Harper is relaxing and recreating in the PetsHotel and her Other Dad and I are off for a weekend of cooler weather and opera in Santa Fe, NM.
There are many things to recommend Santa Fe as a get away destination. An 8 hour car trip, it is too far away for a standard weekend but is ideal for a 3 – 4 day trip. We left home Thursday evening and drove about half way; spending the night in Holbrook, Arizona. Holbrook is one of the old Route 66 communities. Because the Interstate highway that replaced Historic Route 66 passes nearby, the town has survived better than some of the less fortunate Rt 66 towns that were bypassed completely. It has not fared quite as well as nearby Winslow…. but then no one ever sang a song about “…standing on a corner in Holbrook Arizona” (“….such a fine sight to see.”) We will finish the drive to Santa Fe tomorrow morning and look forward to meeting a friend at The Shed; a lunch-time favorite. Green chili pork stew and sangria; or “Bloody’s” made with tequila instead of vodka; Yum!
As state capitals go, Santa Fe is not a large city. With a population of about 68,000, it is the 4th largest city in New Mexico behind Albuquerque, Las Cruces, and Rio Rancho. It has 20,000 more people than Roswell according to the 2010 census but I believe extraterrestrials were excluded from the count so the Roswell number may be understated.
Size notwithstanding, it is a city rich in history; both Native and colonial. There were Pueblo Native communities on site beginning around 900 CE. The Spanish colonized this part of North America and made Santa Fe the provincial capital in 1610. Under one flag or another, it has been a capital ever since.
Texas claimed the city as a part of their fledgling republic when they seceded from Mexico in 1836 but the territory, including the capital city, were ceded to the United States by Mexico in the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo at the end of the Mexican-American War (1848). The Confederate flag flew over the capital briefly in March of 1862 but the Union Army re-took the city after only a few days.
My first visit to Santa Fe was in December of 2005. We’d relocated from Michigan to Arizona earlier that year and we were struggling with our first holidays without snow. Since neither of us have ever been to Santa Fe, it seemed an ideal time to visit. The city is popular during the holidays, in part because of its proximity to the ski area of Taos. And nobody does luminaries better than Santa Fe at Christmas.
Since that first visit we’ve visited more often in the summer. At an attitude of 7200 feet, the city is more than 6000 higher in altitude than Harper’s Valley and that means “cooler”. The forecasts for this weekend? Harper’s Valley: high of 107*F – overnight low of 88*F. Santa Fe: high of 79*F – overnight low 55*F. I can’t even recall the last time I wore long pants, much less a sweater.
Santa Fe is also a city with a vibrant arts community. One of the world’s premier art markets, the galleries of Santa Fe would be happy to sell you a ‘sofa-sized’ oil painting or sculpture for that empty corner in your home for a few hundred thousand dollars. If money were no object I can’t think of a better place to shop than the galleries along Canyon Road. For those more interested in looking than buying, the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum is a highlight. Ms O’K lived and worked in Santa Fe for many years.
The highlight of a summer visit for us is always the opera. Most opera companies, at least in the US, take the summers off. The Santa Fe Opera performs at their open-air theater in July and August . Their productions feature world-class singers and designers and do a remarkable number of premiers of new operas. We’ve seen several over the years and this weekend look forward to seeing the premier of Oscar; a new opera based on the trials of Oscar Wilde.
In addition to the production quality, the setting is beautiful and, at times, literally breathtaking. The stage is open on the back so the audience can see through to the mountains in the distance. as the sun sets. This time of year thunderstorms are common and seeing the lightning in the sky over the mountains during a performance is an experience not to be missed. We will be seeing two performances this weekend featuring singers we saw this season on the Met’s “Live In HD” broadcasts. Reviews to follow.