On our road trip we stopped in some new-to-us New Mexico cities; Santa Fe and Albuquerque.
(Three years ago we went to Abiquiu, for an alternative break. See that post here.)
Since we were heading to Phoenix, we didn't have a lot of time to spend in each place. So we decided to plan just a few things in each city.. hoping not to get overwhelmed and it ended up working out really well!
We spent an morning through lunch in Santa Fe. Our "big" thing here was the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum. For those of you who don't know, I am a an ex-art history major and long time artsy kind of person.
Seeing this museum was eye-opening for me. While the museum was small and didn't contain a large body of O'Keeffe's work, it ended up giving visitors a wonderful glimpse into her life.
They displayed copies of her letters that showed her beautiful penmanship.
There were display cases that contained her paints and pastels.
They even had some of her clothing there.
These little touches brought O'Keeffe's world to life for me.
The other exhibits in the museum contained some of her rough sketches and landscapes from Ghost Ranch, which we visited on our trip three years ago.
There was also a gallery full of beautiful photographs of her rafting trips by one of her photographer friends. They depicted a small elderly woman, taking on nature. She looked so small and fragile, but you can tell that she felt fearless. And she was. She took her last raft trip at the age of 83. We should all be so lucky to have that kind of vigor in life.
Before we left the museum we went into the movie gallery and watched two short films about her life. It was so special to see O'Keeffe herself talking about her work and her life. I learned about her husband and her home in Abiquiu. I learned that her work was never intended to be sexual in nature, which was something that was discussed in my classes. It turns out that she was really hurt by that interpretation, and turned to painting pieces with obvious subjects to avoid more accusations. It was really touching to hear about it with such authority. Now I don't wonder anymore.
I learned so much about her. This museum is a testament to her life not just her paintings. Which is so much more worthwhile.
There was also a fantastic Annie Liebovitz exhibit that had some really beautiful photographs in it. Many of which were pieces of historical figures' lives. I learned so much. I especially loved the images of Annie Oakley's boots and the heart that she shot through on a playing card. Just little images that brought these figures to life for me. It was really incredible. If you are visiting Santa Fe soon, go see it before it is gone!
Then we hit the gift shop and picked up a variety of souvenirs for ourselves and our families. I found a cookbook of O'Keeffe's own recipes that I purchased to add to my collection. A perfect souvenir for me!
After we finished at the museum, we walked back out into the beautiful town square. There were live musicians, street vendors and merchants starting their days. We spotted a food cart and ordered two chicken fajitas and two fresh limeades.
It was some of the best food I have had in a while.
It was pretty spicy, but completely delicious. We even went back for seconds on our limeades!
The prices were incredible too! Five dollars for the fajita and one dollar for the limeade! That's a cheap lunch!
After we finished our lunch we drove to Albuquerque and checked into our hotel. We were pretty tired from the driving, so we took a nap before heading out to the Sandia mountains to the Sandia Peak Tramway.
The mountains are only ten minutes outside of the city and they are gorgeous! We did the tram ride. It is the third longest tramway in the world and very impressive! It cost twenty dollars each for a thirty minute total ride and sightseeing at the top. I think it was worth it!
View from the ground.
View from the tram.
View from the top!
Another view from the top!
It was colder and windy up top, but it was so breathtaking. Even on such a cloudy day you could see for miles. It really puts your life into perspective and gives you a chance to marvel at how beautiful the world is.
I don't think I have ever reached that high of an elevation, but was really relieved that I didn't feel sick from the altitude change like I sometimes do on the drive!
After we were done in the mountains we headed back to Albuquerque and explored the Old Town area. There were more musicians in the park and people were out dancing in the warm evening air. Most of the shops and restaurants were touristy or closed, so there wasn't much to do. Finally we settled on a quirky little 1950's diner in the University District of town. It was called Route 66 Diner.
The place was covered in kitsch and I LOVED it! Even the waitresses wore matching old fashioned uniforms. I learned about the original route 66 route as we ate. Plus they had a pez collection above the counter! Which was really fun for us because Kyle's mom collects Pez dispensers.
The food was pretty good, but the atmosphere was the best part. Don't order the onion ring appetizer, it's about seven dollars! Crazy. Anyhow, it was relaxed and we enjoyed it.
Next up, The Painted Desert and Petrified Forest National Park.
Have you ever visited somewhere that just took your breath away? Or somewhere where you learned so much? Let me know where!
All for now,