On Tuesday we traveled the Turquoise Scenic Byway to Santa Fe. Turquoise is found all over New Mexico. The trail took us up to the top of Sandia Peak, which is over 10,000 feet high overlooking Albuquerque. From the lookout at the top it was a magnificent view of the city and surrounding area. At the top there is a collection of antennae that have been dubbed the “Electronic Forest.”
Down the road we came to the coal mining town of Madrid. The town describes itself as a recovered ghost town and now has over 40 shops and art galleries, several restaurants and some lodging. It was a company town owned by the AT&SF Railroad and mined coal for the railroad until 1954.
We also went through Los Cerrillos, which is a small town that is the source for the unique Cerrillos turquoise. A big draw for this town is the turquoise mining museum, a gift shop, and several historic buildings. The owners of the gift shop still mine turquoise and make jewelry. At the shop we found turquoise that is virtually white. To make turquoise the traditional blue-green color takes copper. When the stone is being created, if there isn’t any copper it is white.
We ended up in Santa Fe just in time for lunch on the square. Then we visited the historic downtown square. Elaine has a new pair of sterling silver earrings that we bought from an artist who was displaying her work at the Old Governors Palace.
Santa Fe is home to the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi. This Romanesque church has some excellent stained glass windows. There is a statue of Saint Kateri Tekakwitha who was the first American Indian to be made a saint in the courtyard. The French influence is found in a labyrinth on the Cathedral grounds. If you get a chance to visit this Cathedral, take it.