Santa Fe is the capital city of the state of New Mexico. The city is rich in history, as it started as an ancient settlement of the Pueblo Indians as early as 1050 and 1150, then becoming a Spanish colony around the 1600s, being part of the Republic of Texas briefly in the early 1800s, and then from 1912 becoming the state capital when New Mexico became a US state. The city is quite unique as they impose an ordinance as part of city planning that requires any building built in the city to follow a distinct architectural style (the Spanish revival style). The city also attracts artists given the beauty of the landscape of the surrounding mountains and deserts. You can find a large number of galleries within the city center. In mid 20th century, with the Los Alamos National Laboratory and Sandia National Laboratory opened up nearby, there is also significant scientific community residing in the area.
The early alignment of Route 66 (before 1937) went through Santa Fe, so today most guide for Route 66 travel would include the city in its route coverage. When we’re planning for our trip, we thought of taking a shortcut and continuing on Interstate 40 east bound and not going out of the way (north of Albuquerque) to Santa Fe. However, we thought it’s such a rich place historically and culturally to miss that it’s worth taking the extra time for the detour to at least spend a few hours there. To ensure we could still stay within our trip timeline, we decided to leave our rest stop the night before at a very early hour. Combined with our late arrival the night before, this meant we only had less than four hours of sleep before having to continue again. My brother and I took turn in driving and getting a bit more sleep in the car during the drive from Holbrook, AZ, to Santa Fe.
We arrived at Santa Fe around 9 am, just in time to find parking and head to one of the museums in town to spend a couple of hours checking it out. My brother is a visual artist, and if you think of visual arts and Santa Fe, the name that likely would come up is Georgia O’Keeffe, a famous American painter who spent significant time of her life near Santa Fe. There is a museum featuring her works in Santa Fe, so we decided to go there for our stop in the city.
We also spent some time walking around the downtown area of Santa Fe. It was early October time, so we could already feel the autumn weather with the crisp air and some of the aspen trees around already turning yellow. As we walked through a park in downtown Santa Fe, I noticed a gentleman (looked like either he was of Native American or Spanish descent) with his accoustic guitar playing some beautiful tunes at the park. I took the picture below, which I think is a good representation of Santa Fe with its arts, history, and culture.