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New Mexico – Land of Enchantment
Located at the foot of the southern tip of the Rocky Mountains at an elevation of seven thousand feet, Santa Fe – the state capital of New Mexico – was founded in 1610. The secret of Native American culture is evident in the most powerful and numerous pueblos (native communities). villages) located around Santa Fe. Coupled with abundant Spanish and adobe style architecture in a mountain landscape, it creates a romantic atmosphere perfect for a honeymoon, anniversary or getaway with that special friend.
Cultural legends, mysteries, and traditions have been passed down from generation to generation by Native American tribes through their unique languages, colorful dances, and distinctive crafts. From one end of the state to the other, New Mexico offers a wealth of culture, arts and crafts.
No wonder New Mexico has been called the Land of Enchantment.
Gay and lesbian tourists have recently discovered that this year-round, multi-cultural vacation playground of recreational activities is as diverse as the four seasons. Outdoor activities in four seasons include skiing, snow boarding and ice skating as well as mountain biking, horseback riding, golf, fishing and river rafting. Or simply browsing the craft boutiques and art galleries – ensuring there’s never a dull moment.
It will be more than high altitude which will leave you breathless during this vacation.
The Santa Fe town site is located in a region known as North-Central New Mexico- North to Adventure and Central to Everything. It’s undoubtedly the perfect place to call home during your New Mexico adventure, and it’s easy to explore the various mountain ranges, pueblos, national parks, lakes, natural attractions, and surrounding small towns.
Strolling around the narrow, winding streets and Old Town Plaza Santa Fe makes for a historic journey and a relaxing activity any time of the day or night.
The plaza has been the center, even the heart, of Santa Fe since the Spanish designed it in 1610. At the very edge of the plaza is St. Francis Cathedral, built in the European Romanesque style under the direction of a French archbishop. After Jean Baptiste Lamy arrived in 1853. The La Fonda Hotel, a famous landmark just outside the plaza’s perimeter, was remodeled in 1922 in the Pueblo Revival style. A short walk along the Old Santa Fe Trail brings you to Mission San Miguel. in 1710 which today contains numerous wonderful examples of early Hispanic religious art. A little further along this trail is the state capital known as the Round House which was designed in the shape of the Zia sun symbol. It houses not only governors and state legislators but also an extensive art collection. A little further from the historic Railyard Plaza but well worth a visit. The Santa Fe Southern Railway runs excursion trains from the historic station building to Lammy – some entertainment and catered meals. During the summer months (May-September), gourmets will love the adjacent Farmer’s Market, which offers homegrown peppers, produce, flowers, herbs and more.
The Santa Fe art scene is one of the largest in the world, and Santa Fe is the third largest art market in the United States. While the city is a prominent center for contemporary art, traditional work still thrives. Folk art, tribal art, photography, animation art and fine handicrafts are especially abundant on Canyon Road. Originally an Indian avenue, it is now the epicenter of the art world with over forty galleries, boutiques and restaurants making their home within a short block radius. One could easily spend an entire day or more enjoying the variety of artwork, sculptures, and crafts—in fact, many art lovers or collectors come to Santa Fe to experience Canyon Road. Inside the buildings and along the street, walking through the narrow streets surrounded by visual feasts, the feeling is overwhelming. This is one of the most impressive open-air art galleries you’re likely to encounter in North America. It is estimated that one out of every six people who live in this city belong to the art community and are involved in their world very early.
Wherever you walk in this city, you will encounter the past, and Santa Fe is its past. However, the present and the future are clear in this modern environment.
This historic capital city is also the birthplace of Southwestern cuisine and is also known for excellent gourmet dining at many cozy restaurants around the world. Some of the world’s best chefs flock to the city to open restaurants, write cookbooks, appear on television shows and generally make their mark on innovative food creations. Cooking is equally important in a village with such an artistic spirit, and presentation is an art in all fine dining establishments. Prepare yourself for an unparalleled gourmet experience.
Shopping in Santa Fe is an unmissable pleasure. Apart from arts and crafts there is a strong international presence for leather goods, jewellery, home accessories, fashion and antiques. With a rich history with Native American trading posts, Spanish importers, and local artisans, amazing items can always be found here. That tradition continues today, creating a dream world for a diligent buyer.
A very helpful guide to planning your trip is Inside Santa Fe, which can be easily found at many local establishments. Or you can visit InsideSF.com online before you leave home and plan your trip in advance. The Santa Fe Gallery Association also publishes an art map that is a highly informative guide to art venues and is available online at santafegalleryassociation.org or for advance planning at many local galleries upon your arrival.
There are many options available when planning your vacation accommodation. There is a wide selection of attractive gay-friendly hotels, inns plus bed and breakfasts throughout the state. However, being gay in New Mexico presents some challenges depending on which cities you’re visiting, but Santa Fe offers some great options.
The best gay experience tends to be making Santa Fe your home base and then venturing into the countryside for day trips. We recommend the gay-owned and operated Inn of the Turquoise Bear B&B. Originally the home of Witter Byner, a prominent gay citizen active in cultural and political life, the building dates back to the mid-1800s and is considered one of the city’s most historically significant buildings. Byner lived here with his partner of thirty years, Robert Hunt, and their guest list included DH Lawrence, Errol Flynn, Rita Hayworth and Thornton Wilder. Current owners Ralph Bolton and Robert Frost have lovingly restored the property to its former glory, and its guest list now includes countless gay travelers from around the world. The rooms are beautifully decorated in Southwestern style with wood-burning or fireplaces, perfect for cool evenings at high altitudes or just for a romantic atmosphere. The main house is perfect for quiet time in the living room or breakfast in the dining room with city views. The staff is extremely friendly and helpful with advice to help you find your way around gay friendly Santa Fe. It is conveniently located within a few minutes’ walk to the Plaza, Canyon Road and most of the city’s attractions. With only ten comfortable, well-appointed rooms, it’s important to plan ahead and make early reservations to avoid disappointment.
Other gay-owned establishments that offer high-end amenities include the Triangle Inn with seven casitas, the Four Kachinas Inn with six rooms, the El Farolito B&B Inn with seven romantic rooms with private entrances, and the Inn at Mountaintop that rents cabins with elevated views. On the hill above the city. Each of these accommodations offers a range of prices to suit every budget.
Gay-friendly Inn of the Five Graces is a new twenty-three suite inn with several room choices. This is no ordinary inn — this is a fantasy woven from the arts and crafts of the Orient and combined in a warm adobe setting that makes the rooms as charming as a walk through a souk. The ceiling is coffered or hand-carved, and the bathrooms feature Gaudí-inspired mosaics made of scattered urns. Part of its charm is that it adjoins an alley of courtyards where flowers bloom and fountains sparkle. This is a very convenient hotel within walking distance of the city centre.
Traveling to Santa Fe involves a flight to Albuquerque and a rental car for a pleasant one-hour drive to the capital city. To enjoy many of the attractions around New Mexico you will need to rent a car.
One of the most enjoyable day trips is the circular tour on the “High Road,” which takes you through the mountain countryside and small villages north of Santa Fe into Taos. It’s a small town with quaint and winding streets, adobe architecture, and a legacy of famous past residents including DH Lawrence and Kit Carson. A few miles west of town is the Rio Grande Gorge Suspension Bridge where you can get a breathtaking view of the snaking river 650 feet below. A visit to Taos Pueblo is a must on your return trip. It is the largest surviving multistory pueblo structure and a living community that has welcomed visitors for over a thousand years. Just inside the entrance is St. Jerome Church, built in 1850, which is a National Historic Landmark and named after the patron saint of the Pueblos. Wheeler Peak, the highest peak in the state is visible in the distance and this tribal village has a wonderful sense of peace and tranquility.
Other attractions worth visiting include Bandera Center Ice Caves, Beastie Badlands, Santa Rosa Blue Hole for scuba diving, Cimarron Canyon, Chama Valley, Christ in the Desert Monastery, Carlsbad Caverns and the International UFO Museum in Roswell. Name some popular places.
This high-altitude wonderland comes with a warning—adjust for two days to keep your head in the clouds to enjoy getting closer to the sky, drink plenty of water, and always use sunscreen. Follow this advice and you’re sure to enjoy the alluring romance and mystery that New Mexico has to offer every gay visitor.
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