SEVENTY - part I

I mentioned in Savannahs birthday post that Doug had flown my Mom in.  It wasnt just for her birthday that he flew Mom here, it was also for my Moms birthday.  Next week my mom turns 70!   

Last summer, when we were in Texas for Camp, my Mom and I spent a day out and about just the two of us.  I asked her then, looking forward one year toward her 70th, where she would most like to spend her big 7.0.  My very (very!) well traveled Mom didnt even have to think about it..."well, Santa Fe, of course!" she answered.   I wasnt all that surprised.   She has always loved it there.  I called my sister, explaining the thoughts on plans, and she was all in as well.    But, being the little sister,  and since she had never been to Santa Fe before, she wanted me to plan it all.  Fine by me!  So Santa Fe it was.

Over the past twelve months I have planned the special celebration.  When Doug, the girls and I went to Santa Fe last September I really began the specific scouting and preparations.    But since Mom loves it there so much, and has been a few times before, most of what made the final itineraries were her requests and favorites.  With my surprise twists, of course.

Santa Fe is the oldest capital city in the US - celebrating birthday number 403 in 2013.  Funny:  in some ways, the city seems timeless.  It is also considered the 3rd largest art market in the US, with over 240 galleries and dealers in town (yowza!).  All that art for sale means some very interesting people from all over the world.    The Plaza, a one-block square in the center of downtown that has served as Santa Fe's cultural, social and political hub for four centuries, is the heart and soul of Santa Fe.  We spent quite a bit of time shopping around that Plaza but also perusing the plentiful museums and art galleries which both surround the Plaza and inhabit the remainder of the city limits.  

My Moms favorite museum is the Georgia O'Keeffe museum/home/studio so that was a must see.  Fortunately the exhibits change multiple times a year there.  I personally have been there four times in the past two years and never seen same thing twice!  And my Moms favorite art gallery is the Manitou gallery on Canyon Rd.  So that was on our hit list as well.  Other than those two stops, she was up for anything.  That left me with most of our daytime hours, as well as meals, to plan out.   How fun is that?

(Strangers have always commented on how I must have gotten my eyes from my mom.  Obviously I didn't, since Im adopted.  We think it is sweet that the Lord gave us this unique physical matching since no one in her family either before or after her has had them.)

Architecturally, Santa Fe relies on its earliest inhabitants for guidance.  In fact, since 1957 there has been an ordinance in place allowing only the Pueblo style of architecture.   This has kept the town very unified and unique in appearance.  The brown exteriors remain, but inside, galleries, museums, restaurants and homes are an eye-popping array of vibrant colors and unusual style elements that blend the historic with the contemporary.    I am wholly in love with everything about the architecture of this city, as is my mother.  My sister, who flew in from Houston, TX to join us,  quickly became a convert as well.  A beautiful mix, we all agree Santa Fe is one of the most artistically inspiring cities we have ever spent time in.

During the daytime hours, Native American artisans sell authentic American Indian jewelry beneath the Palace of the Governors long portal.  We were there every.single.morning after breakfast.  Amongst the three of us there were purchases of bows and arrows from an Apache brave, a necklace purchase from an Anasazi descendant, a Number 8 Turquoise ring purchase from a Navajo and a sterling guitar pick from a Zuni dealer.   This was one of our favorite stops each day.  Each artisan displays their tribal certificate with their creations.  What richness it brings to speak with the artisans about their cultural history and their designs as you decide on your purchases.

I developed a terrible crush on this guy - The Lone Soldier by Dave McGary.  A Pecos Indian working for the US Army tells his silent story in ways that silenced me for more that an hour at a time.  He is gorgeous.

And these two...they are so lifelike they seemed to be about to get up and stand before me.  Beautiful!

But this bronze, with no name to be found, was so lifelike that as I stood before him taking his picture I was sure he was going to speak.   I felt I was in his personal space, was surely going to see him breathe or blink.  He was that realistic.  Amazing, amazing art on Canyon Rd.

We also loved visiting the churches in town.  Liz loves church architecture, my mom loves church history and I love it all so these stops were also favorites.  The St. Francis Cathedral is decorated with stunning stained glass windows and is a photographers delight.  The San Miguel Mission is regarded as the oldest church in the United States so we made sure to spend time there as well.  And the miraculous spiral staircase at the Loretto Chapel is an architectural wonder the world over, so we had to see that one too.

Stay tuned for Part II of our trip.  Many, many more pics and memories to come.