Every now and then, I find myself gripped by an idea, an obsession, that I must thoroughly research and plan out before I am able to let go of it. This road trip is just one such example.

Several days ago, I awoke from a nap thinking that we needed to go on a trip soon; immediately, I began to consider where we should go. Since I've been working on our Day of the Dead and Our Lady of Guadalupe feast day plans, my first thought was Mexico! But of course, we can't realistically drive to Mexico for a few days, so in the end, I settled on New Mexico.

Now, I've got the complete trip planned - a trip which may or may not actually happen, though I'm thinking it probably will, and very soon. I've driven through New Mexico countless times, but I've never really seen the state, so it all seems quite new and exciting. 
Day one will be driving, driving, and more driving (for 9+ hours). Our first stop in New Mexico will be the once notorious old mining town Cimarron, followed by Elizabethtown, a gold rush ghost town established in 1867, but largely abandoned by the 1920s. Today the town is slowly being restored by one of its descendants and boasts a rebuilt church, a museum, and nice old cemetery.

Elizabethtown Cemetery © jwoodphoto

I've always had a passion for old cemeteries, but this post and this by artist Laurie Beth Zuckerman has me especially eager to explore New Mexico's cemeteries!

From Elizabethtown, we'll drive another hour to Taos where we'll spend the night.

The High Road/Taos

Day two will begin in gorgeous Taos. In the morning, we'll visit the Hacienda de los Martinez Museum, followed by the San Francisco de Asis Mission Church, an adobe church built between 1772 and 1816, and the most photographed and painted church in Taos. We'll spend a bit of time exploring the shops located around the historic Ranchos de Taos plaza before moving on to the tiny chapel, Nuestra Senora de San Juan de los Lagos del Rio Chiquito (Our Lady of Saint John of the Lakes) in Talpa.

From there, we will drive about 30 minutes through the Carson National Forest to the Picurís Pueblo at Peñasco, home to another beautiful church: San Lorenzo de Picuris.  Next up will be Las Trampas where we will visit the old mission church, San Jose de Gracia, which is still an active parish. After Las Trampas, we will head to Nuestra Senora del Rosario, built in the early 1800s and home to many well-preserved old santos. This will be followed by the much-anticipated Chimayó.

In Chimayó, a small community nestled in the Sangre de Cristo mountains, we will visit the Santo Niño Chapel and Santuario de Chimayó, an important pilgrimage site often called the "Lourdes of America." I will also want to stop at the El Potrero Trading Post (aka 'The Vigil Store') for some light shopping. Leaving Chimayó, we will briefly visit Iglesia de la Santa Cruz de la Cañada (church), on our way to the ancient Puye Cliff Dwellings.

Santuario de Chimayó © Alida's Photos

Required Reading:

Santa Fe

After staying overnight in Española, on day three we will drive into Santa Fe (roughly 30 minutes away).

Our first stop of the day will be the amazing Jackalope, which promises to be paradise for me. Here's what one reviewer had to say:  "If you are headed to Santa Fe for a visit, plan on spending several hours at Jackalope Imports on Cerrillos Road. Don't pass this up. A couple of acres and several buildings of imported stuff. Fun stuff! Interesting stuff! Colorful stuff! Mostly from Mexico & South America, but if it's unique and colorful they probably have it. Lots of large pots for your garden and city deck. They even have a prairie dog village (yes, with real prairie dogs!) on the grounds." Fun! I plan to budget accordingly and pick up our Day of the Dead and 'Fiesta de la Virgen de Guadalupe' supplies here.

After Jackalope, we have a busy afternoon in Santa Fe planned. As time allows, I would like to visit the following:
  1. Santuario de Guadalupe (The Chapel of Our Lady of Guadalupe): Built in 1795, it is thought to be the oldest extant shrine to the Virgin of Guadalupe in the United States.   
  2. The Cathedral Basilica of Saint Francis of Assisi: A Romanesque style cathedral built in 1869, includes the La Conquistadora Chapel which houses a 1626 statue of Our Lady of the Rosary
  3. Mission San Miguel: Built in 1610 by the Tlaxcalan Indians of Mexico, the chapel is one of the oldest standing churches in the U.S. that is still in use today.
  4. Loretto Chapel: Home of the mysterious Miraculous Staircase, which legend says was constructed or inspired by St. Joseph the Carpenter. It took at least six months to build, and has two 360 degree turns with no visible means of support.
  5. Rosario Cemetery
  6. Palace of the Governors: Built in 1610 as Spain's seat of government for what is today the American Southwest, the Palace of the Governors is one of the nation's oldest public structures. Today it serves as a regional historical museum.
  7. El Rancho de las Golondrinas: A living history museum dedicated to the heritage and culture of Spanish Colonial New Mexico.
I am sure that the kids will be sick and tired of old churches by the time we're finished, but hopefully they will learn a little and won't be *too* bored. This entire trip just happens to tie into our history studies next semester perfectly, so at the very least it will (hopefully!) bring the history alive for them.

A few fun facts about Santa Fe: "Santa Fe" means "Holy Faith" in Spanish. The city was originally occupied by Pueblo Indian villages during 1050 to 1150. Spanish colonists founded the city sometime between 1607 and 1610, making it one of the oldest cities in the country. Santa Fe, a haven for artists, boasts more than 300 art galleries and dealers. At nearly 7,000 feet, Santa Fe has the highest elevation of all the state capitals in the country. (Source)

Santuario de Guadalupe © jwood
The Turquoise Trail

Day four will be a bit rushed since we'll need to head home on this day. However, there are a few "quick" stops I'd like to make first.  The first stop will be the small yet beautiful old mining town, Los Cerrillos, situated along the historic Turquoise Trail. There we will visit the Casa Grande Trading Post (which includes a fabulously eclectic Turquoise Mining Museum) and the church, Iglesia San Jose, perhaps followed by the Cerrillos Hills Historic Park just north of town.

After Los Cerrillos, we will briefly visit Galisteo where there appears to be a church with a fabulous cemetery and a few other places of interest. The next stop doesn't appear on any maps, but looks exquisite - the church at Canoncito at Apache Canyon, former site of an old trading point. Following this, we may spend an hour or so at Pecos National Historic Park before heading home.

Church at Canoncito at Apache Canyon  © Joel Wigelsworth

There are, of course, many many wonderful things that we will not have time to see on this quick little trip, and likewise, a few surprises that I have not mentioned here. I think it promises to be a wonderful adventure!

1 Comment:

  1. Faith said...
    Wow, I hope you get to go! It looks wonderful!

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