By Nathalie Bonnard-Grenet
Walking through the streets of Santa Fe is walking through history. Each street has stories to tell. Some buildings still hold their secrets behind their walls. Some were the houses of famous personalities and some were the gathering places of unscrupulous affluent residents…
Palace Avenue was the home of the building to welcome all the scientists hired to work on the Manhattan project…1943…yes the project to develop the secret weapons laboratory.
Billy the Kid… yes the famous outlaw of the Southwest was once a resident of on San Francisco Street, where…the jail stood!
Burro Alley, you can’t miss it with its steel burro guarding the entrance! Was once the main trading place of Santa Fe, and also famous for its gambling house owned and managed by the famous (or infamous) La Dona Tules…Interesting character of Santa Fe, if you want to read more about her, Barbara recommends: The wind leaves no Shadows written by Ruth Laughin.
The Plaza: besides being the heart and center of Santa Fe the Plaza was the end of the journey from the Santa Fe Trail (a 19th-century transportation route through central North America that connected Missouri with Santa Fe, NM) and the Camino Real (The Royal Road – an historic road that went from Mexico City to Santa Fe, New Mexico).
Today, the Plaza is a National Historic Landmark and the gathering place for unique events like the renowned Indian Market and Spanish Market.
The Plaza is also the setting of the oldest public building in the US, the Palace of the Governors, where many Indian vendors sell their arts and jewelry under its portal.
From the Plaza few streets will lead you to very interesting churches: the cathedral basilica of St Francis de Assisi built from the plan of the cathedral of Clermont Ferrand (France), the Loretto Chapel, built from the plan of the Ste Chapelle (Paris, France), and St Miguel Mission, the oldest church built in the US in 1610, by the Tlaxcalan Indians of Mexico.
Many shops surround the Plaza where you can find all kinds of ‘souvenirs’, arts, Native American jewelry, and southwestern clothing.
If you are into Art, let me take you to Lincoln Street, where there are three stunning galleries featuring of Native American artists.
Washington Street is the address of the libraries, the public library and the History library: Fray Angelico Chavez History library, on the opposite side of this library you can admire the Inn of the Anasazi, and its very fine architectural style which combines the pueblo style with the Spanish style. This type of architecture is found a little bit all over Santa Fe, but this building is particularly nice.
Then walk up to Canyon Road, which is the ‘street of the Art’. You can spend hours strolling along this most charming street and wandering in the exclusive galleries’ gardens, before taking a break for lunch, dinner or tea and you’ll have the choice of few places for that, right on Canyon Road.
One Gallery-boutique is definitely worth the detour: Nathalie Home.
Nathalie is known for her exquisite taste in all things western, and you will find also beautiful Navajo jewelry, as well as buckle sets and a one of the kind cowboy boot collection.
You can’t miss Paseo de Peralta (Don Diego de Peralta was the third governor of New Mexico), this street almost forms a beltway around the Downtown area, and will lead you to major places like the New Mexico State Capitol (the only round Capitol building in the US), the Farmers Market where you’ll find exclusively products from New Mexico, Site Santa Fe, a contemporary Art Space.
There are so many more other interesting streets to walk around in Santa Fe. You need to come and I’ll guide you.
If you wonder why I didn’t speak about the Historic Route 66. It deserves an article on its own.
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