In the ensuing years, I’ve tried to remember the maxim, “When you look back over your life, you’ll regret more the things you didn’t do than the things you did.” A saying similar to this is (incorrectly) attributed to Mark Twain, among dozens of other people. What that tells me is that the desire to live without regrets is a universal yearning.
Every Visit To Santa Fe Is Unique
I did finally make it to Santa Fe—a decade later—and it was love at first sight. I loved everything about the city—the adobe architecture and chile pepper ristras; the cobalt skies and brilliant sunshine; the mix of Pueblo Indian-Spanish-and Cowboy cultures; the winding streets lined with world-class art galleries; and the unique New Mexican style of cooking laced with green chile.
That was almost 30 years ago, and I’ve been back at least a dozen times, several times now with Eric. After so many visits to Santa Fe, you would think we would run out of things to do. Never. We settled in for a week and had a wonderful time, as always.
The International Museum of Folk Art
We always visit one of the museums on Museum Hill when we’re in Santa Fe. This time, we chose The International Museum of Folk Art. This is a wild collection of more than 135,000 trinkets (the world’s largest collection of folk art) and special exhibits (The History of Chocolate during our visit). Best of all, we happened to be there for their Dia de los Muertos celebration. The community turned out to participate in the Mexican tradition of remembering loved ones with beautiful dances, music, and crafts.
This mile-long narrow street houses more than one hundred art galleries, silver shops, and restaurants with inviting courtyards. I spent the better part of two days exploring Canyon Road, and treated myself to lunch one day at The Compound (excellent Nicoise salad and a glass of New Mexico champagne). The only thing that would have made it better is if one of my girlfriends was along.
The Nedra Matteucci Gallery is a spectacular gallery and gardens located a few blocks from Canyon Road. It’s beautiful and peaceful, with exquisitely selected artwork and sculptures. Bonus: Kakawa Chocolate House is right across the street, for a demitasse of drinking chocolate, the perfect pick-me-up for hours of gallery browsing.
New Mexico History Museum
In downtown Santa Fe, we visited the New Mexico History Museum specifically to see the exhibit Cowboys: Real And Imagined (it’s headed for the Smithsonian). For two hours we were immersed in our country’s love affair with the cowboy mystique, with terrific exhibits of everything from branding irons to cookware to fancy saddles and dress. Eric had a cowboy outfit when he was growing up; so did I (didn’t everyone?).
New Mexican Cuisine
We went two days to the Farmer’s Market in the Rail Yard; it’s chile-roasting season, so we stocked up. Other memorable meals included a wonderful breakfast at Pasquale’s (potato cake with smoked trout, poached eggs, and green chile) and lunch at the Museum. There was a special menu to accompany the History of Chocolate exhibit; including poblano mole, corn custard, nopales salad (prickly pear cactus pads), and a dark chocolate torte. Yummy.
About The RV Park
Our favorite place to stay in Santa Fe is the Trailer Ranch RV Resort. It’s the closest in-town location and has a bus stop right outside the surrounding adobe wall. The bus system is excellent, and the drivers make sure that you get where you want to go. It was perfect for me because Eric doesn’t have the same stamina as I do for browsing art galleries. On two separate days, I hopped on the bus, went downtown, and had a great time wandering to my heart’s desire.
Adding to our enjoyment was meeting Karen and Riley, our next door neighbors at the RV park. They’re also from Oregon, travel full-time, and we had a great time sharing adventure stories over happy hour in the evenings. At one point, I asked Riley, “Isn’t it difficult to drive a really big motorhome? And then remembered that he had been the fire chief in Gresham.