Monday, July 28, 2008

Santa Fe Highlights - Day 1

It was a whirlwind trip to Santa Fe that left me recharged, reinspired, and ready to dive back into my life.

I drove from Phoenix to Santa Fe with a stop in Albuquerque for dinner at the Duran Central Pharmacy lunch counter. They are famous for their chicken enchiladas with green chili sauce. It was very good. There were two bug-a-boos on that first day. My camera battery died just outside of Phoenix, which meant I couldn't take any more picture en route. (I had the charger in my luggage and remedied the situation that night.) Second, my air conditioner stopped working just outside Albuquerque. The entire day I chased thunderstorms, so the temperature ranged from about 68 to 98 depending on the storms around me. I had the air off and on throughout the day. I rode the rest of the evening in the humid heat without any relief. It still wasn't as bad as driving any summer day in Phoenix without air, so I am not complaining. I got myself checked at the hotel and located the local Toyota dealership for a visit the next morning.

The first day started early with a trip to the Toyota dealership. I didn't have an appointment, but the service adviser was great and someone assessed my problem right away. It was an easy fix, and I was off sightseeing within an hour. (By the way, the Frommer's guide didn't mention the service waiting room but it was quite comfortable!)

The Plaza was only about 2 miles from the Toyota dealer, so I was there quickly. I found the public parking lot on Water street, and hit a few shops as I walked around the block to the Plaza. I arrived just before a tour started, so I impulsively decided to join the tour.

The tour covered the visitor highlights of town and we spent considerable time on Canyon Road viewing the galleries (at a distance) and seeing public sculptures. We also learned some of the history, got recommendations for restaurants and shops, and saw a great deal of the town's charm. I sat on the outside and snapped pictures as we drove. They didn't all turn out, as you might imagine, but I did capture a lot of the highlights this way.

After the tour, I grabbed lunch from a street vendor on the Plaza and copped a squat under the trees and did some serious people watching while I ate. After lunch, I sat with my travel journal, my GPS, and my web-enabled cell phone to plot out which shops I had to visit. I used my cell phone to post pictures on Flickr and messages about my activities on Twitter so my friends and family could follow my adventure. I must say, I felt like a total geek using all of that technology sitting on a grassy plaza in front of the oldest building in the United States.

The afternoon went by quickly. I found a great stamp store and not only had a great conversation there, but bought two fab stamps. I visited about 20 shops in a very short time and by the end of the afternoon, I was ready for a great dinner. I selected The Shed because it was highly recommended and was in walking distance.

I spent the rest of the daylight exploring Canyon Road on my own. Most of the galleries were closed, but since I was only looking, that didn't bother me. The buildings and landscaping were inspiring on their own, and I took many pictures of doorways and courtyards without seeing any of the art inside.

Don't miss the rest of my journey on day 2, day 3 and day 4.


Kristi said...

I love the buildings--is just one area of Santa Fe build with that continuous adobe, or are a lot of the buildings that way? I read through this entire post--you really made me want to go to Santa Fe!

Anonymous said...

love these photos... melissa

[Charlene] said...

My tour guide said that Santa Fe has the most restrictive building codes of any city in America except Charleston. Every new building has to be one of two styles (territorial revival, and I forgot the name of the other style, but it also is adobe and has the row of bricks across the top). And every new building has to be brown. There are a few buildings in Santa Fe that don't fit the styles, but mostly they do.

You also find adobe in Albuquerque and in Phoenix, but less often in Phoenix than the other places.

lisa {milkshake} said...

Found you through Kelly Rae. Love these photos! Makes me wish I could get on a plane right now!