Santa Fe, part II
On today’s Travel Explorations we continue our visit to Santa Fe, New Mexico, which we began on last week’s show.
Sante Fe is famous for its art and has many private art galleries.
The richly cultural city attracts special exhibitions such as SOFA, the Sculpture Objects & Functional Art Fair, held annually in early August at the city’s Convention Center. I had the opportunity to view the exhibit, which offers an eclectic mix of art for sale from jewelry to paintings to sculpture. A Regina, Saskatchewan artist, Joe Fafard, presented outstanding bronze animal sculptures from life-size to miniature. SOFA also annually exhibits in Chicago and New York City.
The Georgia O’Keefe Museum is probably the most famous gallery in Santa Fe. In addition to showing O’Keefe’s work and a film about her history and paintings, the Museum hosts additional exhibits. I saw an enlightening exhibit that demonstrates how photography influenced painting in 20th century works.
Georgia O’Keefe lived and worked on the Ghost Ranch, a 30-minute drive from Santa Fe. Her home is preserved there. A tour is offered that shows the spectacular landmarks she painted – the tour guide points to the natural site and holds up a print of the resulting painting. The Ghost Ranch was given to the Presbyterian Church USA, which operates it with careful stewardship and offers a large variety of courses from spirituality to art and the outdoors. Overnight lodging is available along with museums on site, trail riding and hiking. A second O’Keefe home at nearby Abiquiu (aa bah cue) is open by appointment.
The highlight of my visit was attendance at the spectacular Santa Fe Opera. Offered each summer from late June to late August, the Opera is presented in an airy soaring outdoor theatre, with a roof, but open on the sides. When you take your seat and look to the stage, you are met with a stunning framed view to the outside of a mountain with the sun setting over it. Later the large window closes for the production to begin. I saw a fantastic performance of “Faust” with Bryan Hymel in the lead. Definitely plan your visit to Santa Fe when you can enjoy the opera. The Santa Fe opera was founded by John Crosby in 1957 with support from Igor Stravinsky and countless others.
At the opera or elsewhere, you just might run into someone famous, such as a newer resident, Robert Redford. Santa Fe and New Mexico have a long association with movie production ranging from the late ’60s classic “Easy Rider” to this year’s “True Grit” and “Cowboys and Aliens.” The state’s big skies and range of environments, along with state incentives, lends itself to film and TV production.
Outdoor activities abound in the area including golf, hiking, trail-riding, river rafting, and bird-watching – one preserve alone boasts 140 species.
New Mexico has many dude ranches, so if you enjoy horseback riding, you’ll have many opportunities in that area. In the winter at higher elevations, skiing is popular.
Plan to stay in the area long enough to take day trips to visit the historic pueblo cliff dwellings, the closest within a half-hour drive of Santa Fe. Take fascinating day trips to Taos, home to a UNESCO Living World Heritage Site for its Taos Pueblo, and to Los Alamos, where the atom bomb was developed during World War II.
Santa Fe and Northern New Mexico’s rich heritage, culture, and natural beauty provide a splendid experience to return to again and again … truly, a land of enchantment.