Thursday, November 4, 2010

New Mexico Part II - Santa Fe

Santa Fe was the prettiest town we were in, in my opinion. I don't know why; it seemed cleaner than all the other towns in NM that we visited.

I loved the character of Santa Fe; the red-pink adobe walls and turquoise trim, and the unique wood fences (called Coyote Fences) that surrounded the majority of the houses there. Others had adobe walls too. So original to Santa Fe and so gorgeous.

This pic is NOT mine. Just FYI. Pretty, though, huh?

The day we got in we ventured out of our hotel room for dinner and ate at Horseman's Haven. Not much in the way of atmosphere, but the food was awesome. Blake had the Carne Adobada burrito, smothered in hot green chile. For those of you who do not know my husband, he's the BIGGEST fan of hot foods. Anything that makes him cry- he can't get enough of it. "I don't cry!" He always retorts. "My eyes run. And so does my nose. Noses don't cry!" This particular chile made his entire face cry-I mean run. He said it was the best green chile he's ever had. I ordered just a regular chicken burrito, smothered in the much milder green chile! Everything was delicious but my lack of sleep was catching up with me so when we returned to the hotel I crashed.

The next day, we took it easy in the morning. I wasn't super hungry but we ate breakfast anyway, eager to partake in anything green chile and not wanting to miss any of it! Tecolote Cafe was our restaurant of choice this morning; we'd heard of it on the Food Network on Guy Fieri's show Diners, Drive-ins and Dives. He visited there and said the green chile was some of the best around, so we took his word for it! We both had breakfast burritos smothered in both red & green chile (called "Christmas"-style down there). Now, neither Blake nor I are big fans of red chile as a general rule, but this was just fabulous! It had a lot more flavor than any other red chile we had previously. After breakfast, we decided to check out the Plaza. The Plaza is the touristy part of Santa Fe, where art galleries, shops and restaurants abound.

We wandered around a bit and then got into the historic details. Here's a picture of the San Miguel Mission, the oldest church in the U.S.; dating back to around 1610.

Right around the corner (convenient, huh?) was the Oldest House, or so they say. There's some controversy surrounding this title, as they say it was built in 1646. I think people were building houses much earlier than 1646 but I'm not a historian. :)

Just up the street is Loretto Chapel. This catholic church boasts an all-wood, double helix spiral staircase that winds up to the choir loft. The catholics think that St. Joseph heard their please and built it for them. It's said to be a miraculous staircase, as no nails or glue was used and no central support is present to hold it up, and the technology used to create it (built in the 1860's) was beyond its years.

Looking towards the front

The staircase is located at the rear of the church.

Also, the stained glass windows were just as beautiful! This shot's for you, Mom!

Finding beauty in small things...

Blake was starting to get ansy. We were spending too much time in this chapel and he wanted to get down to Albuquerque to find out where we were supposed to go to catch the bus for the Ballon Fiesta, so we weren't getting lost in the morning and missing said bus. Back to the car we walked, and off we went. Albuquerque is only about 40-50 miles south of Santa Fe; not a bad drive at all. After we found our future destinations we putzed around Albuquerque for a bit. We decided to visit a winery. We went equipped with a full list of wineries, and it's a shame that we only hit one. (More on that later, as we had a good excuse). Casa Rondena Winery ended up being the closest to our current location. Here's what we drove into:
Pretty sweet, ain't it? Did we just get transported to Sonoma Valley or what? Here we are in the tasting room:

We sampled about 8 different wines and headed out to the veranda to enjoy our selection. We befriended another couple from Bailey, Colo and shot the breeze with them for about an hour. Glenn is an actual photographer, so when conversation waned he whipped out his camera and went for a walk. Good idea, I thought, and did the same:

Hello; I'm at a winery, right?

Neat door - love that handle!

We spent a bit more time here than we realized (wine seems to attribute to that) and felt that we should be on the road. Not to worry; we had stopped drinking wine an hour prior! We asked one of the employees where a good place to eat was, promptly got lost, and found the highway. We'll just head back to Santa Fe! Much easier! We couldn't decide on a place to eat so we just got something at the hotel's restaurant. Nothing to write about; no green chile or anything exciting! Besides, we didn't want to fill up too much; we had to get up at 4 am.

For BALLOONS!!!! That's the next post! Stay tuned... and since I'm such a tease...

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