After absolutely loving all the Durango, Colorado area had to offer – not the least of which was Mesa Verde National Park – we moved on to New Mexico; we spent a few days in Albuquerque and then Santa Fe. On the way to the “Land of Enchantment” we took a side excursion to the Four Corners Monument.
This site was only about an hour and a half away from the Mesa Verde RV Resort, the campground we were coming from in Mancos, Colorado. The big deal is to get a photo taken at the point where the boundaries of Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, and Colorado meet. The monument is now run by Native Americans and there is a five dollar charge per person to view it. The parking lot was gravel, but large enough to accommodate our 44 foot motor home plus the jeep we were pulling. Around the perimeter, vendors were selling jewelry and trinkets. I bought a fake lapis lazuli necklace for probably too much money, but have enjoyed it as a fun memento.
We stayed at American RV Park which was packed for the Albuquerque International Balloon Festival, but cleared out after it was over. The festival is held in a dedicated park and it seems that there are all kinds of activities for ticket holders to participate in.
Above is the closest we got to seeing the balloons. We didn’t get tickets to the festival and the weather turned cold and rainy, so we only caught a glimpse as they floated by.
We did enjoy a couple of good restaurants while we were in Albuquerque. The Range Cafe was outstanding. It featured New Mexico style cuisine and over-the-top fabulous desserts in a fun, diner type atmosphere. Rudy’s is a BBQ chain, but worth going to; it’s always a good sign when a place is packed with people and the food was delicious.
From Albuquerque we went to Santa Fe and parked at Trailer Ranch. It was adequate, with its adobe buildings it felt like New Mexico, but they had signs everywhere that dogs were not allowed on any grassy areas. There was a tiny strip of sand across the road in front of our site where I could take Vanilla and also a dog park way in the back of the park. The thing I can never understand is that if you have a big dog you can’t pick up and carry, then it might be hard to stop them from going on the way to the dog park. I guess they must be trained really well and perhaps it becomes a mad dash to where a dog’s allowed to be.
We traveled just a bit out of town and drove a while in the Santa Fe National Forest.
The Aspen trees were really spectacular. When the wind blows, each little leave shakes and shimmers in the wind like golden coins.
The leaf dance called “quaking” is something to see.
We enjoyed the historic district of Santa Fe. The plaza above was the center of the original settlement founded in 1610 as the provincial capital for the northern frontier of New Spain – Mexico.
Right on the square is the El Palacio Real or the Governor’s Palace. It is supposed to be the oldest standing building in the United States, but it belonged to Spain and Mexico first. It turns out Hoosier Lew Wallace lived here while he was New Mexico’s territorial governor in the 1870’s. He wrote some of his epic work Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ in his quarters here. We were amused because this is the third time we’ve run into Lew in our travels. We saw him in the Capitol Building’s Statuary Hall in Washington D.C. and heard the story of how he became a hero at the Battle of Monocacy. He wasn’t in German Sherman’s good graces until Monocacy and I suspect his fame enabled him to turn into an important guy of the times – he even was an Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire in the 1880’s.
Close by the square is the Cathedral Basilica of Frances of Assisi. It is open to the public and beautiful inside.
This spot was once the entrance to Burro Alley, the site of saloons and brothels. Burros hauled firewood on their backs to the establishments along the street.
We were charmed by Santa Fe’s La Fonda Hotel. It had a great gift shop and the decor was just what I expected Santa Fe style would be.
We took a day trip to nearby Taos. The landscape below the Sangre de Cristo Mountains was worth the drive.
Taos has a colorful history of Native American revolts against Spanish Colonialists before being ceded to the United States as a result of the Mexican-American War. Later it became a mecca for artists and today there are galleries everywhere.
There are also lots of gift shops, fabric stores, and boutiques. There is a definite “look” sported by lots of the ladies walking around; their clothes look like southwestern art complete with flowing woven scarves.
The Taos Plaza is right in the center of the historic district.
The Kit Carson House and Museum is located a couple blocks away from the plaza. He was a frontiersman of the southwest and was folk legend even when he was alive due to being the hero in dime novels which were popular in the east.
I saw this photo of the house in the museum, but I didn’t take note of what year it was taken. The house was built in 1825, but Kit and his third wife, Maria Josefa Jaramillo didn’t live in it until they got married in 1843. From other photos I saw on display it was evident that Josefa, as she was called, was quite a beauty! They had eight children and at least one adopted Native American son. The couple died within a month of each other in 1868 leaving a lot of young children behind. I wonder what ever happened to them?
The inside of the house of the house reminded me of the home my daughter lived in for the year she was Ibiza, Spain. Check it out HERE . I guess that makes sense since originally New Mexico was settled by Spanish Colonialists.
After our time in the Santa Fe area, we meandered back home via Texas and Oklahoma. fueled by information gained from Ancestory.com we managed to see a long lost cousin of Roy’s and my many times great grandmother’s grave. Then it was homeward bound – no place like home for the holidays!
Just for fun, here are some links to some other Yates social media sites: