Stops & Shops
In The News
In Santa Fe, City, Sky and History
July 18, 2015
The New York Times
Where to Go Now
July 15, 2015
By JOHN L. DORMAN
“At roughly 7,000 feet above sea level, Santa Fe, N.M., offers visitors a culturally diverse experience, steeped in the history of the American West. The relatively dry climate (with cool mornings and nights) and above-average air quality attract many outdoor enthusiasts to the area, which has nearly 1.5 million acres of national forest. With a compact downtown dominated by pueblo-style architecture and the Sangre de Cristo Mountains in the background, Santa Fe has preserved its inviting, small-town feel.
Don Pedro de Peralta, a Spanish conquistador who later became governor-general of New Mexico, established the present-day location of the city from 1609 to 1610. As a result, Santa Fe is the oldest capital city in the United States, despite New Mexico’s relatively young statehood. (The state was admitted to the Union in 1912, ahead of only Arizona, Alaska and Hawaii.)
Fernanda Santos, chief of the Phoenix bureau of The New York Times, occasionally finds herself in the area when reporting in the American Southwest. When arriving in Santa Fe from Albuquerque, one can generally choose between Interstate 25, roughly an hour’s drive, and State Route 14, a National Scenic Byway also known as the Turquoise Trail.
The Turquoise Trail is a gem,” Ms. Santos said. “The road goes up and down and around the mountains, crossing old mining towns like Madrid, whose shops sell beautiful pottery, paintings and American Indian jewelry for less than you’d buy them in Santa Fe. One spot I love is Conley Studio Pottery, which features work from several New Mexican artists.”
Conley Studio Pottery, owned by the Madrid resident Lisa Conley, is a gallery that features items like Navajo and local Cerrillos turquoise jewelry from regional artists (and includes pottery by the owner).
A local cafe on State Route 14 in Madrid that makes chocolate pastries with Bing cherries, pink peppercorn and cashews, among other ingredients, also gets strong approval from Ms. Santos.
“For a treat, I recommend Shugarman’s Little Chocolate Shop. Its handmade organic chocolates are decadent,” she said.
A short drive up State Route 14 from Madrid is Cerrillos, home of the Turquoise Trail Sculpture Garden and Studio. The garden uses rock formations and the natural Southwest setting to promote harmonious sensibilities. The current exhibit is “Origami in the Garden,” which Ms. Santos said is great for family outings.
Ten minutes north of Cerrillos is Santa Fe proper, filled with restaurants that serve posole, a stew traditionally made with hominy, lime and chile, and institutions like the New Mexico Museum of Art, founded in 1917.
In order to further understand the city’s place in American history, the Palace of the Governors, located in the Santa Fe Historic District, should top any travel list. The long adobe building, constructed in 1610, is the oldest continuously occupied public building in the United States. It is open daily from May through October; a single museum admission costs $9 for nonresidents. (Admission is free from 5 to 8 p.m. on Fridays from May through October.)
The Santa Fe Railyard, a bustling downtown shopping and dining district, occupies about 50 acres, including stores ranging from Molecule, which specializes in contemporary design, to REI, the outdoor recreation and sporting goods company. The venue also has live music and movie screenings, among other events, throughout the year.
For a solid dining option in the city, Ms. Santos recommends the Coyote Cafe and Rooftop Cantina, also located downtown near Santa Fe Plaza. The menu includes Hawaiian tuna sashimi with vegetable ribbon salad and Asian sweet soy sauce ($22) and mesquite grilled Maine lobster tails with organic spring onions and spicy creamy chile sauce ($42).
Ms. Santos said the restaurant has “an inventive and upscale dining experience that’s still true to Southwestern cuisine,” but offered a tip regarding the menu.
“The portions are huge,” she advised