Santa Fe is often called “the City Different” and having now been there it is easy to see why. In 1912 the town had only five thousand people as civic leaders designed and enacted a sophisticated city plan that incorporated elements of the City Beautiful movement, the city planning movement, and the German historic preservation movement. It anticipated limited future growth, considered the scarcity of water, and recognized the future prospects of suburban development on the outskirts. The planners foresaw conflicts between preservationists and scientific planners. They set forth the principle that historic streets and structures be preserved and that new development must be harmonious with the city's character.
Santa Fe Plaza
In some ways, Santa Fe is mindful of the Northampton area in Massachusetts except that instead of one main street with shops lining it, Santa Fe is built around a square in its center and the roads move out from that, each street lined with shops and galleries and restaurants. We went to several places there to eat and made very good choices both for lunch and supper. We noticed that there were signs in every restaurant warning the people (gringos, what New Mexicans call the people who don’t want the hot foods) that the green chiles are hot. I had these three thoughts right in a row while in this offbeat, very cool cafe. As I sat I noticed at least 3 signs warning of the chiles and there was one on the menu too. I thought “gee why do they have to warn the tourists so much?” Then “why don’t they take the wait staff’s advice?” And finally “Why are tourists so stupid?” This is an actual conversation I overheard. The names have been changed to protect the innocent.
Stupid tourist: I’ll have the green chile burrito. Is it very hot?
Patient Waitress: Yes mame, the green chiles are very hot but you can get a burrito and not have the green chiles on it.
Stupid Tourist: No, that’s OK. I want to really experience the full flavor of Santa Fe. Bring me the green chile burrito.
The waitress brings her the green chile burrito. The Stupid Tourist takes two bites and starts to moan and fan her mouth with her hand.
Stupid Tourist: Oh, this is tooooo hot, I’m burning up. I can’t take it, what should I do?
Patient Waitress comes back to the table: Can I do something?
Stupid Tourist: This is way too hot, you should have told me how hot it was.
Patient Waitress: I told you it was spicy. Let me go and get you some milk, that should help.
Stupid Tourist: She didn’t tell me it was going to be THAT hot.
This is why they put warning labels on toasters say don’t operate in the bathtub, or fine print car commercials where the car runs off a cliff and the disclaimer says, “don’t try this at home, cars cannot fly.”
So overall, I give our trip to Santa Fe a very positive review. The Folk Art Museum was amazing. The terrace on top of the La Fonda offered spectacular views although it was way over priced. The free transportation system was a nice touch and Tomasita’s was so good, we went there twice. The Native American Crafts were great. Mrsfabp and I bought hand made silver rings there. Certainly this is a place we want to return to. Taking the high speed commuter rail was wonderful but having a car would have given us access to even more. Maybe in the spring!
Native American Vendor Market
Portico, Governor's Mansion