Category Archives: About Santa Fe

About Santa Fe, New Mexico

Santa Fe is located in northern New Mexico. Nestled in the foothills of the beautiful Sangre de Cristo Mountains at the southern tip of the Rocky Mountains, Santa Fe has an elevation of 7,000 feet.  As a result of our high altitude desert environment, Santa Fe enjoys an average of 300 days of sunshine annually, warm days and cool nights and four full seasons.

Santa Fe is an outdoor lover’s paradise.  Nearby mountains that reach over 12,000 ft. provide local residents with downhill and cross country skiing and snowshoeing opportunities in the winter.  Abundant National Forest land and State Parks surrounding Santa Fe contain deep canyons and colorful deserts for hiking, biking, horseback riding and water sports.  It is no accident that Outside magazine has its headquarters here.  To learn more about the recreational opportunities in and around Santa Fe, visit The Public Lands Information Center.

Santa Fe is the second oldest city founded by European colonists in the United States, first inhabited by Spanish settlers in 1607 and established in 1610 as the capital of Spain’s northernmost territory.  Originally Santa Fe was called La Villa Real de la Santa Fe (The Royal City of the Holy Faith). The famous El Camino Real (the Royal Road), a 1,500 mile trade route which ended in Santa Fe’s Plaza, connected Santa Fe to Mexico City and was in use from 1598 to 1885.  Now the capital of New Mexico, Santa Fe is the oldest capital in the United States.

Long before the Spanish arrived, Pueblo Indians were living in the Rio Grande Valley in communal houses with hundreds of rooms, often four or five stories high, with earth floors, adobe walls and flat roofs held together by pine logs (also called vigas).  This method of building structures strongly influenced the settlers who came later.  Santa Fe’s rich cultural history, a blend of Native American, Spanish and Anglo influences, has led to its unique Spanish Pueblo and Territorial style architecture, which is unlike any other city in the United States.  Santa Fe’s unique architecture style is one of the reasons Santa Fe draws over 1,000,000 visitors annually.

Santa Fe’s magnificent quality of light, ever changing skies and colorful, dramatic landscape are responsible for the thriving artists’ community here.  Santa Fe is the 3rd largest art market in the United States in sales volume and boasts nearly 300 galleries and dealers.  East of the Plaza, Canyon Road has the highest concentration of art galleries in the city, and is a major destination for international collectors, tourists and locals. The Canyon Road galleries showcase a wide array of contemporary, Southwestern, Native American, and experimental art.

Not surprisingly, given the importance of art, history and culture here, Santa Fe has over a dozen major museums, mainly located near the Plaza or on Museum Hill.  If you plan to visit more than a few museums, consider buying one of several multi-day, multi-museum passes.  For instance, currently you can buy an $18  Museum Pass good for 4 days of unlimited visits to the Museum of Fine Arts, the Palace of the Governors, the Museum of Indian Arts & Culture, the Museum of International Folk Art and the Museum of Spanish Colonial Art.  Also available is the CulturePass, currently $25, which allows the holder to visit each of  New Mexico’s 14 state museums and monuments once during a 12-month period.

Opera buffs will enjoy the Santa Fe Opera, which many rank as the second best opera company in the United States, behind only the Metropolitan Opera in New York. Established in 1957 and housed in an architecturally stunning, partially open air amphitheater surrounded by panoramic vistas, it consistently draws famed directors, conductors and singers.  The opera season typically runs from the beginning of July to late August.

The Lensic Theater, located at 211 West San Francisco Street, is an 821 seat theater which was completely restored and renovated between 1999 and 2001, and provides Santa Fe and Northern New Mexico with a modern venue for the performing arts.  The Metropolitan Opera’s live simulcast performances are shown at the Lensic Theater.

With a population of approximately 70,000 people, Santa Fe combines many of the benefits of small town life and wide-open spaces with access to cultural events normally associated with much larger cities.

One of many works of outdoor art displayed in downtown Santa Fe

Traveling to Santa Fe  American Eagle flies three daily roundtrip services between Dallas/Fort Worth and the Santa Fe Airport and one daily flight between Santa Fe and Los Angeles International Airport.

Many visitors traveling by air to Santa Fe fly into Albuquerque, New Mexico first and then make the one hour drive north to Santa Fe either by car or by shuttle.  Sandia Shuttle offers convenient, frequent shuttle services between most Santa Fe hotels, motels and bed & breakfasts and Albuquerque International Airport.

The Santa Fe International Folk Art Market

The largest international folk art festival in the world, in 2012 150 artists from 54 countries participated and over 20,000 people attended the Market.

The Market showcases master craftsmanship passed down through families, generations, and cultures: colorful beaded jewelry from Kenya; gorgeous silk scarves from Kyrgyzstan; exquisite ceramics from France.

Many of the artists come from developing countries, where the average income is less than $3 a day and where political, social, and environmental hardships can make everyday life-not to mention the creation of art-challenging.  In the past nine years, artists at the Market have earned more than $14 million dollars.  In 2011, 90 percent of the Market’s $2.3 million in sales went directly to the artists, or an average of $17,300 per booth.

The proceeds earned at previous Markets have helped to build schools, wells, and health clinics in a number of Third World countries. They have, for example, brought food, clothing, and medical care to Sudanese refugee camps, AIDS support to South Africa, and financial independence for Afghan women.

That’s a powerful bottom line: One weekend in Santa Fe provides artists the financial ability to radically improve their lives and their communities. Actor Ali MacGraw-a longtime Santa Fe resident and supporter of the arts-calls it “monumental money.”

One young Afghan weaver who sells intricately hand embroidered scarves and shawls is now able to afford to send her sisters to school. A 38-year old grandmother from a remote village in Madagascar was able to provide basic electricity and water to her village. A Rwandan basket weaver supplied women with a home garden and mosquito nets; and Maasai beaders from Kenya were able to buy chickens to feed villagers during a terrible drought. A Niger silversmith made enough money at last year’s market to buy three months’ worth of food for over 500 people in nearby villages. The money a Haitian artist earned from her dream-inspired sequin flags helped support her extended family that was left homeless after the devastating earthquake of 2010.

More than 97 percent of participating Market artists come from developing countries, where per capita annual incomes range from $250 to $1,500. “Many of these artists grapple daily with political, social, and environmental challenges in their home countries,” points out Judith Espinar, Creative Director and Co-Founder of the Market. “Yes, the Market makes a real difference in their lives, and at the same time they touch our lives in so many important ways.”

It is this sharing, the cultural interchange, that makes the Market such a unique event. The benefits of the Market flow both to the artists and to visitors, who not only discover wonderful (and often very affordable) artwork at the Market but also remarkable stories. Browsing at the Market often leads to encounters with the artists and a clearer understanding of world conditions.

In addition, visitors can enjoy exotic food as well as live, free world music on several stages, ranging from Latin rock to Japanese Shigin chanting. The Market represents, in other words, a readily affordable weekend of global experiences and connections, an overseas trip without the overseas plane fare.

The Market is held at Milner Plaza, next to the world-famous Museum of  International Folk Art. Please see the website for ticket prices and details:

This article is a compliation of past press releases from the Santa Fe International Folk Art Market.

Biscochitos – New Mexico State Cookie is Seasonal Favorite

Biscochitos served at the La Fonda Hotel in Santa Fe, NM by Ashley Parrish, Tulsa World

SANTA FE, N.M.  -  In a town known for upscale New Mexican cuisine, the best holiday dishes might be the simplest.

By:  Ashley Parrish, World Scene Editor, Tulsa World, published 12/18/11.  This article was syndicated from the Tulsa World, click here for the original article.

Tamales are traditional. Cover them in red and green chile and they’re even called “Christmas-style,” although the term is used year-round.

And then there are Biscochitos.

Home cooks and bakers alike make batches of the thin shortbread cookies at Christmas. Diamonds, rounds, they come in all shapes. But they’re always mildly flavored with anise seeds and liquor and are finished in cinnamon sugar.

The state cookie of New Mexico is traditionally made with lard, and many natives won’t stand for substitutes. But this recipe from the Santa Fe Cooking School allows for vegetable shortening. It won’t be quite as traditional but is still delicious.

Holiday Biscochitos

Makes 4 to 5 dozen cookies

1 pound (2 cups) lard or vegetable shortening
1  1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons toasted anise seeds
6 cups flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup brandy

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

2. Cream the lard, or shortening. Add sugar, eggs and anise seeds and cream again. Mix dry ingredients separately and combine with the shortening mixture. Add the brandy and mix thoroughly.

3. Roll the dough out on a floured surface and cut into desired shapes. Sprinkle the cookie shapes with the sugar-cinnamon mixture and bake for 12 to 15 minutes until lightly browned.

-  Courtesy Santa Fe School of Cooking

Journalist Willa Cather gained fame with fictional account of state’s past

Photo by Nickolas Muray, Courtesy Palace of the Governors Photo Archives (NMHM/DCA), No. 111734

By Jason Strykowski |

Posted: Saturday, December 04, 2010  This article was syndicated from the New Mexican, click here for a text of the original article.
It took a journalist to write one of New Mexico’s most famed pieces of fictional literature. And, not surprisingly, Willa Cather focused on Santa Fe history.

Cather was born in 1873 in Virginia and moved to Nebraska. She spent much of her youth and early career as a newspaper editor and writer, penning articles for numerous publications. She also wrote dozens of shorts stories before publishing her first novel in 1912.

Cather’s next few books, including the classics O Pioneers! and My Ántonia, turned her into one of America’s most noted authors. One of her books, in fact, may even have inspired sections of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s epochal The Great Gatsby.

Perhaps her most respected novel, Death Comes for the Archbishop, grew out of Cather’s fascination with New Mexico and the Southwest. Since childhood, Cather had devoured magazine articles on the Southwest, with its unique landscape and characters. In 1925, by then a successful writer, Cather visited New Mexico to research “her priests” and their homes.

Cather threw herself wholeheartedly into her reading on real-life Catholic luminaries Jean-Baptiste Lamy, Antonio José Martinez and Joseph Machebeuf. Her research took her around the state as she visited Acoma, Taos, Alcalde, Abiquiú and the village of Lamy. In Santa Fe, she stayed at La Fonda, just feet from the cathedral where the real Lamy once toiled.

Even though she was still in the process of editing her last book, Cather returned to New Mexico a year later. This time she stayed with trendsetting New Mexican writer Mary Austin. Cather used Austin’s New Mexico cabin as a writer’s retreat before returning to the East Coast to finish the book in a surprisingly short period of time.

While writing, Cather took recorded history as mere suggestion, a dangerous decision in light of her use of real names. While she created fictitious pseudonyms for Lamy and Machebeuf, Martinez was represented in the novel under his actual name, as was the pulp hero Kit Carson. Cather also based much of the novel on inaccurate reports tied to these men.

Even without fictionalization, Jean-Baptiste Lamy’s life story seemed the stuff of legend. A French-born and trained priest, Lamy traveled to the United States while still in his youth. A decade after his arrival, the Vatican, hoping to take advantage of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, assigned Lamy to the newly created provisional diocese of New Mexico.

Lamy found numerous obstacles in Santa Fe. The clergy already installed in New Mexico refused to recognize the reorganization of the diocese or Lamy’s leadership. Several priests butted heads with Lamy repeatedly over issues such as clerical lifestyles and the institution of tithes. Lamy also took on a larger cross-section of the New Mexican populace as he attempted to disband the Penitentes. Dying in 1888, Lamy never actually witnessed the partial completion of, perhaps, his greatest accomplishment — the cathedral that still stands in the center of Santa Fe.

The conflict and racial overtones in Lamy’s history perfectly fueled Cather’s imagination. Through Lamy, Cather could explore the processes of cultural transformation, empire and colonization as New Mexico changed from a Mexican province to an American territory.

In the summer of 1927, the novel appeared in serial form. Knopf followed up that fall, releasing Death Comes for the Archbishop as a book. It met not only with popular interest, but also with critical acclaim. The American Academy of Arts and Letters presented Cather with the prestigious Howell’s Medal for the best American novel. More distinctions soon followed as Cather received honorary degrees from Yale, Columbia, the University of California at Berkeley and Princeton.

Before her death in 1947, Cather published two more novels and a compilation of short stories. Her final book, The Old Beauty and the Others was published just after her death.

Since its publication, Death Comes for the Archbishop has remained on the short list of classic American literature. Time magazine placed the book on its list of the 100 best English-language novels. The Modern Library ranks the book 61st on their catalog of 100 novels.

Panel winnows down applicants for folk art market

Anne Constable | The New Mexican
Posted: Monday, November 22, 2010.  This article was syndicated from The New Mexican, click here for the original article.

2011 Algerian Berber Culture jewelry application from Karim Oukid Ouksel

Judy Espinar, a founder of the Santa Fe International Folk Art Market, called this event the “heart of the market.”

It is the three days in late November when a selection committee meets to evaluate the hundreds of applications received from around the globe and choose those artists who will be invited to Santa Fe for the popular July event.

The process ensures the work for sale is authentic and of the highest quality, and, Espinar said, “Without it we would not have succeeded.”

The stakes are high for these artists, some of whom have never left their villages. Earnings from the market can — and have — meant they can send children to school, pay for health insurance or pipe fresh drinking water into their communities. In one case, an Afghan co-op used some of its market revenue to train female beggars in traditional embroidery, enabling them to earn income safely at home, and, they say, removing them from the streets of Kandahar.

Being chosen for the market — the largest of its kind in the world — is also a validation of the artists’ skills and the value of their work in preserving and sustaining the culture of their communities.

This year, 403 artists or artist cooperatives submitted applications. Under the direction of Suzanne Seriff, a committee of six experts, many with doctoral degrees, evaluated them, looking for a geographic balance, a wide choice of genres and prices, and a 60-40 ratio of new artists to returning ones.

2011 application from Ukraine: pottery by Golovko Mykhailo

The market is always looking for new work to keep visitors interested in coming back, while continuing to present the art of masters that marketgoers expect. Looking to enhance the visitors’ experience, it also has a preference for applications in which the artist plans to be present in Santa Fe, as opposed to a dealer or nonprofit representative.

Some applications are rejected outright because of shoddy workmanship or because the committee does not believe the work would sell here. “Quality and marketability are essential,” Seriff said. “If we thought something would not sell, we would not approve bringing it here.”

Applications are also turned down because the design, materials or form are not traditional. The market doesn’t accept Western clothing, even if it is made from traditional textiles, or trinkets like cell phone covers or eyeglass holders, although it does approve of items like place mats and table runners that might originally have had other uses.

Other times it’s a close call. One application from Kyrgyzstan was still being discussed Sunday. The design (the sacred symbol of mother deer) of the shawl was expertly rendered in felt, sandwiched on either side of a layer of silk cloth.

“It’s a delicate balance,” market director Charlene Cerny said. “We don’t want to put folk art under a bell jar.”

But a company that is keeping indigo dyeing alive in a Malinese village — accepted last year after a long debate — was rejected for 2011 because the artisans are now using linen cloth that they didn’t weave themselves.

So too a Nigerian painter. “I’d love to have his work on my wall, but it’s not traditional art,” said Diana Baird N’Diaye, a committee member from the Smithsonian Institution.

One of the first-time applications that was accepted came from Association Sahalandy, a group of silk weavers in the highlands of Madagascar who make hand-woven, naturally dyed scarves, bed covers, tablecloths and other products, ranging from $35 to $150.

2011 applicant from Indonesia: Ni Wayan Widiarmini; beaded baskets

A former Peace Corps volunteer from the area, who is now a small-enterprise development volunteer, helped the women prepare their application, which requires a detailed description of how the folk art is made. Their process is laborious.

“First, cocoons are sliced at one end to remove the pupa. They are then turned inside out and stacked on top of each other over a peg. Once bundled, they are boiled for a couple of hours and then rinsed. Afterward, the silk is thrown onto brick walls and dried in the sun. The clumps are then pulled into large balls to be spun.” The yarn is then dyed using tree bark (deep red), mud (black) mushrooms (yellow) and other natural resources.

Some applicants might lose out because their category is particularly competitive — African baskets, for example — but the odds are better in other genres, like ceramics, wood and leather, which are more threatened around the world.

Although giving young people a reason to continue to make traditional folk art is a “huge issue” for the market, in the words of Baird N’Diaye, applying is not easy — nor is it meant to be. Artists must complete an eight-page form (in triplicate) and submit five to 10 high-quality, clearly labeled photographs of each distinct type of folk art they would be bringing to market, as well as three photographs of each artist who will attend. Some applications are fairly slick, others are handwritten in broken English. In Kyrgyzstan, a travel agent supplements her living by helping people prepare the forms.

Applicants are responsible for obtaining their own passports and visas — although the market provides them with advice on how to go about it — and arranging to ship their artwork.

“They have to be ambitious enough to get here,” noted Cerny. “But a wide variety of people somehow find a way.”

The application includes a section on artistic and cultural information in which applicants are asked to explain how they learned to make the folk art, its history, how it represents their community’s cultural traditions and how the work is used in daily life or for special occasions. The market also asks applicants to tell their personal stories and how art fits into their lives.

Each member of the committee does the initial review of applications from a particular part of the world. But the final decisions are made by majority vote (consensus was found to be too difficult) of the entire committee.

The scorecard, or matrix, rates the applications on artistic quality, marketability, traditionality of form or final product, and traditionality of design or materials, as well as on whether the production process is rooted in tradition, how the artistic knowledge was acquired and the community use of the item. There’s also a place to check whether the artist has a compelling story.

Rejection letters explain the reason the applicant was turned down but invite artists to contact Seriff for a more complete explanation. Many do, she said.

So far, the 2011 market looks new and fresh, said Espinar, who observed the process last weekend. And she expects that will continue for a long time to come because “we have the world. There’s no end to it.”

2011 dates: July, 8, 9, 10

2010 Market Facts

132 artists from 50 countries

22,167 people attended

$2.1 million in artists’ sales

$13.5 million in local spending by visitors (outside of Market)

$16.1 million estimated total economic impact

1,600 volunteers

Artist applications

2011: 403

2010: 361

New artists:

2011: 57 percent

2010: 48 percent

Artists requesting financial assistance:

2011: 31 percent

2010: 28 percent

Countries represented:

2011: 63; 2010: 63

Countries with most applicants:

2011: Uzbekistan, 66; Mexico, 45

2010: Uzbekistan, 71; Mexico, 43

Artist Selection Committee

Suzanne Seriff, senior lecturer, Department of Anthropology, University of Texas at Austin

Diana Baird N’Diaye, Smithsonian Institution, Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage, Africa

Barbara C. Anderson, director of museum resources, New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs, Mexico

Marsha C. Bol, director of the Museum of International Folk Art, Latin America

Felicia Katz-Harris, curator of Asian and Middle Eastern collections, Museum of International Folk Art, Asia, Middle East, Europe

Melinne Owen, artist, volunteer, China, Tibet, Mongolia, Uzbekistan

The People’s House: 1 Mansion Drive

This article was syndicated from the The New Mexican, click here for the original article

By: Robin Jones | For The New Mexican
Posted: Saturday, July 26, 2008

What do Princess Grace of Monaco and Ted Nugent have in common? They both were guests at the New Mexico Governor’s Mansion, enjoying the magnificent view of the Ski Basin, the city lights and, over drinks and dinner, memorable Santa Fe sunsets.

They and other visitors, both local and international, have admired the house, artwork, and grounds — and so can everyone else. The Governor’s Mansion is a place of beauty and history to be shared by all.

1 Mansion Drive has been the home to the governors of New Mexico and their families since 1955. Docent Ed Benrock notes this is the third official residence, the first being the Palace of the Governors on the Plaza (the oldest public building in America) and the second being a residence downtown near the Capitol.

The Palace of the Governors was built in the early 1600s as a series of governmental buildings spanning the north side of the Plaza. It was inhabited by New Mexico’s various governments until the 1880s. By then, it was badly in need of repair. In his biography Lamy of Santa Fe, Paul Horgan notes a “progressive movement” sought to tear down the old adobe structure and erect a newer, more modern look. Archbishop Lamy added his voice to the many opposing such a move. In 1909, the historic building became a museum.

In the early 1900s, the governor was housed at 424 Galisteo St., near the capitol building. (A new capitol building had been erected in 1886 but burned down mysteriously in 1892. The Federal Court House was the temporary home for legislation until 1900, when the structure that became the Bataan Building was established as the capitol.)

This second governor’s mansion looked a bit like Tara, from Gone With The Wind, with big white columns fronting the main entrance. The grounds were filled with shrubs and flowers — of special note was the dahlia garden and the fish pond. The mansion — filled with beautiful furniture, pets, parties, dances, and, when the children were young and lively, escapades — provided a comfortable home for the governors and their families for more than 30 years.

But by the early 1940s, the house was becoming decrepit, the foundation was sagging, the wiring was unsafe, the plumbing lamentable. According to Eunice Kalloch and Ruth T. Hall’s The First Ladies of New Mexico, one of then-Gov. Edwin Mechem’s children announced, “The place stinks!” And, unfortunately, it did; the basement had flooded.

It wasn’t until 1950, however, that the Legislature allowed funds of $100,000 for the construction of a new residence. In the meantime, a house on Old Pecos Trail served as the executive residence. The land for the new mansion was donated by former Gov. John Dempsey (1943-1947) up on Bishops Lodge Road, and the house was finished in 1955. This was the age of the automobile and the governor no longer had to walk or ride a horse to work; it now was acceptable for the governor to live away from the Capitol.

Opened by Dee Johnson

The current governor’s mansion is a modified territorial style with wide windows, deep portals and brick cornices. Like most New Mexico houses, it expanded as more room was needed and like many New Mexico houses, it doesn’t have halls, just new rooms attached directly onto the standing structure. The first family to live there was that of John F. and Ruth Simms; in residence with the governor and first lady were their five children, a cat, several dogs, horses and a burro.

The current house is 12,000 square feet divided between the public area, the private living quarters, a guest area and security. It sits on 30 acres. The original donation was 10 acres, with the increase in land both donated or purchased. The grounds include a tennis court and stables, but no swimming pool — a good thing in a drought-conscious area such as Santa Fe.

The mansion is maintained by the New Mexico Governor’s Mansion Foundation, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization “whose responsibility is for the design, furnishings and perpetual upkeep of the public areas of the Mansion.”

The house became more than a home when the mansion was opened to the public by Dee Johnson. Visitors range from those on a mission — to see every governor’s mansion in the country — to school children on assignment, to visitors who are so taken with the residence and its docent staff they come back to visit — sometimes with cookies.

The tour

1 Mansion Drive is New Mexico — full of culture, history, art and the personal touches of the families who have lived in it. As you walk into the foyer, you pass over the New Mexico seal — a Mexican eagle grasping a snake in its beak, shielded by the American eagle, which grips three arrows — on a rug ordered by Jerry and Clara Apodaca (1975-1979). Art on loan from individuals, galleries and museums is on all the walls. On a small table to the side sits a porcelain bowl, a present from then-President Bill Clinton to Bill Richardson.

To the left of the foyer is the mansion director’s office. Straight ahead is the living room decorated in tones of beige, cream and clay; it’s a long, broad area with a grand piano, couches, fireplace, and again, art everywhere.

First lady Barbara Richardson enjoys eclectic art and has furnished much of the residence with objects from the New Mexico Folk Art Museum. A marble table from the Belen marble quarry is situated in the middle of a cowhide rug, both representing New Mexico enterprises. Black clay burnished pots from Christine Naranjo and Mary Cain are at one end of the room; at the other end is a century-old Apache basket made of sumac.

The dining room is grand and its ceiling boasts painted vigas planned by E.D. Shaeffer, who saw the design on a castle in Madrid, Spain.

The dining room table is a host’s dream — locally made from pine, it can comfortably seat 22. The Richardsons have dinner here when they are both home, dining on Lennox china, Wallace flatware and Fostoria glassware, all provided by the Mansion Foundation.

Overhead, a tin chandelier by Gary Blank illuminates the table, while a Gregory Lomayesva sculpture stands on a nearby pedestal. Docent Nancy Flint points out the oldest piece in the house, a side table from South America.

The dining room was not originally part of the house; in the late 1950s an outside portal was enclosed as the residence was used more and more for state entertainment.

The kitchen is large, as befits a governor’s mansion and its entertaining. Former first lady Clara Apodaca remembers feeding her brood of five there. “One thing we always tried to do was have dinner in the large round table in the kitchen with the children; that was important to us,” she said. “We might go to an event afterward but we always tried to have that family time.”

The large table has been moved out of the room, replaced by a cozy kitchen table at which Barbara Richardson frequently lunches, chatting with cook Lupe Jackson and executive chef Marianne Deery. On the wall above the table hangs a gift from the Zuni High School graduating class of 2006, a blue clock that minds time for governor, family and staff.

Passing through the kitchen into the den, one is surrounded by New Mexico art and gifts. Large paisley velvet lounging chairs rest atop an abstract rug by Joan Wiseman from The University of New Mexico, so that one can comfortably view a painting by Cliff (Bill) Schenck, a one-time student of Andy Warhol’s.

Nearby, in startling contrast to these governor-sized chairs, is a small wooden chair, which Ed Benrock says would fit the normal-sized person of New Mexico 200 years or so ago. It looks like a child’s chair now, and Ed emphasizes the different health and age expectancy for today’s New Mexican citizens compared to those who used to sit in that chair.

On the wall is a sketch of horse figures by Luis Jiménez; on another wall is a bulto of Santa Librada by Jose Ortega. And in another corner — every child’s delight — is a large woolly lamb, made by Felipe Archuleta, to remind visitors that New Mexico is also sheep country, not just cattle country. Two needlepoint pillows, made by the Needle Point Society of New Mexico, are propped against a couch.

Private quarters

The private quarters for the governor and family which are exactly that — private — to supply some much-needed peace and quiet to the residents. The rooms go through renovations with every new occupant, as each new governor and spouse have different needs for family, offices, studios, pets or libraries.

Moving in is hardly peaceful and quiet, though.

“I had been to the Governor’s Mansion before but I had not been given an extended tour, so I was not really prepared when we moved into the mansion on December 31, 1974,” Clara Apodaca remembers. “We were all packed up and ready but the mansion wasn’t ready for us. The carpets were still wet from being cleaned. Now, it’s customary that the governor gets sworn in at the mansion at midnight. So our first day at the mansion meant that we began entertaining, probably over 500 people that first day. And the second day was all the people from out of town after the inauguration.”

Barbara Richardson recalls her moving-in experiences: “The Johnsons were very kind and gave both of us a tour of the mansion in mid-December of 2002. Dee gave me suggestions on how she personally dealt with issues relating to the mansion and its upkeep. It took a while to move in because the private area was totally unfurnished. It had been renovated during the Johnson term and they brought in their own furniture for the remainder of their time there.

“Bill and I bought furniture for the space,” she adds, “which we have given to the state for future occupants. We also mixed in our own furniture, books and things from the sale of our house which we’ll take with us when we move.”

The Richardsons are known for establishing an elegant and patriotic air to their home within the mansion. They especially enjoy using the backyard during the summer and fall. And they share personal touches throughout the public part of the house — photographs of a relaxed and smiling Bill and Barbara Richardson, arm in arm; art from their private collection; and Bill Richardson’s prize, a guitar signed by band members of the Eagles.

The mansion has hosted a wide variety of guests.

“We had parties for our own children, but also many functions of being Governor and First Lady,” Clara Apodaca says. “One of my favorite memories was when Princess Grace and Prince Rainier of Monaco came to town. They brought their three children, and our children were there, so the kids all got together and played in the backyard. We sat and had margaritas and dinner. We toasted, we exchanged gifts, and the princess and I had a wonderful time talking about the arts.”

Mansion made available

Mary Brophy has served as mansion director since the start of Gov. Richardson’s second term. She’s in charge of all activities involving the public aspect of the mansion, from buildings and grounds maintenance to contract work and event planning. With all that on her plate, she says, it’s pretty much “go, go, go!”

While all the work is satisfying, she enjoys the events the most, she says. “My favorite events are those which involve children. They get such a thrill out of being here.”

But even more satisfying, she says, is the staff and the governor and first lady. “We all work so well together, and governor and Mrs. Richardson are so gracious to us. They make it clear that we, the staff, are the stars of this place; we always feel appreciated.

From 1950 on, diplomats from North Korea to Britain, movie stars, business executives, artists, writers, newscasters and newsmakers have passed through the mansion doors and enjoyed its hospitality. “Everyone who comes here has a good time,” Brophy says, “whether they’re taking a tour or someone famous.”

Barbara Richardson noted that while the house is the residence of the governor, “it is also a public building, which people feel privileged to use for their special occasions or just to visit.” To this end, the mansion has been made available to community groups and local events, from the Lady Lobos to a Girl Scout Reception for Distinguished Women.

In a 2004 news release, Gov. Richardson declared that “the mansion was meant to be a place to showcase New Mexico, a place to promote our state and our people. It is the people’s house.”

Honey of a season: Beekeepers celebrate fruitful fall harvest

This article is syndicated from the The New Mexican, click here for original article.

By Julie Ann Grimm | The New Mexican Posted: Sunday, October 24, 2010 This

Northern New Mexico beekeepers celebrating a successful year - Natalie Guillén/The New Mexican

By this time each autumn, Santa Fe’s honeybees are hiding out.  They’ll spend the winter hunkered down, eating the food they were busy making all summer.

Other honey-eaters see it as a season to celebrate. This weekend, dozens of members of the Sangre de Cristo Beekeepers met to swap tastes of honey.

“It’s good to have a good year,” explained veteran beekeeper Les Crowder. “Last year, I had bees in Santa Fe that produced zero honey.”

Crowder arrived at the gathering with some of this year’s bounty from his 150 to 200 hives located across the region, including two jars of honey that were as different as night and day, but came from hives a few hundred feet apart.

One was such a dark shade of brown that it hinted at black, the other a pale cream color that only hinted at yellow.

“It looks like chocolate or Guinness,” said Ken Bowers, who has two live colonies of honeybees near his Eldorado home.

“It has a very strong taste, a good taste,” said Crowder, guessing the bees that made it frequently visited the orange flowers of the globe mallow.

Some types of honey at the Sangre de Cristo Beekeepers tasting - Natalie Guillén/The New Mexican

What the bees eat is only one part of what makes variety in honey, said taster Liz Clow, who plunged a toothpick into each jar to gather a small blob.

“It’s awesome to taste them. They are all so good,” she said. “It really gets my brain going. Is it because of how happy they are? The light? What they eat?”

“Whoa Nelly! What is that? Wow,” came out of Norma Jones’ mouth after someone plopped a new jar onto the table.

Another tasted tart and of maple. Others were amber, fruity, like caramel or the color of champagne. Their labels read “Lamy Liquor” and “Las Campanas Wildflower.”

“It’s kind of like a wine tasting. Here, everyone is trying to come up with adjectives,” said Kate Whealen, one of the group’s more experienced beekeepers who serves as a mentor to others.

The ancient craft of domestic beekeeping seems to be a popular hobby, judging by the crowd at the tasting party. It’s what “bee-ginner” Fran Nicholson predicts is “the next chichi thing, like cigar bars.” She got into the hobby after bees inhabited a wall near her home last year. Having them in a constructed hive that allows for easy harvesting is “an amazing journey,” she said.

Charles Brunn echoed that later.

“First there was running, and then there was Pilates, and now there is beekeeping,” he said.

A construction contractor, Brunn caught the buzz when someone asked him to build hives about three years ago. Now he has colonies in the yard and another hive on the roof of his home on Don Diego Avenue near downtown.

“They are really cool little critters, and it’s very calming to have them in the yard when I come home. They are very gentle. Our cat sleeps on top of the hive in the summer,” Brunn said.

Andrew Hoffman got into bees after his wife rejected another idea.

“He wanted a goat and I didn’t want a goat. So I wanted to get him into something else,” said Brooke Lange. “I bought him a bunch of books about beekeeping.”

Now the family has a few hives at their home off Tano Road. Even though there are few wildflowers there, Hoffman said the colony appears to collect nectar at a vacant lot next door, where alfalfa grows.

“The bees know how to take care of themselves, and they are kind of contained and they do their own thing,” Lange said.

Bees from a single hive can produce up to 50 pounds of honey on a good year, like this one, or zero to 10 pounds during a summer like 2008.

Crowder, who has been beekeeping for 35 years, said he’s not sure why honey production was so low in the region that summer, but he suspects the weather pattern was to blame.

The trend of family beekeeping in Northern New Mexico is different from the conditions when he started off in the industry. Twenty years ago, he said, there were a handful of commercial beekeepers who had 2,000 to 3,000 hives each and who employed a variety of pesticides as part of regular operations.

Today’s small-scale practices are much healthier for people and for the bees, he said.

Santa Fe Guacamole


  •  2-3 medium to large-sized avocados, halved and seeded
  •  3 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
  •  1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  •  1/3  cup red onion, finely chopped
  •  1 jalapeño chile, seeded and finely chopped
  •  1 small tomato, seeded and chopped small
  •  1/3 cup cilantro, finely chopped
  •  Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


Cut each avocado in half. Remove the skin and seed and cut into 1/2-inch cubes.

Place all of the ingredients into a mixing bowl, season with salt and pepper and toss until all the ingredients are incorporated and the avocado is lightly mashed.  This guacamole is best when served on the chunky side.

Maria’s 100-Percent Agave House Margarita

Makes 1 margarita

  • 1 lemon wedge
  • A saucer of kosher salt (about 1/4 -inch deep)
  • 1  3/4 ounces Jose Cuervo Traditional 100-percent agave tequila
  • 1 ounce Bols triple sec
  • 1  1/2 ounces freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Ice

Run lemon wedge around the rim of hurricane-style margarita glass. Dip rim of glass into saucer of salt, rotating rim in salt until desired amount collects on glass.

Measure tequila, triple sec and lemon juice into 16-ounce cocktail shaker glass full of ice. Place stainless steel cocktail lid over shaker glass, tapping top to create seal. Shake vigorously about 5 seconds. Pour, ice and all, into salt-rimmed glass. To serve the margarita “up,” simply strain liquid from ice into flat margarita glass. Serve immediately.


Red Chile Sauce with Meat

Makes about 6 cups

  • 1/2 pound lean ground beef, preferably coarse ground
  • 3/4 cup dried ground red chile, preferably Chimayò, other New Mexican red or ancho
  • 1 tablespoon minced white onion
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch, dissolved in 2 tablespoons water

Brown beef over medium heat in high-sided skillet until pink color is gone. Add chile, onion, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, salt and black pepper; stir to combine. Pour water slowly into skillet while continuing to stir. Break up any lumps of chile. Continue stirring sauce and when it is warmed through, add cornstarch.

Bring mixture to boil; reduce heat to simmer. Cook about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Completed sauce should coat a spoon thickly and not taste of raw cornstarch. If it becomes too thick, add more water. Serve sauce warm with enchildas, burritos or other dishes. Red chile sauce freezes well. Add extra water when reheating.