Friday, June 27, 2008

Day 1 Grand Luxe Rail Adventure - Santa Fe

Our first morning to rise aboard our sleeper car the Savannah, we have a light breakfast in the New York club car, and have adjusted somewhat to our quarters that are elegant but compact. I've never been to Santa Fe before and I am anticipating all the wonderful art. Logistics require that we take a bus to this artistic Mecca, but we will board the train later in the afternoon at Lamy, New Mexico, and ride back to Albuquerque.

Santa Fe is everything I expect and maybe a little bit more. I am blown away by the beautiful Navajo rugs, intricate silver belt buckles, hand stitched clothing and amazing jewelry. While prices are high in Santa Fe for a collector of modest means, it was a pleasure to walk the sidewalk in front of the Governor's Palace on the square and see authentic Native American turquoise jewelry. With the influx of imitation imports available throughout the pricey boutiques we were advised the best places to shop are at the museum stores where they don't charge sales tax and of course the Native American market. This market has been going on since 1929. A lottery for position on the sidewalk is fair to all, and all gemstones are authenticated as well as verification that the work is truly made by local artisans.

Guess what? I found the most amazing turquoise necklace by artist Nina Garcia of the Santo Domingo Pueblo. She was very busy with cash customers, but I gave her my card. She said she is not currently selling on the Internet, but will look into it. Her smile melted my heart. I purchased with some cash my husband had. He asked me what he had bought me, and I glowed as I showed it to him. Everyone was happy.

After a wonderful "zesty" enchilada luncheon, at La Casa Sena we got the opportunity to visit the studio of artist Christine Montano Carey Santera who specializes in the art of Early Spanish Colonial art, Retablos and tin art. She gave our group a demonstration hammering tin. We talked briefly, she busy for the next couple of weeks, but then we're going to talk about the possibility of her becoming a BOTB artist.

Needless to say, I wore my beautiful new necklace to dinner that night. Every night is a five course dinner of exceptional quality, served on gilt china with a full table service in a magnificently appointed dinning car featuring inlaid wood birds on the walls. I'll have to take a picture of the Pileated woodpeckers to show you. There is an amazing black and white photograph in one of the water closets that I think is a Winston Link. I'll have to verify that though. Which reminds me I've never written about that amazing train photographer. Look for that in the future.

The highlight of the day for me was visiting the Georgia O'Keeffe/Ansel Adams Museum. I've been a big fan of both for years. I think this was the first time in my personal history that I had seen an original O'Keeffe in person. I'll write more in depth about that at another date.--Ruth Mitchell

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