Monday, March 9, 2009

Santa Fe

Chillies, mountains and strollerable sidewalks: holiday heaven
A family Hitchcock moment
Sunset over our Motel
Wind sculptures on Canyon Road

After more than 1,000 miles on the road, Santa Fe was always going to be more than a mere pitstop. In the end, the New Mexico capital will go down in our holiday history as the place where the wheels came off our roadtrip. Quite literally. First there was the puncture: Louis' stroller got a flat. And then there was Daddy J. A combination of Grand Canyon germs and Taos tonsillitis laid him out cold for the three days we'd planned to stay there. 

Luckily we'd stumbled upon a decent place to spend some time: the Santa Fe Motel and Inn, which also got the thumbs up from the New York Times. While DJ recuperated, Louis and I explored the adobe rich town. A magnet for celebrities and artists alike, Santa Fe has been luring visitors for centuries. At 400 years old, it is America's second-oldest state capital and features such gems as the country's oldest church and oldest house. 

It is almost unique among American towns in having stroller-friendly sidewalks, making it another top Mom-and-baby holiday pick. That may also explain its appeal to Julia Roberts, Mom of three, who lives on a ranch somewhere outside town. (Despite keeping our eyes peeled, we didn't mange to spot Julia. Shame, I'd figured that with three kids under 4, including 18-month-old Henry, she might have a few good mothering tips to share: I bet her kids sleep through the night.) 

Santa Fe's beautiful setting, amid the sagebrush-dotted foothills of the Sangre de Christos mountains, also explains its lure for artists and wanna-be-artists alike. All come in the hope that they too might follow in Georgia O'Keeffe's footsteps, the town's most famous former resident. We couldn't help but think how much Louis' Great-Granny B and his Grandpa Derek would love the place. G-G B's pastels would lift the quality of much of the work on Santa Fe's famed Canyon Road, while G'pa Derek's metal sculptures would fit right in. 

As for the family lurgy - we finally managed to shift it thanks to the restorative power of Santa Fe's other claim to fame: its legendary Green Chile. Even Louis got better - I guess the chile must have filtered through the breast milk. I never did need to give him those antibiotics. Darn, we could have put the $137 we spent at the doctors towards our Motel bill. 

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