Classic Inspiration from the West

Santa Fe, New Mexico

October 2011

Several years ago, Landon, the girls, and I headed to Santa Fe, New Mexico. We chose this destination for several reasons.

First, we dabbled in Peruvian/Mission Style furniture and were in search of new design inspiration to see if any of those styles fit with the upcoming trends.

Secondly, the drive time was convenient to the girl's school holiday. Lastly, I wanted to make sure we exposed Kayla and Kamille to a strikingly different environment than what they had been raised in. Namely the desert. At the ages of 40 and 37 (yes, I'm the older one), neither Landon nor I had traveled to this part of the Western United States.

We certainly attained our mission of exposing the girls to a different atmosphere. They loved the Native American customs and jewelry. However, Kamille found the most striking environmental contrast was our inability to breath. I should mention that Memphis, where we live, is 423 feet above sea level. Santa Fe is 7,199. We felt like we were walking underwater without a scuba tank! Kamille felt nauseous, my blood sugar stayed high, and Landon couldn't sleep for the first few days. Even our parrot Tao (our constant travel companion) wheezed like a 90-year-old asthma patient. I know, what a bunch of lightweights!

Although denied my lofty goal to see a roadrunner, we were fortunate enough to see many pronghorn and cacti along the roadside.

Santa Fe is loaded with Mission Style architecture. The San Miguel Chapel and Palace of the Governors are fine examples. We thoroughly enjoyed eating from a cart vendor downtown, sitting on a corner and admiring the architecture. It's so different from our own, yet so perfect for the terrain. One thoroughly starts to appreciate the use of local materials and styles for construction. Kayla and Kamille, 12 and 8 respectively, were fascinated by the buildings.

Our pursuit for inspiration was not in vain! If you want to be inspired visit the Rio Grande Gorge, and the Loretta Chapel. Both are absolutely breathtaking! If you get a chance, go at sunset to the Gorge. Although, the sunsets anywhere in Santa Fe are stunning. An amazing number of painters have chosen to reside there just for the view. The Loretta Chapel is inspiring in a divine way. The story of the Loretta Chapel focuses on the craftsmanship of the staircase and the circumstances under which it was built. The workmanship is beyond compare. It is beautiful to behold, and the story behind it will give you chills.

www.lorettochapel.com/info/staircase

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