Day 48 - Santa Fe, NM

As I think I have mentioned a few times in past blogs, we have tried really hard to not duplicate themes during The Big Trip - if we can have one good experience of a certain type, we would do that and then move on to the next thing.  Museums are one of those themes where we could have seen one in most cities, but we could have easily gotten 'museum-ed out'.  We chose carefully and today, Santa Fe was museum/art day.  Yay!

At the risk of getting too artsy-fartsy on you, I have always enjoyed and appreciated a good gallery or museum.  And since I took up photography a few years ago, the entire artistic process has really taken over as a passion.  The chance to see a lot of quality and discuss with my family got me all jacked up.  There was certainly a chance for a let down, but Santa Fe delivered big time!

If you have been to Santa Fe, you know that there is a dense downtown area where much of the artistic community is centered.  We got into town fairly early, parked the car and didn't have to leave all day.  I was initially a little worried that we might not be able to fill the day, but we could have easily spent another day here.  We were very fortunate that there was an Art Fair going on, so in addition to the normal huge supply of galleries, the Plaza was packed with exhibitors, similar to Madison's Art Fair on the Square.  We spent a long time visiting these vendors and then hit the galleries surrounding the Plaza.  Good stuff all over, and I took the time to meet one particular landscape photographer with his own beautiful gallery and picked his brain for a good long time.

We took a tip (thanks, Joel!) and hit La Plazuela for lunch.  Authentic old school New Mexican chow in a beautiful old hotel with loads of southwestern charm.  Great, great food!  And I might have had a margarita.  Or two.

After lunch we walked over to Canyon Road.  This is a half mile road packed with galleries of all kinds.  Over 100 shops!  And the quality - Oy!  Everywhere you looked, just great work, and the shops were staffed with great people, all who really knew their stuff.  We spent so much time talking with people that we probably stopped at only a dozen shops.  If only to dig into this one street, this city is worth another visit.

We had to leave Canyon Road sooner than we would have wanted to make it to the Georgia O'Keefe Museum before its 5:00 closing time.  This stop was on our list from day #1 of the trip since Kim and I are big fans.  Like the rest of the city, it didn't disappoint.  It is a modest museum, but had a nice cross section of work, time and background material.  The photographer in me was also thrilled that they had just brought in some new photo work from her husband Alfred Stieglitz who was a master curator and photographer in his on own right.  All this plus a short bio movie and some great discussion with the girls made this a winner.  The Sun Prairie girl did good.

So, our culture tank was filled, and that's a good thing.  Like I said above, I can have a tendency to get a little frou-frou about this sort of stuff, but there's really no way you can have too much beauty in your life.  Today was a good day to see some great work.  Also, I took just a handful of pictures, largely because I don't like to shoot others people's work, but also since it was a day to absorb vs. document.

Tomorrow we will log some serious miles and turn our heads to the skies.  Small steps, Ellie...

- Jim

San Miguel Mission, the oldest church in the US.

The girls doing a little art appreciation.

Testify, Sister!  You can replace 'painting' with 'photography' and still have a bunch of truthiness.

In this town full of amazing art, our otherwise lovely hotel has made choices for their walls.  This giant painting hangs over the breakfast area.