You've got to be kidding me. The Santa Fe newspaper is called the New Mexican?
I figured it would be called the Santa Fe Spirit. The Santa Fe Adobe. Or maybe an Indian word.
Perhaps I should just get over this strange tendency to judge cities based on the name of their newspaper. But on our first road trip "day off" in Santa Fe, I decided the Santa Fe newspaper needed a new name.
Just don't ask me what that name should be. It would be nearly impossible to sum up this city in a word or two.
The city's reputation precedes it - and so does the reputation of Tomasita's, a Mexican joint that certainly doesn't need to advertise in the Santa Fe newspaper. Shortly after we pull into town, we manage to get a table with very little wait. It helps that it is a weeknight. The sopapillas are ridiculous - even little Mary's delicate palate agrees.
The next day, we ogle the miraculous staircase in Loretto Chapel. We marvel at traditional high altars that still haven't been "updated," and probably never will be. We loiter in the Plaza, watching people and listening to music. We realize, gazing upon building after building, that brown is not necessarily a dull or drab color.
Around mid-day, newly enamored of brown, I pick up the classifieds of the Santa Fe newspaper. Perhaps Santa Fe is still a reasonably priced city, based on its location outside of California? Perhaps Santa Fe properties can still be had on the cheap, due to the lack of a local high-tech industry?
Forgive us for going to a chain - Coldstone Creamery - for a mid-day treat to carry back to our hotel and eat during Mary's nap. Something about the high altitude makes it melt far more quickly than we expect. But we enjoy our sugary soup anyway.
Later, we swing by the Santa Fe Children's Museum. We pray at Old San Miguel Mission, America's oldest church structure, and then engage the man working in the gift shop in a lively conversation about the current state of the Church.
After we finish, he is kind enough to recommend a good Italian restaurant: Osteria D'Assisi (where else?). Though the restaurant is reasonably priced, this becomes our biggest food splurge of the road trip.
ROAD TRIP TIP: At some point on your road trip, make a point of eating at least one good, higher-priced dinner. You've certainly earned it after all the fast food you've probably scarfed down during your drive. An off-day is the perfect time to enjoy a good meal; you're calm, alert, and well-rested.
As we drift off to sleep in our simple yet functional hotel room, I realize what's wrong with the name of the Santa Fe newspaper: It implies that Santa Fe is proud to be identified with New Mexico. I suspect the reverse is closer to the truth.