Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Day Trip from Santa Fe: Salinas Pueblo Missions

We took a day off from work last week and decided to spend it having a day o' fun. We don't do this as often as we did when we were in graduate school, but days o' fun involve lots of fun obviously and zero planning. When we wake up in the morning, we pick a place on the map, hop in the car and start driving.

We picked Salinas Pueblo Missions, which is a National Monument about two hours south of Santa Fe. To start our day, we had breakfast at our favorite cafe and then headed toward Mountainair, which has a visitor center and small museum. Luckily we got to the visitor center just minutes before it was closing for lunch and watched a short video, picked up a map and set out on our way. The National Monument consists of three sites of abandoned Pueblos: Gran Quivira, Abó and Quarai. Each site has ruins of the Mission Churches built by the Spanish, and Gran Quivira has excavated Pueblo rooms.

When we arrived at Gran Quivira, we discovered that there was a television show being filmed and the site had been transformed into an Israeli archaeological dig. All of the interpretive signs were covered in Hebrew and the crew had set up fake columns. The park ranger was giddy because the actor who plays Lucius Malfoy in the Harry Potter movies was staring in the show. The ranger escorted us around the site to make sure we didn't interfere with the sets or filming. It was very bizarre and hectic, but the other sites were lovely and mostly empty.

We picked up some junk food - the kind you only eat on road trips - in Mountainair, and ate chips and dip in the car. We drove back through the Manzano Mountains and stopped for a glass of wine in Fourth of July Canyon before heading back to Santa Fe.

visitor center in mountainair
at abó
fourth of july canyon

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