Bandelier National Monument

Bandelier National Monument, near Los Alamos, New Mexico, protects over 33,000 acres in Frijoles Canyon. People have been in the Canyon for 11,000 years. Bandelier was home to Ancestral Pueblo communities that built their homes in the walls of the canyon. As you hike through the canyon you see the remains of the dwellings, the gardens, and the petroglyphs of the residents. (Click on photos to enlarge.)

Alcove House is a cave 140 feet above the floor of Frijoles Canyon. The cave is accessed by four ladders and numerous stone stairs. In Alcove House is a reconstructed kiva, a circular, underground structure that would have been used in ceremonies by the Ancestral Pueblo people.

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Santa Fe

Santa Fe was founded by Mexican colonialists in 1610 with the establishment of the San Miguel Mission. It is the oldest city that serves as a state capital, and the state capital at the highest elevation, at 7,199 feet.

San Miquel Chapel is the oldest church in the United States.  The original church was built in 1598 to serve a small congregation of soldiers, laborers, and native people.  The current church building was built around 1610.  A portion was destroyed in the Pueblo Revolt of 1640. (Click on photos to enlarge.)

The Palace of the Governors sits on the north side of the central plaza in Old Santa Fe. The Mexican government began construction of the Palace in 1610, making it the oldest continuously occupied public building in the United States. In the Pueblo Revolt of 1680, the Mexicans were expelled and the Pueblo people occupied the Palace. Archaeological exploration at the site shows that that the Pueblo people did extensive modifications to the Palace to convert it to the traditional Pueblo style. When Mexican rule was restored, the building once again served as the seat of the government. Today, the building is a museum, well worth visiting along with the adjacent history museum.

The Cathedral Basilica of Saint Francis of Assisi, constructed between 1869 and 1886 in the Romanesque Revival style.

The Lensic Performing Arts Center, with its pseudo Moorish archtecture, completed in 1831.

Art galleries line the street on Canyon Road

The Georgia O’Keeffe Museum

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The Loretto Chapel was constructed beginning in 1872 as the convent chapel to be named Our Lady of Light Chapel. The “Miraculous Stair” in the Loretto Chapel. Legend has it that the circular staircase, which is constructed with no nails, was completed by St. Joseph, the patron saint of carpenters.

The Santuario de Guadalupe in Santa Fe, built in 1777, is the oldest, still-standing shrine built in honor of Our Lady of Guadalupe in the United States.

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Along the road to the Santa Fe ski area (10,350 feet base elevation) in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains.

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The Turquoise Trail, which runs from Albuquerque to Santa Fe, is a lovely road that passes through old mining communities. Just off the trail near Sandia Crest is the Tinkertown Museum, a wonderful folk art collection. (Click on photos to enlarge.)Tinker Town-7035

The museum started out as a hobby of Ross Ward, who carved or collected everything in the museum over a 40-year period. Mr. Ward died in 1998, but the museum is carried on by his wife and children. Learn more at

Old Town Albuquerque & Petroglyphs National Monument

The Plaza in Old Town Albuquerque is the home of San Felipe de Neri Church.  The congregation was established in 1706.  The original church building was completed in 1719 but collapsed in 1792.  The current church building was constructed in 1793.  The towers were added in 1861. (Click on photos to enlarge.)

Albuquerque was founded in 1706 by Don Francisco Cuervo y Valdez, who governed New Mexico for Spain from 1704 to 1707.  His statue stands at the entrance to Old Town.

Petroglyph National Monument is on the outskirts of Albuquerque. The National Monument is home to petroglyphs carved into volcanic rock 400 to 700 years ago by Native Americans and Spanish settlers. We chose to hike in Piedras Marcadas Canyon, one of three canyons in the National Monument. The canyon has over 1,500 petroglyphs that are estimated to be 400 to 700 years old.