Friday, December 13, 2013

a different kind of Santa...

There seems to be much talk about Santa these days.
So I'll run with that theme as well...
though it is a different kind of Santa.
Santa Fe, New Mexico.

We've been home from our road trip for almost a month...
and I'm not done unpacking my pictures yet.
One city well worth spending some time in is Santa Fe.

Santa Fe is the capital of New Mexico...
the oldest state capital in the USA.
It is also the highest...
at 7,199 feet above sea level.

We parked in the centre of town...
and took a walking tour.
One can walk almost anywhere in the old part of the city in 15-20 minutes.
Everything is situated around the old town plaza...
where elderly men play accordion (while pet goats stand by)...
and local craftsmen sell their wares.  

It was Sunday...
a good day to go to church.
There were plenty to pick from around the plaza.
So we checked out several.
Each one had an interesting story!

Loretto Chapel was built in the 1870's...
the first Gothic structure west of the Mississippi.
Due to a flaw in the design...
the chapel was completed without a way to get from the main floor to the choir loft.
No carpenters could find a solution...since there was no room for a staircase.
They suggested a ladder.
As the sisters sought God's guidance...
a mysterious carpenter showed up.
He designed and built a circular stairway to the loft...
33 steps with two complete 360° turns.
When the job was done...
he disappeared without being paid and no one ever knew who he was.
The stairs still stand today!

Another church we paid a visit to was San Miguel Mission Church...
the oldest church in the United States.
It was built by Tlaxcalan Indians from Mexico in the early 1600's.

The tower pictured was erected in 1887.
The church was open for services the day we were there.
Right next to the church is the oldest house in America...
and 800 year-old adobe structure.
Then there was St. Francis Cathedral (1886)...
a lovely old church.
At one of the cathedrals...
we decided we would stay and participate in a church service.
But after warming a pew for some time...
there was an announcement made that the Father had been caught up in a traffic incident and would be much delayed.
We decided not to wait.

 Built in 1871...the El Sanctuario de Guadalupe is now a museum.
Enough of old churches.
It was time for lunch.

A local pointed us to a lovely spot for lunch...
a family owned restaurant serving up recipes that grandma made.

The name of the place already escapes me...
but the memory of the good food lives on!  

Burro Alley was once the hub of the nightlife in the city...
and was named after the burros that carried firewood to be sold there.

Among all the old trading posts and art shops...
I saw a familiar store.
Ten Thousand Villages in Santa Fe.
We checked it out...
and they carried somewhat different stock than I had seen elsewhere.
But beautiful stuff!
Did you know that TTV's is the oldest Fair Trade organization in North America?

Should we have felt so inclined...
we could have taken a sight-seeing ride on the old Santa Fe Railroad...
along a 129 year-old spur line in an 1920's rail car.
I took a photo instead.

And so ends my little tour of Santa Fe...
an interesting stop along the historic Route 66.


  1. Interesting buildings in that town. Judy, you left me hanging till the end, looking for mention of a giftgiving man in this story; at the end, I realize what the Santa in the title meant! You got me there! Dairymary

  2. I like this Santa post! The Mexican food looks delicious, and that's such an interesting story about the staircase builder.

  3. Love that story about the anonymous carpenter.

  4. Your photos are wonderful Judy and show the amazing character of your visit. That spiral staircase is incredible!

  5. Boy that town is really loaded with great things to see. The churches and history of them is so interesting. That food is calling to me. I think it's time to eat here at this old house.
    Blessings on your weekend.

  6. Now that was interesting! I had no idea that there was a building 800 years old in the U.S. I have heard the story of the carpenter, but the photo was old and grainy...a newspaper clipping I I really loved seeing the staircase. Very impressive!

  7. That visit to Santa Fe was fantastic. I loved seeing it with you in this post. I think I'd like to visit there. The town must have been in some movies...thinking how it looked so much like scenes from Zorro.

  8. What an interesting town. Certainly lots to see and lots of old history. The circular stairway in that church is magnificent! Thanks for sharing your adventure in Santa Fe.

  9. I love Santa Fe and so enjoyed reading about your visit. Did you visit the Georgia O'keeffe museum, which is near the square? It's small, but one of my favourite places. She is such an individualistic person and painter. It looks as if you had beautiful weather while you were there. Thanks for sharing your trip. xoxo

  10. Another place I'd love to visit. The old mission towns are so pretty with their new and old churches.

  11. How incredibly interesting! You bring so many interesting facts and stories with your travellog! We are taking notes over here and can't wait to hit the road one day with our little "Dash" trailer.

  12. A place I have wanted to visit for ever so long. Thanks for the tour Judy.
    I still would love to go there at Christmas time. It is said to have a wonderful Christmas Eve all residence march up the hill together. Maybe someday!

  13. Since Santa Fe is not on my bucket list, I feel blessed to have had the informative tour you just shared. What an interesting story about the spiral staircase and the "angel" that built it. Love hearing stories like that.

  14. I've never been to Santa Fe but hope to visit one day in the future and now I'll know what to look for, Judy! I'd love to see the staircase and mission church, and have a lovely authentic lunch like you did. Luckily I won't have any problem with the altitude of Santa Fe -- I've heard people not used to that altitude sometimes do!


'The ornament of a house is the friends who frequent it.'
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson