The Summer Monsoon

The Summer Monsoon

Many people are surprised to find out that Santa Fe’s rainy season corresponds almost exactly to the height of the tourist season – July and August. They become even more alarmed when the locals refer to this as the “monsoon”. Monsoon?! Visions of Delhi submerged under six feet of muddy water fill their heads. Images of Myrna Loy drenched in the streets of Ranchipur haunt them. It’s not quite like that here in August, however – although a few opera lovers might disagree.

A late afternoon sky in Santa Fe, in July

Monsoon has its roots in the Arabic language and it refers to a seasonal shift in the wind. In the American Southwest, toward the end of June or early in July, the prevailing westerly winds shift to southerly ones, bringing tropical moisture up from Mexico. Dew points climb. Mornings dawn with unusual mildness and the sun rises through screens of vapor over the mountains:

Morning sky over the Sangre de Cristo

Even on mornings that start off in golden clarity, it won’t be long before the powerful sun begins to boil the atmosphere:

Late morning sky over the Santa Fe Farmer’s Market

Before you know it, an unexpected rumble of thunder fills the air and the breath of rain-cooled air sweeps over the city.

Most of these summer thundershowers are brief and only last 20 minutes or so. That’s just enough time to dodge under a welcoming portal and enjoy a respite from the sun. They are notorious for erupting right as the Santa Fe Opera lights its spacious stage for an opening. Many a production has been enhanced by the sturm und drang of a flaring late evening storm over the western mountains. Everyone comes to love them because of the way they cool down the evening to perfect sleeping weather. The afternoon sky is full of drama:

Ominous Afternoon

 

Vistas Enhanced By The Wonderful Atmospherics

And we admit it: sometimes you just get a traditional old rainy day, right in the middle of your summer vacation. You swear you’ll throttle the next local who says, “well, we need the moisture”. Even on these days the rain is bound to pause once in a while, to reveal heights wreathed in cloud and mist:

Bali Hai in Santa Fe

Of course, too much of a good thing is not always wonderful. You could be walking your dog in the arroyo one moment:

Walking the dog in the Santa Fe River

And the next running for the hills:

A Sudden Surge of Water

This is a legitimate natural hazard, and one which you must be aware of in the summer when you are visiting our part of the country. Lightning is another danger, as is hypothermia, for those hikers that are enjoying a walk high in the mountains. Someone is struck and killed by lightning up in the highlands nearly every year.

Golden Asters in Bloom

So don’t forget to tuck in a travel umbrella when you come to visit us this summer. Bring a sweater if you’re planning to attend the Opera: that rain-chilled air is cooler than you probably expected. And keep you eyes open for rainbows – our summer sky is festooned with them:

Walking into the rainbow

Sometimes Even Two!

The Galisteo Studio Tour

The Galisteo Studio Tour One of the great joys of the autumn season in Northern New Mexico is the annual round of village studio tours. Artists open their homes and studios to wandering aficionados of the arts in many of the picturesque small towns around Santa Fe...

read more

Mike’s Blog: The Heart of Santa Fe, The Plaza

Mike’s Blog: The Heart of Santa Fe, The Plaza

The_Governor’s_Palace,_in_which_Lew_Wallace_wrote_Ben-Hur

Few cities are more inextricably tied to a central physical space than Santa Fe is to the Plaza. The Santa Fe Plaza provided a definition and boundary between the state of ‘civilization’ for the Spanish and the ‘frontier’ without.

In creating the Plaza and binding it with the central institutions of Spanish culture (the Church, the Palace of the Governors and the court), the colonists defined the space as the re-creation of their central identity. The Plaza symbolized the colony and in return, the colony became defined by the Plaza.

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The settlement of the Plaza was among the earliest acts of Don Pedro de Peralta’s establishment of Santa Fe in 1610. This consisted of a presidio (Fort) with a large surrounding wall.

All the elements of Spanish civilization were present within the square, including: the prison, barracks, a chapel, the Palace of the Governors, and private residences. In a very real sense ‘civilization,’ as defined by the Spanish, thrived within a clearly delineated boundary.

The Plaza served as the grand end-point of the Camino Real during the peak of New Mexico’s colonization, which is significant because Camino Real marked the great North/South trade route that connected Mexico with the New Mexican colonies. Linking the interior of North America with the markets of New Spain and Spain proper ensured Santa Fe’s importance in continental trade. From its establishment in the 17th century until the development of the Santa Fe Trail, the Camino Real was the primary artery of trade.

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Jake_Gold’s_Old_Curiosity_Shop_(aka_Gold’s_Free_Museum)_2

As New Mexico was settled and Santa Fe prospered, the Plaza became the terminus of the famed Santa Fe Trail. Blazed in 1821, the trail was a difficult journey through unforgiving landscapes and hostile native tribes, and stretched all the way from St. Louis to Santa Fe.

As New Mexico became part of the United States, the trail was crucial in the opening of The West and the settlement of the territory. The terminus is still found today in the Plaza, and a prominent stone marks the official end of what was once a vital mercantile artery. Elements of this mercantile still exist today. One of which is the historic ‘Burro Alley,’ and another, the former horse corrals on Camino Corrales. These streets were areas of unloading and stabling of livestock – important elements of overland trade.

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Over time, the Plaza became a place of pulsing activity, further reinforcing its significance to the place and time. Historical elements, like the original Palacio (Palace of the Governors), remain and testify to the boundaries of the space. New structures, representing emerging architectural schools, sprung up around the space. Among the landmarks in the Plaza were the Civil War monuments erected following the war.

The_plaza,_Santa_Fe,_New_Mexico,_by_Continent_Stereoscopic_Company
Historic_plaza_and_’Rebel’_monument,_Santa_Fe,_New_Mexico

One of the most notable was a controversial obelisk dedicated “To the heroes who have fallen in the various battles with Savage Indians in the Territory of New Mexico.” Controversy over the wording erupted in 1973 when the Santa Fe city council, responding to requests from the Governor and activists in the American Indian Movement, voted to have the monument removed. Resistance to the removal came from numerous sources, but it was the Federal Government’s threats to remove funding for the space (coinciding with the upcoming bicentennial) that settled the issue once and for all. The monument, with its inflammatory language, remained.

The monument to Kearny (the ‘conqueror’ of the New Mexico territory) and the Indian Wars represents the ways in which the Plaza continues to define the identity of the New Mexican and the ‘dialogue’ between place and people. The word ‘Savage’ on the monument was scratched out following the resolution of its non-removal, and the unofficial vandalism exists as an informal compromise between the voices of the past and the needs and rights of the modern community.

The Plaza continues to be a vital part of Santa Fe today. Native artisans display their wares along the old Palace of the Governors, an unbroken continuum of commerce and artistry stretching back five centuries. Young children run and play while older teens begin their courtship rituals or practice skateboarding or hacky sack.

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World-class galleries compete for space with the Five and Dime and the Tamale cart alike. Visiting the Plaza today emphasizes the continuance of Santa Fe, including the contradictions inherent in this dynamic city identity, and provides an opportunity to ‘live as a local’. Annual events like the Fiestas de Santa Fe, the Indian market, and the Santa Fe Bandstand continue to draw locals and tourists alike – and no visit to Santa Fe is complete without a trip to the Plaza.

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Structures like the New Mexico History Museum, the New Mexico Museum of Fine Arts, and the Georgia O’Keefe Museum emphasize the arts and history that have always been a crucial part of Santa Fe’s identity. These artistic institutions form a link with the galleries of Canyon Road and Museum Hill, a pulsing vein of artistry that runs through this high desert land.

The Palace of the Governors remains in situ, and has been called the longest continuously used seat of government in the United States. Over its long history, multiple flags have flown over, those of New Spain, Mexico, the Confederacy and the United States, but the one thing that has remained the same in both symbolism and historical significance, is the Plaza.

We at the Inn on the Alameda look forward to seeing you in Santa Fe soon, and please remember that when you stay at the Inn, that Enchanting Small Hotel in Old Santa Fe, you are only a five minute stroll away from the Plaza!

–Joe and Michael Schepps

The Galisteo Studio Tour

The Galisteo Studio Tour One of the great joys of the autumn season in Northern New Mexico is the annual round of village studio tours. Artists open their homes and studios to wandering aficionados of the arts in many of the picturesque small towns around Santa Fe...

read more

Palace of the Governors oldFew cities are more inextricably tied to a central physical space than Santa Fe is to the Plaza. Santa Fe Plaza provided a definition and boundary between the state of ‘civilization’ for the Spanish and the ‘frontier’ without. In creating the Plaza and binding it with the central institutions of Spanish culture (the Church, the Palace of the Governors and the court), the colonists defined the space as the re-creation of their central identity. The Plaza symbolized the colony and in return, the colony became defined by the Plaza.

Santa Fe Plaza OldThe settlement of the Plaza was among the earliest acts of Don Pedro de Peralta’s establishment of Santa Fe in 1610. This consisted of a presidio (Fort) with a large surrounding wall. All the elements of Spanish civilization were present within the square, including: the prison, barracks, a chapel, the Palace of the Governors, and private residences. In a very real sense ‘civilization,’ as defined by the Spanish, thrived within a clearly delineated boundary.

The Plaza served as the grand end-point of the Camino Real during the peak of New Mexico’s colonization, which is significant because Camino Real marked the great North/South trade route that connected Mexico with the New Mexican colonies. Linking the interior of North America with the markets of New Spain and Spain proper ensured Santa Fe’s importance in continental trade. From its establishment in the 17th century until the development of the Santa Fe Trail, the Camino Real was the primary artery of trade.

Burro AlleyAs New Mexico was settled and Santa Fe prospered, the Plaza became the terminus of the famed Santa Fe Trail. Blazed in 1821, the trail was a difficult journey through unforgiving landscapes and hostile native tribes, and stretched all the way from St. Louis to Santa Fe. As New Mexico became part of the United States, the trail was crucial in the opening of The West and the settlement of the territory. The terminus is still found today in the Plaza, and a prominent stone marks the official end of what was once a vital mercantile artery. Elements of this mercantile still exist today. One of which is the historic ‘Burro Alley,’ and another, the former horse corrals on Camino Corrales. These streets were areas of unloading and stabling of livestock – important elements of overland trade.

Over time, the Plaza became a place of pulsing activity, further reinforcing its significance to the place and time. Historical elements, like the original Palacio (Palace of the Governors), remain and testify to the boundaries of the space. New structures, representing emerging architectural schools, sprung up around the space. Among the landmarks in the Plaza were the Civil War monuments erected following the war. One of the most notable was a controversial obelisk dedicated “To the heroes who have fallen in the various battles with Savage Indians in the Territory of New Mexico.” Controversy over the wording erupted in 1973 when the Santa Fe city council, responding to requests from the Governor and activists in the American Indian Movement, voted to have the monument removed. Resistance to the removal came from numerous sources, but it was the Federal Government’s threats to remove funding for the space (coinciding with the upcoming bicentennial) that settled the issue once and for all. The monument, with its inflammatory language, remained. The monument to Kearny (the ‘conqueror’ of the New Mexico territory) and the Indian Wars represents the ways in which the Plaza continues to define the identity of the New Mexican and the ‘dialogue’ between place and people. The word ‘Savage’ on the monument was scratched out following the resolution of its non-removal, and the unofficial vandalism exists as an informal compromise between the voices of the past and the needs and rights of the modern community.

Santa Fe BandstandThe Plaza continues to be a vital part of Santa Fe today. Native artisans display their wares along the old Palace of the Governors, an unbroken continuum of commerce and artistry stretching back five centuries. Young children run and play while older teens begin their courtship rituals or practice skateboarding or hacky sack. World-class galleries compete for space with the Five and Dime and the Tamale cart alike. Visiting the Plaza today emphasizes the continuance of Santa Fe, including the contradictions inherent in this dynamic city identity, and provides an opportunity to ‘live as a local’. Annual events like the Fiestas de Santa Fe, the Indian market, and the Santa Fe Bandstand continue to draw locals and tourists alike – and no visit to Santa Fe is complete without a trip to the Plaza.

Structures like the New Mexico History Museum, the New Mexico Museum of Fine Arts, and the Georgia O’Keefe Museum emphasize the arts and history that have always been a crucial part of Santa Fe’s identity. These artistic institutions form a link with the galleries of Canyon Road and Museum Hill, a pulsing vein of artistry that runs through this high desert land. The Palace of the Governors remains in situ, and has been called the longest continuously used seat of government in the United States. Over its long history, multiple flags have flown over, those of New Spain, Mexico, the Confederacy and the United States, but the one thing that has remained the same in both symbolism and historical significance, is the Plaza.

We at the Inn on the Alameda look forward to seeing you in Santa Fe soon, and please remember that when you stay at the Inn, that Enchanting Small Hotel in Old Santa Fe, you are only a five minute stroll away from the Plaza!

Joe and Michael Schepps

Mike and Joe

 

Our Updated Health and Safety Standards

Our Updated Health and Safety Standards

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The Inn on the Alameda will implement the “Safe Stay” guidelines recommended by the American
Hotel & Lodging Association, in conjunction with public health experts and recommendations from the
U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. These guidelines were “developed specifically to
ensure enhanced safety for hotel guests and employees”. The Inn will revise these standards as needed
based on the recommendations of public health authorities, in compliance with any federal, state and
local laws.

Highlights of the new guidelines include:

    • Hand sanitizer dispensers placed in key guest and employee entrances, with not less than 60 percent alcohol content.
    • NM now requires the use of face masks by everyone in public spaces.
    • Front- and back-of-the-house signage highlighting CDC recommendations, such as how to wear, handle and dispose of masks
    • Reporting of confirmed Covid-19 cases.
    • Employee hand-cleaning protocols, Covid-19 safety training and personal protective equipment use and disposal.
    • Use of disinfectants approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that meet CDC requirements for effective use against viruses, bacteria and other airborne and blood-borne pathogens.
    • Frequent cleaning of public and communal spaces, including elevator panels.
    • Enhanced guest room cleaning: with stipulations that housekeeping shall not enter a guest room during a stay unless requested or approved by the guest and that rooms will be thoroughly cleaned after check-out.
    • Items not easily sterilized will be removed from rooms and public areas.
    • Linens, towels, and laundry shall be washed in accordance with CDC guidelines.
    • Traditional buffet service shall be modified, to be served by an attendant wearing PPE. Sneeze and cough screens shall be present at all food displays; for certain segments, use of prepackaged food and “grab and go” items will be the preferred method of food delivery.
    • Marking public areas for appropriate social distancing and, where applicable, lobby furniture and public seating areas will be reconfigured to promote social distancing.
    • Meeting and convention spaces will follow CDC recommendations for physical distancing.
    • Encouraging the use of technology to reduce direct contact with guests, the lobby population, and the front-desk queue.
    • Encouraging contactless payments.
    • The courtesy vehicle will be out of service for safety of guests and staff.
Treasures of the Turquoise Trail

Treasures of the Turquoise Trail

The Turquoise Trail National Scenic Byway is one of the most picturesque places in New Mexico. It encompasses 15,000 square miles in the central part of the state and links Santa Fe and Albuquerque.

The 50-mile drive along state highway 14 offers breathtaking views. The route passes to the east of the Sandia Mountains through a handful of old mining towns, where silver, gold, and turquoise were once carved out of the hillsides. You’ll feel like you’re going back in time as you drive through the historic mining towns that now transformed to cultural and artistic hubs.

Some of the towns and places you can visit on the Turquoise Trail include:

Cerrillos: This authentic relic of the Wild West often serves as a film set for Westerns. Quirky shops line the small main drag, where saloons and even an opera house once stood. The Cerrillos Hills Historic Park encompasses 1,100 acres of tree-covered hills with miles of hiking, horseback riding and mountain biking trails. The 1,350-acre Ortiz Mountains Educational Preserve, maintained by the Santa Fe Botanical Garden, offers hiking tours from April through October.

Quaint Roadside Shop in Madrid NM

Golden: This was the site of the first gold rush west of the Mississippi in 1825. One of the remnants of this mining town is a church with a distinctive dome. The town also features unique shops with glasswares and antiques.

Madrid: This former gold, silver and coal mining town was revived in the 1970s. It hosts a blues festival in the summer, and the holiday season is a fun time to visit the boutiques, galleries and holiday light displays. The mine is now a museum, and the Engine House Theater holds live performances and other events.

Tinkertown Museum in Sandia Park: The brainchild and passion of Ross Ward, this folk art museum features 22 acres of wood-carved figures and his whimsical handmade dioramas of animated Western scenes as well as antique toys. It’s the perfect stop on your way up to or back down from Sandia Crest.

New Mexico is the best place to experience wanderlust. There are so many enchanting sites within an hour’s drive of Santa Fe. That’s why the Inn on the Alameda is the perfect home base for exploring.

Need help planning a day trip during your next stay at the Inn? We’re happy to help plan your scenic route!

Cross-Country Skiing and Snowshoeing

Cross-country skiing and snowshoeing offer intimate outdoor experiences that are practical, inexpensive, and healthy, and these activities do not damage our mountains or valleys. There are no expensive lift tickets, a minimal learning curve, no noise from the great machines driving the ski lifts, no long lines—and no snowboarders to frighten you to death when they fly by. Cross-country skiing, also called Nordic skiing, is done on flat land or rolling hills and trails. When Nordic skis are equipped with special attachments, a skier can climb up hills, but the conventional approach is to keep elevations to a minimum and glide along mountain hiking trails.

Christina Genuario-Gill, the Inn’s general manager and an avid cross-country skier, is happy to recommend trails and guide referrals, or you can contact Outspire Hiking and Snowshoeing for guided tours. Valle Grande in the Jemez is a great location for beginners, while the Nordic tracks and Aspen Vista trails in the Santa Fe National Forest offer trails of various levels of difficulty, all with easy access from Santa Fe.

Skiing and snowshoeing are some of the best ways to experience New Mexico’s crystal-clear air and sweeping mountain vistas, both of which are both enhanced by cold weather. And what do all skiers, boarders, snowshoers, and cross-country enthusiasts like to do after a day in the great outdoors? Settle in by a blazing fire with a hot drink, of course. There’s no better place to relax and warm up than the Inn’s lobby and Agoyo Lounge. The drinks are the best, the service warm and friendly, the setting divine. Stop by to share the camaraderie of old friends and new after enjoying a day of perfect powder!

Seasonal Magic

As befitting a city whose name means “holy faith,” Santa Fe is at its magical best during the Christmas season. A perennial favorite among its many distinctive celebrations is the Christmas Eve Farolito Walk along Canyon Road, a candlelit meander at dusk through the town’s historic district that brings locals and visitors together in a unique expression of seasonal goodwill.

Farolitos, or “little lanterns,” are votive candles anchored in sand inside small brown paper bags that are set along the flat roofs and adobe walls throughout the city. These are said to light the path for the baby Jesus to find his way to homes and businesses to infuse them with the Christmas spirit. They pop up all over town in December—all over New Mexico, in fact, although they go by the name “luminarias” in Albuquerque and points south—but Christmas Eve is the time that everyone focuses on their true symbolism as they stroll along the storied route.

No one quite remembers exactly when the Canyon Road ritual first got started, but most people believe it began sometime in the 1970s, when residents in the area invited friends from around town to amble through their centuries-old neighborhood at sundown to enjoy the simple beauty of hundreds of candles lining the streets and homes in an atmosphere of reverence and fellowship. The event has changed little over the decades, and neighborhood residents extend the spontaneous hospitality Santa Fe is known for: Some homeowners build festive bonfires of piñon wood (known in Northern New Mexico as luminarias, in contrast with Albuquerque’s use of the term) to help participants ward off the winter chill, while others invite the walkers into their homes for a warm drink, a bizcochito (New Mexico’s official state cookie), and a heartfelt exchange of holiday wishes.

In recent years, Canyon Road’s many art galleries have joined the celebration, offering displays of Christmas lights, music performances, and refreshments, but the true soul of the Farolito Walk remains the soft glow of candlelight and the camaraderie of caroling en masse while the aroma of piñon fires fills the air like an earthy incense.

Just steps away from Canyon Road, the Inn on the Alameda provides a perfect headquarters for beginning or ending the walk. You can meet up with your fellow participants at the Agoyo Lounge for some pre-walk fortification—light gourmet fare, fine wines, and a full bar—or adjourn there afterwards to warm up over some small plates and a hot drink (our favorite is Mexican coffee, a comforting blend of brewed coffee laced with tequila and Kahlúa) to extend the glow of this magical evening.

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