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The siren call of Santa Fe

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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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