Miss Bee’s Bolivar Buzz

Shannon WilliamsBy Shannon Williams
There are places that become special to you in that you have a special feeling when you are there. Santa Fe, New Mexico has always held a very special place in my heart. I first visited in the early 90’s. I don’t know what it was but I just felt alive in Santa Fe. The air always seems to be crisp and I would love to go in the winter when the smell of pinon was everywhere from people burning it in their fire places. The food and art go hand in hand touching each and every one of your senses. It is just a place unlike any other. For years, my retirement plan was to retire to Santa Fe, but that was another time and another life.

I went at least once a year for about 20 years and some years went several times each year. I got to attend a few conventions and meetings in Santa Fe. For a couple of years, I would have businesses in Albuquerque and would always make time for a quick trip to enjoy a weekend. The years of 1999 and 2000 were difficult for me due to a divorce. I discovered a trip to celebrate the turn of the century on a computer I was sharing with my ex husband and just assumed that we were returning to “our place” for this occasion. Well I was mistaken, as the trip was not for me and thus Santa Fe was no longer the happy place it had always been for me, it just held too many memories and dreams. I still made a day trip when I was close, mostly to go to the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum.

My cousin who has been one of my traveling buddies for more years than either of us can recall, had never been and kept “bugging “me to take her. This had been a conversation for the past several years, but I just did not want to. Well, she finally called and said she had a place to stay for a week using her points and could also rent the car with points she had. She knows I always have a stash of Southwest points, so she was not taking no for an answer!

We met in the Albuquerque airport, as she lives on the West Coast, and the adventure began! It all came back to me in no time, but the memories were not painful and I had a great time taking her to places I had been before. Several were no longer there or not at the level they once were, so we tried new places. We spent the first morning at the O’Keeffe museum and it was wonderful. I saw my first exhibit of her work in the 80’s and while I do not pretend to be an art scholar, I just love work, the story of her life and just anything about her. We walked the square and stopped in at just about every store, not that either of us needed anything or had room in our homes for one more thing! The prices have always been high, but they are really out of sight these days. We took our time and had great interactions with the shopkeepers and the gallery workers.

We had dinner at Gabriel’s which in about 20 minutes outside of Santa Fe, near the Santa Fe Opera House. It has a great setting, always make sure to eat outside on the patio and order the guacamole, as they make it table side and it just tastes so good. They had a red snapper taco on the menu and I just had to try it and it was very tasty. We met a high school friend for Brunch at a little hole in the wall, and WOW was it good! Then off to get a massage. I had always gone to Ten Thousand Waves which is a Japanese mountain hot spring spa. Well its prices were just out of site, so we tried a new place and got great massages for a good price.

The highlight of the trip was attending a cooking class at the Santa Fe School of Cooking! I had never gotten a chance to do that in prior trips even though is has been in business for about 30 years. What a fun time we had. We learned all about Chilis and made three different salsas. It was the start of Hatch Chili season, so we learn a great deal about them. More food, more art, we spent most of one day going up and down Canyon Road, which has over 100 art galleries! We found time for naps and had great long talks, as only cousins can do.

Prior to going to the airport, we stopped at a farmer’s market and stocked up on fresh hatch chilis and more than a few spices. I have already roasted most of the chilis and made the hubby a green chili egg burrito one morning after I got back. I have plans to put my new chili knowledge to good use!

I was so glad that I went on the trip, it renewed my soul and I so enjoyed the time with my cousin. Both of our mothers are in their 90’s, so it was good to share how we both are coping with an aging parent. She is the daughter of my father’s sister and her mother is the one who introduced my parents while they were all at college in San Francisco. The memories of the prior visit have found their way into good memories and I only had a brief moment of melancholy! I have included a picture of the view while we were eating at Gabriel’s.


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