Georgia O’Keefe Country
The Inspiring Landscape of Georgia O’Keeffe Country
This day trip some 40 miles north of Santa Fe will show you why legendary artist Georgia O’Keeffe was inspired to put down roots in the Abiquiu region of northern New Mexico. The route takes you there via US 285/84, picking up US 84 in Espanola as it leads you to the village of Abiquiu and the stunning red-rock land formations that make even non-artists yearn to paint.
Santa Fe itself offers a wonderful array of day spas, but if you’re hoping for a more rustic experience, head 50 miles northwest to experience the mineral springs of Ojo Caliente under the broad New Mexico sky.
Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs Resort & Spa: The village of Ojo Caliente, situated along US 285, a brief detour off the road to or from Taos, NM, is home to natural hot springs that have rejuvenated visitors for thousands of years. The earliest human settlers, ancestors of today’s Native American Pueblo people, built their settlements here to take advantage of the naturally occurring iron, lithia, soda and arsenic springs at the base of sandstone cliffs. Spanish Conquistadors who came through in the 1540s believed they had discovered the mythical Fountain of Youth. Today, an upgraded spa complex with restaurant offers modern visitors the same chance to soak away aches, pains and a variety of ailments in a series of natural pools with temperatures ranging from 80 to 109 degrees. Call 505-583-2233 or 800-222-9162; www.ojocalientesprings.com
Abiquiu Lake: A cool blue oasis, this manmade lake surrounded by rock formations, created when the Rio Chama was dammed, is a refreshing spot for water sports, camping or an afternoon picnic.
Ghost Ranch: Currently owned and run by the Presbyterian Church of the USA, Georgia O’Keeffe’s former rustic retreat is now a modern conference center offering artist workshops and educational seminars amid the lapidary splendor of rugged cliffs and the subtle but powerful high-desert color palette. Also offered are guided tours of the Georgia O’Keeffe home, her former residence in Abiquiu village, 15 miles south of the ranch. Reservations for the home tour are required, and bookings should be made well in advance by calling 505-685-4539. You can also visit the Ghost Ranch Administration Center in downtown Santa Fe at 401 Old Taos Highway, 505-982-8539. www.ghostranch.org
Piedra Lumbre Education & Visitor Center: The heart of the Ghost Ranch complex, formerly known as the Ghost Ranch Living Museum, hosts permanent galleries and exhibits on the geology, paleontology and archaeology of the region as well as the history, culture and traditions of the area. It also hosts educational and cultural programs throughout the year. Call 505-986-1917 or 800-821-5145.
Echo Amphitheater: An ancient sandstone formation carved by wind and erosion that forms a natural echo chamber. A great place for a picnic!
Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad: Farther north in Chama, near the Colorado border 106 miles from Santa Fe, NM, this historic narrow-gauge steam train takes passengers through the breathtaking high country. Autumn, when the high mountain aspen tress are turning golden, is an especially scenic and beautiful time to take a ride; theme events like the Moonlight Dinner Train and the Plein-Air Artist Train are also popular. Call ahead at 1-888-CUMBRES, as schedules vary depending on the weather. www.cumbrestoltec.com.