A Bit Pretentious, Otherwise Beautiful Santa Fe, NM
May 28, 2019
We finally made it up to northern New Mexico to explore Santa Fe, try out casino camping, visit a pueblo and see the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum. We saw some historical sites like Loretto Chapel and the Oldest House in the United States. Santa Fe was a bit pretentious, but the locals were friendly.
Exploring Santa Fe, New Mexico
All my life my mom has talked about Santa Fe and the architecture there. She read about it in every Sunset magazine that came her way. She talked about it so much that every time my sister and I hear the word “pueblo” we roll our eyes.
Since Lance and I had spent the winter in southern New Mexico, we figured we could take a trip up north and she could meet us there, to fulfill a lifelong trip she had wanted to take. Unfortunately, the winter has given us unpredictable weather and set records for snowfall in the Southwest. So, this trip was touch and go for a while. Luckily, by the time April rolled around the weather was cooperating.
RV Camping Near Santa Fe
Before heading to Santa Fe, we spent a week in Albuquerque and you can read more about that here. We have never had such a difficult time finding a place to stay; Santa Fe RV options did not meet our budget criteria. The parks that were near the town were expensive and that are outside were reasonably priced but were about 45 minutes away. I explored boondocking sites. Because of unpredictable weather and recent rain, I didn’t trust that the roads would remain passable if the weather took a turn.
Casino RV Camping
In my hour of desperation, I remembered reading about casino camping. We had done it once before and were happy with the park. The casinos in Santa Fe don’t have their own parks and refer guests to an RV park and provide a shuttle. The park was still more than we wanted to pay and was farther from town than we wanted. We ended up at Black Mesa Casino and you can read more about that here.
Pecos National Historical Park
We were off to see the pueblos! Pecos National Historical Park was an easy walk; I wouldn’t call it a hike. The trails were smooth and even paved in some parts. We did bring our Camelbacks and Sunscreen. We were glad we did. The visitors center had a water fountain to fill them.
It was amazing to see the drawings of how the pueblo looked at its peak. Some buildings were five stories tall with fifteen rooms in them. Although those are gone, part of the impressive church remains.
The park has recreated two kivas that you can climb down into. They were used for religious and ceremonial purposes. They also provided a nice break for us from the heat.
Miraculous Staircase at the Loretto Chapel
In downtown Santa Fe is the gravity-defying staircase in the Loretto Chapel. It was $5 a person to enter the chapel, but I think it was worth it. The intricate staircase has no visible means of support and was built without nails but with wooden pegs.
The altar is one of the most detailed pieces of art I have seen. It draws your eyes upwards to the complex mosaic tile ceiling.
Oldest House in the United States
The oldest house in the United States is also in downtown Santa Fe. An outer building protects it from the elements. You can go inside to see the thick stucco walls and crude dirt floor. It is far from cozy by our standards but is an interesting piece of history.
Right next door to the oldest house in the San Miguel Chapel, the oldest church in the continental United States. We didn’t go in because they had an admission fee.
Georgia O’Keeffe Museum
Georgia O’Keefe’s art is iconic of the Santa Fe region so it was worth paying a visit to the museum. I learned a great deal about her as a person as the museum was full of not only her artwork but photographs and stories about her. Tickets were $13 per person and $11 with student ID. Yay for student discounts and university IDs without dates!
Santa Fe was an action-packed trip. Was there anything in Santa Fe that you saw that you recommend or anything you visited that underwhelmed you? If you haven’t visited yet, what are you most looking forward to? Leave me a note in the comments below.