Santa Fe and Abiquiu was home for us from 1996-2018 and then we returned for another year after a 2 year sojourn in northern California. On this 6 week, 5,000+ mile road trip we were back in CA and now we have been in NM for the past 6 days. Record heat is pushing us out tomorrow morning and we’re headed for Alpine, AZ for a few days, to 8,000 feet, cooler and then home to Tubac. More on that later.
Santa Fe, besides being an historical settlement in the former territory before NM becoming a state, is a very popular tourist destination with all kinds of attractions, especially in the art world but also as a scenic and very different environment characterized by high desert, beautiful mountains, national forests, and 19 northern NM pueblos. The tri-cultural presence of Hispanic, Native and Anglo people adds to the diversity reflected in so many interesting ways. The adobe and faux adobe architecture has another quality of difference and Santa Fe’s nickname is “The City Different.” For the foodies, many treats await from the atypical northern NM cuisine (red or green) to ethnic foods to suit any palate. Here’s the official web site: www.santafe.org
Near Santa Fe is Los Alamos, where the research took place that produced the atomic bomb. It was a highly kept secret for many years. It is now home of a laboratory managed by Triad National Security, LLC, a limited liability company, which consists of Battelle Memorial Institute, the Regents of the University of California, and the Regents of Texas A&M University. Fluor Federal Services, Huntington Ingalls Industries/Stoller Newport News, Longenecker & Associates, TechSource, Strategic Management Solutions and Merrick & Company. When the Department of Energy has billions of dollars to award in government contracts you can imagine the negotiations that take place. The other big research lab in NM is Sandia National Lab in Albuquerque and both together employ a lot of people. If you add up the number of people employed by both the Federal and State governments in NM, they are by far the largest employers in the state. There are some good museums in both places around the science aspects of atomic research. Los Alamos’ location is on top of a big hill. https://visitlosalamos.org/
Santa Fe and the rest of New Mexico suffers from the same economic and educational disparities as any other place where there is a large discrepancy in personal incomes. New Mexico ranks low in many categories. Here are some examples: Education: #49 Economy: #47 Crime & Corrections: #49 Health Care: #34 While NM is the 5th largest state in size, it is low in population, ranking 36th with 2,096,829 people as of the July 1, 2019, U.S. Census. The five national forests in New Mexico cover most of the state’s mountainous areas, plus a few isolated sections of the eastern prairies and the total acreage is around 79 million acres. There are many outdoor activities in NM that include camping, hiking, biking, skiing, fishing, boating, rafting, and kayaking.
We love visiting here now, returning to favorite places, connecting with friends, and even in the midst of the current Covid crisis, our campsite has so many trees and open spaces that we do not feel locked inside. It has been easier for us than for many who are stuck at home while our home has been on the road, they have been locked in and locked down. We hope you are taking care, staying well, and being safe.