High Road to Taos Part 2: Truchas

Daylight is fading fast and you want to make it to Truchas along the High Road to Taos before sunset so you set off from Chimayó, along Route 76 toward Taos. En route is Centinela Traditional Arts Weaving Gallery,  El Meson de la Centinela Inn, Oviedo Carvings & Bronze Foundry & Ranch.

As the road rises out of the valley, you’re greeted by the snow-covered peaks of Truchas; tinted pink in the setting sun. And spread across the ridge before you, along the Quemado Valley is the tiny, historic village of Cordova.Cordova

The village was originally named Pueblo Quemado, after an ancient Indian pueblo, which had been destroyed by fire. After being the target of multiple Indian attacks, the Spanish settlement was abandoned in 1748. But just a few years later, in 1750, the Spanish settlers returned and named it Cordova after an important local family.

And on the opposite side of the road is the silhouette of Georgia O’Keeffe’s favorite monolith, Cerro Pedernal. She is known to have painted this subject 28 times during her  career.


Just a few miles further and you reach Truchas (Spanish for trout) named after the river that irrigates the farms of the area. Truchas sits 8,000 feet above sea level. It’s charm and remoteness appeals to many, and in particular artists.  Many have settled here making Truchas a special artist community, and art enthusiast destination. Some of us remember Robert Redford’s movie, “The Milagro Beanfield War,” which brought notoriety to the village in the late 1980s.

As you take the road into town, just before the turn toward Taos, “Ghost Pony Gallery” sits on the left. It’s winter, so not all galleries will be open without advance notice, a phone call or an email. Fortunately, artist Trish Booth Pieterse is home and you get to see some of her beautiful work.  To reach Trish call: 505 689 1704 or email: ghostponygallery@gmail.com.Trishwalljackt



You know you’ll have to return to learn more about this extraordinary area and many other artists’ work. High Road Artist is a blog that helps you gain insight into the artist’s life in Truchas. More details and information on the artists of the High Road can be found at http://santafeselection.com/day-trips-activities/high-road-artisans

The sun sets dramatically every night in Northern New Mexico. Tonight is no exception. And you’re in the ideal spot to catch its descent.


The High Road to Taos Part 1: Chimayó

Taking the High Road to Taos is a beautiful journey that can spin by in just under two hours. Or you can give yourself the luxury of taking 4-5 hours, all day, or even multiple days and really gain insight into northern New Mexico, its unique history, culture and people. I’ve decided to make this a 3 maybe 4 part journey and try to show you just a few of the beautiful sights that await you. If you like driving the open road and being surrounded by mountain ranges, fascinating light changes, tiny historic Spanish land grant villages, and art communities, then this trip is for you. Even in the winter the scenery is enchanting.


Only twenty minutes north of Santa Fe’s downtown along Hwy 84/ 285 is the turn off for Route 503 to Nambe and the Scenic High Road begins. Cruising through Nambe you see the Sacred Heart Catholic Church gazing toward the Sangre de Cristo Mountains.


The road continues to wind through Nambe to the turn for route 93 toward Chimayó. At this point, you begin to feel you’re in one of those car commercials where there’s only you for miles and nothing but beautiful red rock formations, and mountain vistas. But you resist the urge to rev your engine and speed up. Not just because you don’t want a speeding ticket, but because you want to savor the moment as you head down into the valley toward the historic village of Chimayó.


Spanish settlers founded Chimayó in the late 17th century. It was ideally situated with the Santa Cruz River to nourish the fertile valley soils, and the surrounding foothills to offer protection from invaders. Farming, raising live stock and wool weaving were the means of survival and trade that made the area famous. The red chile is especially a point of local pride and enjoyed by most visitors looking for authentic northern New Mexican cuisine.

And of course the famous el Santuario de Chimayó sits like a jewel in the fading light of the winter sun. About 200 years ago, many believe miraculous healings occurred at the site where a 6 foot wooden cross was unearthed. The chapel was built in 1816.


Originally named el Santuario de Nuestro Señor de Esquipulas, it is now more commonly known as el Santuario de Chimayó.


Even though there is so much more to discover here, the daylight is disappearing. Making your way to the edge of the village at the junction of State Road 76 where the road to Truchas and Taos turns right, you make a short, half-mile jog to the left to visit John Abrums at his wonderful gallery, Chimayó Trading and Mercantile.


John restored this original 100 year old adobe, once known as “Martinez Mercantile.” John has spent decades collecting beautiful, authentic Native pottery, jewelry, art, baskets, paintings, and weavings.

ChimTradbskts ChimTradNecklc lgpots pottery

After spending time browsing and buying those special pieces you never thought you’d find, it’s time to move on along the High Road. Next stop; the tiny village of Truchas, now a famous artist community. To be continued in part 2…



4 New Reasons to Visit O’Keeffe’s Ghost Ranch

If you’ve visited Northern New Mexico, you’re likely well aware of Georgia O’Keeffe’s favorite spot on the planet, Ghost Ranch. Whether you’ve already been, or have never had the pleasure, put it on your list of places to visit…Ghost Ranch is a place like no other. Guests can stay at the ranch and experience myriad activities and events year-round. Below is their first quarter calendar of seminars and events with lodging rates. From February to April, four great reasons to visit. Experience starlit night skies, yoga, refresh your Spanish language, and celebrate Earth Day…

Expansive Skies, An Astronomy Weekend


February 8-10, 2013 and March 8-10, 2013

While we can never bemoan the advent of electricity, we must recognize that with its infiltration in our lives many have lost a connection to the night sky. Fortunately, it is readily available at Ghost Ranch. Come reorient yourself by soaking in the sea of stars that stare down upon this Land of Enchantment. This is an all-ages course that will reflect upon the Northern New Mexico night sky using the stellar Ghost Ranch telescope and other astronomy tools. We will also lace Native spirituality and reflection throughout, giving a truly unique spiritual touch to our astronomical musings.

$125+ Lodging and Meals


GOT PAIN? Yoga Therapy


Meta Chaya Herschl

February 22-24, 2013

Back problems, shoulder stiffness, aching knees or mental agitations? Yoga practices offer a veritable smorgasbord for working with all of our challenges. We begin with our inner landscape and return again and again to the radiant gemstone of our True Selves. We will apply principles of body mechanics and yoga poses, and introduction to our LIFT program for vibrant health (Look Inside For Truth).

$195+ Lodging and Meals


 Spanish Refresher Weekend: Beginner’s Level

Sharon Franco

March 1-3, 2013

A weekend refresher course in Spanish where small groups practice skills through structured oral activities and informal conversation. For the beginning refresher we encourage students with one year of Spanish study. The program is intensive, with morning, afternoon, evening sessions from Friday evening until Sunday afternoon. Take advantage of the weekend refresher to prepare to join us if you can for the regular summer intensive course!

$150+ Lodging and Meals


Earth Day Celebration at Ghost Ranch: Water’s for Cooperating Over


Steve Harris, Jack Loeffler, Dr. Rina Swintzell, Estevan Arellano, and a special ending event Sunday with American Indian mystic Joseph Rael

April 5-7, 2013

The arid Southwest generally, and New Mexico specifically, has been the scene of intense competition for resources. With today’s news filled with stories of conflict over water- lawsuits and jurisdictional disputes, compromised water supplies, runaway development, drought and climate change, it is easy to accept the old canard that ‘water’s for fighting over’. But is it really? This program will examine historic instances in which societies have come together to share nature’s most precious resource. Folklorist Jack Loeffler, Anthropologist Rina Swintzell, Historian Estevan Arellano will present stories which highlight such social systems, explode the myth of water conflict and point toward a future with ‘just enough’ water for human and nature’s uses.

$150+Lodging and Meals





Local Favorite ~ Montecristi Hats For Men & Women

Since1978, Montecristi Hat Company has been established as the world’s best custom hatter. Or is it milliner? Santa Feans have been lucky to have easy access to this top quality resource for men and women’s custom-made panama and fur felt hats. Situated in an historic residential district, on McKenzie Street, just a few blocks from Santa Fe’s Plaza, what once was an adobe home is now a quiet hive of the international hat making industry.


It was in the early 1970s that owner Milton Johnson developed a close connection with the hat making craft and styles within the Ecuadorian village of Montecristi. “I first visited South America in 1973. I had just finished reading “Cien Anos de Solidad” by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and from that wonderful and fantastical novel I took the name Macondo, for the company I established for trading textiles and pre-Colombian artifacts. After two years wandering around Panama, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia in search of product, I stumbled into the humble village of Montecristi, close to the Pacific Coast of Ecuador. There I encountered the intriguing and beguiling Montecristi Panama hat. Understanding and expounding the mystique of this legendary hat has become my life’s work. In 1978 I established Montecristi Custom Hat Works. During the 25 years since, we’ve acquired an international reputation as the world’s finest custom hatter, not only for Panama straw hats but for our fine fur felts as well.”

Milton’s collection is extensive and offers a wide variety of styles for men and women. His creations remain timeless through fashion’s changes.  Just to mention a few in the women’s line, there’s the “Greta,” “Balenciaga” and the “Georgia O” modelled after Georgia O’Keeffe’s signature style. The wide brim definitely a necessity for spending hours walking or painting under the New Mexico sun. Most styles are available in Panama weave or fine fur felt.


Here’s Georgia with her good friend Orville Cox at Canyon de Chelly, photographed by Ansel Adams…a lovely image!

Georgia-Orville Cox by Ansel Adams


Whether you live in Santa Fe or are visiting, be sure to stop by and say “Hi” to Milton, and browse his unique and stunning collection of hats, hatbands and accessories. Or click the below link and get to his website to learn more. He creates and ships custom orders worldwide.


If you stop by maybe you’ll meet Leroy too, the ginormous and gentle Labradoodle welcoming committee. Whenever I pointed the camera at him, he turned profile as if knowing this was his “best side.”


For more information on Montecristi Custom Hatworks, call (505) 983-9598 and visit: http://www.santafeselection.com/unique-shops/montecristi-custom-hats-santa-fe For his best prices, remember to tell Milton you heard through Maria’s Santa Fe Selection. Thank you!!


Taos Pueblo Ceremony Dates

For a comprehensive calendar of all 19 Northern New Mexico Pueblo Feast Days and Ceremony dates go to: http://santafeselection.com/visitor-info/pueblo-feast-days-calendar


For centuries Native American pueblo ceremonies and feast days have been taking place all over Northern New Mexico. The pueblo councils generously allow outsiders to visit these spectacular events.

historic taos corn dance image

If you’re visiting anywhere in Northern New Mexico you’ll be glad you included Taos Pueblo in your itinerary.

Taos Pueblo Ceremonies

Keep in mind that from Feb 1 through March 31 they will be closed to outsiders. The following ceremonies are taking place the rest of the year.

Annual Ceremony Dates:

Jan. 1, Turtle Dance
Jan. 6, Deer or Buffalo Dance
May 3, Santa Cruz Feast Day
June 13, San Antonio Feast Day
June 24, San Juan Feast Day
July 12,13,14, — 28th Annual Taos Pueblo Pow-Wow
July 25, Santiago Feast Day
July 26, Santa Ana Feast Day
Sept. 29, San Geronimo Eve Vespers
Sept. 30, San Geronimo Day, Traditional Pole Climbing
Dec. 24, Procession of the Virgin Mary
Dec. 25, Deer or Matachines Dance

EagleDancers Taos Pueblo

If you are going to visit, please be sure to respect their rules and regulations that are posted at the pueblo or you can ask when you check in at the Visitor Center.

Note: No photography is permitted during the ceremonies and Feast Days.

The Pueblo is usually open to visitors daily from 8 am to 4:30 pm, except when tribal rituals require it to be closed to the public. In winter, it will close for about 10 weeks, usually from February 1 through March 31st. If visiting during this time, it is always wise to call ahead and check if it’s open. Taos Pueblo Tourism Department:    (575) 758 1028

All visitors must sign in at the Visitor Center, pay the appropriate fees and adhere to the rules that respect the Pueblo, the privacy of residents, their homes and property.  Adult admission: $10 per person
Students (11 and up, includes college, with ID) $5 per person
Group Rates (6 or more Adults): $8 per person
Children 10 and under: Free
Camera Fees – Personal Photography (If permitted)
Camera, cell phone and video fee: $6 per camera

For a comprehensive calendar of all 19 Northern New Mexico Pueblo Feast Days and Ceremony dates go to: http://santafeselection.com/visitor-info/pueblo-feast-days-calendar

Please reference SantaFeSelection.com for itinerary ideas, lodging deals and information on the best activities, restaurants, museums, shops and more.

Treasure Trove

Yesterday I had the good fortune to meet with a wonderful lady, Patricia La Farge at her gallery. She calls her collection Que Tenga Buena Mano, which means “May you have good fortune!” Patricia is well known in Santa Fe for her extensive and extraordinary collection of Latin American Folk Art, and for being instrumental in founding the now world-renowned New Mexico International Folk Art Market. I had no idea what a surprise I would have when I went to visit her gallery. I walked in and was met by an entire staircase filled with folk art, literally floor to ceiling!


Room upon room glistened ahead as Patricia walked me through the house.

Religious artifacts

Since 1969, Patricia has been traveling in search of authentic folk art. The entire ground floor of the house is filled with vintage, antique and contemporary retablos, milagros, jewelry, tin work, silver, gold, textiles…you name it, made by renowned artists from all over the globe. She says that her travels can begin as close as El Paso and span all the way to Tierra del Fuego. She also trips to Europe annually to visit friends and gather some Mediterranean pieces.


I was almost giddy from the vastness of this collection. There was the biggest display of jewelry and accessories I have ever seen! I couldn’t resist buying a pair of earrings. Only $17. Lovely silver drops inlaid with abalone shell and enamel. A mere nano-tip of the earring iceberg displayed there.


And milagros and accessories for days!



This vintage chemise is embroidered silk velvet from the turn of the 19th century…beautiful!  Unlike the earrings, it was out of my price range, but a collector of textiles would snap this up.

SilkVelvet 1900s

Patricia offers discounts to wholesale collectors who travel from all over the world to buy from her museum quality collection. But she also loves to offer great discounts to those of us looking to fill many Christmas stockings, or buy special gifts from tiny to massive for big events like weddings, bar mitzvahs, and parties etc. Prices range from as little as $1 up into the many thousands.

This retablo is hand-carved and painted…


There’s so much to look at, I could’ve spent the entire day there in discovery mode.

I had to add Que Tenga Buena Mano to Santa Fe Selection’s Unique Shops category. I’ve been here for over 20 years and I just now found Patricia and her truly authentic Santa Fe gallery.

Patricia only opens her gallery by appointment, so I would recommend going when you need to buy many prezzies. Or that something absolutely original for someone special, or throw a large party with party favors. Or you could always open your own gallery and she would have enough to fill it for YEARS, Ha!!  You’ll definitely find me there again. Patricia was a wealth of information and such fun to chat with. Thank you Patricia!! “Que Tenga Buena Mano!”

For more information go to: http://www.santafeselection.com/unique-shops/buena-mano-folk-art