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Santa Fe, New Mexico…

Posted by on October 31, 2017

OUR VISIT TO “THE CITY.” We’ve been in the Santa Fe area for a couple of weeks, but where we’re staying is at Cochiti Lake, a CoE park located about twenty miles south of Santa Fe and surrounded by vast Indian reservation lands. For those of you who missed my description a couple of weeks ago about this beautiful country, you can take a look at my post about this very serene spot.  The weather has been bright, crisp and sunny, but winter is right around the corner and the temperatures have been getting colder and colder. Daytime highs are only in the 50’s and we get a hard freeze almost every night. So, it’s not exactly been “sightseeing weather.” But today we went into town for a couple of hours to have lunch and take a look around the city.

SANTA FE IS THE CAPITAL. Santa Fe is the capital of New Mexico with a population of around 70,000 folks. The buildings and homes are constructed in the “single story, red adobe-style” typical of New Mexico, but what’s interesting is that there are very few exceptions.  I don’t know if there are CCR’s that require compliance to this architectural scheme or if the locals built this way just a matter of choice. So it’s interesting but at least to me a bit monotonous. The city is a haven for museums and art galleries and one could, literally, spend weeks combing though all of them. We didn’t take time for an exhaustive visit, so we just took a look at a couple of old churches, a few boutique stores, the Loretto Chapel and the luxurious Inn at Loretto.


This is the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi. It is a grand, historic 19th century church featuring stained glass windows and plenty of history. This is one of the few buildings in Santa Fe built in contrasting architecture to the surrounding adobe structures.


Typical street scene in the downtown area of Santa Fe. There are many, many galleries and boutique shops.


LORETTO CHAPEL. The Loretto Chapel in Santa Fe is a former Roman Catholic church that is now used as a museum and a wedding chapel. It is known for its unusual helix-shaped spiral staircase called the “Miraculous Stair.” It has been the subject of legend and the circumstances surrounding its construction and its builder were considered miraculous by the Sisters of Loretto, who credited St. Joseph with its construction.


Loretto Chapel in Santa Fe, New Mexico.



Loretto Chapel. Services are no longer held here, but the chapel can be booked for weddings and other appropriate events. 


Candles in the Chapel.


Come on down. I’ll be happy to listen to you confess your sins. (Hmmm. I’m getting a little “scruffy.” I think it’s about time for a haircut.)


SPIRAL STAIRCASE: THE LEGEND. Needing a way to get up to the choir loft, the nuns prayed for St. Joseph’s intercession for nine straight days. The following day a shabby-looking stranger appeared at their door. He told the nuns he would build them a staircase but that he needed total privacy. They agreed, and he locked himself in the chapel for three months while working on a staircase. He only used a few primitive tools including a square, a saw and some warm water. The spiral staircase was constructed entirely of non-native wood. And, the identity of the carpenter is not known for as soon as the staircase was finally finished he was gone. Many witnesses, upon seeing the staircase, feel it was constructed by St. Joseph himself, as a miraculous occurrence.

AN AMAZING WORK OF CARPENTRY.  The staircase is an impressive work of carpentry. It ascends twenty feet, making two complete revolutions up to the choir loft without the use of nails or apparent center support. It has been surmised that the central spiral of the staircase is narrow enough to serve as a central beam. Nonetheless there was no attachment on any wall or pole in the original stairway, although in 1887—10 years after it was built—a railing was added and the outer spiral was fastened to an adjacent pillar. Instead of metal nails, the staircase was constructed using dowels or wooden pegs.


As originally constructed, the stairway had no bannister. The nuns, despite the danger, climbed the steps to the choir chapel.


THE INN AT LORETTO. The Inn and Spa at Loretto is a boutique hotel in Santa Fe that celebrates authentic Southwestern style and culture. Founded in 1975 by the Kirkpatrick family, it sits on the former site of the historic Our Lady of Loretto Academy and is adjacent to the Chapel featuring the miraculous staircase. The Inn is a Santa Fe icon and testament to the city’s modern history. Although the architectural style is completely different, the Inn is somewhat reminiscent of the Hotel del Coronado in San Diego.


The Inn at Loretto in Santa Fe, New Mexico.



Doesn’t this look a little like the Hotel del Coronado? I think so.


Shops and boutiques at the Inn at Loretto.


WHAT’S NEXT. Since winter is about to descend on us, we’ll be leaving the area in a few days. We’ve found an RV park at a working ranch in Deming, New Mexico which sounds fascinating and it’ll be our next stop. But before we leave, we’re going to get our Jeep off-road again and explore a desolate area the Rangers mentioned where, with a little luck, we’ll see Elk and Bighorn Sheep. Stay tuned.

I’ll continue my story next time.

4 Responses to Santa Fe, New Mexico…

  1. Jon York

    Well Coboy, ya gonna wrangle yo sef some steers?

  2. Greg Alford

    Hell yes, Jon! Didn’t I ever tell you that I was a professional bull rider in my younger days?

  3. Jon York

    Professional bullshitter may be more on the mark. You being a lawyer and all.

  4. Greg Alford

    Professional bullshitter? Surely you jest, Captain York!

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