There are so many places to drive or fly for a winter getaway, why New Mexico? I had just visited friends in SoNewMex in February; this time Santa Fe was calling. And if you’ve even been to Santa Fe, you know it’s hard to say no.
During my Las Cruces years I visited Santa Fe on business and drove up from ABQ for lunch but I’d never been there to explore. Funny that I had to move to Indiana to appreciate our country’s oldest established capitol.
During a tour of the Palace of the Governors on the plaza, I learned the town was first inhabited by Native Americans in 900. When Spain began to colonize the west, it was established as a capitol of New Spain in 1610.
If you’re a time traveler, as I try to be during such visits, you can imagine a time when natives in pueblo villages dotted the dusty hills, along with adventuresome – although, yes, they were also conquistadors – settlers from Spain. It was fascinating, albeit sad too, to learn about people coming to the Americas via land bridge from Siberia, down through what is now the western US, into Mexico and Central America.
One day, after visiting the Georgia O’Keeff museum (wonderful paintings but also fun to learn she wore PF Flyers while stomping around the desert!) I had the luxury of spending several hours reading about local history.
I walked into a very inviting local book store, (Collective Books on Galisteo) bought a coffee and sat on a big soft sofa reading, “New Mexico,” by Calvin and Susan Roberts. Read 50 pages that day, came home and ordered the book. You may think you know where the story ends – New Mexico celebrated 100 years as a state in 2012 – but do you know how it got there?
The whole excursion opened my brain for more American History. That’s not been my favorite part of world history, until now. When I was a kid I wanted to be an Egyptologist (and an oceanographer.) Wanted to study “really old” stuff.
Now I know the Western US was inhabited more than 12,000 years ago. That the natives then were big game hunters tracking mammoths and bison. Geez, I was in pursuit of the best fish tacos until I started to learn about Spaniards coming over to convert the natives. My quest for knowledge once again is bigger than my appetite. (Although Santa Fe is home to some pretty tasty fish tacos, too. Pictured above is my dinner at The Shed.)