We are not given to returning to the same places to do the same things as a way to relive the past. But when we visit Santa Fe we always stay at The Inn of the Governors and we always stay in Room 259.

Is the Inn better than other places in town? Who knows? We’ve never tried them. The Inn combines western informality with superb hospitality and attention to detail. So why go elsewhere? Plus, they always remember us and our room preference and welcome us back like we were family. Even thought it’s been years since our last visit!

Why 259? Take a look at the photos. What’s not to like? Is it better than 258 or 260? Search me.

We set out after breakfast to explore the mile-long stretch of art galleries that line Canyon Road. We’ve purchased a couple of “wind sculptures” and two paintings on past visits. We made an unplanned lamp purchase this time. You’ll have to visit us in Scottsdale to see it.

If I photographed every interesting or beautiful thing along Canyon Road this post would be very, very long. Besides, the galleries are not generally keen on indoor photography. Here are a few things that caught my eye.

Wiford Gallery – home of Lyman Whittaker wind sculptures
I thought this scene behind a gallery was as interesting as many things inside it.
Rest stop on a hot day.

We passed this collection of archangels carved from tree trunks in 2005 as we walked from the Inn to Canyon Road.

Day two began as did its predecessor with coffee in our room followed by a complementary “anything you’d like” breakfast downstairs. If it seems like we didn’t do a lot in Santa Fe, it’s because the Inn does not encourage a fast start to the day and the 7500 foot altitude and unseasonable heat drove us back for relaxation before the cocktail hour.

Back to Day two: we drove to the local Audubon Society where our concierge said we’d find a pleasant walk that wouldn’t unduly challenge our lowlander lungs. We covered about three miles and saw two butterflies. Oh, and a few hummingbirds around a feeder back at the visitor center. Despite following the Bear Creek trail, the final tally was humans: 3 bears: 0. But that’s probably a good thing.

On our third day we visited the Loreto Chapel before leaving town. Although the chapel is a little jewel, the reason people visit is the unusual freestanding spiral staircase leading to the choir loft. Rather than relate the full story, I refer you to its Wikipedia entry.

Think of every spiral staircase you’ve ever seen. They are generally built around a central post. Not this one. It twists upward, self-supporting, like a wooden spring. Since this is a chapel, there is naturally a backstory that makes the building of the stairs something of a miracle. “No one knows how it was done”, “The builder is unknown”, “No one knows the kind of wood used in its construction”.

While the stairway is a work of first rate craftsmanship, possibly even genius, it is less mysterious than it’s made out to be. If you want to learn more, check the Wikipedia article.

The railing was added later. Because the structure flexes like a spring, descending without anything to hold onto could be frightening.
not marble but painted wood…
…with a lovely ceiling.
Some of the stations of the cross.

We stopped to have a look at Camel Rock as we headed north to Taos. It was a minor thrill and looked kind of like a camel. It seems that sometime in the past few years the camel’s “nose” fell off. I’ve included an older picture that I found in the web to show you what I mean.

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