Well, actually Dave, I moved to Santa Fe five years ago from San Diego. Also, my parents had an apple orchard in Camp Verde so we went to the "big" stores in Sedona at least once a week. And even my Mom would tell us stories about being a kid and going to slide rock before most even knew of the place, so it was family tradition.
As far as the $100 pass, unless you live in the area and plan on returning to parks, I would skip that. For instance, if you plan on going to Bandelier, (Which I love, beautiful country and cliff dwellings), the fee is something like $3.00 a car load. If you went to Utah and were going to Bryce Canyon, Zion, drop down back into AZ to the North Rim and into CO to Mesa Verde, then yes, it would probably be worth it. With your itinery, Grand Canyon is the priciest with everything else being much, much, less. (Oh yeah, and about 7 miles north of Santa Fe on Bishops Lodge Road is Shidoni, an outdoor sculpture garden with a huge foundry on the premises and glass blowing artisans, again, it is totally free!)
Hope that helps.... (Oh yes, And my husband said to mention Rio Chama for their Nachos, a huge plate that serves 2 to 3 people for about $11.00), Next door is the Pink Adobe and across the street the oldest church in the US. If you go, make sure to poke your head in the Red Dragon saloon, they have a live tree growing inside through the roof there. Also, some of the residents you may bump into along the way would include, Gene Hackman, Alan Arkin, Ali McGraw, Patrick Swayze, Julia Roberts, Robert Redford....the list goes on and on. The cool thing about Santa Fe is nobody really cares what anyone does so it's considered rather a "safe-haven" for a lot of people.
When does your family plan on leaving, if I may ask? ( I'll let you know of any concerts coming up or live performance and gallery openings as a lot goes on through the summer here.)
LadyMacWilly ^..^ ~
Wow that's a lot of celebrities for a small town. We live in the country outside of the a small town called Mount Airy, MD. The closest thing we've had to a celebrity was a few weeks ago when all the Baltimore/DC news teams covered the story of a house that blew up from a propane leak 5 houses up from us. Don't worry, nobody was home. But the house is GONE!
Thanks for the tip on the park fees, I was kind of thinking the same thing. Our schudule has us leaving the South Rim on Tues June 9, staying the 9th, and 10th in Sante Fe, then probably the 11th in Alb to make getting to the airport easier.
It would take you nearly as long to get to the North Rim as it would to drive to Santa Fe. Once you are at the North Rim there are three things to do, look down, go to the Lodge for dinner, hike. Then pile back in the SUV and drive a full day to ABQ.
I may be biased here, but I've had Europeans who had spent months travelling across this great country of ours tell me their favorite place in the entire US is, "This little town called Santa Fe...", which BTW, is celebrating it's 400th anniversary, the oldest State Capitol in the country. We are also higher than Denver with an altitude of nearly 7,000 feet. (Sedona's a "baby", it's known as the "Santa Fe Wannabe's... but don't tell them that...) Santa Fe is also the second largest Art market in the country, behind NYC and above San Francisco, even though the population is only about 60,000. There are over a dozen museums and countless art galleries and the outdoor Sante Fe Opera in "The City Different". On the Plaza you will find Native Americans selling their wares as they have done in front of the same building for centuries.
Honestly, I would skip Monument Valley, Canyon De Chelley and even the North Rim, which is beautiful, and visit Bandelier National Park, 45 minutes from Santa Fe. There are cliff dwellings you may climb into, ( If you're towing adventurous kids, this is the place to go. There are some steep ladders I still won't climb!), kivas, petroglyphs, waterfalls, 10,000 foot mountains and wildlife galore. ( BTW, I checked and it's $12.00 per car load for a 7 day pass, it would take you all 7 days just to hit half of the hiking trails. Camping fee is also $12.00 per night). The scenery is beautiful and it really is an "interactive" treasure, ( As opposed to, "Yep, there it is, snap the photo, pile in the car, let's go.) As I said, I may be a wee bit biased. Although last time I was there having a pic-nic by the stream we had a Buck, doe and their newborn fawn visit us about six feet away, they stayed around for about a half an hour.
(***Wonder's if she were an Anasazi in a former life***)
Anyway, back to the "moonscape" drive... Yes, after Winona you are out of the tall pines and the drive to Gallup will consist of Winslow, (Which they are very proud of their "Corner in Winslow, Arizona"), Dinosaur statues near Holbrook, Chief Yellow Horse's and of course the replica of Ft Courage from F-Troop... in other words, it's really what you make of it. At least by the time you are near the border of AZ/NM the landscape becomes much more interesting with red rock cliffs, mesas, and arroyos. (And let's face it...you have to drive to ABQ anyway...)
LadyMacWilly ( Tourism Director for the State of New Mexico) ***kidding***
Well seeing as I have no dog in the fight as they say I will give you an honest opinion of Sante Fe vs. Sedona. The North Rim has never been in the plans to be honest. If we had more time I would do Monument Valley for sure but I"m pretty sure we will do the straight shot to Sante Fe and then explore from there. No kids but I still love the Bandelier idea, thanks for checking on the rates. I am bringing my golf clubs because we live at sea level and I can't wait to see how far I can hit a ball at 7,000 feet! I also looked at Winslow, damn they sure are proud of their line in that song. They even have a "Standing on the Corner" park in the center of town. I'm old enough to remember F Troop but I think I'll pass on the replica. Sounds a bit like Wall Drug or South of the Border if you know what I mean.
You guys have been wonderful help, please keep the suggestions coming.
I didn't actually mean for you to STOP at any of those hokey places, (but now you'll pass by them and smile...)
Well, if you are the adventurous type Bandelier will be right up your alley! One of the highlights is the Kiva 150 feet straight up 4 wooden ladders. It's not so much the going up as the coming back down. And of course, the views are spectacular. BTW, it will be much cooler there than the Grand Canyon.
If you had more time I would have recommended white water rafting on the Rio Grande. The Taos "Box" has level four rapids! WooHoo!
After reading all of Ladymacwil's posts on here, I'm ready to fly back to Santa Fe today myself.
Seriously, as I told Dave in a private message already, he'd either be better off choosing to go directly to Santa Fe from the south rim--or else take the one extra day to go see the southern edge of Lake Powell, maybe a slot canyon near Page, AZ and then visiting Monument Valley (and spending the night there). Canyon de Chelley was only mentioned because it was on the way from Lake Powell and Monument Valley and has fantastic cliff dwellings.
In either case, Santa Fe was a must--and after Ladymacwil's posts, I'm sure we all see why that's so. I told Dave that given his limited time frame, he had to judge the tradeoffs between the nature scenes and water recreational options at Lake Powell/Monument Valley--and the city scenes and activities in Santa Fe.
Excuse me now--I have to go find my Santa Fe recipes book and whip up some of Maria's Guacamole, the El Farol's tapas, and the Bishop Lodge's jalapeno cheese soup to go with my margarita.
LOL! Calcruzer, you're so funny.
Seriously, two days ago, I looked at my husband and said, "Dang! WE need to go back to Bandalier!" You can read posts on Trip advisor, (don't dare post a website, else this thread may be deleted), or check out photos on Web Shots.
Enjoy your New Mexican food fare Cal, especially that margarita! ( Is this a good time to explain ordering your food as "Christmas"?)
LadyMacWilly ^..^ ~
(Going tomorrow to see the play Greater Tuna with a BBQ for cast and staff afterwards. I'm not on the staff but have a friend who is one of the stage directors who comped us tickets and invited us to the private party afterwards. EVERYONE here is involved in the Arts in some way or another. She previously worked for Maria Benetez, one of the best Flaminco dancers in the world. I previously ran a museum for Jean Claude Gaugy, an artist who's work is in the Smithsonian, the Hermitage Museum in Russia, Museum of modern art in Hungary...etc....and Cal, did the wood sculpture walls of St. John's UCC church in San Francisco. Of course, my friend and I are artist as well, prectically a pre-requisite for living here...)
I'm interested in hearing Dave's assesment of Santa Fe and Sedona. Promise us you'lll post your thoughts Dave?
LadyMacWilly ^..^ ~
On a side note, consider taking highway 14 from Santa Fe down to Albuquerque instead of I-25. Very pretty drive.
ETA: BTW, my boyfriend, who is from Chennai (Madras), gave India Palace a glowing two thumbs up. He said it was muy autentico and quite delicious!
[ Edit: Edited on 01-Jun-2009, at 10:06 by rbyslipahs ]
Thanks for joining the conversation and good advice.
I love your photos!
Di (Or rather, LadyMacWilly) ^..^ ~
Thanks so much, Di!
Santa Fe has long been one of my favorite cities anywhere in the world. I need to post another picture on here of a guy working on a roof across the street from the Spanish restaurant maybe a block east of the main plaza. He had a metal ladder going up the side of the building, and I laughed out loud when I saw it, thinking, "Pueblo: Ur doin it wrong."
If I had another piece of advice to offer, it would be to bring your polarizing filter no matter what! If you forgot it, buy one, because all that wonderful color will be lost. *sniff*
Also, Dave, when driving into Santa Fe, try to come in from the north along the Rio Grande valley out of Taos. It's spectacular. The area around Taos is lovely as well, but to tell the truth, I much prefer Santa Fe over Taos, which has really overgrown the small charm and is clogged with tourists (among other interesting people). Lots of fantastic restaurants and genuinely wonderful local people, but just not what it's cracked up to be. Santa Fe seems like a tidied up version of Taos.
I'm glad you love Santa fe, you get why it is called the "City Different", unlike any other city in the US. The Europeans "get it", (Oh...everything is built around the Plaza with the Cathedral being most prominant). Park and walk! LOL!
I moved here after a divorce and mainly to help my sister, who is single, when she was commuting to San Francisco each week. I thought I'd stay maybe a year, as I so love California, and always lived within a mile to the beach. Im still here and married a guy from Charleston and New Orleans who has lived here over 20 years. (And we live in this land-locked State?) I don't know what it is about Santa Fe, it is almost haunting. (Speaking of which, the museum I ran had Anasazi bones they excavated, they seemed to like me OK, so I never had a problem with that. They did a Spiritual cleansing and repaced the skeletal remains. Cool! The museum had a book shop and I would profile books like, "Black Elk Speaks" and the Navaho bible, Diyin God Bizaad. They liked me. I was never afraid but always felt protected. It takes a lot to leave my beloved California, yet here I am. I traded off the beautiful blue Pacific for the amazing sky. The sound of crashing waves for the incredible thunderstorms... One thing interesting though, any Californian "transplant" here has fountains. We have one large fountain in the back and a solar fountain in our front courtyard. There is nothing like the sound of running water!
BTW, the ladder thing... I saw this beautiful, historic, building that had these cheap, plastic, vertical blinds, (I also do interior design), and I turned to my friend, a SF Native, and said, "There ought to be a law!" Having lived here all his life, he said; "Oh, great! Some other law...like they don't have enough here!" He's a curmudgen, (sp?) anyway! LOL!
So when is the wedding and where? You will be back in Asia?