I have always been a bit fascinated by the Southwestern United States. Although I had traveled through the area several times as a child, for some reason my parents never found the area interesting enough to actually spend time in. When Jim and I decided to take an extended road trip around the U.S. a couple of years ago, we made sure to include plenty of time for the National parks, Sedona, the Grand Canyon, and, especially, Santa Fe.
Meaning “holy faith” in Spanish, and the oldest capital in the United States, Santa Fe is an artisan’s dream. Originally founded around 1050 by several Pueblo Indian villages, the city was officially incorporated in 1598 and quickly became the capital of the region, remaining so to this day.
The city was originally laid out in the Spanish tradition of many small streets radiating from a central plaza but, as inevitably happens, increased growth eventually began to turn the city into “anytown USA”. In 1912, with the bypass of the railway, and declining population, the city leaders realized that they could try to revive the town by renovating the downtown into the Spanish Pueblo Revival look, a unifying building style.
Several changes in the ordinance have come and gone over the years, but it is still considered important to create the “adobe” look, even if doing so is achieved by adding a faux stucco facade to a more modernly built home.
Along with the unified building style, Santa Fe as attracted artists over the years with it’s dry climate, stunning natural scenery, and small town feel. We were lucky enough to have been there during the weekend farmers market in the main plaza, a maze of hundreds of booths displaying each artists creative endeavors.
A trip to the city is not complete without a visit to the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi, founded in 1610, and a lovely example of the Spanish influence on the region.
For me, Santa Fe inspired creativeness. Strolling the gorgeously renovated streets around the central market, visiting the numerous art museums, and eating artistic masterpieces in the form of delicious Southwestern cuisine, it is a place that makes you feel like you, too, should be creating something of beauty. I loved the dry climate, the chili peppers hanging to dry positively everywhere, the friendly locals, and the spicy food.
Some places I visit feel like home. Some I want to make home. And some simply inspire me to try to create beauty in the world around me, wherever that somewhere happens to be. Santa Fe did not make me want to move there, but she did make me glad I stopped by and I know I will be back to visit.