Santa Fe, New Mexico (Aug 23-25)

One of our goals for the summer was to visit the Santa Fe Opera, and we barely made it, seeing the second last production of the season on Friday.

We left on Thursday and after 6 hours in the car, we were overdue for a stretch and stopped at Pecos National Historic Park. The visitor center and grounds were especially nice, thanks to the generosity of the Fogelson family. The property, including the Forked Lightning Ranch, was previously owned by actress Greer Garson and her husband, E.E. Fogelson. We will have to do the ranch tour on another visit, but this day we enjoyed an afternoon stroll through the Pecos Pueblo ruins.

Susan in a restored kiva at Pecos Pueblo

Kiva foreground with ruins of mission church in background

The rest of the day we walked around historic Old Town Santa Fe, the oldest capital city in the US. We enjoyed some live music at the Plaza and walked by the Governor's Palace, the oldest public building in the US. Later we enjoyed a good New Mexican food dinner and excellent Oatmeal Stout at the upstairs balcony of the Blue Corn Cafe.

The streets of Old Santa Fe

Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi

Palace of the Governors in Old Santa Fe

Native American vendors at the Palace of the Governors

Saturday was a very full day, starting off with a very interesting and thorough backstage tour of the opera building itself as well as how the productions come together. Many costumes and wigs are made onsite, and we were fortunate enough to meet the head wig maker and learn a bit about the process. We saw sets, props, dressing rooms, control rooms, lifts and more in the three story building. We learned about the history of the outdoor venue, the location of which was selected selected due to the natural amphitheater and superior sound qualities. We highly recommend the tour experience to see for yourself, particularly since photographs are prohibited.

Santa Fe Opera entrance

Next we toured the beautiful landscaped "ranch" grounds, originally a guest ranch now used for the benefit of cast and crew. We were also treated to a brief performance by an SFO apprentice in one of the rehearsal halls.

An opera company apprentice performed for our tour

Mid-day we went back to Old Town and visited the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum and the excellent Andrew Smith Gallery, with two floors of photographs by, and mini-exhibitions about, Ansel Adams.

A Georgia O'Keeffe quote Mike particularly liked

After a short rest, we headed back up to the Opera for the preview dinner buffet, which included an interesting talk about Mozart's, The Marriage of Figaro. During our excellent meal we enjoyed delightful conversation with the other folks at our table.

The beautiful outdoor venue for our pre-opera dinner

At lower center you can see through beyond the stage;
the vertical structures at lower center are wind baffles

The performance was wonderful and we especially enjoyed the Electronic Libretto System, developed first by the Santa Fe Opera, which translated the Italian and allowed us to easily follow the storyline. This very long opera wasn't over until about 11:30pm!

View "through" the stage to the sunset; electronic libretto at bottom

The next morning we slept in and decided over breakfast to explore nearby Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument. In spite of the heat, we had a fantastic afternoon hiking the Monument's Cave Loop and Slot Canyon Trails, totaling about 3.5 miles. Every turn provided something new and unusual to look at, with 360 degree vistas at the top, and we spent a good 3 hours lingering to take it all in.

Mike at the Cave/Slot Canyon trailhead

On the Cave Trail

Susan entering the slot canyon

The slot canyon became very narrow

Climbing out of the slot canyon looking down on some of the "tent rocks"

Near the top of the overlook

View from the main overlook looking down on the trail where we started

Tent Rocks (Susan's iPhone picture)

Cholla cactus blooming

Mini-tent rocks right on the trail

Hoodoos on tent rocks

We finished our visit to Tent Rocks by driving out another 3.5 miles on a gravel road to the Veterans' Memorial Scenic Overlook. We had planned to go home via Taos, but because we'd spent so much time at Tent Rocks, and because the Taos Pueblo wasn't open so we opted to return another time soon for that and to hike to Mount Wheeler via Williams Lake.

Panorama from the Veterans' Memorial Scenic overlook

It was already 4 o'clock when we plugged a route to Estes Park into our GPS "just to see." ETA midnight. Take us home, Tina.

No comments:

Post a Comment