New Mexico and Santa Fe in particular is a gorgeous area. We remain nonplused at condemnations we've heard & read over the years about how desolate and uninteresting the state is. I take desolate to mean (according to Webster's) barren and lifeless. In that context New Mexico is certainly not desolate if you simply take the time to look! An urban person might find thousands of square miles of forest and sparsely inhabited plains and mesas uninviting to their taste, but we adamantly do not. Frankly, I think all the negative tales are a conspiracy by native New Mexicans to keep the place to themselves. Ourselves!
Perhaps it's because the area is new to us, but each day of every season we grow more attached to our new homebase, enjoying the richness of the culture and beauty of the forested hills and desert valleys. There's so much to see and do and, if you're fortunate enough to see these things before or after tourist season as we can, we have these places pretty much to ourselves. Local history is filled with stories of the early inhabitants: Anasazis who had disappeared 500 years before Europeans came here, early explorers like Cortez, and characters of the old west like Billy the Kid, Wyatt Earp and others that have provided grist for the the Hollywood film industry's western movie-mill.
So here's a little on what we have discovered while poking around the area. Certainly writers like Tony Hillerman and Michael McGarrity do a wonderful job of bringing the area to life with their talented gift for words and insight that comes from years of working, exploring and reading in New Mexico. Try their books for good entertainment and colorful descriptions of New Mexico, the southwest and the characters that live or lived here. If you can stand an amateur's brush of what we've seen that appealed to us, here's what the Goosebumps crew found that they enjoyed.
With the help of a tourist map published by the state, we've been picking our way through areas within 150 miles of Santa Fe. Here are a few of the places we've been plus a little about our new (old!) house. (Most are not active yet... pages are coming.)