Sculpture made from a dead tree.
I recently went on my first mother-daughter trip and our first stop was Santa Fe. After a delayed flight, a missed connection, six hours at the DFW International Airport, and several glasses of wine, we flew on the smallest airplane I’ve encountered in many years. We also did one of my favorite things, deplane outside!
Being in the center of Santa Fe is like being on another planet. Everything is adobe and it really is a mind-trip if you haven’t seen anything like it before in person.
Mi madre, Barbara.
My first-time Santa Fe visitor must-do list (part one):
(In no particular order, because I adore them all!)
1. Native American Vendors Program at Palace of the Governors
Like many people who visit Santa Fe, I wanted to find a beautiful piece of turquoise jewelry. Unless you are set on finding an antique or vintage piece, this is THE place to make your purchase – directly from the artists themselves. In front of the Palace of the Governors dozens of Native American artists are lined up, side by side, with their artwork laid out in front of them on blankets. It can be a bit overwhelming because there is just so much to see!
We walked by once and took a look, stopping to greet any artist that we could make eye contact with. We went to lunch and took a second pass afterward. That is when I met artist Nick Garcia, a member of the Santo Domingo Pueblo. I was taken with his energy and several of his rings. This one spoke the loudest to me and I love it so much. Handing him cash and knowing it was all going directly to him felt good. I have seen reviews of this experience where people have haggled or suggest haggling for a lower price and I do not recommend it. I find it disrespectful and I’m fairly certain they find it offensive. The price I paid for my ring was very reasonable and it would have been twice as much in a shop in Santa Fe and probably even more at home in Austin.
Visiting this museum changed the way I view Georgia O’Keeffe completely. I didn’t really think much about her before because although I enjoy her work, it’s never been an inspiration to me as an artist. Now I am totally fascinated with her as a person. I am reading her biography from the Thames & Hudson series, which is very inspiring. The collection in the museum is beautifully presented – from her paintings to her camping gear, as well as intriguing black and white photographs of her.
3. Vinaigrette salad bistro
One of my favorite meals in Santa Fe was a salad. A balsamic roasted beet salad with goat cheese and pistachios. Seriously might have been the best salad I’ve ever had! They have a 10 acre farm where they grow most of the ingredients. When they can’t source from their farm, they are dedicated to local and organic produce. You can really taste this in the food. Shout-out to Beth Whitman for suggesting (strongly) that I not miss this place!
We dined outside until a sudden storm rushed us inside.
4. Enchiladas at Cafe Pasqual’s
Luckily, we caught a table for two about an hour before lunch was over. They close between lunch and dinner, so be sure to check the hours before you go. I was able to get vegan enchiladas with both the green and red chile sauce. My mouth was on fire in the most fantastic way! We ate at “fancier” restaurants offering New Mexican cuisine, but the food was much better here.
5. Visit Shiprock Trading Co. & Gallery
This beautifully curated gallery is full of treasures. If I were loaded and wanted to furnish my casita, this is the place I would go wild with antique rugs and furniture. The historic jewelry collection is also the best I’ve ever seen. Breathtaking squash-blossom necklaces from all decades, as well as a selection of turquoise rings in just about every price range. To top it off, there’s a collection of contemporary Native American art for sale.
I apologize that I cannot get all 10 of my tips into one blog; I’m well over 700 words and I feel like I’ve barely said anything!