Under Santa Fe Skies

by Susan Tungate

36 Hours in Santa Fe


Last Sunday’s New York Times ran 36 Hours in Santa Fe. Fine picks but the usual suspects.

Here are a few suggestions from a local that may not pop up in the guide books. And locals, feel free to let me know your suggestions.

1.  Go for a walk. Anywhere. The town has no industry, which is possibly the reason we are in an economic bind, but the upside is no pollution and breath taking blue skies 300 days a year, give or take. Absolutely do take that guide book recommended walk down Canyon Road with all the art galleries, but walk south on Garcia Street off Canyon, find a book at Garcia Street Books, walk next door for a chile mocha at Downtown Subscriptions, rest your feet a bit and read. Then take Acequia Madre Street east and walk along the Acequia Madre ( the Mother Ditch) built a few hundred years ago to irrigate the farms that were replaced long ago by adobe homes. Meander around the little residential streets. Or drive up Hyde Park Road to the ski basin area and take a little walk on one of the trails. Gorgeous views of the mountains.

2.  Head to the Railyard area a few blocks south of the Plaza. If you are there on a Saturday morning, peruse the Farmers’ Market. Little gift items abound this time of year: soaps, ristras, little horse-like items made with sage, hand knit caps, pottery. GRAB A PACKAGE OF BISCOCHITOS!  Then walk next door to The Flea, a large market filled with antiques, collectables, stuff,  the odd and the interesting. Walk north. You will see a sign on the left for The Ark. It is full of books and cds and jewelry and rocks. Head north again to Sanbusco Market and buy a snazzy sweater for your puppy at Teca Tu or a sweater for yourself at Bodhi Bazaar or a book at Op Cit. Walk out the front entrance of Sanbusco and check out George (just call me King of Thrones) R.R. Martin’s newly renovated Jean Cocteau Cinema. Better yet, plan ahead and catch a movie. The lobby has a bar and fresh popcorn with real butter. Heaven.

3. Need some pampering? Sure the hotels have some great spas and 10,000 Waves is a mecca, but there is also a little place called Mist, a serene space that uses heavenly products and gives take-all-the-tension-out-of-your-entire-being-including-your-hair-follicles facials and massages. Call ahead.

4. Want to take a yoga class to unwind from your flight? Call Body or contact Shibana and see if she is offering a class that day. Shibana is a treasure on this earth.

5.  Take a drive up Museum Hill. The Folk Art Museum is a treasure, too. An even bigger treasure is the view from the top of the steps. That view goes on forever.

6.  For dinner, come back toward the Railyard area. Have the best margarita and enchilladas at Tomasita’s or La Choza.

7.  For breakfast, Tia Sophia downtown, one of those places that has been here forever. Can you say sopapilla with honey?

8.  If you come to Santa Fe in the winter, you must find a fireplace, perhaps the one at La Fonda Hotel, beg them to throw a pinon log on the fire, order a beverage and get comfy. I swear, I would die happy if that was the last thing I smelled—a burning pinon log.

9.  Todos Santos Chocolates tucked away at Sena Plaza off the Plaza gets my vote for the best place to buy chocolates. The place is enchanting and whimsical and edgy all at the same time. Killer handmade chocolates. Just go.

10.  If you are around the Plaza area, walk down Grant Street or East Palace and see the Victorian houses built before the PR people in the early 1900s decided adobe was the way to go to bring in tourists on the train from the east. Just charming. Find  Antiques and Interiors on Grant housed in one of the old Victorian homes. Look closely. The adobe is painted to look like brick.

11.  As for a place to stay, La Posada may not be the most luxurious, opulent place in town, but it is a artsy funky lovely adobe Santa Fe hotel,  unlike any place you will find in any other place.

12.  Oh, and one more suggestion. Want to watch a movie and stay snuggled under your comforter? Stop by the Video Library. First, you will find movies you will not find online or offline in the chain stores. Second and even better, you will meet the lovely and knowledgeable owner Lisa who will help you find the perfect movie to fit your mood. The Vid is one of the heart beats of Santa Fe.

(Apologies for the funky type. I think the blog is annoyed with me for staying away so long, or perhaps annoyed I returned.)

When the Earth Smiles

When the earth smiles, the birds smile back.

(Photo copyright Google Pics)

Writing Your Memoir, Writing Your Family History and Revision Workshop: New July Classes


Time for a little self promotion. I wanted you to know about the new classes scheduled for July. In addition to a new series of memoir and personal essay writing classes, I am offering classes on writing your family history and on revising your draft memoir or personal essays. Let me know if you would like further information or, even better, to sign up. Many thanks. And here is the flyer:


You have a story to tell. Memoir writing offers the opportunity to observe the past with fresh eyes, reflect on the major events of your life and your life’s purpose, clarify your future path and preserve your unique stories. Here is the bonus: When you are open to telling your individual stories in the most authentic, truth seeking way, you will touch the universal truths that have the power to transform both you and the reader. Through writing exercises and discussion, Susan will provide the tools you need to capture the stories of your life, one small vivid story at a time. Susan believes in holding a safe space for students to explore their voices and work on the craft of writing. Classes meet once a week on Wednesdays from 3-4:30pm for six weeks beginning July 17. Cost is $150 plus tax if paid prior to the first class, and $165 plus tax if paid the first day of class.



Have you been thinking (forever) about writing your family’s history or writing down a few classic family stories, but are daunted by the task?  Do you struggle with how best to tell an engaging story? Help has arrived! In this workshop, we will explore techniques to turn your research, family vignettes and trunk full of documents into a lively family tale that will honor the past, bond the generations and provide a story well told for generations to come. Workshop meets Sunday, July 14 from 4:30-6:30pm. Cost is $50 plus tax if paid prior to the class and $65 the day of class.



You have completed a rough draft of your memoir or a collection of personal essays. Now what? How do you shape and revise your work into a story well told? In this  workshop, we will focus on the basics of good prose writing:  structure, voice, narrative, scene, theme, tension, metaphor, setting, honesty and illuminating the universal from the specific. Workshop meets Tuesday, July 16 and Tuesday, July 23 from 3-5pm. Cost is $100 plus tax if paid prior to the first class, and $115 plus tax if paid the first day of class.

Friday on the Plaza

Locals don’t tend to spend much time at the Plaza, especially during the day. Very little there is required for our every day lives. I happened to be down there for a meeting on Friday. I was early so I thought I would take a few touristy photos just to show you the Plaza on a pretty day in June. You can tell if I was facing east or west. The eastern shots show blue sky. The western shots show the smoke from the Pecos fire.

The Plaza is one of the few places you will find grass in Santa Fe. I had to resist taking off my shoes and walking on it, a flashback to life in the East. Workers were relaxing, eating their lunches.

A man was playing classical music on a harp.

A few yards away another man was singing a song about a girl who dumped him.

People were eating.

People were  buying jewelry from the Native Americans sitting under the portal as they have been doing for hundreds of years.

Across from the portal, other folks set up their art.

Need a souvenir?

Need your ice cream fix?

Every corner of the Plaza has a food cart.

Come back tonight, grab an ice cream cone, find a seat on a bench and listen to a local band playing at the grand stand while the vintage cars cruise by. That’s when you’ll see the locals.





Grumpy Cat InFURiates Harry and Other Updates

Hi, Georgia the Dog here. Yesterday was one of the best days of my life. Seriously. I laughed all day. When Harry the Cat heard Grumpy Cat just signed a movie deal, Harry was beside himself. He sprawled in bed all day flicking his ridiculous raccoon tail crying, “I can do grumpy! I shoulda gotten the part. Why should I be punished just because I am beautiful?” In case you don’t know about Grumpy Cat, he is one funky looking cat who always has a frown on his face. He became famous when his people posted a photo of him then a video on the internet. The guy has his own website, for goodness sake. In any event, I have my own column, Grumpy Cat has a movie deal and Harry’s got zip. Life is good.


copyright Russ Hedrick

And speaking of life is good, I am in love with un vrai français Arthur who lives in Paris. Voila adorable Arthur holding a baguette in his mouth. Strong but gentle. Kind brown eyes. A great tail. Alas fate has placed our hearts an ocean apart. We can meet only in our dreams. But, wait, maybe we can skype!

I also want to give a big hello to Tui, pictured below doing her beach babe pose. Tui was born and raised in New Zealand but settled recently in Santa Fe. I wish she could have brought the water with her.


copyright Daryl Stanton

So that’s all I have for now. Be kind to your four legged friends.

Intrepid Women Collectors: Holiday Gift Bazaar!