A Day in the ‘Fe

Santa Fe is a good place to take your mom. No matter what kind of mom you have… hiking mom, spa mom, margarita mom, hippie mom, art mom, museum mom, all the moms, they all like Santa Fe. Our impromptu trip 4th of July trip to the Grand Canyon (stay tuned to the Albi for more on that!) was a tough act to follow, so this weekend I took my mom to Santa Fe.
My mom has been here before, a lot. She tells a story about a pet mouse (belonging to my aunt, I believe) that they took pet parade during fiesta, and I have my memories too, running around on the plaza outside my grandfather’s office, going to the opera, and eating lunch with my grandma at the Palace Café. My grandparents had a ranch with horses, in Northern New Mexico, so through my childhood mind’s eye, this grown up Santa Fe place, with the opera and fancy dinner was really just an obstacle between me and the zenith of my summer when I could finally feed my horse some sugar cubes.
On this day in the Fe, I kept it simple. Trying to find parking near the Plaza, on International Folk Art Festival day was a disaster. The San Miguel Mission church appeared to be closed for renovations. Burt’s Burger Bowl is now apparently closed on Sunday, but on the mission church front I saved the day, when I realized I’d parked right behind the Santuario de Guadalupe with its larger-than-life patron saint in front.
Standing by the statue I realized the pleasant banjo music I was hearing was coming from the patio at the Cowgirl. After spending five years in Austin Texas, fake country doesn’t do it for me, so I was a bit concerned with the level of kitsch, but the Cowgirl delivered. For busy tourist spot, on a high season weekend, our waiter was very genuine and sweet and my favorite margarita (Herradura silver and Cointreau) was on special.
The Cowgirl does a lot of things, BBQ or New Mexican food, music, margaritas, beer and the Cowgirl does em well. The smoky red chile sauce on my chicken, blue corn (stacked!) enchiladas had just enough barbeque flavor to remind me of riding my bike to the Green Mesquite and the country twang of the band and cold Lone Star longnecks reminded me of the Horseshoe Lounge, but not to fear, there was still plenty of New Mexcio green chile on mom’s cheeseburger.
After our lunch we savored a margarita on the patio, and then headed out to Galisteo. I don’t remember why, but for some reason I thought there was something interesting in Galisteo, and there may very well be, but we didn’t find it. A historical marker and a sign pointing toward Madrid showed us the way home. The drive from Santa Fe to Madrid on Hwy 14 is always a favorite of mine. After a day on the Plaza, I find it far more palatable than fighting the road rage on I-25 and the Mine Shaft Tavern is a fun place to take a break and watch the motorcycles go by.
From funky Madrid, it’s just a few more minutes to the turn off to Sandia Crest and then to I-40 home, but the road twists and turns among the foothills displaying panoramic scenes of the Sandias to the west, the Sangre de Cristos far to the north and the estancia stretching for miles to the east below.

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