love of top-drawer opera suffers no economic boundaries since SFO makes it as affordable as possible. Subscriptions are the best way to see more than one opera and you can even craft your own series. Standing room tickets go on sale the day of the performance. If you’re cultivating a young artist, August 16 and 23 Apprentice Concerts are ideal for inspiring little ones who sing in the shower. You can even get a gift certificate to surprise the opera fan in your family. On the subject of gifts, Opera Shop goodies include the 2015 season poster by celebrated Native American artist Dan Namingha.

Understudy duties at the Santa Fe Opera mean apprentices must be ready to suddenly step on stage in a principal role––and Shelley Jackson did just that in 2014’s Don Pasquale! (Photo Credit: Ken Howard for the Santa Fe Opera)
Understudy duties at the Santa Fe Opera mean apprentices must be ready to suddenly step on stage in a principal role––and Shelley Jackson did just that in 2014’s Don Pasquale! (Photo Credit: Ken Howard for the Santa Fe Opera)

The Stage is Set for Your Santa Fe Visit

I guess it’s obvious that I’m a big fan––decades of Santa Fe Opera delights will do that! Year after year, talented and passionate souls come together to fill the piñon-covered hills with the sound of music as summer colors paint the sky above this cutting-edge edifice. It’s no wonder the Crosby Theater made USA Today’s list of 10 Best Outdoor Music Venues. A night––and a day––at the Santa Fe Opera is a summer must!

A night at the Santa Fe Opera is an electrifying experience! (Photo Credit: Paul Horpedahl, Santa Fe Opera Production Director)
A night at the Santa Fe Opera is an electrifying experience! (Photo Credit: Paul Horpedahl, Santa Fe Opera Production Director)

 

The End Zone for Fun is Santa Fe

It’s that time of year. Monday morning quarterbacks are calling buddies, stocking the fridge with beer and filling the pantry with calorie-laden snacks. If your Monday nights mean anything but football and you’re really excited about the Super Bowl, but only because it means the season will be over, then I suggest you make your own play and head to Santa Fe as if you’ve got the ball and 11 burly NFL defensive players chasing you.

winter, outdoors, national preserve, santa fe, new mexico
Get your giddy-up going on a winter-white sleigh ride at Valles Caldera National Preserve. (Photo Credit: vallescaldera.gov)

You Can Be the Star Player in Santa Fe

I like sports as much as the next gal, but I like to be the one doing, not the one watching. The urge to move is irresistible when everyone on the screen is running around, so I’m leaving him in charge of the remote and strapping on the gear for an outdoor adventure. Now that winter is holding court, Santa Fe’s frosty mountains extend a standing invitation to head for the hills.

Although Christmas is over, sleigh bells still jing-a-ling when you take a sleigh ride through the gorgeous Valles Caldera National Preserve. The 89,000-acre landscape is unforgettable any time of year, but it’s especially memorable when the dark green pines command attention in the snowy white bowl of the caldera created by a one-million-year-old volcanic explosion. And yes, there is a sleigh ride scheduled on Super Bowl Sunday!

Santa Fe, New Mexico, art, outdoor
There’s no skullduggery on the field at Shidoni’s Sculpture Garden, just hand-crafted beauty.

Go All Out for Art

Combining art with the outdoors is something at which Santa Fe excels. I love strolling through Shidoni sculpture when winter’s low sun pairs the artworks with wild shadow patterns. If you hit the foundry on the right Saturday, you’ll catch a bronze pour to expand your understanding of the sculptural process. I might add that this is the place to make creative artwork of your selfies!

 

Touch down at Museum Hill Café for a winter lunch on Museum Hill.
Touch down at Museum Hill Café for a winter lunch on Museum Hill.

 

Touch Down Inside Santa Fe for a Bounty of Beauty

Santa Fe boasts several world-class museums all less than long-pass away from each other at Musuem Hill. The hill features four museums—perfect for dividing your afternoon into quarters of a different sort. No worries about lunch – Museum Hill Café referees that call.

The Museum of Spanish Colonial Arts is a great starting point for enriching your understanding of New Mexico’s deep artistic past. The Museum of International Folk Art is a cornucopia of hand-crafted creativity in four loving-curated wings, with rotating special exhibitions. Museum Hill also boasts not one, but two Native American showcases, the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture and the Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian; each is a rich treasure trove worth visiting. End at the Case Trading Post on the lowest floor of the Wheelwright; whoever does the buying has an impeccable eye and oh, the beauties I have scored there!

Santa Fe, New Mexico, museums
The Case Trading Post at the Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian is the spot to score big with an only-in-Santa-Fe treasure. (Photo Credit: Eddie Moore for the Albuquerque Journal)

Speaking of scoring beauties, our city is a shopper’s paradise! Condé Nast Traveler just ranked Santa Fe as one of the world’s best shopping destinations, a place for discovering City Different pieces no one else will have. From authentic Native American jewelry vendors under the portal of the Palace of the Governors to custom-designed wedding dresses at Laura Sheppherd to vintage delights at a variety of consignment stores and souvenir postcards at the Five & Dime, Santa Fe goes long!

Santa Fe, New Mexico, Dining, Plaza, Classic
A Frito Pie! That’s the ticket!

Santa Fe Dining: No Concessions Required

I can’t mention the Five & Dime without mentioning their Frito Pie, a legendary (yes, I’m using that word) concoction of Fritos bathed in red chile, beans and cheese. There is something so special about carrying that warm bag across the street to enjoy your spicy treat on a sunny Plaza bench.

Santa Fe, New Mexico, Dining
Your stay-at-home hombre will miss out on catching the flavors of Paella La Valencianna at El Meson. (Photo Credit: El Meson Santa Fe)

Of course, dining in Santa Fe is legendary in and of itself. Don’t feel guilty if your honey is home with a bag of Cheetos and a brewski; that’s his choice. Your choice is unlimited! Want to parlez-vous Francais? Bouche Bistro, L’Olivier and 315 Restaurant & Wine Bar each answer Mais Oui with a signature iteration of duck confit. Hungry to practice your Italian? Andiamo (translation: let’s go) to that plate of pasta via Il Piatto, Pranzo Italian Grill, and of course, Andiamo! Santa Fe’s Spanish ancestors would tip their sombreros to tapas at El Meson or La Boca. Sushi and sake take pride of place downtown at Shohko Café and up on the mountain at Izanami. No wonder Condé Nast named Santa Fe the #1 Best Small City in America – being a winner at dinner is a snap!

Santa Fe Lets You Call the Plays

A trip to Santa Fe offers plenty of reasons to cheer! While they’re rooting for the team, we’ll root for bargains, eat roasted root vegetables, and root our hearts in age-old traditions. Sounds like an enchanting plan, no? With so much to see and do in Santa Fe, you’ll never be on the sidelines.

 

Santa Fe Winter is Full of Wonder

The jingle bells have stopped ringing but winter is definitely on. And I am psyched to make snow angels and welcome the New Year to Santa Fe. The great thing about being a local is having an earmuff to the snowy ground in plenty of time to plan for a wonderland of fun. So put on your mittens and come along with me for the best in winter adventures Santa Fe style!

Santa Fe, New Mexico, Winter Must Dos
Soup’s on in Santa Fe: Fill your belly and treat your tastebuds—and those of NM’s most needy, too—at this beloved charity event (Photo Credit: The Food Depot)

Santa Fe is All Souped Up This Winter

It’s impossible to resist SuperBowl XLVIII fever, but for those who can’t wait for kickoff, Santa Fe’s January 17 SouperBowl XXI makes cups runneth over. This delicious soup competition is firmly established as a January taste sensation and proceeds benefit the Food Depot. Get inspired by the intriguing mix of ingredients that Santa Fe chefs put in the pot and your soup repertoire will improve by the bowlful. Last year’s Best Soup winner, the Winter Squash and Chorizo Soup served up by Terra at Four Seasons Rancho Encantado, was a hearty hit and I can’t wait to see what Chef Andrew stirs up this year. With four other categories (best cream, best savory, best seafood and best vegetarian), there’s sure to be plenty of slurping going on!

Santa Fe, New Mexico, Railyard, Craft Beer, Beer Fest
It’s cheers to you when you lift your glass at Santa Fe Winter Brew Fest. (Photo Credit: New Mexico Brewers’ Guild)

Brewing Up the Best of Santa Fe

Santa Fe is a chic pick for craft beers (most recently recognized by Thrilist.com as one of the nation’s best brew cities) and there’s no better time to see—and taste–why than at WinterBrew. On January 23,16 breweries and a selection of food stands converge at the Santa Fe Farmers’ Market Pavilion for a cheery, beery evening. Last year’s slate has been expanded with two new Albuquerque brewers, Red Door Brewing and Ponderosa Brewing. Local favorites like Duel Brewery and Santa Fe Brewing Company (whose 2014 Great American Beer Festival entry won best American-style Sour Ale) will be on tap with seasonal styles. And beer-lovers line up for regulars like Bosque Brewing (Beer Festival winner for Fresh Hop Ale) and Marble Brewery (who scored for Imperial Red Ale). Tickets go fast, so don’t wait to get your taste!

Santa Fe, New Mexico, Art, Cuisine
Combining fine art and festive dinners is a Santa Fe specialty.

Feasting on Art is a Santa Fe Tradition

I suspect I sound a bit tummy-centric, so let me paint a picture of Santa Fe ArtFeast for you. This year’s artistic events have seen the Edible ArtTour move to June but February still has a yummy blend of beauty on the The Art of Living palette They’ve stolen my personal credo – It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere – but I don’t mind because I can share in the February 20 fun and festivities (which do include food) that benefit art in the schools. And I’ll take that February 21 invitation to Step Up to the Plate too, thank you very much! The Art of Home tour is the most picturesque way to see Santa Fe design and style in its full glory but be warned – you may well end up wanting your own adobe casita by the time you’re done!

Santa Fe, New Mexico, Fine Dining
You should definitely “Andiamo” to Santa Fe during February Restaurant Week!

It’s Time to Eat and Time to Save in Santa Fe

Returning to my food-centricity (can’t help it, Santa Fe equals great cuisine), I look forward to cashing in on Santa Fe Restaurant Week deals. Other cities may have similar events, but they lack the one-of-a-kind regional ingredients that bring foodlovers back to Santa Fe year after year. Fifty-seven restaurants are already on the roster and that list will grow as we get closer to February 22. Smart hoteliers have cooked up getaway deals so I suggest you grab your BFF (best foodie friend) and make reservations for a seat at Santa Fe’s finest tables. Prizes and giveaways are in store along with terrific deals, making everyone a winner at lunch or dinner.

Santa Fe, New Mexico, Winter, Sports, Mountain
A Santa Fe mountain snowshoe hike with Outspire will inspire you! (Photo Credit: Outspire Hiking and Snowshoeing)

Get Away to Santa Fe’s Winter Wonderland

Of course, a gal has to work off her enjoyment with some outdoor activities and that’s where Ski Santa Fe comes to the rescue. It wouldn’t be winter without a return to the mountains for a dose of snowy magic! Don’t schlep your skis or board, just rent them right on the mountain. Then pick some happening dates and do your downhill in the morning, so you can chill at Beats on the Basin from noon to 3:00 p.m. And if you’d prefer to see the Sangre de Cristo Mountain scenery at a slower pace, plan a snowshoe hike with Outspire to capture Santa Fe’s sparkle and serenity in equal measure.

Get Your New Year On in Santa Fe

Have I convinced you? I’ve been convinced for years – and my 2015 calendar is already marked with monthly must-do’s. There’s nothing like bright blue skies and a blanket of crystalline white snowflakes to start a new year right – and Santa Fe is ready to show you how.

 

Santa Fe’s Peaceful Spirit is Your Holiday Gift

Santa Fe, New Mexico, Holiday escapes
Silence is golden in the quaint adobe Friends Meeting House on Canyon Road.

Holiday madness is not just a catch phrase, it’s a reality. No matter how early I get the shopping and cooking done, by the time I’ve worked my way through the festivities with friends and family, I am so ready for my share of serenity. In the spirit of the season, here’s my holiday offering to those of you who need the true escape and soul refreshment that Santa Fe has offered for centuries.

Santa Fe is a Prescription for Peace

Sitting mindfully is a spiritual prescription known to East and West alike. And Santa Fe has both varieties for meditative moments. Sunday mornings at the Quaker Meeting House require nothing but a way to get there to sit and soak up the goodness. First Day (Sunday) Meetings are held in the historic Olive Rush house on Canyon Road and visitors are welcome to worship with the Friends.

In a town with historic Catholic roots, it’s no surprise to find a Carmelite Monastery. Santa Fe’s Carmelites are guided by St. Teresa of Avila’s commitment to leading life in silence and contemplation. You can be soothed by tranquility at the daily morning Mass or simply wander the grounds in private reflection.

Santa Fe, New Mexico, Audubon Center, Nature
The Randall Davey Audubon Center is as picturesque in winter as it is in summer.

Those whose minds turn east find their way to the Upaya Zen Center, which hosts four daily zazen sessions, as well as an ongoing slate of programs and retreats. The gorgeous setting at the top of a canyon is an inspiration in itself – pristine nature echoing the clarity our souls endeavor to reach.

Finding a beautiful place to be inspired doesn’t require any particular affiliation. The Santa Fe Audubon Center lets birdsong do the work of lifting spirits. Located at the top of Canyon Road in the former home of animal-loving artist Randall Davey, the Audubon also has easy access to the Dale Ball Trails.

Activate Your Center with Movement

Santa Fe, New Mexico, historic landmarks
Just look up in Santa Fe and you’ll feel your spirits lifted upwards too.

Walking meditation is my personal go-to at times when sitting won’t do; sometimes one just has to move to feel centered. Climbing to the top of the Cross of the Martyrs always energizes my body and settles my spirit. Gazing up at the Cross and then out over the city reminds me of all the blessings that life in our special city imparts daily.

Holiday visits from family and friends invariably include a trip to Museum Hill, so as we drift from the Folk Art Museum to the Museum of Indian Art and Culture, we stop on the Milner Plaza and walk the Labyrinth, which silences even the kiddos as they concentrate on staying within the circuit. And there’s even a second labyrinth at the Santa Fe Community Yoga Center!

Santa Fe, New Mexico,  yoga maze
You’ll be a-mazed at how centered you will feel when you visit Santa Fe.

Speaking of yoga, there’s simply no way not to feel more balanced than after a yoga session and Santa Fe abounds in teachers and classes. The aforementioned Community Yoga Center is one of many studios that bring light and life back to body and soul; at BODY of Santa Fe, a yoga class followed by a spa treatment will keep you in the flow.

Read and Reflect to Find Spiritual Refreshment

There’s so much to know about this city that’s more than 400 years old that I sometimes find it a challenge to put it all together. My secret salvation is the Southwest Reading Room at the downtown Santa Fe Library. Classic library etiquette means stillness and silence and an hour spent perusing Santa Fe history enriches any experience. Just about anything you ever wanted to know about New Mexico is waiting on the shelves.

Santa Fe, New Mexico, Public Library
The Santa Fe library scene is one of peace and perusal.

After you read up on the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Asissi, your admiration for the magnificent edifice is enhanced by knowing its story. And when you sit with your thoughts in a pew, you may even be lucky enough to hear an organist practice or the choir rehearsing a new hymn. Just be sure to exit by the southside door by the Chapel so you can amble through the Bishop’s peaceful Prayer Garden south of the rectory.

Santa Fe is Truly Soul-Stirring

Turn down the holiday buzz and tune up your soul with a Santa Fe getaway and you’ll see how quickly everything becomes lighter and brighter inside. The City Different enjoys world-class status as a UNESCO Creative City and when you create soul-soothing adventures of your own, you’ll bring joy to your holiday world.

 

Santa Fe: Between the Lines

For over 400 years, Santa Fe has attracted quite a cast of characters — from New Spain explorers to Old West cowboys, renegade priests to virtuous madams. Which, perhaps, explains why a legion of literary lions have found their stories (and made their homes) here. As you stock up on books for those fireside hours, I have a few recommendations. But my best tip? Pull your nose off the page and start your own exciting new chapter in Santa Fe.

Santa Fe, New Mexico
The story of the man behind the building of the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis is a Santa Fe must-read. (Photo Credit: LeRoy N. Sanchez)

Real People Make Rich Characters

You can’t go wrong with a classic. Countless visitors admire our gorgeous Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis, but how many delve into the history of the man who brought this magnificent edifice into being? Be among those in the know by settling down with Death Comes for the Archbishop, Willa Cather’s fictionalized portrait of Bishop Jean-Baptiste Lamy. This fascinating historical perspective is well worth getting to know. Your appreciation of his beautiful church and verdant garden will be enriched by this lively tale of a remarkable individual and his lasting Santa Fe legacy.

Santa Fe, New Mexico, Native American, Bandelier National Monument
You can muse on the mysteries of a Bandelier kiva from Adolph Bandelier himself. (Photo Credit: National Park Service)

Mining Fact for Historical Fiction

Given Santa Fe’s rich multicultural heritage, authors digging for subject matter never come up short. Renowned archaeologist Adolph Bandelier is best known for the fabulous site that honored his excavation by naming it Bandelier National Park. One of New Mexico’s must-see spots, these extensive ruins are a magnet for locals and visitors alike. Your hike will never be the same after Bandelier’s imaginative gem, The Delight Makers, brings this ancient culture to life. And speaking of Native culture, a Santa Fe getaway always involves at least one great Tony Hillerman novel featuring his intriguing Native American detectives Jim Chee and Lt. Joe Leaphorn.

Santa Fe, New Mexico, George R.R. Martin, Game of Thrones
Even though it was George R. R. Martin Day in Santa Fe, the author had to sit carefully on that Iron Throne! (Photo Credit: The Santa Fe Reporter)

Santa Fe: Where Fantasy Fiction Reigns

Colorful characters still abound in Santa Fe, and winter nights are perfect for fantastic tales from one-of-a-kind local, George R. R. Martin. This prolific author, best known for his A Song of Fire and Ice series (aka HBO’s wildly successful Game of Thrones), has called Santa Fe home since the late 1970s. Fans avidly await the next book in the Fire and Ice series, but Santa Fe got an extra gift when Martin renovated the beloved Jean Cocteau Cinema, which delights film fans with a quirky selection of the old and new. And speaking of old and new, Martin fans who only know the Fire and Ice saga can keep themselves plenty busy with his rich collection of fantasy fiction.

A Real-Life SyFy Thriller

Specific events have indelibly marked modern life, and modern life is just as lively in the spoken word (read “screenplay”) as it is on the page. The exciting tale of the atom bomb has been writ large in today’s riveting WGN Manhattan TV series. The Manhattan Project was rooted in an unremarkable building at 109 East Palace Avenue in Santa Fe.

Santa Fe, New Mexico, Manhattan Project, History
It took years of secrecy before the history of the bomb was finally revealed. (Photo of an article from The Saturday Evening Post article from November 1945)

Scientists on their way to Los Alamos had to stop first at this 1600s hacienda-turned-government-office to receive security passes and IDs before heading north with directions to the clandestine site. Due to the top-secret nature of the project, 109’s personnel handled correspondence and personal matters so the geniuses could work in uninterrupted privacy. And WGN’s screenwriters have been handed a treasure trove of colorful characters in this exciting saga of “the Hill,” as it’s known around these parts.

Santa Fe, New Mexico, Witter Bynner
It’s easy to imagine being inspired to poetry with a stay at the Inn of the Turquoise Bear, formerly home to poet Witter Bynner. (Photo Credit: The Inn of the Turquoise Bear)

Santa Fe in Verse

You can’t say “spoken word” and not talk poetry! Poetic types are well aware of poet Witter Bynner, whose charmed early 20th century Santa Fe lifestyle included acquaintances like D. H. Lawrence, Georgia O’Keeffe and Ansel Adams. Artists and intellectuals of all stripes shared pleasant hours at Bynner’s adobe home, now the Inn of the Turquoise Bear. A bequest from Bynner’s estate founded the Witter Bynner Poetry Foundation to perpetuate the art of poetry through grants and since 1997 the Witter Bynner Fellowship has been awarded to recipients selected by the U.S. Poet Laureate. Santa Fe even boasts its own poet laureate, and thanks to the Muse Times Two readings at Collected Works Books, poetic expression here is alive and thriving.

Let Your Legs Lead You on a Literary Tour

If you need to stretch between chapters, tell your feet to work together with your imagination and take a Literary Tour of the City Different. Add the Lannan Readings and Conversations to your literary survey of Santa Fe and your education is complete. After a trip to Santa Fe, you’ll have quite the story to tell!