"This year we are making a studied conscious effort not to be studied or conscious. Santa Fe is now one of the most interesting art centers in the world and you, O Dude of the East, are privileged to behold the most sophisticated group in the country gamboling freely... And Santa Fe, making you welcome, will enjoy itself hugely watching the Dude as he gazes. Be sure as you stroll along looking for the quaint and picturesque that you are supplying your share of those very qualities to Santa Fe, the City Incongruous... Be yourself, even if it includes synthetic cowboy clothes, motor goggles and a camera." ~
1928 Santa Fe Fiesta Program
I didn't write it (as I'm chuckling to myself, thinking of Jeff Bridges as "The Dude", in The Big Lebowski), but if you've ever been to Santa Fe, you "get" this quote, exactly! One of the most interesting art centers in the country - exactly. Sophisticated groups gamboling freely - exactly. Making you feel welcome - exactly. City Incongruous - EXACTLY!
From the gorgeous SW architecture, to the Native American Vendors Program at the Palace of the Governors, to the quaint and picturesque center plaza, museums, shops, galleries, belly dancers...there's something for everyone in this beautiful SW town, Dude!
I did a few posts on Santa Fe last year (that you can find using the "Secret Words" section, or starting HERE), detailing more of the history of the town. Rather than repeat myself now, some of the sights from town can speak volumes, and just might "enjoy itself hugely watching the Dude as he gazes". I know, I couldn't have written it better myself, if I tried! Maybe with a margarita or two?!
The historic SANTA FE DEPOT sits just outside of the downtown area, at 410 S. Guadalupe St. A day pass on the Rail Runner, to our next stop of Albuquerque, will cost you $10.00, if you forgot your "motor goggles". Before that, however, drop across the parking lot to Tomasita's Santa Fe...deliciously authentic Mexican food, with probably the best local charm going.
If you're lucky, you'll hit on a night that Santa Fe's ONLY all-female mariachi, Mariachi Buenaventura, is entertaining. Beautiful girls, stunning voices, accomplished musicians - always a crowd pleaser!
The flavor of the food sings as loudly as the mariachi! Green chile, hominy, sopapillas, and margaritas...
And, you want the best margarita in town? You head to MARIA'S, up the road and around the corner. The food is outstanding, but with over 100 margaritas (this was a few pages into the margarita menu, by the way...they are not all priced like this, though some go higher - I believe the "house" margarita, which is excellent, will run you around $6-7) to choose from, you might be neither "studied or conscious", when you're done! BEST in town, Dude!!!
Once you've "slept off" the salt (I'm sure that's what kicked my ass last time), and found your motor goggles once again, it's a quick 63 miles SW to Albuquerque, by car.
ALBUQUERQUE is just as charming and unique as Santa Fe, with a little less hustle and bustle (in Old Town, at least). Native American vendors, galleries, museums, shops - it's all here too, Dude!
I've written about old town (HERE) before, also...these SW towns are some of the most enchanting and colorful in our United States. Albuquerque is also known as THE BALLOONING CAPITAL OF THE WORLD, with the world's largest hot air balloon festival taking place each October. Obviously, we weren't there then, or my pictures would have been spectacular.
But, the food is spectacular, anytime of year. Said it before...will say it again CHURCH STREET CAFE - best posole in town! And, you can walk it off strolling back to the main plaza...or, I think I saw a trolley somewhere, Dude.
"Just take my way, that's the highway ~ that's the best. Get your kicks on Route 66!" 138 mi. west, along old Route 66 (Interstate 40), lies the sleepy little railroad town of Gallup, NM.
Located in the heart of tribal lands, you'll find a large American Indian influence in town. Make a stop at Richardson's Trading Post, on the main drag, for an incredible look at Native American jewelry (including old pawn pieces), baskets, rugs (Richardson's claims to have the largest selection of Native American rugs in the Southwest on display), and antique pieces. I wasn't sure they'd let me inside with my camera that day (though I didn't ask, either...it's like walking into a museum, really), so amused myself with just what I found in one front window...some antique relics, and one of the most incredibly weird taxidermy mountain lions I will probably ever see ~ Dude!