, , , , , , , , ,

Spring Break Road Trip to New Mexico

Friday, April 7, 2017 Leave a Comment

Guest post by Mindee Forman

We've been in our house for about three years now and still have pretty bare walls. To remedy the situation, we decided to spend our spring break this year in New Mexico, and the art centers of Taos and Santa Fe are only a 5- to 6-hour scenic drive from Stapleton. It made for a great family road trip, so I wanted to share our experiences with you:

The incredibly stunning Spanish Peaks on the road to New Mexico

We stopped in Taos on our way to stay in Santa Fe, and visited the old Plaza area and a couple of galleries. We really liked an artist at gallery in Taos, but since we were just getting started, we filed it away for on our way home if we still liked his work best. (Spoiler: we did end up liking it best - see below for details and a special Stapleton Moms' promotion from the gallery!)

Hanging out with Padre Antonio Jose Martinez in the Taos Plaza

In addition to all the art and natural beauty, New Mexico is filled with a ton of history. We visited the oldest house in the U.S. (c. 1200) and the oldest church, which happen to be right next door to each other in Santa Fe. We also spent quite a bit of time in the old Plaza area in Santa Fe, which is larger than the one in Taos but very similar. Lots of great shops, restaurants, and galleries. We ate a lot of tasty New Mexican food (different than Mexican!) and had our fill of delicious sopaipillas.

Inside the San Miguel Mission (the under-floor dates from 1300) and in the center of the Plaza

My daughter's favorite O'Keeffe painting
Our first full day in Santa Fe it rained and snowed, so we opted for a couple of the area's incredible museums. In addition to the oldest house and church, we visited the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum and the Museum of International Folk Art. At the O'Keeffe Museum they gave the kids sketch pads and pencils and encouraged them to make their own art as they walked, which I thought was a nice touch.

The Folk Art Museum is filled with dolls from around the world and other pieces of folk art, which the kids found fascinating (and slightly creepy at times). They also had an exhibit on the flamenco - my four-year-old son loved watching this clip of José Greco's dancing over and over again. In Lloyd's Treasure Chest we made origami swans and small, Japanese kites. It was a great mixture of look, listen, and feel for the kids.

A cold, wet day is perfect for visiting museums

We learned why so many artists flock to New Mexico - the natural beauty is breathtaking!

The kids with their magnetic kitties
The next day we checked out the Santa Fe Children's Museum, which was half inside and half outside, and full of fun family creative activities. We played with giant bubbles, conducted science experiments with ice, lifted ourselves with pulleys, built a domino creation to knock down, created sculptures with magnetic shapes, played giant musical instruments, made paper helicopters to launch, climbed, and more - it was marvelous!
Creating giant bubbles and taking a whack at a giant xylophone

The weather was gorgeous in the afternoon, so we visited the famous Canyon Road, which has more than a hundred galleries on a relatively short strip. We visited 20-30 and got a better feel for the type of art we like and what we might want in our home. The kids looked at art and played a little Pokémon Go, so they were happy, too.

Getting up close and personal with some of the art on Canyon Road

Our final day in Santa Fe we visited Meow Wolf, which is an interactive art installation in an old bowling alley primarily funded by Game of Thrones' George R.R. Martin. Called "The House of Eternal Return," the installation is part theatre, part haunted house (without the scares but definitely with some creepy), part art installation, and part jungle gym. Our 4-year-old was rather nervous for the first 10 minutes, but then he really got into exploring. Both kids loved climbing through things like the fridge and the dryer and discovering other secret passages. We hear it actually might be coming to Denver!

Flying some kind of ship in an alternate dimension and
taking a break to listen to nature sounds in the eyeball room

We ended our time in Santa Fe with a hike on the Black Canyon Trail just outside of town - it was cool enough at elevation that there was still a bit of snow on the ground. In a couple of weeks the area will be bursting with color!

Drumming on a downed tree

At the end of the hike with my boy...

On our way home we stopped in Taos again, because we couldn't stop thinking about the art we saw on our first day. The artist's name is Roberto Ugalde, who lives in Texas but is originally from Mexico. He has a unique way of using a palette knife and drip-painting with industrial oils to get really vivid colors and interesting shapes in his landscapes. We ended up commissioning a 48x48 painting from him (similar to the square one above my son's head to the right below) and are also purchasing a 24x48 or a set of 24x24 paintings as a diptych. Our house is about to be much more colorful - so excited!!

I just love his work!

Roberto is exclusively in the U.S. at the Michael McCormick and Sons Gallery in Taos, so we feel very fortunate to have stumbled upon this talented artist. We worked with Michael and Jamie on the best fit for our home - they were incredibly helpful and friendly. They even offered a promotion for Stapleton Moms readers - if you email them through their website and either like their Facebook page or follow them on Instagram, they will send you a free poster worth $50-60. You only need to cover shipping, which is roughly $12. Big thanks to Michael McCormick for this generous offer!

A few examples of their posters - they have dozens of different options if you have a request based on the art on their site

We had an amazing time and would absolutely visit again - gracias, New Mexico!