|Palace of the Governors – Santa Fe|
Every year we ski at Taos, New Mexico, during Christmas and last year we took the opportunity to stroll around historic downtown Santa Fe on our way back to Albuquerque. Listed in the first edition of Frommer’s 500 Places to Take Your Kids Before They Grow Up, the beautiful city of Santa Fe didn’t make the second edition’s list.
After parking, we shivered our way past several art galleries (including one devoted to the work of Chuck Jones, the artist behind Bugs Bunny & the Grinch) to the heart of downtown Santa Fe and our first stop of the day – the Palace of the Governors.
The adobe structure is the oldest continuously occupied public building in the United States, having served as the seat of government for the Spaniards beginning in 1610 – a full 10 YEARS before the Pilgrims landed in Plymouth, MA.
Part of the museum is devoted to historical artifacts found during the building’s conversion to a museum from a working government office. The guys picked up a free brochure that highlighted some of the artifacts by challenging them to discover the items in a loose “scavenger hunt.” It was a great way to engage the kids and keep them interested.
|Loretto Chapel in Santa Fe|
The area I found most interesting were the recreated territorial governors’ rooms filled with period furniture. Peeking in, you got a sense that just beyond the door were men and women waiting to take their place by the fire and make history.
The other half of the museum is devoted to the settling of New Mexico and also holds various rotating exhibits.
Our next stop in Santa Fe was the Loretto Chapel a beautiful Gothic Revival church modeled after Sainte-Chapelle in Paris, France. This gorgeous church, home to the “Miraculous Staircase,” was abandoned by the Archdiocese in the early 1970s and put up for sale!
Thank goodness, a far-sighted family bought it and turned it into a museum, preserving its gorgeous interior.
|Miraculous staircase in Loretto Chapel|