September in Santa Fe – Part 1

This post focuses on our Labor Day activities including: Museum of International Folk Art, Burning of Zozobra, Santo Domingo Market, the Turquoise Trail, and more!


Wow, did I need a 4-day break from work! It’s been extremely busy lately and I’ve been having to deal with even more work as one of my bosses it out on leave.  Here’s how we spent this well-deserved break!

Fri, Sept 4

Museum of International Folk Art on Museum Hill, a pretty little area just south east of the city that has a few other museums along with the city’s Botanical Gardens. There was a pottery exhibit with a focus on the southern US – made me miss my Wed night pottery class at the old Jane Adams Center in Chicago (that’s long gone, replaced with a multi-story Chicago Athletic Club) – not that I was particularly skilled at the wheel – but I did rock some of my hand-building projects, including an extremely large serving tray that I decorated with a daisy motif. J Other exhibits included: A Reflection on Immigration, Cochineal, a red dye made from a bug found on prickly pear cactus. This cochineal has been used for centuries to color a huge array of textiles, clothing, uniforms, etc. (a standout was the British officers uniform), and a cool huge room chock full of folk art representing different countries and cultures across the world.

Burning of Zozobra

After dinner at Osteria d’Assisi, we made our way to the infamous 91st annual Burning of Zozobra over at Fort Marcy Park.  I have to confess that this was the event I was most interested in and intrigued by after reading about it shortly after arriving here!  I suppose it’s something everyone needs to do once – when in Santa Fe!

It was definitely the biggest crowd we’ve seen in Santa Fe to-date. The Burning of Zozobra (Spanish for anxiety) is a pagan tradition in which Santa Feans burn a 50ft tool paper-mache marionette who represents their troubles and concerns from the last year. In fact, those who arrive early write these troubles on a slip of paper that is placed inside a box in Zozobra so they can really watch their worries go up in flames! Pretty cool.  The show is quite the spectacle – flame dancers, fireworks, and a big Zozobra moaning and groaning as he knows what’s coming!

Despite the rain and a crush of people when exiting the park, we were glad we went! On the walk back into town, a young woman cheered the ground on saying ‘Come on Santa Fe, Viva La Fiesta’ quite a few times. You had to be there, but it was quite memorable and ‘Viva La Fiesta!’ has become a regular saying for Dave and me! The Santa Fe Fiesta is the oldest civic celebration in the US (since 1712) and you’ll read more about it in our next post!

Sat, Sept 5

Santo Domingo Pueblo Arts & Crafts Fair

We cruised down to the Santo Domingo Pueblo for their Labor Day arts and crafts fair.  After buying some gorgeous jewelry from a Santo Domingo artist, we had high hopes for the fair.  It was huge, so many stalls, and we were entertained with a traditional Indian dance.  However we weren’t very impressed with the quality of the art and made it a short visit.  We think some of the best jewelry is to be found outside of the Palace of the Governors in the Santa Fe plaza.  We headed back to Santa Fe for lunch and local beers at the 2nd Street Brewery in the Railyard.

Dinner at Lan’s Vietnamese – while I’ve had good Vietnamese food before, most places in Chicago focus on the sandwiches (b’aan mi) while this restaurant really showcased a variety of tasty and fresh appetizers and main dishes.  We’ll be back!

Sun, Sept 6

Museum of Contemporary Native Arts – in general I’m not a fan of most contemporary art (though I wouldn’t have complained if the Willem de ooning remained in my Mom’s attic!), but given we are in such an artsy town decided to visit anyway. The thought that often occurs to me when cruising through contemporary art exhibits is that I often don’t ‘get it’ but happy when I do – I also think that perhaps I could do it myself and make a lot of money!  Wishful thinking!  ha ha!  When I first moved to Chicago I went to the ICA (Institute of Contemporary Art) and was delighted to follow Kramer from Seinfield around the galleries!  Dave could only take a few min of the political propaganda and we left.  I have to agree that it wasn’t money well-spent.  Speaking of, it has been rumored that Modern Art was created by the CIA as a weapon against the USSR in the Cold War – Dave recently read about this, nothing really confirms it, but an interesting theory anyway if you’d like to check it out:  Modern Art was a CIA Weapon.

Lunch at the Bell Tower rooftop bar at La Fonda on the Plaza – after the money burned at the contemporary art museum we spent more money wisely for drinks and a tasty green chile, ham, and swiss quesadilla at La Fonda’s pretty rooftop bar.

Chuck Jones Gallery

On the way home we finally visited the Chuck Jones Gallery which we’ve window shopped in many times before but never hit it while it was open.  Dave was surprised I knew who Chuck Jones was – I had to remind him that I was born in the 70s and while I didn’t have cable until the 80s I enjoyed many an episode of Tom & Jerry and Bugs Bunny during my childhood!  I’ll accept the compliment anytime though, thank you!  We did see a few Family Guy sketches in the window before, and were so disappointed to learn that we JUST MISSED the temporary Family Guy exhibit – waaaahhhh!  However, given the animation is all digital, all the artwork is concept-based kind of messy drawings, and….most importantly we don’t have a permanent home to put it in anyway!  🙂  hee hee!  They had some fantastic Bugs Bunny pieces including local Santa Fe references, including the local Rail Runner railroad (named after the roadrunner state bird, which we have yet to see, but would love to!).  They also had some awesome Peanuts pieces.

Mon, Sept 7

I love Mondays when I’m off work!  Our choices today included a day trip to the Turquoise Trail or a visit to Pecos.  We opted for the Turquoise Trail and very glad we did!  Our targets included visits to Cerillos and Madrid.

Along the Turquoise Trail (runs between Santa Fe and Albuquerque) en route to Cerillos:


Cerillos was once a booming mining town where silver, gold, and turquoise, among other precious metals and stones were mined.  It truly is a town out of the wild west that doesn’t appear to have changed much throughout the years!  There are no restaurants (but a sandwich shop may be going in right across from Mary’s Bar), one bar, and just a few hundred residents.  The movie Young Guns (with Emilio Estevez and Charlie Sheen) was filmed here in the 80s and a John Wayne movie was filmed close by.

Mining museum & trading post

Hanging with the locals at Mary’s Bar – we were hoping to have a little lunch but settled for a beer instead and chatted with some locals including Robert whose kids both went to college in the Midwest.  The inside of this bar was a bit scary, definitely in need of some major TLC.  On the flip side, it’s good to see not all businesses have gone corporate!

Check out the cute sparrows:

Around Cerillos – a good amount of history packed into just a few streets:


About 15 mi south of Cerillos on the Turquoise Trail is Madrid, another town with a mining past, and quite opposite to Cerillos with a bustling and vibrant main street with lots of shops and restaurants.  More of a fabricated feel than Cerillos’s authentic history.

en route back to Santa Fe – Dave and I love the puffy clouds around Santa Fe and the wide open vistas – the pics may not capture it, but the views are all pretty amazing. :

Tues 9/8 – Post dinner walk – trying to get a good view of the sunset, we need to get onto our roof!

Wed 9/9 – Revisiting Cross of the Martyrs for the Sunset

Thurs 9/10 – One Man Breaking Bad at the Lensic Theater

I happened across the listing for One Man Breaking Bad when I was checking out the Lensic’s calendar online.  I figured why not!  I was a huge fan of the show.  Dave turned me onto it, but then he stopped watching partway through because it was pretty dark.  I watched all 6 seasons and was bummed when it ended.  The one man show included ~60 episodes covered in 60 minutes!  It was pretty entertaining and the guy did incredible impressions, especially of Skyer, the main character Walter White’s wife.  He also did a spot-on imitation of Michael J Fox with a Back to the Future reference, and even a little Family Guy!  A light way to spend a Thurs night!

Stay tuned for more September Santa Fe Stories soon!


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