Sayonara Santa Fe!

This is our final Santa Fe post and includes: Wine & Chile fiesta, NM Museum of Art, nearby hiking in the National Forest & the first glimpse of fall, Loretto Chapel, Blood Moon, and the Pecos National Park en route to Albuquerque.  Our next post will be our vacation in Albuquerque and the infamous International Balloon Fiesta!  Some pics are on slideshow mode, so pause and let it ‘play’.  Entitled this post with a nod to our Japanese neighbor Chizuko Matsimoto who is a spunky 83 year old still teaching Japanese dance lessons, driving, and telling funny stories to Dave and me about her upbringing in Japan and China, how she moved to the US, and how her late husband was ‘not all that attractive’.  While we made fun of her loud music (ching, chong, ching!), she was an entertaining neighbor who will be missed!

Tues, 9/22 – Loretto Chapel
After work we cruised into town and finally visited the Loretto Chapel to see the infamous ‘floating staircase’.  The chapel is a former Catholic church now  used as a museum and wedding chapel.  The name and origin of the builder has still not been verified, and the sisters of Loretto credit St. Joseph with the construction.  The Loretto staircase is a subject of legend and rumor, and the circumstances surrounding its construction and its builder are considered miraculous by the sisters.

Wed, 9/23 & Fri, 9/25 – Santa Fe Wine & Chile Fiesta, Wine Seminar: Secrets of the Somms: Undiscovered White Wines and Reserve Tasting

The wine and chile fiesta is a huge event for Santa Fe, and we were lucky to get tickets to the two events we attended!  Wed afternoon we went to a wine seminar with a focus on ‘undiscovered’ white wines given by 4 somms.  One was from Chicago!  Because it was held in the convention center, we felt like we were going to a work conference – Dave and I were joking as to whether he’d get CME (and me CPE) for it. It was a great experience, not totally technical and geeky, focus on aromatics and flavor, a bit on the wine regions, and retail price points on the bottles. They were all delicious, some better than others, and most were priced under $20.  It was nice to add some lesser known wines to our toolkit.

Our wine menu:

  • Pierre Bonaface Rocailles Apremont Vin de Savoie 2013 – 2.5* (out of 3*) – Apremont region produces less than 100k cases/year, oxidated style, lees contact leads to more yeasty taste and aroma
  • Bodegas Gallegas Arrumaco Verdejo 2013 – 2.5*, northern Spain, vino Espana designation
  • Buglioni Il disperato Bianceo Delle Venezia IGT 2012 – 3*, uses primary grape in soave: garganega
  • Boutari Moschfilero, Peloponnese Greece 2014 – 3*, similar to Gewurztraminer, sweeter aroma than taste, this winery has operations in Santorini and Crete (another reason to go to Greece someday!)
  • Cecchi La Mora Vermenti Maremma 2014 – 2.5*, tastes like the sea
  • Pichot Domaine Le Peu de la Moriette Vouvray 2014 – 2*, semi dry, chenin style.  Somms recommended the Secateurs chenin blanc from South Africa.
  • Ragotiere Muscadet de Sevre et Maine 2013 – sea like, sedimentary, ‘adult lemonade’
  • Colome Torrontes, Salta Argentina 2014 – 3*, never met a Torrontes I didn’t like!  🙂  this winery owned by Donald Hess, connected to muscat, grown at 5-10K feet, leaner cleaner and tighter than vioginer though similar

On Fri we went to the Reserve Tasting event back again at the convention center.  There were at least 100 wineries represented, most from California, some from New Mexico, and a few from other countries (Argentina, France.)  It was a lot of fun, no long lines, nice people, and a great chance for us to try some wines from CA wineries we did not visit (despite popular opinion, we didn’t visit every winery in Napa – ha ha!)


Fri 9/25 – New Mexico Museum of Art
On Fri evenings the museum has free admission for residents – we were happy to pay a quick visit after the reserve wine tasting (though they probably weren’t happy to see us stumble in with our wine glasses!)  We saw another Georgia O’Keefe exhibit (don’t remember it wow’ing), a Gustave Baumann painting, prints, and puppets exhibit.

Out and about after the museum:

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Random shots around town:

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Sat, Sept 26 – Hiking and First Fall Views in Hyde Memorial State Park
Hiked a moderately difficult trail on Sat afternoon – a bit challenging after our late Friday night.  We drove around to catch the leaves just starting to change, and then returned on Wed for some even more breathtaking views.

Sun, Sept 27 – Blood Moon
Lucky for us, my Mom reminded me of this when we chatted earlier in the day.  Dave thought it was Sat night and that we missed it, not so!  Pretty cool to check out – and we ended up chatting with a neighbor for more than an hour out on the sidewalk!

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Wed, Sept 30 – back to the Hyde Memorial State Park and Aspen Vista areas for more fall more colors!

Some amazing views coming back into Santa Fe:

En route to and at our last sunset at the Cross of the Martyrs and evening in Santa Fe:

Following the sunset we visited the rooftop at the Drury Hotel for drinks and a nice French dinner at Chez Mamou.  A great way to cap off a wonderful visit!

Thurs, Oct 1 – Last Morning in Santa Fe, Pecos National Monument, and arrival into Albuquerque

We had a nice breakfast at Café Pasqual, picked up a few souvenirs, BARELY got our things into Dave’s car, and made our way to Pecos National Park, located in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains and contains the remains of Indian pueblos.  A bit eerie to know how vibrant and lively the Pecos pueblo was (more than 2000 people living there in its heyday – but after multiple raids from the Spainards, the short-lived Pueblo Revolt success, disease, and famine the population dispersed abandoned ship and moved to other pueblos.  The highlight was the church (rebuilt by the Spainards in the 1700s) and the informational video.  The hike was very peaceful and the scenery was beautiful.  I wouldn’t go out of my way to visit, but if it’s on your way, worth a stop.

Shots of our Santa Fe rental exterior:

Closing thoughts on Santa Fe:
We both really enjoyed Santa Fe, I probably did so more than Dave who didn’t like to be surrounded by so many ‘gray hairs’.  I didn’t mind (in fact the same was true for Hermanus South Africa and I loved that little town too!), but then again I am further away from gray hairs than Dave – he he!  The people were very friendly, the architecture unique and interesting, and there is so much to do for a relatively small city.  The southwest jewelry selection is mind-boggling – I’m hooked!  The restaurants were not as good as what I expected (they are far better in Albuquerque), perhaps due to the captive audience.  We loved Centro NY Pizza, could place second to Pequod’s in Chicago!  The Vietnamese at Lan’s was very good too!  New Mexican wine is not very good, but we’d be willing to try it again (especially a chili-infused one I’ve heard good reviews on.) We thought it was interesting that everyone wore safari hats and carried backpacks around with them – kind of a uniform.  The weather was definitely getting more chilly and the kiva fireplaces were being used that last week – the word burning smell actually reminded me a lot of Arusha in Africa interestingly enough.  The state is among the poorest in the nation – this shows in some of the sidewalk conditions in Santa Fe, the state of some of the homes, some homelessness, bars on windows, etc.  A shame.

Now we are in Albuquerque enjoying more of a bigger diverse city and the Balloon Fiesta has been amazing!
We leave on Thurs 10/8 for the big drive to Palm Springs – we may overnight in Sedona or Flagstaff if we decide not to go full-stop!
More to come in the next post!

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