Prevue September/October 2012 - (Page 58)

santa fe [ON LOCATION] ALEXIS QUINLAN There’s a gentle tug at artists’ hearts here in the desert that stills the mind and warms the soul. Inside the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, foot-thick adobe walls cool the air and the provocative art of one of the world’s most beloved artists. Strolling before dreamy watercolors, oversized flowers and giant clouds, much of it inspired by the stark New Mexican landscape, we’re stunned by the scale. The work is somehow smaller than it seems in poster reproductions, yet much more powerful and emotional. Marcia Skillman, principal of Destination Services of Santa Fe, regularly hosts 90-pax wine tastings here. Like O’Keeffe, she’s a transplant to the Sangre de Cristo Mountains who fell in love with this magical, mystical world. “I don’t want to get all woo-woo, but the energy is fantastic here,” she says. “All the buildings are adobe, so it’s like you’re in a foreign country. The pace is slower, which is great for people used to going nonstop. And being 7,000 feet in the mountains, for a day or so, makes you really have to relax and adjust.” Woo-woo or not, we were delighted to slow down in this gorgeous colonial city surrounded by thousands of acres of national forest. O’Keeffe was not the only artist to stake her claim; Santa Fe has been an art trading center for centuries, and today it’s the country’s second largest art market. The current state capitol houses an art gallery; the 400-year-old Palace of the Governors—the seat of Spanish, Mexican and American governments—is a gallery selling original Pueblo jewelry and Inn & Spa at Loretto pottery. And Canyon Road, locus of 100 of Santa Fe’s 250 galleries, throws super fun Art Gallery Crawls every Friday night, although planners often call Skillman for a handpicked gallery tour. “Groups love the laid back way we experience art,” she says. “No pressure and no pretension.” A Trio of Cultures Another key to the energy here is the tapestry of cultures. Santa Feans revere their rich blend of Native American, Spanish Colonial and Anglo Wild West traditions, and planners can emphasize all three or just one. Groups can visit the nearby pueblos to meet Native American artisans. Everyone stays warm around the kivas, fireplace-stoves that ward off the evening mountain chill, redolent with smoke from heavenly smelling pinon scrub. Learn about the Spaniards in Santa Fe’s town square founded in 1610 when Santa Fe became New Mexico’s capital. From the all-important Palace of the Governors at its head, it’s an easy stroll to San Miguel Mission, argued to be the country’s oldest church, built on an abandoned pueblo. For Western lore, the Old Santa Fe Trail remains a major artery here—the Mission sits on it. Twenty minutes south, groups up to 450 can organize barbeque feasts, ride horseback, and party at Bonanza Creek Ranch. This 18-acre expanse of 56 | prevue magazine

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Prevue September/October 2012

Planner's Pick: Bermuda
Planner's Pick: Disney California
Fresh Meets: Sonesta Hotels
Bureau Buzz: Raleigh
Good Business: South Africa
Congrats: Visionary Awards
Sea Shores: Norwegian Cruise Line
Fifty Shades of Green
Checkn' In: westin Resorts, West USA
The West: Green by Nature
On Location: Santa Fe
On Location: La Costa Resort, CA
On Location: City of Napa
Mexico + The Caribbean
On Location: Hard Rock Hotel Cancun
On Location: St. Regis Punta Mita
Puerto Rico
On Location: Montreal
Check Out: The Orbit Tower, London

Prevue September/October 2012