Santa Fe, New Mexico
We didn't pick Santa Fe as an architectural travel destination, but I looked at buildings and took pictures anyway. Spanish Mission dominates here with lots of adobe and heavy timber framing. Greener than you might expect, New Mexico is famous for it's natural beauty. Sparsely populated and not as developed as it next-door-neighbor Arizona, New Mexico has a more spiritual and slightly kooky side. Check out Area 51 near Roswell, known as the site of an alleged space alien landing and cover-up. Artist Georgia O'Keeffe's Ghost Ranch is northwest of Santa Fe and The Sandia National Laboratory is located near Albuquerque.
Images Courtesy of Bishop's Lodge
Santa Fe is known primarily for art and is purported to be the third largest art market in the country behind New York and San Francisco. Large numbers of tourists also float through to catch a glimpse of the old west. We stayed at Bishop's Lodge, a fairly posh resort in the hills just above the city. The decor, as you would expect, is Southwestern with a heavy Spanish influence.
Here's a look at real Mission style in a commercial setting, in this case the main lobby. Heavy wooden doors are probably strong enough to withstand an onslaught of anybody hostile to the church's crusade to convert the locals. Nowadays they only have to keep out the heat and keep in the air conditioning. I've seen these same kinds of doors used in private homes in California. Architectural salvage companies out west should be able to put you onto a pair, in case you're in need. Floors are tile, walls are stone and the exposed ceiling shows off the old school post and beam construction.
Image of Santuario de Chimayo
A few miles outside of Santa Fe, is the Santario de Chimayo, a shrine that is sometimes called "The Lourdes of America." Many come seeking a cure for illness in the soil found in a hole in a small room off the main sanctuary. Built in the early 1800's, the small church is visited by an estimated 300,000 people a year. Privately owned until 1929, the church is now part of the Archdiocese of Santa Fe. Plastic containers of the Holy soil is sold in the various gift shops surrounding the building.
The main sanctuary is tiny as a steady stream of pilgrims arrive to pray and worship. Outside on the grounds, vendors have set up to ply their trade including the groovy little stand that appears below. There were other more conventional structures but this one caught my eye as a living, evolving example of folk art - where you could also buy strings of dried chilis and maybe get some lunch.
Take the Turquoise Trail towards Albuquerque for a day trip to Madrid, which is pronounced by the locals as "Ma' drid." Not your typical nor well-known architectural travel destination near Santa Fe but still fun. Madrid is home to three hundred hearty people, many artists, a few roadhouses, restaurants and funky gift shops. The one below was made from a railroad box car but I didn't think to ask how they got it there. Madrid recently had it's 15 minutes of fame when it was used as a location for the filming of the movie, "Wild Hogs."
Image Captured in Beautiful Downtown Madrid
While you might not think of Santa Fe as an
destination, if you go and look around you'll find lots of interesting sights. There's more art than you can shake a stick at and handmade cowboy boots that costs thousands of dollars. You can also go horseback riding, eat lots of good Tex-Mex and do some serious people watching. The city attracts the beautiful people from the West Coast and is a favorite destination of lots of folks in the country-music business. Don't forget your wallet, the nickname of Santa Fe is "Santa Pay" but it's a fun place to visit.