Planning a Santa Fe vacation of 3 or more days? We seriously encourage you to add this day trip to your itinerary. With so many and diverse sites to experience and enjoy in and around Santa Fe, one must make choices to make the most out of travel time allotments. Thus, this Santa Fe day trip is designed to highlight the natural beauty of surrounding areas, convenience, and native American culture and history which is rich in influence of Northern New Mexico.
We begin this memorable day trip after a restful night sleep from one of many Santa Fe lodging providers. We recommend Pueblo Bonito bed & breakfast which most recent was voted 2012 “Guest Favorite bed & breakfast” from over 8,500 properties throughout the US and Canada. This enchanting yet affordable b&b provides the perfect historic adobe pueblo-style Santa Fe lodging in a quiet downtown compound to create a memorable Santa Fe vacation experience. Prior to departure, make sure you have good walking shoes, a water bottle and light snack as we will be exploring some exquisite sites which may not have food sales when you need it.
Heading north on St Francis Drive (NM 285) out of Santa Fe you will find yourself heading straight into the breathtaking natural beauty of the Jemez Mountains. Just a short 9 miles north of Santa Fe you will enter the Tesuque pueblo. Farming is the primary activity of Tesuque men, while women are known to produce brightly colored pottery highlighting traditional design themes for decorative figurines (story teller dolls). Tesuque pueblo is considered one of the most traditional of the Tewa speaking pueblos and dates back to 1200 AD. It is one of the smallest Northern New Mexico pueblos but is rich in tradition. Known for a reverence of religious ceremonies -the excellence in costume and execution of dance rituals – can be a special treat for visitors. Popular Tesuque dances are held in November (Harvest Dance) and December (Deer & Buffalo Dances).
Boarding north of the Tesuque Pueblo is the Pojoaque Pueblo (known as “where the water cuts through“). This pueblo dates back to 500 AD and has always maintained a strong cultural identity as it was known by its Tewa speaking neighbors as “The Gathering Place”. Though not as popular for tourist viewing as other nearby pueblos, the Poeh Cultural center is responsible for teaching Native Studio Art to Indian students as a process of culture regeneration. Annual dances are open to the public in December and January on their plaza.
Santa Clara Pueblo (known as the valley of the roses) just 24 miles north of Santa Fe and 1 mile southwest on NM 30, offers visitors many attractions including tours of the pre-historic Puye Cliff Dwellings and fishing. There are few places in northern New Mexico that can compare to the majestic beauty of the Santa Clara landscape. The Santa Clara pueblo has a strong tribal government and prosperous economy. This pueblo has high regard for education both tribal heritage and modern education. Some dances and community festivals are open to the public. In honor of patron St Clare, Harvest and Corn Dances are performed in August while in June, St Anthony Feast Day dances feature Comanche Dancing.
Southwest of Santa Clara, the San Ildefonso pueblo is 15 miles north of Santa Fe on 502 and is the most famous New Mexico Pueblo. Known for its black-on-black pottery technique which was originated here, then revived in the 1920’s and is now famous primarily because of potter Maria Martinez. These pueblo people have lived at this site since 1300 AD and retain ancient ceremonies and ritual tenaciously as well as tribal dancing. The Buffalo Deer dance is a particularly important festival performed during harvest time. Highly valued among the San Ildefonso people is education for which Tewa is primary spoken and English is secondary. A high percentage of high school graduates attend college or vocational school.
Ohkay Owingeh (aka San Juan) has a well known art center where visitors may watch artists work in a variety of art forms- jewelry, pottery, textile, etc. Other works from over 100 artists may be purchased. This pueblo has a two part social system- a winter people and a summer people- thus numerous ceremonies take place throughout the year and can provide an interesting aspect for visitors. For example, the Deer Dance is to provide prosperity for upcoming year and is performed by winter people in January or February. Humor is an important element and can be seen in dances like the Buffalo, Basket and Cloud performed throughout the year and will have traditional clowns accompany and tease the serious dancers. The Ohkay Owingeh people have a complex and fascinating cultural history. Their physical world is divided in 3 parts. First: the village and surrounding land belongs to the realm of women. Second: the hills and mesa surrounding the village is both men and women realm. Third: all that is beyond the second (all that is of hunting and protection from the hostile outside world) is exclusively the realm of men. All dances and ceremonies are centered around this division and relate to various aspects of seasonal and daily life.
Our last stop on our Santa Fe daytrip to immerse ourselves in Native American New Mexico history and culture is Bandelier National Monument. Bandelier’s history extends back over 10,000 yrs. Nomadic hunter-gatherers followed migrating wildlife across the mesas and canyons to settle here in Frijoles Canyon. By 1150 AD these people began building more permanent settlements. Reminders of these past times are still evident in the park as are the strong ties of the modern Pueblo people. By 1550 the Ancestral Pueblo people moved from homes here to pueblos along the Rio Grande (Cochiti, San Felipe, San Ildefonso, Santa Clara, Santo Domingo). In the mid-1700′s Spanish settlers with Spanish land grants made their homes in Frijoles Canyon. In 1880 Jose Montoya of Cochiti Pueblo brought Adolph F. A. Bandelier to Frijoles Canyon to show his people’s ancestral homelands. In 1916 President Woodrow Wilson enacted legislation to create Bandelier National Monument. Between 1934 and 1941 workers from the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) worked from a camp constructed in Frijoles Canyon and built the road into Frijoles Canyon, the visitor center, a new lodge, and miles of trails. Several years during World War II the park was closed to the public and the Bandelier lodge was used to house Manhattan Project scientists and military personnel.
As we leave Bandelier National Monument, heading back to Santa Fe, take a moment and enjoy the breathtaking vistas and colors of the land. It’s indescribable as is the sunset if you are lucky enough to time your return just right. May we make one last suggestion? After a full day trip of memorable New Mexico Pueblo hopping, stop in at Gabrielle’s Restaurant in Pojoaque- best guacamole in New Mexico. Made fresh at your table with crisp chips and a frosty margarita are definitely a refreshing and delicious respite. To get to Gabrielle’s you’ll take the first exit off of NM 285 after Buffalo Thunder and cross over to the left. Take an other left at the stop sign to access frontage road and Gabrielle’s is off to the right. NOTE: When you leave the restaurant take a moment to look at the land formations and color serrations just behind Gabrielle’s. They are breath taking! After your camera has run out of batteries, your ready to return home to Pueblo Bonito b&b and put your feet up, relax and rest comfortably in your welcoming adobe pueblo-style casita complete with kiva fireplace (or air conditioner as the season dictates). Hope you enjoyed the trip! We’ve enjoyed having you along with us on our Santa Fe day trip to New Mexico Pueblos within 30 miles of Santa Fe, NM!
Santa Fe is the third-largest art market in the country, trailing only New York City and Los Angeles (per Santa Fe‘s tourism office). Though a little difficult to quantify this boast, it does seems plausible as the city has more than 200 world renown art galleries, with a significant number of them carry museum-quality art, some of it with museum-quality prices.
Few cities in the world have such a diversified collection of paintings, sculptures, photographs, and other artworks by so many artists—alive or passed —available for viewing. Very impressive, even if you’re not a buyer, the art alone provides a reason to visit this unique and quirky historic city. Santa Fe’s art scene shows diversity including Southwest, Spanish colonial, Native American, and other art typical of the area, as well as artists of all genres and styles, from early-20th-century impressionism to African ethnography.
Canyon Road, just a five minute stroll from Pueblo Bonito b&b inn, meanders gracefully up a hill boasting beautiful pieces of art inside and out in dozens of the city’s galleries—it’s great fun to walk along this narrow tree shaded street, ducking in and out of shops any day of the year. Canyon Road though having “claim” to the majority of galleries, is not the only area of downtown Santa Fe that provides amazing art pieces to gather inspiration. Around the Plaza, on Paseo de Peralta’s eastern fringes and sprinkled around the newer rail yard area, also provide feasts for the eyes and imagination. Just about any street you wander near the Plaza, east or west, you’re likely to encounter an acclaimed gallery.
One gallery of special mention is the Governors’ Gallery located inside the New Mexico State Capitol building on Old Santa Fe Trail, just a stones throw away from Pueblo Bonito b&b. This not-so-well-known gallery brings intriguing exhibitions of art to the 4th floor of the State Capitol and can be viewed by anyone six days a week from 8:00 am till 5:00 pm. Generally, all Santa Fe vacationers staying at Pueblo Bonito b&b are encouraged to visit this exquisite gallery as it provides an excellent snap shot of the quality of art coming into and out of Santa Fe, NM. Located just steps from our downtown Santa Fe b&b the accessibility is easy and the experience- memorable!
New Mexico Travel Hints for Santa Fe Trips- Spring Break, Family Travel, or Historic Travel Get Away.
Traveling to Santa Fe NM for Spring Break? Winter Ski Trip? Family Summer Travel? Opera Season? Here are New Mexico travel tips designed to make your Santa Fe vacation easier anytime of the year! A Get Away to Santa Fe anytime is a great time.
Albuquerque’s Airport “The Sunport” (ABQ) Most visitors arriving by air into Albuquerque will fly into the Albuquerque International Sunport (ABQ). All the major airlines fly into ABQ. Santa Fe is approximately 60 miles north, or about a 70 minute drive to Pueblo Bonito b&b, located in downtown Santa Fe!
Santa Fe Municipal Airport (SAF) Santa Fe, NM has a small airport serviced by American Eagle flights from Dallas/Ft Worth and Los Angeles, or by private aircraft. The nearest large airport is ABQ, which most visitors rent a car and make the 60 mile drive north into Santa Fe while enjoying the majestic landscape of the Sandia, Jemez and Sangre de Cristos mountain ranges.
Amtrak New Mexico visitors traveling by train, find great convenience in visiting Santa Fe via the Lamy stop. Just a short 20 minute shuttle drive from the Lamy train station to Pueblo Bonito b&b front door! We highly recommend Amtrak as it provides a great travel experience for southwestern tourists who have the time and desire to creates a vacation memory never to be forgotten! Lamy shuttle information is listed on Amtrak website (see SAF).
Renting is a quick and flexible option for getting between Abq Sunport and Santa Fe. It can be very useful for enjoying other sightseeing opportunities as well- day trips to Bandelier, Pecos, Abiquiu, Chimayo, etc. Numerous rental car companies are located at ABQ Sunport. After renting a car, take I-25 north approximately 60 miles north to Santa Fe (there are 4 exits for Santa Fe). Getting to Pueblo Bonito b&b inn is easy. Take the St. Francis Drive Exit. Go to Cerrillos Road (about 2.9 miles) – turn right. Turn right onto Paseo de Peralta. Left onto Galisteo. Right at W Manhattan. Follow the big adobe wall which is on your right side to the first driveway, take a right and head into our secluded adobe compound -conveniently located in the heart of downtown Santa Fe, NM.
Shuttle services are available between ABQ Sunport and Santa Fe. We recommendSandia Shuttle Express (888-775-5696). One-way or round trips are available – call Sandia Shuttle directly for exact rates, reservations and schedule information. This shuttle will pick you up at ABQ airport and drop you off at our door step any day of the week.
New Mexico Railrunner An economical way to arrive at downtown Santa Fe depot from ABQ Sunport. A commuter train which began in 2008, now runs from as far north as Santa Fe to as far south as Los Lunas NM, making many stops along the way. Passengers must take the city bus from ABQ Sunport to the downtown Albuquerque bus station (a stop on the NM Railrunner). Costs vary, but fare is approximately $6.00 from Albuquerque downtown to Santa Fe. Please check schedule, rates and policies directly at the New Mexico Railrunner website.
Though not recommended due to this transportation option being much less economical than alternatives stated previously, the Albuquerque Cab Company (505-883-4888) and Capital City Cab (in Santa Fe, 505-438-0000) will take you from ABQ Sunport to Pueblo Bonito b&b in Santa Fe and vice verse charging approximately $160-180 for the trip. This is a viable and reasonably priced means of transportation if you are flying in and out of the Santa Fe Airport however.
What to expect: Altitude and Weather
Altitude – Santa Fe’s elevation is 7,000 feet. Our air is very dry, and the sun is very intense. We suggest you wear a hat and use a high-SPF sunscreen liberally. Moisturizing products are also suggested. The altitude effects people differently and sometimes folks need a day or so to acclimate. We recommend you take it easy for the first couple of days, and always drink plenty of water. Alcohol consumption and exercise exertion are intensified at this altitude, so pacing yourself is a good idea.
Current Santa Fe Weather
On average, 300+ days of sunshine a year with low relative humidity can be expected for Santa Fe, NM weather. Our 7,000 foot above sea level elevation invites warm days and cool evenings during spring, summer and fall. Layering one’s outfits is advisable during winter months while a jacket or sweater is advisable other times, even during the summer. Sunsets are spectacular year round, but mostly in the fall, summer and spring. The Santa Fe Opera is well known for it’s unique amphitheater showcasing the summer monsoon lightening strikes in July & August- breathtaking!
Average high/low temperatures by month:
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Navigating Santa Fe
Staying at Pueblo Bonito b&b allows the convenience of walking anywhere in the downtown historic area while avoiding the annoyance and expense of parking. We are located in a prime location, easy walking to Canyon Rd, the Plaza, Rail yard, Galisteo shopping, museums and some of Santa Fe’s finest restaurants. Cars are not needed except for daytrips or excursions. To visit Museum Hill you can drive, take the city M-route bus, walk (under one mile), take a cab or enjoy a pedi-cab. There are numerous car rental agencies in Santa Fe, as you may want a vehicle since it can come in handy if you decide to visit Santa Fe’s spectacular surrounding areas. Remember parking is free when staying at Pueblo Bonito b&b.
History Lovers delight in Santa Fe’s rich past. As New Mexico celebrates its Centennial (1912-2011), more than 400 years have passed and the oldest capital city in the United States, Santa Fe, NM continues to offer vibrant and intriguing glimpses of past lifestyles and eras. Steeped in history -Santa Fe visitors walk historic streets, visit museums boasting history lessons on the occupation of ancient Anasazi, Spanish conquistadors and missions, the Atchison, Topeka and the Santa Fe railroad boom, the wild west, and 20th century innovations like the Manhattan project, Espionage, and Artistic influences of the southwest. Visitors are able to explore ancient Native American ruins filled with petroglyphs, a living history museum devoted to Spanish Colonial life, centuries-old adobe and European-style churches, a historic working railroad, and the distinctive architecture of old downtown Santa Fe. With such a layered and diverse history, its no wonder Santa Fe draws visitors back year after year to uncover the fascinating past and experience the unforgettable present. As 2011 draws to a close, exciting events continue to bring opportunities to enjoy this delightful historic city. Come and join us… won’t you?
Santa Fe, NM November 2011 Calendar of Events:
Santa Fe Harvest Festival: Nov 1-23 Food lovers prepare! A culinary extravaganza featuring cooking classes at over 40 restaurants; chef and bartender competitions; as well as the Restaurant Relay (Nov 5) where servers race around the Plaza with loaded trays. Proceeds go to Cooking with Kids Children’s Charity.
Santa Fe Photographic Workshop: Travel Photography Intensive: Capturing the Essence of a Place November 4 – November 6, 2011 Capture the essence of the culture, landscape and character of stunning Santa Fe. Great for amateurs to advanced amateurs.
Land of Enchantment Centennial Special: Union Pacific’s vintage steam locomotive No. 844 will be steaming through New Mexico in honor of the state’s 100th anniversary of statehood November 4-9.
Dixon Studio Tour November 5,6, 2011, 9:00 am – 5:00 pm; 30th Anniversary!
Nestled in the beautiful Embudo Valley, Dixon is home to a lively group of more than 50 artists who open their studios for the annual art studio tour. Painting, photography, jewelry, stoneware, wearable art, herbal bath, beauty products, handmade chocolates, local wines and roving musicians.
Santa Fe Art Auction: November 12, 2011, 1:30pm at Convention Center in downtown Santa Fe, NM- less than a 10 minute walk from Pueblo Bonito bed & breakfast inn! Auction Previews: 11th (10 am – 8pm); 12th (9am – 1pm). The Southwest’s Largest Auction of Classic Western Art presented by Gerald Peters Gallery.
Ski Santa Fe Nov 24- March Opening Thanksgiving weekend! New for 2011/2012 Season “Richard’s Run”. A Black diamond run accessible from Highline into Highline Glade, then crossing over Sunset Trail. One of the best kept secrets- this is a top notch ski area offering lessons for all ages and skill levels, child care, equipment rental, and snow!
Enjoy an exciting month of November travel in Santa Fe at Pueblo Bonito bed & breakfast inn with great winter specials- just in time for these exciting Santa Fe events and activities. November & December 2011- Pueblo Bonito is offering $99 Queen rooms, Sunday thru Wed evening; $109 Thursday and $129 Friday and Saturday. Just one reason we were recently voted “2011 Guests Favorite” Santa Fe Bed and Breakfast by bnbfinder.com! Offering a great value in Santa Fe lodging to make your Santa Fe visit experience the best it can be Call today 1-800-461-4599 or visit our website at www.pueblobonitoinn.com (Celebrating 25 years of serving Santa Fe visitors- Pueblo Bonito b&b inn).
Popular day trip suggestion for our Santa Fe vacation visitors who enjoy staying at Pueblo Bonito bed & breakfast inn is to enjoy a visit to one of the nearby natural hot springs. A short scenic drive to access one of the following natural hot springs is worth the time alone, but when coupled with the therapeutic, relaxing energies these waters provide, a special and memorable experience occurs that can only be experienced when taking an enchanting New Mexico vacation.
Please note many of these springs are located in remote destinations and may require a certain amount of hiking, climbing or other physical activity to reach. You should always check with the Forest Service or local ranger station before attempting to access these pools.
Ojo Caliente, located in the foothills of the Carson National Forest, in the town of Ojo Caliente, between Santa Fe and Taos. Five different springs with different temperatures and mineral content; indoor and outdoor pools with temperatures ranging from 85-106F. Bathing suits required.
Montezuma Hot Springs, located northwest of the town of Las Vegas on the grounds of the United World College. Three clusters of concrete soaking pools of various sizes and temperatures. Bathing suits required.
San Antonio Hot Springs, located west of Santa Fe, north of the town of Jemez Springs. It is about a 10 minute walk from where you can park. Ask locals for directions. A series of rock pools built along the hillside of San Diego Canyon. The hottest pool is about 105 F with the lower ones progressively cooler. Clothing optional.
McCauley Warm Springs, located west of Santa Fe, north of the town of Jemez Springs. Accessible from either Battleship Rock (5 miles north of Jemez Springs on highway 4) or Jemez Falls Campground (14 miles north of Jemez Springs). Park at either location for the roughly 2.5 mile hike in to the springs. Large, shallow, warm pool that flows into several smaller, deeper pools with temperatures 85-90 F. Clothing optional.
Soda Dam Hot Springs, located west of Santa Fe, north of the town of Jemez Springs. A cluster of small hot spring pools with spectacular scenery not great soaking.
Spence Hot Spring, located west of Santa Fe, north of the town of Jemez Springs. An easy short hike. Ask locals for directions. Several sand-bottom pools on a steep hillside on the east side of the Jemez River. Water temperature between 100 –– 110 F. Clothing optional.
Giggling Springs Hot Springs Jemez Springs, Bathing suits required. Reservations strongly recommended. Pool temperature is 102-104.
Jemez Springs BathHouse, located in the park on the main street of Jemez Springs.
Several Pueblo Indian villages dating back between 1050 and 1150 originally inhabited Santa Fe, the capitol of New Mexico. One of the earliest known settlements, considered today as downtown Santa Fe, was a cluster of homes centered on the location called “the plaza”. Named Ogapoge, this Native American village spread for half a mile to the south and west. The Santa Fe river - a seasonal water way – was once a year round stream until the 1700’s. The river was recognized in 2007 as the most endangered river in the United States according to the conservation group American Rivers.
The name “Santa Fe” literally translated from Spanish means “holy faith”. The full name when founded was “La Villa Real de la Santa Fe de San Francisco de Asis”- translated means “The Royal Town of the Holy Faith of St. Francis of Assisi”.
In 1851, Jean Baptiste-Lamy arrived in Santa Fe and began construction of Saint Francis Cathedral and establishing El Colegio de San Miguel. This centrally located church, recently renovated is still a vibrant ministry of the catholic community in Santa Fe. El Colegio de San Miguel took 7 years to recruit Christian Brothers from France. A solid Catholic education was highly sought after by affluent young men from throughout the area- one of which was William H Bonney (aka Billy the kid). In March of 1862, the Confederate flag of General Henry Sibley flew over Santa Fe for a few short days until defeated by Union troops.
Santa Fe was originally envisioned as an important stop on the Atchison Topeka and Santa Fe Railway. However, as tracks were laid into New Mexico, civil engineers concluded it to be more practical to go through Lamy (a small village south of the city of Santa Fe). A branch line was completed from Lamy to Santa Fe in 1880. Three original conductor homes made from red brick were erected for Railway personnel and still stand on the corner of Galisteo Street and Manhattan just across from Pueblo Bonito bed & breakfast inn. Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroads extended a narrow gauge, called the “Chili Line” from the nearby city of Espanola to Santa Fe in 1886. The result of bypassing Santa Fe however created a gradual economic decline. This economic decline was reversed in part when the creation of a number of resources for the arts and archaeology occurred.
Santa Fe became the headquarters for the School of American Archaeology mainly because the historic Palace of the Governors was provided for its homebase. The Museum of New Mexico was then established in 1909 as an agency of the school. Thus through the museum, the school took an early interest in promoting and preserving the artistic traditions of Southwestern Indians. Edger Lee Hewett (director of the school) and Kenneth M Chapman (an artist hired by Hewett), provided extensive support for Indian artists by offering studio facilities, as well as collecting and exhibiting their work. In 1922, the School sponsored the first Southwest Indian Fair, precursor of today’s world-renowned Santa Fe Indian Market which consistently features renowned artists like San Ildefonso black potter Maria Montoya Martinez.
1912 New Mexico became the 47thstate of the United State of America with Santa Fe as its capitol city. From1942-46, Los Alamos (40 minutes north of Santa Fe) was base to the Manhattan Project. Santa Fe assumed a vital role in providing support to non-essential military personnel with services, housing, provisions and entertainment. Manhattan Avenue (named after the project) is approximately three blocks south of Santa Fe’s plaza and connects to the rail yard district. This provided families with secure and convenient downtown Santa Fe housing while taking up residence in New Mexico and guarding Los Alamos. Pueblo Bonito bed & breakfast located at 138 W Manhattan was at that time apartments which provided George Sanders (Robert Oppenheimers personal body guard), his wife and infant daughter a comfortable home (see photos).
Today Santa Fe, NM is a well known center for arts that reflect the multicultural character of its inhabitants and the city. Santa Fe is generally considered to be the second largest art center in the United States after New York City. The city and surrounding areas have a high concentration of artists, which have come over the decades to capture the natural beauty of the landscape and essence of Native American culture. A well known New Mexico based painter was Georgia O’Keeffe, who lived in Santa Fe, but primarily in Abiquiu (a small village 50 miles from Santa Fe in Northern New Mexico). The Georgia O’Keeffe Museum in downtown Santa Fe is devoted to exhibitions of her work and associated artists or related themes. Opened in 2006, it holds over one thousand of her works in all media and is funded by a private foundation. O’Keeffe’s friend, well known western nature photographer Eliot Porter, died in Santa Fe.
Canyon Road, just a 5-minute stroll from Pueblo Bonito Inn is notorious for the large number and high quality of art galleries all within a mile stretch. Described by Santa Fe visitors as “an art lovers Disney land” this is a major destination for collectors, tourists and locals. Canyon Road Art Galleries showcase a wide variety of styles from contemporary to Southwestern to experimental and include but are not limited to European, Taos, Masters, and Native American pieces. Breath taking outdoor sculptures line the street and galleries feature notable sculptors connected with Santa Fe like Allen Houser, Doug Hyde (studied under Houser), and Glenna Goodacre. Is it a wonder that Santa Fe is a designated UNESCO Creative City, and is considered one the best places in the world to shop specifically for Native American Indian arts and crafts?
In 2011 Santa Fe, NM was voted #2 Destination by Conde Nast reader’s choice award and #5 Most Popular North American Travel Cities by Travel+Leisure Magazine for the 10th consecutive year.Santa Fe is undoubtedly one of the most unique US travel destinations offered to New Mexico visitors. Santa Fe tourists enjoy numerous activities and events including high quality arts and culture, top notch native cuisine, breathtaking natural beauty, nationally ranked spas and museums, world history, US history and New Mexico history just to mention a few. Nick named “the city different” for a reason, its a unique place every American should experience at least once in their lifetime. Be warned however, the lure of the relaxed, laid back “manana” culture is intoxicating. How else better to experience the old world charm of historic Santa Fe than in a 150 yr old adobe pueblo-style compound turned Santa b&b- Pueblo Bonito bed & breakfast inn. Call us today 1-800-461-4599 for a memorable historic Santa Fe vacation visit!
Credits: wikitravel.org as directly connected to pages from hot links provided; Santa Fe Countys Talk of the Town (Sea Bird Publications inc).
New Mexico Chile Facts
Did you know 7,000 years ago chile originated in Bolivia & Peru? Or that Columbus introduced chile into Europe around 1650? Did you know Europeans thought it was a spice, something like black pepper then ingeniously named it Red Pepper? The spicy unique flavor of chili has taken hold of palates across the world and particularly those in America. Did you know the state of New Mexico leads the US in the production of chile? Well, if you didn’t and want to learn more- read on!
Chile is classified as a vegetable when green and as a spice when dried and ground into a powder. Green chile can contain up to 6 times more vitamin C than a Florida orange, while Red chile can contain two times more Vitamin A than a carrot. Red chile is said to be hotter than green because of its extended exposure to the sun.
People once traditionally dried chile on the ground or on roof tops (which can still be observed today). Approximately 100 year ago experimentation with methods to keep chile pods cleaner and away from birds resulted in today’s version of the Chile Ristra (chile pods hung on a string). This method proved beneficial to elongating the shelf life of the delightful crop. Thus began the tradition of hanging the ristra in front of ones home, which soon turned into the popular belief that this was a welcome sign to visitors. It’s also believed that hanging a chile ristra in front of your door brings good health and fortune to those who occupy the home. Chile has more recently become a popular decorative element inside the home. Creativity has spawned many craft item in various shapes, sizes and colors (red, green and yellow). Popular chile rista shapes consist of wreaths, crosses, and hearts that are frequently paired with colored corn, shredded husks and dried flowers to make beautiful home décor.
New Mexico Chile Traditions
End of August ushers in harvest time for chile farmers in New Mexico. Cities and communities throughout the state celebrate this important harvest with diverse, yet always tasty festivals like the popular Hatch Chile Festival in Hatch New Mexico held over Labor Day Weekend; the Whole Enchilada Festival held in Las Cruces late September; Santa Fe’s Wine & Chile Festival as well as the Fiesta de Santa Fe held in the Capitol city mid to late September to name a just few. Though chile peppers are small in stature they are a huge part of New Mexico’s heritage, culture and are a central part to most loved New Mexico traditions and celebrations. The sweet fiery scent of roasted chilies filling the late summer and crisp fall air bring welcomed comfort to visitors and locals alike.
Sample of a typical New Mexico Chile Recipe that is simple and freezes well follows: Note: *This recipe and others can be found in the “Red Chile Bible” a book available for purchase from Pueblo Bonito bed & breakfast for $13.00 plus shipping/handling. Limited supplies available so order yours today 1-800-461-4599. Enjoy!
Pork with Chile Colorado*
3 Tbs. lard or vegetable oil 4 New Mexico chilies
1.5 lbs. boned pork shoulder, cut into 1” chunks
2 lg cloves garlic 1 tsp. cumin seeds, toasted & grounded
1 tsp. Mexican oregano ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
½ tsp. salt 2 cups rich chicken broth
Heat oil in large heavy pot and brown pork in batches over high heat. Remove to a plate. Wipe the dried chile with a damp cloth, discard the stems and seeds, and tear into pieces. Fry the chile in the hot oil until fragrant (about 5 minutes), stirring to prevent scorching. Remove to a bowl, cover with boiling water, and soften (20 or 30 minutes). Put chile in a blender with about ½ cup of the soaking water and the garlic, cumin, oregano, cinnamon, and salt. Blend to a puree. Reheat the oil in the pot, and pour the puree into the hot oil. Sauté the puree, stirring constantly, about 5 minutes. Stir the stock into the puree, and then return the pork to the pot. Bring the stew to a boil, cover, reduce heat, and stew the meat slowly for about an hour. Remove the cover and continue simmering 30 minutes to an hour until the pork is very tender. Add more chicken stock, if necessary, to keep the meat moist. Serves 4.
Next, you’ll pass the Pecos Fish Hatchery (in partial operation) which is off to the left and on your way to Dalton Canyon. The Dalton gang (four brothers) were some of the boldest and most feared outlaws in the southwest and were last sighted in New Mexico after attempting train robberies in California. Watch for the signs and turn right into Dalton Canyon. You will find a delightful backdrop of colorful canyon rock splashed smooth by the Pecos river water and pooled to create a local favorite swimming hole. Take a splash or make a splash by skipping a smooth river stone across this peaceful, neck deep swimming hole. Regardless the degree of your wet & wild enjoyment, this area provides a great photo moment.
At this point, one can begin the journey home to Santa Fe or head to Cowles, NM and hike the Cave Creek Trail (an appropriate family hike, 6 miles out and back if the caves are the turn-around point). Heavily used by hikers and horses, this trail is lined with large, aged Douglas firs, aspens and wildflowers. Left to the trip planner’s final designs, this day trip from Santa Fe is truly a delightful experience for the mind, body and soul compliments of Pueblo Bonito bed & breakfast inn.
This exciting day trip can easily include an optional hike, so bring proper shoes, bottled water, sun hat and screen and a map. An easy hour plus drive north from Santa Fe’s Pueblo Bonito bed & breakfast inn, takes you to one of the most beautiful red rock areas of Northern New Mexico. This naturally beautiful area was much of the inspiration for famous southwestern painter Georgia O’Keeffe. Begin this New Mexico day travel adventure, with your first stop at Bode’s General Store and pick up a few items for a picnic lunch. Great sandwiches are hand made at this well known locals general store. Phyllis- our resident Abiquiu expert highly recommends the BLTAT (bacon-lettuce-tomato-avocado and turkey- quite a mouthful if by name alone!). As sandwiches are prepared, take a quick gander across the street and up the hill where lies the Village of Abiquiu. Take time to stop and meet Napoleon Garcia, the official “area welcome center“. This colorful gentleman is an interesting story teller for as a child Napoleon worked for Georgia O’Keeffe. Sharing many a memory or tale about this intriguing woman and her life while he was a boy, you may gain a new perspective on Georgia. Next, hopping back in the car to continue down the road (toward the dam) to Abiquiu Lake. You will come upon a great picnic spot overlooking this 4,000-acre lake on the Chama River. A scenic high walled canyon of the Chama River runs above the main body of the lake which is about 3 miles long.Enjoy that tasty Bodas picnic lunch amongst the quiet, pristine beauty of this enchanting area. Don’t forget a photo or two as memories like this just aren’t available every day! After lunch head off to Ghost Ranch.
Hikers need to check out information on Chimney Rock, Box Canyon, Kitchen Mesa, or Piedra Lumbre hikes available at the Reception Desk of Ghost Ranch. Don’t want to hike? Then visit the living museum! A exhibit of conservation, ecology and heritage immortalized by the painter Georgia O’Keeffe. As you begin your return travel toward Santa Fe, don’t miss Echo Amphitheater. This natural stone amphitheater was hollowed out of sandstone by ages of erosion and is just down the road from Ghost Ranch. Still looking for more? Try the Christ in the Desert Monastery who’s church, meditation garden, gift shop and restrooms are open till 5:00 pm (take 151 and go about 15 miles). Now your day should be winding down so you need to head back home to Pueblo Bonito Inn for warm hospitality and some refreshing afternoon tea. This day trip provides a full or half day of exploration, beauty and New Mexico enchantment. Enjoy!