Category Archives: On Location in Santa Fe
Meow Wolf Has Bite! Me-ow!
Meow Wolf is part art installation; all fun house!
by G G Collins (Copyright 2018)
After standing in line for more than an hour–you know March is spring break, right?–I entered this magical place in Santa Fe that wasn’t the least bit southwestern. The exterior sports a mammoth spider and people actually eat beneath it. Not me!
Built in a former bowling alley, the outside isn’t impressive; but that all stops the moment you enter this wildly colorful place.
After buying tickets at a bit of a staggering price (but nowhere near Disney World prices), you grab your 3-D glasses and off you go into the wild, blue, purple, pink, orange (oh, I give up) yonder.
The hallway that leads down to the entrance is a bit 1984-ish, but what waits inside is, well, you decide for yourself. Past the door is the House of Eternal Return where you can duck through the fireplace, closet, clothes dryer or even the fridge and you’ll find yourself in another dimension.
Watch where you step because the surface underfoot is constantly changing, even at times into mounds of carpet as if you are walking beneath trees on a moss-covered forest floor.
As you climb that tree via circular staircase, the canopy you are expecting never materializes. Instead it could be a camper. Hmm. Just where am I?
That seems to be the whole point. Each inviting portal leads to another strange and wonderful place. Everyone–and remember I went during spring break–was having a great time. Age is not a factor here. There is literally something for everyone. The kids loved to play the dinosaur bones and frankly, so did I.
For those who are afraid they will be claustrophobic, while it can be quite tight quarters, there are numerous doors leading to the lobby. The people standing around in white lab coats are Meow Wolf staff and they are there to answer questions or give you the fastest route to the restroom. There was one small girl, who wasn’t too sure about a white friendly looking creature. She held on tight to her grandmother’s hand, but even at that, she was wide-eyed in appreciation
There are corridors leading to more portals. Some stairs are wide open while others are circular with tiny steps. Tall people can have trouble negotiating the later. Don’t get stuck!
Meow Wolf is a sensory experience. You can see, touch and hear, but never quite assimilate what you’re experiencing. That’s okay. It’s mysterious and leaves you wanting more. I know I’ll be returning to the House of Eternal Return.
For more information go to: https://meowwolf.com/
Coming soon to Denver and Las Vegas; your very own Meow Wolf.
Merry Christmas from Santa Fe
Photo Copyright by G G Collins
Home of the Reluctant Medium, Rachel Blackstone Paranormal Mysteries & Dead Editor File, Taylor Browning Cozy Mystery series.
It’s Summer! Explore Museum Hill.
By G G Collins (Copyright 2017)
Four world-class museums to discover the Native American Southwest and all it has to offer: arts, culture and history. Lunch at the Museum Hill Cafe. Listen to music as it floats around the huge plaza, compete with its on contemporary labyrinth.
Museum Hill Mountain Spirit Dancer
And don’t forget the Santa Fe Botanical Garden just across the street. The Art Walk has changing exhibits.
Have a great day exploring Santa Fe’s Museum Hill!
Summer is Almost Here
Santa Fe’s Plaza. Meet people. Watch people. Soak up the high dry mountain air and sunshine.
A Lovely Autumn Day in Santa Fe
Find the Apache Mountain Spirit Dancer in Milner Plaza at Museum Hill in Santa Fe. The big bronze is by Craig Dan Goseyun. The fringe seems to shimmy as the light changes.
Located at 710-708 Camino Lejo, off Old Santa Fe Trail; across from Santa Fe Botanical Garden.
Santa Fe in Only One Day
by G G Collins (Copyright 2015)
THE SHED: Eat at The Shed! It’s on Palace Avenue a couple of blocks from the Plaza.The Shed is known for their New Mexican cuisine: such as Carne Adovado. Inside or out, it’s colorful and fun. The chocolate fudge sundae for dessert goes beyond decadent. For more on the restaurant’s history and how it came to be called The Shed:
SHOPPING: If you enjoy shopping until you drop, you can do that in Santa Fe. A good place to start is Rainbow Man. It’s on Palace too. Be sure to look for The Manhattan Project plaque dedication. It’s at the back of the courtyard under the portal (porch in Spanish). Despite being a historical site, there is no sign to indicate that. If you can’t find the plaque, ask someone at the store. They’re happy to point it out.
For more on The Manhattan Project:
At Wind River, you can enter on Palace, walk through the store (this may take a while with all the jewelry, Native American art and chickens, yes, chickens), and exit on San Francisco across from La Fonda. From top-of-the-line clothing to kitchen items to kitsch, it’s all on the Plaza. The Marcy Card Shop on Marcy Street (a couple of blocks from the Plaza and close to the convention center) has a lot more than cards!
LA FONDA: Now, cross the street and walk through the lobby of La Fonda. This hotel has a loooong history in Santa Fe. Both the famous and the infamous have walked these Saltillo tiles. Look in the restaurant. See the fountain in the center? That used to be a well in an outdoor courtyard. A business man down on his luck threw himself in it and was killed. His ghost is said to still walk the halls. Oppenheimer and fellow scientists relaxed in the bar–under the close watch of federal agents. There is also a rooftop deck and bar for watching sunsets. Here’s more on La Fonda:
ST. FRANCIS CATHEDRAL: The St. Francis Cathedral is worth a look. It’s beautiful inside and out. There are usually members there to answer questions and give tours. And if you are a candle lighter, there are candle alcoves just inside the entry. A labyrinth is in front of the church for contemplation. More on the cathedral:
THE PLAZA: And don’t just walk through the Plaza. Take a few minutes and soak up the sun, be dazzled by the azure skies. The light, and the vibe, is the reason writers and artists have flocked to The City Different for years.
If you have time and are museum people, the Palace of the Governors is fascinating. There are holes in the floor and no one knows why (carefully covered in thick clear glass for a look-see). Wallace finished “Ben-Hur” at the Palace while governor. The Palace was on high alert and he covered his lamp to conceal the light as attack was imminent.
All of this is within a few blocks.
IF YOU HAVE A SECOND DAY:
JACKALOPE: Jackalope on Cerrillos Road is shopping, animals, oh heck, it’s a party. The owner’s story is a fascinating journey. The prairie dogs are a favorite with kids and adults alike. Check out Jackalope at:
MUSEUM HILL: Is so worth a good look. If you’re not up to the museum crawl, just go out and look at the outdoor art, eat at the restaurant and listen to the music drift on a breeze.The new Santa Fe Botanical Garden is just across the street. Great views of the Sangre de Cristos. Here’s more on both attractions:
TENT ROCKS: If you’d like a far-out hiking experience, go to Tent Rocks. Made of ash from a long ago volcano, the tent-shaped rocks are eerie and magical. It’s south of Santa Fe near the Cochiti Dam. You drive right by the dam and it’s a bit scary thinking about all that water behind the dam; so don’t. The car you’re in feels very small and insignificant. Now you can’t stop thinking about it.
NEED DOWN TIME: If you can’t take anymore and need to relax, it’s 10,000 Waves time. Massage, hot tubs, facials and a gorgeous Japanese style mountain retreat. It’s on the way up to the Ski Basin, only a few miles. It’s heavenly.
Whatever you do in Santa Fe, remember, it’s mañana time.
The Building That Changed the World
By G G Collins Copyright 2015
On Palace Avenue just steps from the famous Santa Fe Plaza is a small building that changed the world. It was the headquarters for The Manhattan Project, the top secret mission to build the first atomic bomb and end WWII. Everyone, scientist and secretary alike, passed through this building. They came in the front door and left by the back door where they were secreted off to the Atomic City. No one left by the back door unless Dorothy McKibbin gave them a pass to “The Hill.”
McKibbin was looking for a job in March of 1943. She was offered employment at the First National Bank for $120 per month. Working at a bank wasn’t really what she wanted to do, but income was income. Then she met Joe Stevenson in an awkward conversation in the middle of the Plaza. He told her there was a secretarial position open that would pay $150 per month. But Stevenson was mysterious about what the job would entail.
She did accept the job and became the gatekeeper to one of the biggest discoveries of the last century. McKibbin kept that job until 1963 when she retired. She would remain a loyal friend to Robert Oppenheimer until his death in 1967.
The historic site, originally constructed in the 1600s as a Spanish hacienda, is now home to Rainbow Man. The shop is filled with Native American hand-made items, blankets, photos and folk art in vivid colors. The courtyard is beautiful rain or shine. Flowers brighten the entrance in vibrant hues. The old wagon only becomes more silvered with each passing year.
At the back of the courtyard, under the portal and behind the chile ristras is a plaque dedicated to those who split the first atom. Shoppers visit the store to take home a little bit of Santa Fe. Historians stop by for the history and wonder what it must have been like in the 1940s when The Manhattan Project was in full swing.
July 2015 is the 70th anniversary of the Trinity Test at White Sands, New Mexico.
New book, Atomic Medium, takes place in Santa Fe during 2015 and 1945. It is the third installment in the Rachel Blackstone Paranormal Mystery Series. Get it at Amazon: http://amzn.to/1SWkjde
For more information, try these books:109 East Palace by Jennet Conant, The Manhattan Project edited by Cynthia C. Kelly, The Making of the Atomic Bomb by Richard Rhodes.
Keep Santa Fe Weird
by G G Collins (Copyright 2014)
Every city has its quirks. These are some of my favorites in Santa Fe.
This strange looking guy wearing the dress is Zozobra. This petite version can be found at the Convention and Visitors Bureau on Marcy Street. Every autumn Santa Feans burn him–along with their worries. The next year, he is constructed and once again set on fire to screams of “Burn him, burn him!” For more on Zozobra see https://reluctantmediumatlarge.wordpress.com/?s=Zozobra here on Reluctant Medium at Large in Santa Fe.
Fish might be the last thing you’d expect to see in downtown Santa Fe and yet, here they are. The monumental sculpture is “Santa Fe Current” by artist Colette Hosmer. It features Rio Grande Cutthroat trout. Each granite fish is 2′ x 3 1/2′ in size. Right outside the Convention and Visitors Bureau on Marcy.
You might find a sign in New Orleans that includes a skull, but this one uses the Spanish word “ojo” which means “eye.” But “optique” is French, meaning vision, so go figure. Find it near the Plaza on Lincoln Ave.
In Santa Fe even the crows eat chiles. This guy, who lives in a sculpture garden along Canyon Road, appears to have a notoriously hot chile called a scotch bonnet (100,000 – 350,000 Scoville Units). Turn onto Canyon Road and make a quick left. There is parking, shops and art everywhere.
In a region where prairie dogs are sometimes cursed, this lucky family of the little “dogs” lives at Jackalope. Find it at 2820 Cerrillos Rd. Pottery, rugs and furniture doesn’t begin to describe everything that you’ll find here.
To learn about the history of Jackalope, click https://reluctantmediumatlarge.wordpress.com/2012/07/06/reluctant-medium-virtual-treasure-hunt-tour-july-8-2012/
The Shed restaurant is famous for its excellent New Mexican cuisine. But did you know that The Shed serves French bread with every meal? It also offers a decadent Italian dessert called a zabaglione, a rich custard made with Cointreau and white port. Find the shed on East Palace just steps from the Plaza.
My characters Rachel Blackstone and Chloe Valdez meet at The Shed often to solve paranormal mysteries.
Learn about the humble beginnings of The Shed at https://reluctantmediumatlarge.wordpress.com/2012/07/29/on-location-with-the-reluctant-medium-week-two/
Santa Fe is one of those places with lots nooks and crannies. Don’t be afraid to explore. You’ll miss the most beautiful places and its quirky surprises.
How is your city “weird?”
A Little Bit of Heaven on an Autumn Day
By G G Collins (Copyright 2014)
As I walked up the steps to the huge courtyard at Museum Hill, southwestern music floated across the breeze to greet me. I could almost pluck the notes from thin air. Although the open space is large between the museums, the courtyard feels intimate with beautiful desert landscaping, en plein air sculpture garden and dedicated spaces. With the Sangre de Cristos as backdrop and storm clouds adding drama but no rain, it was a perfect Santa Fe fall day.
On this excursion I wasn’t covering the museums, but please don’t let that stop you. The “Hill” is composed of the Museum of International Folk Art, Museum of Indian Arts & Culture, Wheelright Museum of the American Indian, Museum of Spanish Colonial Art and the Laboratory of Anthropology. You can stay the entire day and see them all. For a time-out, the Museum Hill Cafe provides food, drink, music and a place to rest tired feet.
Two things dominate the courtyard (also known as Milner Plaza), the Mountain Spirit Dancer by Craig Dan Goseyun. The massive bronze sculpture appears to be moving. Look at the fringe on his costume, the feathers caught up in his movement, the lightness of his feet. Throughout the courtyard the art runs from howling coyotes to mother and child. There is a performance circle included here for a cozy outdoor experience with the arts. But at the other end of the court is a labyrinth. Santa Fe is known for its many public labyrinths. This one is contemporary in style and is constructed using stones in the southwest colors of turquoise and coral. Set aside a few minutes and take a contemplative walk. Who knows what you’ll discover about yourself. There is another blog post about labyrinths at https://reluctantmediumatlarge.wordpress.com/?s=walking+meditation
I crossed the parking lot to the new-ish Santa Fe Botanical Garden. Phase 1, the
Orchard Gardens opened in July 2013. Phase 2, Ojos Y Manos: Eyes and Hands, is scheduled to debut in 2015. While wandering the grounds, notice the red bridge. Phase 2 will be beyond Kearny’s Gap Bridge.
While there, I enjoyed “Origami in the Garden” a series of metal fashioned through lost wax casting and fabrication techniques, by artist Kevin Box. Both whimsy and beauty are found in his work. From the his Rock, Paper, Scissors to Painted Ponies, they are all inspired creations with their origins in a sheet of blank paper. For more about his work: http://www.langorigami.com/art/gallery/gallery.php?tag=kevin-box
Coming up next is the GLOW, the winter lights event. It opens December 4, 2014 and runs through January 3, 2015. Along with the beautiful lights will be Santa Claus, music and hot toddies every Saturday evening. Tickets are $7 to $8 (non-members) with children 12 and under, free. To buy tickets: http://www.santafebotanicalgarden.org/events/glow/
There are many opportunities for education and community service. For more information: http://www.santafebotanicalgarden.org/about/
To reach Museum Hill and the Santa Fe Botanical Garden, take Old Santa Fe Trail southeast from the Plaza to Camino Lejo (there are Museum Hill signs along the way). Public transit is available. Please see for directions: http://indianartsandculture.org/directions
Whatever the season, Santa Fe’s Museum Hill and Botanical Garden is a little bit of desert paradise for all the senses.