Our time in the American Southwest was much more than the extensive drives, more than the 3100 miles accumulated on the road. We were eager to sample the food, and specifically, the sustained burst of heat from red and green chiles famously represented in New Mexico. The following are some of our favourite flavours with visual reasons why we were not disappointed and why we want to go back.
Above/featured: Ghost Ranch: Chimney Rock is in shadow at centre-right. Photo location: 36.31882 North, 106.48006 West.
This is the start of a series on day trips and drives from our time in the American Southwest. The following takes place entirely within day 7 (of 15) in New Mexico between Santa Fe and Abiquiú.
Georgia O’Keeffe (1887-1986) is known as one of the best known modern American artists. Born in Wisconsin and educated in Chicago, her art came to light in New York City where her name and work became prominent. While teaching in Texas, she visited New Mexico for the first time in 1917. She fell in love with the landscape of New Mexico on subsequent visits in the early 1930s, and in 1949 she moved to the Abiquiú area where she would live for the rest of her life.
As fans of her art, we’re taking the day to drive up from Santa Fe to the town of Abiquiú. We wanted to see Georgia O’Keeffe country: the landscapes from which she drew inspiration, and the land that nurtured her spirit and fuelled her creativity.
Before our guided tour of O’Keeffe’s Abiquiú home, we stop at the Purple Adobe Lavender Farm next door to have a look. We like it so much we return after the guided tour to the farm’s café for a snack. We then make the short drive northwest onto the Ghost Ranch property to check out the ancestral lands of the Navajo Apache and Tewa pueblos. O’Keeffe recognized the importance some of that history, as she related in an 1967 interview for the Los Angeles Times’ “West” magazine:
When I think of death I only regret that I will not be able to see this beautiful country anymore, unless the Indians are right and my spirit will walk here after I’m gone.
On our return drive to Santa Fe, the sun sets over our section of the Southern Rocky Mountains, and I swear the late-afternoon breeze whispers the spirits of the Chama river, Georgia O’Keeffe, and all the souls who’ve inhabited the area.