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Viewing Archive: October 2011

Oct

30

The siren call of Santa Fe

By Wayne Lazarus on October 30th, 2011

Categories: Linda's Travel Articles

This friendly and beautiful town is a fascinating mix of high-end art galleries, old Western and colonial-Spanish history, good museums, breathtaking scenery and terrific outdoor recreational activities. If that’s not enough, cross into a pueblo and play a little at one of the casinos.

Canyon Road is the most famous art district. Over 100 art galleries line both sides of this pretty winding road for almost a mile. Most have fun and funky outdoor art to draw you in, so whether you’re looking for a new painting for that empty wall (or a sculpture for that nook) the walk (or drive) is eclectic and fun. Because it is so well established, a Canyon Road gallery or studio has become pricey, so other art districts are coming up. Some are right off the Santa Fe Plaza. Visit the Railyard District District for those up-and-coming art deals. For a look at art where you’re staying, consider the La Posada de Santa Fe Resort and Spa, which has its own art agent.

As for history and culture – the Palace of the Governor’s forms one end of Santa Fe’s beautiful plaza. Built in the early 1600s, it is said to be the oldest continuously used building in the United States. On weekends, Native American jewelry, pottery and other arts are spread out for sale under the cover of the building. In this part of the country you can buy Indian art with certificates of authenticity. You’ll also want to visit the Native American Museum of Art, New Mexico Museum of Art, Museum of Indian Arts and Culture, the Museum of Spanish Colonial Art, Museum of Contemporary Native Arts and the Museum of International Folk Art.

But you can’t come to New Mexico without exploring the Georgia O’Keefe connection. The Georgia O’Keefe Museum is just blocks from the Plaza. Ghost Ranch, where O’Keefe lived and painted, is just up the road near Taos. It is now owned by the Presbyterian Church and managed as an education and retreat center. You can come for a week or just visit for a few hours and take the O’Keefe tour, where you’ll see the gorgeous vistas identifiable from O’Keefe’s paintings.

Santa Fe also has an active local food program. Some restaurants list the farms that supply their food. The newly opened Hotel Chimayo has an arrangement with the village of Chimayo to use all the heirloom Chimayo peppers they can grow. A portion of your lodging at this pretty downtown hotel goes to the education and cultural fund for the village. They will also arrange for a tour of the village if you like – a great way to see an authentic part of New Mexico.

For low-cost reservations at any of Santa Fe’s hotels, check www.motel.com.

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Oct

1

Finding a green hotel

By Wayne Lazarus on October 1st, 2011

Categories: Linda's Travel Articles

Many of us know a lot more about living an environmentally sound life now than we used to, and most of us take steps to help as much as possible. Conserving water, electricity and natural gas have an economic payback. Most municipalities make recycling fairly painless these days. In my area, I have to deliver aluminum, glass and plastic to the collection site, but I do it because it makes me feel that I’m having an impact, as small as it may be. So when I travel, I have a little trouble just tossing an aluminum can in the trash.

One of my expectations for a motel, in addition to a good price and convenient location, is that there is a recycling bin. I usually have to ask where it is, and once in a while, am disappointed by a total absence of recycling. Many hotels are offering patrons the option of not laundering sheets and towels daily — one I stayed at gave customers a $5 gift certificate to the coffee shop on the premises for each day the customer went without maid service. (I’ll definitely be back!)

While many hotels and motels are taking steps towards saving utilities and environmentally sustainable management – often they forget to tell you about their efforts. Sometimes its a change in the kind of chemicals used in their pesticides, or using motion detectors to save on lights (or changing the kind of light bulbs used) or even no-VOC paints and furnishings. Sometimes its using native plants in the landscaping and golf course. A LEED certification is always a good recommendation – but sometimes you won’t find that out without doing a little research. (There may be a plaque announcing it on a wall somewhere.)

Now you can rest assured that you’re finding the best price as well as an environmentally conscious hotel. Motel.com offers a special section on its website listing green hotels, many of which have Greenkey Eco-Rating certifications. You can feel comfortable about doing all that you can for the environment while still getting a great deal on a quality motel room.

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