Santa Fe, Where History Collides With the Present!

After writing two books without much of a break, I decided it was time to get away. Actually, a good friend of mine twisted my arm. She kept talking about making adobe bricks in Santa Fe, NM and before I knew it, I told her I’d go along…just to keep her out of trouble. *wink*  But it didn’t take much persuasion. Despite being born in New Mexico and living there the early part of my life, I’d never been to Santa Fe or made real adobe bricks. And I wanted to go. Darn it, I earned the trip! 

So, on a recent Friday morning, we left Raton, NM and started down. These are buffalo we saw just outside of Cimarron.


Then we meandered our way, enjoying the fresh air of the mountains. We met her parents for lunch in Española. I thought that would be a sleepy little town but it was pretty big. Lunch was excellent by the way. From there we wound around through several small communities to Chimaýo where there’s an amazing story. Sometime about 1810, a friar was performing penance when he saw a light bursting from a hill. He went up and found a crucifix. Three times a priest tried to take it to another place but it always disappeared and reappeared in Chimaýo so they built an adobe mission in 1816 and it quickly became known as a curative place. The sick and infirm came by the droves and claimed to be cured. They still do. The crucifix still resides on the chapel altar. The chapel is on the left and a children’s chapel on the right.


Here’s camel rock, an usual rock formation outside of Santa Fe that we had to stop and take a picture of. 

We arrived in Santa Fe mid-afternoon and our first stop was the Loretto Chapel and it’s miraculous staircase that was built without nails (only wooden pegs) and has perplexed experts. The entire weight of the staircase rests on the bottom step. It has two 360° turns with no visible sign of support and the rare wood is not native to the American Southwest. Legend has it that a poor peasant appeared with a donkey and he only worked at night. When it was completed, he vanished without being paid.

In the center of Santa Fe is a beautiful park with the Hall of Governors building sitting across the street that was built in 1610 out of adobe. It looks exactly the same as it did when it was first built. Each Saturday, the Native Americans come with their jewelry and a large variety of other things they make by hand, spread a blanket and sell to the tourists. I loved this and bought several items.

The Palace of the Governors as it appears today. It is the oldest, continually occupied public building in the United States. Courtesy of Patricia Drury, Flickr-Commons

Then, we went down the street where they were making adobe bricks using the same method as their forefathers. Adobe is a mixture of clay, water, and straw. They let us try our hand and I found it a lot of fun. It’s a lot like working with dough. I had to pack it down firm into the form, being sure to get it into each corner. After I did that, they lifted the form and there was a brick. They leave it to dry for a week on each side and it takes about 6 weeks to get all the moisture content out of them. But an adobe building can last for hundreds of years. Each brick we made was four inches thick and weighs approx 25 pounds so a wall would be very solid.


Drying Adobe Bricks

And of course, wagons on the Santa Fe Trail passed through here and provided a welcome stop where settlers could replenish their supplies and rest. They truly must’ve enjoyed it.

Art is everywhere in Santa Fe and it’s all beautiful. We ended our trip with a visit to the New Mexico History Museum and found so many interesting things there.


Santa Fe was settled in 1609 by the Spanish and is the oldest capital city in the U.S. History is all around you as you walk through the streets. If you’re looking for an usual place to visit, this will be the one to come to.

Have you ever made adobe bricks or visited a place that seems lost in time? I’m giving away a $10 Amazon Gift Card so leave a comment!



Website | + posts

Here in the Texas Panhandle, we do love our cowboys. There's just something about a man in a Stetson and jeans that makes my heart beat faster. I'm not much of a cook but I love to do genealogy and I'm a bit of a rock hound. I'm also a NY Times & USA Today bestselling author of historical western romance. You can contact me through my website and I'd love to connect with you on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and more. HAPPY READING!

55 thoughts on “Santa Fe, Where History Collides With the Present!”

  1. I’ve always wanted to visit Santa Fe. This post will be the push I need. :). After reading about the Loretto staircase I had started to discuss it with one of my daughters. Thanks for all the sites you pointed out during this post. Very fascinating to read about the bricks and how long the buildings exist with the adobe bricks. Thanks for sharing Linda.

    • I always forget that we were both born in New Mexico. All my older siblings and parents were born in Texas so we only stayed in Tucumcari for about a month after I was born then we returned to Texas. I often think of how my heat intolerance would love for me to move to New Mexico. Good ole MS?!?! It looks like you had a wonderful quick lil vaca! Thanks for sharing!

      I went to New York City when I was about 19 with 2 friends so we could help a friend move back to Texas. One of my friends is Jewish and wanted to go visit his aunt which lived in an area of NYC that just astounded me. I believe it was the Borough Park area. I felt like I stepped into a different era. This is an Orthodox Jewish area. To see everyone in their all black and white, men with their Payot hair styles (the curls that hang down their sideburn area) and long beards and all things from way back when was amazing. It was 1989 when I was there and I just googled Borough Park to look at pictures and it no longer looks the way I saw it back then, it is so much more modern day than when I was there. Sad that modern technology takes over places I wish could stay like a step back in time. It was a fast an furious few days so I guess that is why I don’t have pictures. Hmmm

      • Good morning, Stephanie…….I, too, wish modern technology wouldn’t erase the past. It’s sad to lose the history. Your trip to NY sounds like fun and what a culture shock to see those people. I’m sure you felt a lot like you were back in the 1800s. I hated living in NM when I was young but I would love it now. Have a blessed day! Wrapping you in love and hugs.

    • Good morning, Carol…..Yes, you should go. Santa Fe is amazing. Such an old, old city and so many of the buildings preserved. It’s like stepping back in time. Love and hugs!

    • We visited Santa Fe in 1983. We visited many of the same sites you did and really enjoyed the vendors in the square. I blew my budget for a 2 week trip that day – only the third day oh the trip. I fell in love with a wooden carving of 3 little girl Hopi Butterfly Dancers.

  2. Good morning Ms. Linda- I’ve been to Santa Fe many times but have never stopped to take in all this history. Next time I need to stop. I’ve been to Paxico, KS and if you every get a chance to visit, the entire town is a replica of the 1800’s and the antiques are to die for. It also has a vineyard if you love wine. Thanks for sharing your trip with us. I loved this my sweet sister friend.

    • Good morning, Miss Tonya……Maybe you need to go back to Santa Fe for a visit, but now during tourist season. It’s too, too crowded. I need to check out Paxico, KS. Wow! But that’s really interesting and fun. Blessings and love, my sister friend.

  3. I have never made an adobe brick but sure like to try it. I have visited old towns that seem the same as forever. I enjoy the visit so much.

    • Good morning, Debra……Making those adobe bricks was fun and it was very interesting seeing the process. I, too, love those old towns that stay as they were. Too often people tear them down and replace them with modern monstrosities and it kills me. I’m glad you enjoyed my post. Have a blessed day! Love and hugs!

  4. WoW what a fascinating blog you have today I love it when you post about your travels. No I’ve never made Adobe bricks and I can’t really think of a place that I visited that seemed to stand still in time. Love and Hugs to you my dear sweet friend

    • Good morning, Glenda…….Thanks for coming and bringing me a smile. I’m happy that you like my post and pictures. It was an amazing trip but I wish I’d had longer to stay. I’m sorry about your sweet little dog. Sending much love and tender hugs.

    • Good morning, Estella……..Maybe you’ll put it on your bucket list. It was a so much fun and I’m glad I could go. Have a blessed and lovely day!

  5. I visited Santa Fe in the 90s with my ex. I loved it there. Your pictures brought back a lot of memories. The staircase was one of them, but I really loved seeing all the goods the Native Americans had for sale. I still have the jewelry that I bought back then. I would love to go back one day.

    • Good morning, Janine……I really loved the Native Americans and seeing their goods. There’s just something special about buying things from the person who made them. I’m tired of buying things made in China. And the Native Americans were so proud of their artistry. Almost every one of them told me they put their initials on the back of their goods. That was so touching. I bought several necklaces and a pair of copper earrings that are simply gorgeous. Maybe you need a return trip. Have a blessed day full of love!

      • I totally agree about there being something special about buying directly from the artist. I believe it makes it even more special. I know the jewelry I bought has been a treasure of mine even though I don’t wear it often enough these days.

  6. In the early 90’s I visited some of the national parks in Utah and Arizona we went deep inside the parks and got a sense of what it was like 100’s of years ago. We were lucky as we got a chance to see them before humans did damage to certain areas.

    • Hi Kim………What a neat vacation to Utah and Arizona! I’m sure that was very interesting and beautiful. Humans ruin everything and most don’t even have one care that they do and are so destructive. I’m glad you had that experience. Those are few and far between these days. Have a blessed day and thanks for coming!

  7. I went camping in New Mexico it’s beautiful but i have never made adobe bricks. Thankyou for sharing your get a way with us.

    • Hi Yvonne……Great to see you! I’m so happy you came by to read my post. New Mexico is a really pretty state and there’s a reason it’s called The Land of Enchantment. It can cast a spell over you. Many blessings and much love!

  8. I enjoyed your post and no I have never made a brick or been anywhere that was lost in time. I am to much of a home body I guess. It sounds like you had a fantastic time on your trip though.

    • Hi Quilt Lady……..I’m glad you enjoyed reading about my adventures. It was a relaxing place and I loved every second. Maybe you and hubby will take a surprise trip somewhere before too long. Love you, lady!

  9. Loved seeing your pictures, Linda! My sister lives in Albuquerque, so we have been to Santa Fe several times. The photos bring back so many great memories. I absolutely loved the Loretto chapel. What a marvel that is. I’ve been to the museum and strolled among the vendors by the park, too. I’m always fascinated by miracles at missions like Chimayo. Never made the adobe bricks, though. Next time, eh?

    Glad you gave yourself a vacation. You certainly deserved it!

    • Hi Pam……..Yes, next time you have to make the adobe bricks! I just love Santa Fe and the atmosphere. Everyone is so laid back. I stood across from the Hall of Governors and imagined a wagon train pulling in and the excitement amongst the settlers. I could picture Kit Carson strolling from the Sena family hacienda that he visited many times. Just amazing. Blessings and love, Filly sister!

  10. Oh my gosh, Linda! What a fun trip. I have always wanted to see that staircase for myself. I didn’t know about the chapel with the crucifix. I think I might need a road trip myself after reading this post! I’m so glad you got to get away and take a break–that looks like so much fun!

    • Hi Cheryl……You would love it. There is so much to see and do and history just seeps into your skin. Oh, and the food is wonderful! So much different from TexMex. There is no comparison. Gas up the car and load up. You’d have so much fun. Love you, Filly sister!

  11. What a great trip! I have never made adobe bricks. Thank you for sharing your wonderful experience.

    • Hi Melanie……..I’m so happy to share my trip with you. It truly was amazing and I can’t wait to go back. I did so many firsts and it was really fun. Love you, lady.

  12. Sounds like a great trip and experience. I’ve never been anywhere. I’ve never gone on vacation.

    • Hi Cathy…….Oh my gosh! I think you need to go somewhere and soak up some new experiences. You never know what you’ll find. Sending blessings and much love.

  13. Very interesting post. I have been to Santa Fe but never realized about the brick building. NM has a great deal of history to offer which is fascinating.

    • Hi Ruth……New Mexico is full of history that goes back to the 1400s. Everything is so old and steeped in time. Maybe it’s time for another trip. 🙂 Sending blessings your way.

  14. Great photos and wonderful travelogue. Enjoyed learning about this art. I have visited several times and wandered the area.

    • Hi Ellie………I’m very happy you enjoyed my post. Thank you for coming over. If I remember right, you don’t live too far from Santa Fe. Time to take another trip but wait until after the tourist season is over. So many people and cars on those narrow streets. Love and hugs!

  15. Trips like that are so restful. I love to drive and just stop when something catches our eye. I never thought about making adobe bricks – wow. I always get a sense of being lost in time at places where battles have been fought, somehow you can just feel the history – I’ve felt it at Yorktown, Civil War sites, Battle of the Little Bighorn.

    • Hi Sally……..They are restful and I didn’t think about writing one time. I left my laptop at home and just soaked up every second of my trip. I agree about Civil War sites. You feel as if you’re right there during the battles and can feel the soldiers’ pain. I’ve never been to Little Bighorn but I can imagine it’s a place full of lots of spirits. Have a wonderful day. Much love and hugs.

  16. Never made any bricks, but I have visited a few old and interesting places… one was a single room school house.

    • Hi Colleen………There are interesting places all over Arizona. History is thick there too. I would love to visit Tombstone and Yuma. Those one room schoolhouses are really fun to see. It’s hard to imagine kids of all ages sitting in the same room. I’ve been to Flagstaff many times and love it there. I would like to visit Sedona though. Sending much love and hugs!

  17. I’ve been to Williamsburg, Jamestown, and Yorktown in Virginia. I’ve been to some others, but most probably haven’t heard of those living history museums.

    Old Town New Castle in Delaware is a beautiful town full of history going back to Colonial times and located along the river. It has several museums, walking trails, and a lovely park.

    • Hi Denise……..I’ve never been to the East coast but I’ve always wanted to. Those Colonial times were so interesting. I’m going to have to visit Old Town New Castle. That sounds amazing and very beautiful. Such fun! Love and hugs!

  18. Well, to me Suomenlinna (Castle of Finland) is one of those places that seems lost in time. It’s one of those places I like to visit when I’m in Helsinki.

    • Hi Minna…….I can only imagine that castle. Or any castle. I’ve never been to castle but I would love to visit one. History would surround you. But I can’t see that I’ll ever have a chance. Have a wonderful day.

  19. First of all, let me tell you that I recently read Saving the Mail Order Bride,and I enjoyed it immensely. I think it is one of the best stories you have written.

    I have visited many historical places that seem lost in time. Last year we took a National Parks tour that included Monument Valley, the Mesa Verde Pueblo Cliff Dwellings, and other places that looked straight out of a western movie. It was a great trip.

    • Hi Cheryl C………I’m very happy that you enjoyed Jack and Nora’s adventures. They were so much fun. I think that was the most humorous story I’ve ever written. Humor is hard for me to write which is why I only do it in little sections. Oh my goodness, you’ve been to some amazing places. I’ve always wanted to see the cliff dwellings but I’ve never gotten the chance. Have a wonderful day.

  20. I enjoyed the pictures and the history you shared. I would have been so happy to get to visit the places you did. I’m on the east coast in Western NC. My dream would be to travel west and I don’t see that happening.
    I’ve live near the Biltmore House, the biggest castle in the USA, and visit it several times but I would trade a visit to the Biltmore House for making adobe bricks any day. Haha.

    • Hi Pam Lunsford……Well, you know miracles do happen and life does take sudden changes. Maybe one day you can travel west. I’ve heard the Biltmore House is awfully impressive. I would love to see it. Maybe we can trade places.

  21. Oh wow! I would have enjoyed that trip. Love the pictures! I have never attempted to make Adobe bricks or such. But if given the chance I’m sure I would love to try!

    • Hi Susan P……I’m so glad you enjoyed my post. Santa Fe was a lot of fun and I loved making those Adobe bricks. Maybe one day you’ll get a chance to some too. Have a blessed day.

    • Hi Tonya Cherry……Albuquerque isn’t near as pretty as Santa Fe because it has very little vegetation. Santa Fe is closer to the mountains. I hope you get to visit there one day. Thanks for coming.

  22. Welcome Linda. Oh thank you for sharing some of your trip. I have seen homemade adobe bricks but never made one. This would be so fun. I would love to try my hand at this. I have never been to New Mexico, so now it is on my list for vacations.

    • Hi Lori…….I’m so happy that you enjoyed my post. I had an amazing time and making those bricks was the best fun. I hope you get to visit Santa Fe at some point. There’s a reason New Mexico is called the Land of Enchantment. Thanks for coming.

Comments are closed.