Sante Fe - April 2016

From April 6 to 10, 2016, the Class of ’72 ventured into new territory with a Class Trip to Santa Fe, New Mexico. Classmates, spouses, and guests, altogether numbering 72 strong, convened from as far as Switzerland, San Francisco, and New York City. Our base was the comfortable and convenient Inn on the Alameda, just on the edge of Santa Fe’s picturesque downtown.

Our first adventure, on Wednesday afternoon, was a group visit to SAR, the School of Advanced Research, a century-old anthropological / archaeological / cultural think-tank presided over by our classmate Michael Brown, who recently took charge there after more than thirty years teaching anthropology at Williams College. We had an inside look at the School’s impressive facilities, including a spectacular collection of Southwestern ceramics and other objects made by indigenous peoples. Commentary by Michael and some of his colleagues was a welcome introduction to the subject and setting for many of us. That evening, we dined at the La Fonda Hotel right at center of Santa Fe, overlooking the imposing 19th-century cathedral’s façade. There we were joined by Michael Brown and Jamie Clements ’80, the CEO of the New Mexico Museum foundation, an umbrella organization for several of the city’s most iconic museums.

Next day, Thursday the 7th, we took off, on foot, in small groups for walking tours of some of the historical and cultural offerings of downtown Santa Fe, led by knowledgeable and engaging local guides. We gathered for lunch at Coyote Cantina, and then spent the afternoon at the Museum of Indian Arts & Culture and the Museum of International Folk Art. We were welcomed for dinner at the spectacular home of Michael Pettit ’72 and his wife Cindi, where we dined on delicious barbecue and savored stunning views of Santa Fe’s surrounding landscape.

On Friday the 8th we boarded buses for an hour-long drive to Los Alamos, birthplace of the Atomic Bomb and subsequent center of nuclear and related scientific research. At the Bradbury Museum of Science we enjoyed a fascinating series of talks about the research laboratory’s mission and history, from the Manhattan Project and Cold War to the present day (e.g. analyzing data from the Mars Rover), followed by a bus tour of the extensive facility, as big as a university campus. We ate box lunches at scenic White Rock, overlooking the Rio Grande River far below, then motored through hairpin turns to Bandelier National Monument, where we explored ancient, enigmatic cliff dwellings. Once again our guides provided engaging commentary, both onboard the buses and along the walking trails. That evening we split into two culinary contingents and dined at a pair of Santa Fe’s most highly regarded restaurants: the contemporary-French-bistro Bouche (welcomed by proprietor/chef Charles Dale ’78) and Sazon, where Chef Fernando Orlean draws from Santa Fe’s multicultural heritage to blend the flavors of Old Mexico with flavors from around the world, all impeccably presented and served.

Next day, Saturday the 9th, we divided into two hiking sub-groups and one contingent of Canyon Road art-gallery-goers. The hikers bused for an hour to Kasha –Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument, site of a phalanx of spectacular conical-tower rock formations unique in the Western Hemisphere. Some of us scrambled up 630 feet of cliffside trail – often through slit canyons only wide enough for one hiker – to a fabulous mesa-top overlook. We returned to Santa Fe to lunch at the renowned Compound restaurant, then had an afternoon to either explore the city on our own or to enjoy a tour of the spectacular Santa Fe Opera House. That evening we enjoyed a concluding dinner at La Sena, where we toasted the success of this latest Class of ’72 adventure. All of us added Santa Fe and New Mexico to our lists of places to which we hope to return.

Pictures here