New Mexico Part I: Santa Fe – First Half

When we looked at our future route and determined we could be in Santa Fe for the Christmas holidays, I suggested to Mike that we make reservations in the Land of Enchantment’s Capital City for a whole month! Why not? So we did. It has been great!

We found a campground on the south side of town called Santa Fe Skies. We are a 20-minute drive into downtown, but Santa Fe is actually a small town (with a population of only 70,000 within the city limits and 150,000 in the county), so the route is no problem at all. We are situated up on a shallow ridge with beautiful views of the skies in all directions and the city lights at night.

Since there is so much to do and see here, I decided to break this blog post into two parts. I still have over fifty photos to share in this first half, so I think it will be less of a burden to the nice folks that visit this blog if I don’t overwhelm them with more tidbits than I’ve already chosen to share. The following pictures start when we arrived on December 14th and go through the weekend of January 3rd. I’ll post the second half after we leave here on January 18th. It is cold here, but we aren’t buried in snow or anything like that. I think I tell Mike that I could live here about three times each day. He just nods and smiles. They don’t call this place “The Land of Entrapment” for nothing!

We had a fairly long day of travel getting from Colorado Springs to Santa Fe. We had originally planned to break up the trip, and boondock in a Walmart parking lot in Trinidad. However, the weather forecast was calling for a snowstorm so we drove the route in one day. After we checked into our campground I was in charge of leading us to our spot #26. I read the map wrong and led Mike through a tight space with a retaining wall. The muddy ground caused him to slide at the wrong minute, and now the side of the rig was scratched. Yuck. (The good news is that we both acted like mature adults, avoided the blame game and got past it).

We had a fairly long day of travel getting from Colorado Springs to Santa Fe. We had originally planned to break up the trip, and boondock in a Walmart parking lot in Trinidad at the half-way point. It would have been a good opportunity to make the drive(s) short and stress-free, plus we could help our rental average by paying no fees one night. However, the forecast was calling for a snowstorm so we drove the route in one day so we could get situated before the weather turned bad. After we checked into our campground I was in charge of leading us to our spot #26. I read the map wrong and led Mike through a tight space with a retaining wall. The muddy ground caused him to slide at the wrong minute, and the side of the rig was scratched. Yuck. (The good news is that we both acted like mature adults, avoided the blame game and got past it).

The back of our spot #26.

The back of our spot #26.

The view out my kitchen window.

The view out my kitchen window.

The exterior of the famous Loretto Chapel near the Santa Fe Plaza. It was once a Catholic Church, and is now a museum and wedding chapel.

The exterior of the famous Loretto Chapel near the Santa Fe Plaza. It was once a Catholic Church, and is now a museum and wedding chapel.

We were lucky to attend an intimate Christmas concert one evening inside the Loretto Chapel. The Santa Fe Pro Musica Baroque Ensemble performed a collection of music by Handel, Vivaldi and Bach.

We were lucky to attend an intimate Christmas concert one evening inside the Loretto Chapel. The Santa Fe Pro Musica Baroque Ensemble performed a collection of music by Handel, Vivaldi and Bach.

The Miraculous Stair, a helix-shaped staircase mysteriously built by someone the Sisters of Loretto believed to be St. Joseph. The banister was a later addition.

The Miraculous Stair, a helix-shaped staircase mysteriously built by someone the Sisters of Loretto believed to be St. Joseph. The banister was a later addition.

I loved this tree outside of Loretto Chapel, adorned with hundreds of rosaries.

I loved this tree outside of Loretto Chapel, adorned with hundreds of rosaries.

I bought a Christmas ornament from the vendors at the Palace of the Governors across from the Plaza.

I bought a Christmas ornament from the vendors at the Palace of the Governors across from the Plaza.

Some public art in downtown Santa Fe.

Some public art in downtown Santa Fe.

Ristras

Ristras

Saint Francis Cathedral.

Saint Francis Cathedral.

Inside the basilica of Santa Fe.

Inside the Cathedral.

The Lensic Theater in downtown is beautiful!

The Lensic Theater in downtown is beautiful!

Mike's birthday was on December 18th. I ordered a cake for him from a local place called Cake Odyssey. I was beyond pleased when I picked it up... and it tasted delicious too.

Mike’s birthday was on December 18th. I ordered a cake for him from a local place called Cake Odyssey. I was beyond pleased when I picked it up… and it tasted delicious too.

The bar at the Palace in downtown Santa Fe.

The bar at the Palace in downtown Santa Fe. Everything was red. The furniture, the walls, the lights. Red. We did a pub crawl on Mike’s birthday and ended up here eating hamburgers after we had visited Coyote Café and The Agave inside the Eldorado Hotel.

I went to a performance called A Celtic Christmas at the historic Scottish Rite Masonic Hall. The show started with Christmas carols by bagpipe. There were also irish dancers, fiddle players, and other musicians.

I went to a performance called A Celtic Christmas at the historic Scottish Rite Masonic Hall. The show started with Christmas carols by bagpipe. There were also Irish dancers, fiddle players, and other musicians.

The exterior of the Masonic Temple.

The exterior of the Masonic Temple.

A view of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains from our campground at sunset. Many say they are called "blood of Christ" because of the red color they turn when the sun sets opposite them.

A view of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains from our campground at sunset. Many say they are called “blood of Christ” because of the red color they turn when the sun sets opposite them.

A typical sunrise view from my office window. Good Morning!

A typical sunrise view from my office window. Good Morning!

We took the train into downtown on Christmas eve. It was so convenient and we didn't have to worry about parking or crazy drivers!

There is a RailRunner Station about 1/2 mile from our campground. We took the train into downtown on Christmas eve. It was so convenient and we didn’t have to worry about parking or crazy drivers!

The Farolito Walk along Canyon Road on Christmas Eve is a Santa Fe tradition. Its a big deal!

The Farolito Walk along Canyon Road on Christmas Eve is a Santa Fe tradition. Its a big deal!

We stopped to have a drink and take a selfie during the Farolito Walk.

We stopped to have a drink and take a selfie during the Farolito Walk.

The almost full moon and the luminaries atop a building on Canyon Road on Christmas Eve.

The almost full moon and the luminaries atop a building on Canyon Road on Christmas Eve.

Christmas morning at Camp Martin.

Christmas morning at Camp Martin.

The Christmas altar at our neighborhood church Santa Maria de la Paz.

The Christmas altar at our neighborhood church Santa Maria de la Paz.

I had originally wanted to have a nice Christmas dinner at a fancy restaurant somewhere, but when I started investigating our options it became clear we were going to spend a minimum of $250 if we made an attempt to book a table somewhere. We opted to save that money and distribute it among several restaurants on multiple meals during our stay. Instead, we had home-made roasted duck, potatoes, dressing, gravy, horseradish spinach salad and cranberry salad. I was not displeased with our decision to change our plans.

I had originally wanted to have a nice Christmas dinner at a fancy restaurant, but when I started investigating our options it became clear we were going to spend a minimum of $250 if we made an attempt to book a table somewhere. We opted to save that money and distribute it among several restaurants on multiple meals during our stay. Instead, I fixed roasted duck, potatoes, dressing, gravy, horseradish spinach salad and cranberry salad. I was not displeased with our decision to change our plans.

Mike's view from his seat on the couch.

Mike’s view from his seat on the couch.

A blizzard came through during the first few days of our stay, so we waited it out inside the Monaco... except when the dogs insisted we visit the dog park.

A blizzard came through during the first few days of our stay, so we waited it out inside the Monaco… except when the dogs insisted we visit the dog park.

Just us on a leisurely walk to get some fresh air and clear our heads.

Just us on a leisurely walk to get some fresh air and clear our heads.

We found a great walking trail located a short drive from our campground.

We found a great walking trail located a short drive from our campground.

Cactus on the trail.

Cactus on the trail.

Two snuggling bears on Canyon Road.

Two snuggling bears on Canyon Road.

Frozen fog.

Frozen fog.

Another view from the walking path we found.

Another view from the walking path we found.

The view never disappoints.

The view never disappoints.

We also attended a performance by the Santa Fe Pro Musica Orchestra of Bach's Brandenburg Concertos in the St. Francis Auditorium at the New Mexico Museum of Art.

We also attended a performance by the Santa Fe Pro Musica Orchestra of Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos in the St. Francis Auditorium at the New Mexico Museum of Art.

The Santa Fe Plaza all decked out for the holidays.

The Santa Fe Plaza all decked out for the holidays.

During a brief weather window when the snow melted, the sun appeared, and the temperature reached into the high 30's... you can bet we headed outside for a campfire!

During a brief weather window when the snow melted, the sun appeared, and the temperature reached into the high 30’s… you can bet we headed outside for a campfire!

The Santa Fe Farmer's Market is open all year on Tuesday and Saturday mornings. I bought some delicious chocolate mousse from one vendor and some amazing green chili cheese bread from the Intergalactic Bread vendor's booth.

The Santa Fe Farmer’s Market is open all year on Tuesday and Saturday mornings. I bought some delicious chocolate mousse from one vendor and some amazing green chili cheese bread from the Intergalactic Bread vendor’s booth. It was out of this world!

The San Miguel Chapel in Santa Fe is regarded as the oldest church in the United States. It was built around 1610, and had been rebuilt and restored several times over the last 400 years.

The San Miguel Chapel in Santa Fe is regarded as the oldest church in the United States. It was built around 1610, and has been rebuilt and restored several times over the last 400 years.

The beautiful altar inside the San Miguel Chapel.

The beautiful altar inside the San Miguel Chapel.

Sunset over our campground. Every night is different, yet no less spectacular.

Sunset over our campground. Every night is different, yet no less spectacular.

The Martin Martian from Madrid (New Mexico).

The Martin Martian from Madrid (New Mexico).

Mike playing along with me at Connie's photo park in Madrid (the oldest town in New Mexico).

Mike playing along with me at Connie’s photo park in Madrid (the oldest town in New Mexico).

Cessna LOVES a road trip. She sits in the back and watches the views pass by outside the window with a big grin on her face.

Cessna LOVES a road trip. She sits in the back and watches the views pass by outside the window with a big grin on her face.

We took the Scenic Highway 14 drive to Albuquerque and the vistas were very beautiful.

We took the Scenic Highway 14 drive to Albuquerque and the vistas were very beautiful.

The spires of San Felipe de Neri Church on the Plaza in Old Town Albuquerque.

The spires of San Felipe de Neri Church on the Plaza in Old Town Albuquerque.

The altar inside the church that was founded in 1706.

The altar inside the church that was founded in 1706.

Cute Christmas mariachis on a restaurant roof top in Old Town Albuquerque.

Cute Christmas mariachis on a restaurant roof top in Old Town Albuquerque.

Old Town Albuquerque.

Old Town Albuquerque.

After we left Old Town, we drove over to central - which is also the original Route 66. It was a Sunday afternoon and the only other people we saw along the street were homeless people.

After we left Old Town, we drove over to Central Ave., which is also the original Route 66. It was a Sunday afternoon and the only other people we saw along the street were homeless people.

Can you read the titles on the books in this sign? Gone with the Gin, Tequila Mockingbird, A Midsummer Night's Drink, Lord of the Onion Rings, Partying 101. Hahahaha.

Can you read the titles on the books in this sign? Gone with the Gin, Tequila Mockingbird, A Midsummer Night’s Drink, Lord of the Onion Rings, Partying 101. Hahahaha.

 A gorgeous marble building in downtown Albuquirky.

A gorgeous marble building in downtown Albuquirky.

A view of the Mountains along 1-25 as we drove back to camp from Albuquerque.

A view of the mountains along I-25 as we drove back to camp from Albuquerque.

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