Too Big to Wrap

Taos Gorge, photo by Geraint Smith

Taos Gorge, photo by Geraint Smith

For your holiday gift list this year, think outside the box—way outside it—with gifts that refuse to be contained. Rather than giving eachother more stuff that has to be stored and maintained, why not give your loved one an experience they’ll cherish for a lifetime? Give the gift of knowledge, joy or adventure. While such things are intangible, they are also meaningful and enduring.

An Old-Fashioned Sleigh Ride

What could be more quintessentially yuletide than a horse-drawn sleigh ride in the snow? Throw in hot cocoa and cookies, and we’ve officially reached peak winter nostalgia. Arrange for a couples or family ride with Roadrunner Tours in Angel Fire.

The frost may bite, but that will only add to your warm, fuzzy feelings as the sleigh glides along a groomed nature trail starting at 4 p.m. A short stop at the halfway point allows for photo opportunities and time to walk around, pet the horses, and take in the peaceful surroundings. For the more culinary minded, you can add on a three-course meal following the ride. Tours are available December through March, last just under one hour and are appropriate for all ages. “This is our 33rd year of doing sleigh rides for Christmas,” owner Nancy Burch says. “It’s a tradition, and it makes a wonderful gift.” It’s not only a longstanding tradition, but also a popular one: During the Christmas season, tours fill quickly, so plan ahead and make reservations in advance.

Roadrunner Tours: $40/kids; $50/adults, 575.377.6416, nancyburch.com/sleigh-carriage Continue reading

Photograph the Balloon Fiesta Like a Pro

Balloon Fiesta, photo by Rick Allred

photo by Rick Allred

The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta is renowned as the most photographed event in the world, and it’s easy to see why. It’s a dazzling spectacle of bright colors, distinctive shapes and incredible magnitude. On the ground, the action and flames are exhilarating; once aloft, hot air balloons appear suspended, almost by magic. The wonder and the awe of the Balloon Fiesta is something we want to hold on to by capturing it with our cameras.

Just up the hill in The City Different, Santa Fe Photographic Workshops has been dedicated to the craft of photography and to photographers for more than 25 years. So who better to ask about photographing the Balloon Fiesta? We sought advice from two of Santa Fe Workshops’ world-class instructors, Nevada Wier and Rick Allred, on how to successfully make images at Balloon Fiesta. Nevada Wier is an acclaimed travel photographer and world adventurer who has gone to the Fiesta about a half-dozen times, primarily in her role leading advanced-level workshops. Rick Allred has also been many times over the years, beginning in the late ’80s. He frequently teaches introductory classes at Santa Fe Workshops, where he excels at making photography fun and accessible for beginners. Here’s what the two of them have to say. Continue reading

In the Midnight Hours…

Nightlife-MeowWolfe-LK_MG_8232Santa Fe is notoriously known as a sleepy little town, lacking in options for late-night revelry. “They roll up the sidewalks at nine p.m.,” the joke goes. But Santa Fe is shaking off that reputation with plenty of places to shake it on the dance floor, belt out karaoke or take in a show. Believe me, there are places to have fun into the wee hours of the morning, if you know where to look.

Visitors and recent transplants to Santa Fe, here are some ideas on how to spend your midnight hours in our not-so-sleepy town!

Uniquely Santa Fe

Among the state’s most-instagrammed locations, Meow Wolf’s House of Eternal Return has been called a combination of children’s museum, art gallery, jungle gym and fantasy novel, but that doesn’t really capture it. It’s really something you have to see for yourself––it is truly indescribable and highly regarded as a must-see for any visitor. But here’s something you may not know about the wildly creative art installation: At night, it transforms from a child-friendly playground into a psychedelic—and much more grownup—concert venue. Meow Wolf stays open late when there’s music, sometimes as late as 2 a.m., depending on the show. You can delight in the elaborate House of Eternal Return and enjoy the current band or DJ—all sans the rug rats.

Meow Wolf: hours vary during shows; 1352 Rufina Circle, 505.395.6369, meowwolf.com.

  Continue reading

The Sawmill District…A New Urbanism

Sawmill Market rendering

Sawmill Market rendering

Today, the former home of Frank Paxton Lumber Company is a scruffy blue-and-white warehouse down Bellamah Avenue in Albuquerque’s Sawmill District. In the early 20th century, it was part of a bustling lumber district whose neighborhood-wide operations earned the quarter its moniker. In the ensuing century, Albuquerque has grown up around Paxton Lumber—most recently in the form of the residential Sawmill Lofts and the luxurious Hotel Chaco—and the neighborhood has become an A-plus location, nestled between Downtown, Old Town and the Rio Grande River. By early 2019, that vintage lumber building will be the home of the state’s first food market in the style of San Francisco’s Ferry Building Marketplace and New York’s Gotham West Market, to name two. Continue reading

Celebrating the Churro

Sheep-DSCF7494“In our Native way, food is our medicine,” Walter says. “We use the herbs in our ceremonies, we pray with them. Our food is art and it’s our prayer, too.”

The ultra-modern seven-story administration building at Diné College in Tsaile, Ariz.—the tallest building on the Navajo Nation—is affectionately referred to as the “lug nut” building for its rounded six-sided shape and metallic reflective finishes. So it’s something of a pleasantly dissonant surprise to pull into its nearby parking lot and hear the sound of bleating sheep.

For the past 21 years, the annual three-day Sheep is Life celebration is held to honor and deepen the long and valued relationship between the Navajo people and the old-time Navajo sheep, or Churro. Sponsored by The Navajo Lifeways nonprofit, or Diné be’ iiná, Inc., the conference and celebration took place this year, and is contracted for the next several, at Diné College in Tsaile, “the place where the stream flows into the canyon.” Canyon de Chelly is about a 30-minute drive away and is the place in the Navajo creation stories where Navajo deity Spider Woman, who taught weaving to her people, lives on a spectacular 800-foot spire. Continue reading

Georgia O’Keeffe: A Woman Ahead of Her Time

Maria Chabot, Georgia O'Keeffe Hitching a Ride to Abiquiu with Maurice Grosser, 1945. © Georgia O'Keeffe Museum

Maria Chabot, Georgia O’Keeffe Hitching a Ride to Abiquiu with Maurice Grosser, 1945. Photographic print. Gift of Maria Chabot. Georgia O’Keefe Museum © Georgia O’Keeffe Museum [RC.2001.2.140.c]

While out to lunch with some local folks recently, I mentioned the 20th anniversary of the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum. To a person, each of my companions was astounded that only 20 years had gone by since the museum’s opening in July of 1997—everyone felt this most-visited Santa Fe Museum had been around much longer than that. One person even thought it had been more like 50 years.

Just as Georgia O’Keeffe herself made a tremendous impact on the art world, the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum has left its mark on the Santa Fe arts and culture scene to such an extent that many of us assumed the three-building complex in downtown Santa Fe has been around longer than two decades. Since 1997, more than 3.5 million visitors have wandered the military-barracks-turned-church-turned-galleries on Johnson Street; browsed the archives at the former military officers’ quarters and private residence Research Center on Grant Avenue; attended workshops in the Education Annex (a former Safeway); and toured the Abiquiu house and studio. (That last one was always a residence, by the way.) Tourism Santa Fe says one of the questions they most often receive is about the O’Keeffe Museum–where it is and how to get there. Continue reading