Elizabeth Anne VanderPutten - My New Mexico


Introduction. These pages are about New Mexico -- a place of miracles and manageable beauty -- and about a trip I took in 1999 to that Land of Enchantment.   10. El Santuario de Chimayo -- widely known as the "Lourdes of America" -- is considered one of the truly holy places in this country.
1. Our trip started and ended in Albuquerque. We toured Old Town, attended Mass at UNM, rode the Tramway to Sandia Crest, checked out some neighborhoods to possibly retire to, and visited relatives and old friends.   11. Taos, noted for its frontier history, Taos Pueblo, and San Francisco de Asis Mission Church, is one famous little town. With spectacular scenery and an important art colony, Taos has more National Historic places per capita than any other city in the USA.
2. We drove up the Turquoise Trail to Santa Fe. This scenic route runs through the eastern foothills of the Sandias, and passes through old ghost towns and gold and turquoise mining camps.   12. The Taos Pueblo, with its 1000 year old culture and 650 year old buildings, is the oldest continuously used community in the country. The pueblo is both a traditional Native American village and a living museum.
3. Santa Fe is a city of artists and art, beauty, history, museums and churches. It is a city of the Old West and a modern art center where the Yellow Pages list over 250 art galleries.   13. Six miles west of Taos is the Rio Grande Gorge. It is another of New Mexico's unexpected joys -- not overawing like Grand Canyon -- but impressive, beautiful and understandable.

4. One of the many high points of my trip was the San Miguel Chapel, the oldest church in continuous use in the country. Its altar screen is said to be among the most splendid in the Southwest.

  14. The Highway From Taos to White Rock Overlook is lovely as it winds through long and scenic canyons, descending at times to meet the Rio Grande and then rising again to the high Southwestern Plateau.
5. St. Frances Cathedral in Santa Fe is the culminating achievement of one of New Mexico's most remarkable clerics, Father Jean Baptiste Lamy, who was immortalized by Willa Cather in her Pulitzer winning Death Comes for the Archbishop.   15. Iglesia de la Virgen de Guadalupe mission church in Velardi was built almost 200 years ago on a slope above the Rio Grande.Virgen de Guadalupe was the simplest and in some ways the most touching church I visited.

6. In visiting the Loretto Chapel and seeing the Miraculous Staircase I was quite touched. The story of the staircase is moving; the staircase itself is a marvel.   16. Bandelier National Monument, with its ancient cliff dwellings, was one of the centers of the Anasazi or "Old Ones." The Anasazi were the ancestors of the Pueblo and other native peoples of the Southwest today.
7. We spent two days visiting the Museums of New Mexico in Santa Fe. They include the historical Palace of the Governors, the more contemporary Museum of Fine Arts, the Native American focused Museum of Indian Arts and Crafts, and the Museum of International Folk Arts.   17. Beyond Bandelier lies the Jemez Country, home of one of the great wilderness areas of the West and of this country's largest caldera. The Jemez Country is largely the result of volcanic activity a million years ago that has been weathered by time.
8. Among Santa Fe's best known private museums is the Georgia O'keeffe. Other noted private museums we visited are the Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian and the Institute of American Indian Arts.   18. The tiny mountain village of Jemez Springs, with its 499 people and one public library(!), was selected as an All American City by the National Civic League in 1994. Known for its mineral spring and artists, it was our final stopover on our return to Albuquerque.
9. The High Road to Taos is a 105 mile mountain byway, passing through picturesque old Spanish villages such as Chimayo, Truchas and Los Trampas.   19. Site of Barbara and Glenn's future Retirement Home north of Albuquerque near Placitas.

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