Historic Santa Fe

As we leave Elephant Butte Lake State Park, there is little evidence of the driving wind and snow from the day before.  We wait until 9:30 a.m. before hitting the road.  We want to make sure any snow and ice further to the north has had an opportunity to melt.  Near as we can tell, Elephant Butte received a fraction of snow fall in comparison to Albuquerque, New Mexico.  Seems like we were at the southern end of this massive storm reaching north into Colorado and Wyoming.

Elephant Butte

A last farewell on our drive out of Elephant Butte State Park

After two hours of travel, we pass through Albuquerque, New Mexico, and past the Sandia Casino.  With as many times as we travel between our home in Colorado and our son’s home in Arizona, the Sandia Casino is usually a favorite overnight boondock spot for us.  During this trip, we’ll just wave as we pass.  The Sandia Casino has a huge parking lot dedicated for RV’s….no trucks.  The casino offers a couple of good restaurants, nice bar, RV parking next to the golf course, and a beautiful view of Sandia Peak.  Feeling lazy?  There’s even a shuttle bus roaming the parking lot.

Sandia Casino

Sandia Casino, Albuquerque, New Mexico – great for an overnight

Santa Fe

On Interstate 25 approaching Santa Fe

We continue our drive north of Albuquerque.  After an hour, we arrive in Santa Fe.  We pull into the Santa Fe Skies RV Park and are assigned a nice pull-thru site.  There’s barely a hand full of us camped here, and I appreciate management spreading us out so none of us are in the same row – no neighbors.  The park is very conveniently located; just one mile off Interstate 25 and close to just about everything.  Even though they offer FULL hook-ups year round, we just hook up to electric.  We have plenty of water in our holding tank that we’ll use.  I’ll have to do another post on our winter camping routine.

Santa Fe

Santa Fe Skies RV Park

After a quick-lunch, Al and I head back over to the office to scour the racks of literature and brochures on the Santa Fe area.  With an arm full of propaganda we return to the rig and make a plan for the following day.  The weather forecast is iffy….oh, joy!  So I want to make sure we prioritize.Loretto Chapel

If there is only one thing I am able to see during this stay in Santa Fe, it is the Loretto Chapel.  I’ve seen this Chapel featured on numerous TV shows over the years.  I believe it’s the former “homebuilder” in me that puts this particular Chapel at the top of my list.

Loretto Chapel

Loretto Chapel, Santa Fe, New Mexico

The Loretto Chapel is formerly a Roman Catholic church, but today functions as a museum and wedding chapel.  The chapel’s “miraculous” spiral staircase is an architectural wonder; its construction is the subject of a lot of speculation.  Two mysteries surround the spiral staircase in the Loretto Chapel; the identity of its builder and the physics of its construction.

Al and I were both moved by this visit.  The craftsmanship and spirit are beyond words.  We were fortunate to have visited this amazing structure with very few other visitors.  We found it simply breathtaking; the marble altar, the stained glass, the statues, the overall structure, and then of course the staircase…..stunning!

If we weren’t able to see anything else that day, Al and I would have been just fine.  But alas, the weather held out just long enough for us to see a few more sites…..

For now I’ll leave you with more images of the Loretto Chapel.  Click on any photo to view a slide show in a larger format.


59 thoughts on “Historic Santa Fe

  1. Pingback: A fun day in Santa Fe | Turn When the Road Does

  2. Pingback: A Year of Highs and Lows | Live Laugh RV

  3. We’re heading that way soon – can’t wait to see what other sites you made it to. This chapel is so beautiful, thanks for sharing. Hope you were warm enough!

    • Aside from the town of Santa Fe, the backcountry to the west/northwest is full of places to explore. We’ll be returning once nicer weather is here. Enjoy!

    • It is stunning….definitely worth seeing in person. Darn, I guess you’ll just have to visit Santa Fe again. FYI – Rancheros De Santa Fe Campground is a fav for workkampers. 🙂

    • Thanks for the extra info. The weather pushed us out so we’ve been back in CO. We do plan to go back to Santa Fe and take in a lot more sites. Our stay was way too short. We really enjoyed it!

    • Absolutely……hmmm, perhaps one of my kids should consider that…not that I’m ready for either to take the plunge just yet 🙂

  4. I haven’t been to Santa Fe in several years but this used to be a meeting city for me and my girlfriends. Absolutely love this chapel! You did it proud with your photos Ingrid. 🙂

    • Thank you. Santa Fe and all its history was a real treat and surprise. Hopefully we’ll make it back for a longer stay with nicer weather.

    • You must be at a higher elevation. We manged a bit of snow in Pueblo West but Co. Springs got hit pretty good. By Monday, not much left of the white stuff. You are so right, we could use the moisture. Warm weather on the way 🙂

    • Revisits are always fun…..you get to take things in in a slower manner. We enjoyed ourselves a lot more than we thought we would and hope to return in the fall.

    • You are toooo kind. I too had seen this chapel on TV as well and am so glad to have seen it with my own eyes. Quite the experience in person!

  5. Amazing shots, Ingrid! I have wanted to visit Santa Fe for ages. Almost made it in the late 80s, but there was some event going on and no room at the inn (this might be one reason hubby nagged me about getting an RV)…. we had to head back to ABQ for the night and thus ran out of time….
    Perhaps some day.

    • There is so much history to experience in this city. So much more than we ever thought. Our stay was way too brief requiring a return visit. Certainly no loss of things to photograph. I would highly recommend 🙂

  6. Oh New Mexico is calling me! That drive into Santa Fe…remind me of times as a child! Stunning pics of the chapels…I’m just in ewe!! Bookmarking this travel for sure!

    • There’s lots of great areas to camp at as well as amazing sites. I wouldn’t necessarily stay at this particular RV Park again, but it is rather convenient and offers all amenities. This should definitely be a stop on your list!

  7. Ingrid – we’ve been to SF a couple of times and never stopped in here. Definitely on my “must see” list! Excellent captures of the place and the feeling. We stopped in at the Jesuit Iglesia de la Compañía in the square and were awed by that. It would be wonderful to plan a visit just visiting the churches there! -Maureen

    • My next post is on the San Miguel Mission. We were going to visit two other churchs after lunch, but Mother Nature had other plans. We will definitely go back to explore this town – full of so much history, Highly recommend seeing the Loretto Chapel 🙂

  8. That chapel is amazing.. that spiral staircase seems to stand on it’s own.. I’m trying to picture the load bearing points.. yet from your pictures there seems no external supports, just the staircase… there looks like a connection to the pillar, but that could not be considered load bearing… that is a marvelous piece of construction… lovely share…

    • There is only one support post at the bottom. The rest just twists up. A definite marvel. I linked over to the whole story – Loretto Chapel in blue letters – for those interested in more on this ‘miraculous’ staircase. More stories forthcoming 🙂

  9. Very nice photos of the Loretto Chapel, you have done it justice! The staircase is amazing, it’s beauty alone, and then considering it was made using simple woodworking tools. The engineering is incomprehensible to me.
    I found some amusement in the sad state of the carved wooden figure outside, welcoming visitors with missing hands…
    So much to see in Santa Fe, the art is never ending. Beautiful large bronze sculpture everywhere. Some of the coolest stuff is on the backstreets and the outskirts of the downtown.

    • You are so right about the sculptures everywhere…. each more unique than the other. I took some photos but it was just so darn blustery I wanted to keep moving.
      So agree with that sad wood figure at the entrance of the Loretto Chapel….”really?” The inside craftsmanship is stunning. Thanks for the compliment on my photos. I’m not sure any photo could truely capture the beauty!

  10. What a magnificent chapel! Beautiful stain glass! I am anxious to see that staircase. I can just imagine you and Al in there both being builders. Glad you had such a wonderful experience.

    We will be getting to that area, also. Thanks for taking us along. Outstanding photos!

    • Thank you. Definitely worth the trip….simply stunning. Jan, Feb, early Mar slow season in Santa Fe because of the cold weather. FYI…7,000 ft…..brrrr. We’ll be sure to go back when weather is a bit nicer.

  11. Oh my God, Ingrid..I am sooo glad you saw the Sisters of Loretto Chapel!! We stopped there back in the 90’s before we did any RVing…It is one of the most beautiful and amazing things we have ever seen…Dennis (who is the builder in our family) was mystified by the spiral staircase, and the story that goes with it is nothing short of magical…Thanks for taking me back…

    • It was stunning and you are right the story is magical. I am so glad I put this as my priority. So worth our time and I’m sure we will revisit!

  12. Ingrid, we will be tracing your footsteps in a couple of weeks. So, very much appreciate your info. We will definitely put Loretto Chapel on our list.

    • The history in Santa Fe is very interesting. As many times as we’ve driven past this city, this was our first time exploring it. Give yourselves plenty of time to take in all the sites and hopefully the weather will be more agreeable for you than it was for us. We came back to CO a bit too soon!

    • Spring is definitely a better time. You should be able to explore a lot more than we did. There is so much more to see than we realized.

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