Capital City of the Land of Enchantment

January 21, 2016

Santa Fe a.k.a., La Villa Real de la Santa Fé de San Francisco de Asís­ – the Royal Town of the Holy Faith of Saint Francis of Assisi.

No, no, I didnt just make that name up, its the full name of Santa Fe, the capital of New Mexico. If you were inspired by my post on the largest balloon festival and its now on your bucket list too, then heres something not to miss when you are in New Mexico – Santa Fe :)

Our visit to Santa Fe was a quick jaunt during our trip to Albuquerque to experience the worlds largest balloon fiesta. Though I had heard and read so much about Santa Fe, we initially thought of skipping it since we were short on time, but then, I remembered how highly one of our friends (thank you, Udit) had spoken about the city a while ago, and boy, were we glad we checked out the capital of the Land of Enchantment, it truly was enchanting!!  

Santa Fe is known to be the epicenter of arts and culture with over 400 years of history and natural beauty. It is a city full of charm – with its distinctive energy and vibe, you feel as if you are under a spell in a contemporary urban oasis in the high desert. 

And don't you be fooled by how small the city is, it has much to offer and entice you – from arts and crafts to culture to shopping to food. Plus, everything in the city is within walking distance and makes for a great self-guided tour. Apparently, people also travel to Santa Fe to unwind and indulge, and I would not have believed that if I did not visit the city and witness it first hand.

I found Santa Fes architecture to be unique and more intriguing than any other cities I have seen till date… The city has a certain curiosity about it that I was compelled to gaze at it with wide-open eyes. The city supposedly imitates the Pueblo style of architecture – buildings built with "puddled-mud" and upright wooden frames, and to me, it appeared as if the frames were peeping out of the homes to get a glimpse of the city's happenings, and us ;)  

Some (jaw-dropping!) facts about Santa Fe:
  • Is the oldest state capital founded by the 3rd Spanish governor of New Mexico in 1608
  • Is the highest capital city in the US at 7,000 ft. above sea level
  • Is home to the oldest government building in the nation
  • Is the last point along the 800-mile Santa Fe Trail which begins in western Missouri
  • Is the third-largest art market in the US, next only to New York and Los Angeles
  • Santa Fe's Canyon Road has more than 100 galleries within its one square mile, making it the densest concentration of art galleries in the world (and, it was mesmerizing!
We explored plenty of local markets, small stores and street vendor stalls near the plaza, and as we admired the beauty and minute details of each piece of art, we couldnt help but appreciate the ingenious creativity and talent of the artists. 

We did not have enough time for the museums and gave them a pass, though they looked quite interesting from the outside. And since we went in fall, we couldn't take in the grandeur of the much famous Opera house either (unfortunately, no shows that time of the year), well, there's always a next time :) 

Walking past downtown plaza and going up Canyon Road, we were surprised at just how many art galleries, sculptures and exhibits there were in a single street – it is truly a galleries galore!

On that day, I learnt one thing for sure – Santa Fe is famous for it's Turquoise culture; from doors to windows to trinkets to jewelry to precious stones to clothes, every element around me had at least a tinge of turquoise in it (no wonder there was an instant connection and I fell in love with the city - you will know the reference if you have read my Meet SveetesKapes post). The doors painted in turquoise with the terracotta adobe as background could mean only one thing, perfection! (and also a great photo-op). And whaddayaknow, Santa Fe even has an exhibit called Turquoise, Water, Sky: The Stone and Its Meaning in the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture. The color, apparently, is integral to Native American culture.

And if you are in Santa Fe (well anywhere in New Mexico), you cant miss the deep bright-red dried chilies! Not only does it spice up any southwestern dish, but also is quite popular for it's decorative value you surely will spot traditional strings of chilies called ristra adorning the shops and homes alike. I say, they also make for great souvenirs!

On that note, here's a little trivia, do you want red? green? or Christmas? 
Confused? Dont be…I am only asking about your preference for when you want to eat in New Mexico – Green is hotter, red is pungent and Christmas means you want both, I mean chilies  :)

Web References: Wikipedia and Nile Guide

‘All Calculations based on experience elsewhere, fail in New Mexico’.

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