Also serving the communities of De Luz, Rainbow, Camp Pendleton, Pala and Pauma

All aboard to Santa Fe, Part 2 of 4

Easter Sunday, we took a Muni-bus ride to explore the city. I don't recall when we started doing this, if it was Chicago or Paris, but a senior pass is a bargain in any currency.

We bounced down Galisteo Street over the Santa Fe River past the Rail Yard Arts District, the train depot, and all of the way down to the end of the line circling back to the downtown plaza. It took just over an hour to see the rest of the city at the senior bargain price of $1.00 each.

Back in the city center, we walked over to The Palace of the Governors to see the Native American Artists' handmade jewelry displays at the Portal Market. It was started in 1909 as an exclusive outlet for members of the 23 federally recognized tribes to sell their handmade wares.

To date, there are over 1,500 New Mexico native artists that rotate through the portal program. While exploring the jewelry, I met Navajo artist Delora Guerro who sold me a small turquoise stone to repair my bracelet. According to everyone we spoke with, the really blue Blue-Moon turquoise like the pieces in my bracelet have long since been mined out in New Mexico, I had to settle for a different color.

As it turns out, downtown Santa Fe is riddled with museums and fine art galleries, ya can't help but trip into one. Even on Easter Sunday, the privately run Georgia O'Keefe museum welcomed visitors while all of the city-managed museums were closed until Tuesday, that said, most of the commercial galleries were open for business on Easter. There are scads of them with museum quality art work for sale. It's hard to go wrong.

We spent the rest of Sunday wandering the downtown area searching for we didn't know what. When we bumped into locals, they were more than happy to share their opinions on everything from where to eat the best Mexican food to their favorite place to buy native silver.

Residents are very proud of their city and everyone keeps it tidy. They do this by bending at the waist to pick up litter. This one is no doubt the cleanest of all of the Sanctuary cites in America.

The truth of the matter is it would have taken more time to set up our visit had it not been for the special guidance of these two New Mexico gals: Joanne Hudson with the Visitor's Center and Jane Egan, Special Assistant in the Department of Cultural Affairs.

Between them, they put Santa Fe at our feet. We explored museums with courtesy passes, enjoyed the Santa Fe Margarita Trail with 50 different stops , and were introduced to the delightful folks at the fabulous Santa Fe School of Cooking.

On Monday morning we woke up to snow! What? I know. It snowed. Even though we'd been forewarned by Randy, one of the Navajo artists at the Palace of the Governors the day before. Still, it was mid-April, who'd believe him? No doubt he was in contact with the spirits or just maybe he checked the weather channel? Regardless, there was enough snow drifting down to cover the cushions on the patio.

Yet by ten o'clock it had melted, so we grabbed our jackets and stepped back onto East Palace Avenue to continue exploring downtown. With all of the city managed museums closed until tomorrow, we knew the commercial galleries were in fact open for business. Our favorite turned out to be the "Contemporary Victory Gallery." Owned by Poteet Victory and his charming, beautiful wife Terry, these Oklahoma natives set up their new gallery in the heart of the historic city-center.

Enraptured by their art, we (possibly) overstayed our visit (although they were too polite to show us out). Smitten by the displays, we peeked into every nook and corner of their beautifully appointed two-story gallery. We even invaded Poteet's private upstairs studio finding him at his easel.

Naturally, I had to ask about his unusual name. He said he was adopted by his paternal grandparents and it was his grandfather Robert Poteet that changed his name and in honor of his paternal Cherokee grandmother (Willie Victory), he changed his last name too.

To be continued...

Elizabeth can be reached at [email protected].


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