Greetings From "The City Different"

Trip Start Jul 29, 2011
Trip End Aug 02, 2011

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A foot in Santa Fe
Read my review - 5/5 stars

Flag of United States  , New Mexico
Friday, July 29, 2011

Written 7/29/11 -- Posted 7/31/11

Hi, Everyone!

It's been a long, but good day, my first in "The City Different" as people call it here.  Santa Fe, New Mexico is one of my favorite places anywhere and it's a pleasure to be back.  I was concerned about getting off the ground--literally--since we had another whopper thunderstorm move through Chicago late Thursday night and early Friday morning.  But we left Midway Airport around 10:30am and got into Albuquerque's "Sunport" as they call it around noon local time, ahead of schedule.  After eating lunch in Albuquerque's Old Town district, I headed up to Santa Fe.  It wasn't a clear day, but that didn't matter.  In fact, it was great to see a couple of small storm systems in the distance, since you can really see for miles and miles here.  We didn't get any rain (and they need it here) but it's around 79 degrees and no humidity.  Love it!

I strolled around Santa Fe's historic Plaza district before and after dinner, re-acquainting myself with the area.  During my first visit here in May of 1993, they rolled up the sidewalks pretty early.  No more.  Maybe it was due to the fact that it's a Friday night, but the area was bustling, with plenty of places to eat, drink and socialize, all of them busy.  My only disappointment was dinner at a place my Dad and I enjoyed when we were here in 2009.  It used to be called the Ore House, right on the Plaza, with a wonderful bar, upstairs dining rooms and an outdoor balcony.  They've moved about a block away and the place is now called "Balconies."  Simply put, the service was slow and the menu over-priced.  The over-priced part didn't surprise me, since this is an expensive town, but I was disappointed by what I got for the money.  During my after dinner stroll, I sought out several other places that are more reasonable.

The evening ended very well.  Since the old downtown is so easily walkable, everyone here takes advantage of it.  Adding to the mix of folks enjoying themselves and the aroma of food all over, there was music everywhere.  In one venue, the famous Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, a choral concert at the beautiful St. Francis of Assisi Basilica and the New Mexico Jazz Festival at an old theater, to street musicians on several corners.  The New Mexico Jazz Festival will continue Saturday night at their Performing Arts Center.  The mix was amazing!  I finally sat down in the Plaza, the centerpiece of this wonderful place for 400 years, to listen to a good guitarist entertain all those who cared to listen.  Small white lights illuminated the Plaza's trees and a very gentle wind came and went, enhancing a perfectly comfortable night.  All this after watching a terrific sunset from the steps of St. Francis.  A Mid-Summer Night's Dream indeed! 

Tomorrow (Saturday) I head north into the mountains to visit the home of the late artist Georgia O'Keeffe, who has a museum named for her in Santa Fe.  I also hope to take in some of the Native American ruins, namely the Pecos National Historical Monument not far away.  I'll keep you updated on what's going on here in the Land Of Enchantment whenever possible.  Have a great weekend!

Dave...On the road again and glad to be on it!     
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