I know how to find my way to a few places here in Santa Fe, especially my favorites, but there is an intimacy that occurs when you ride through side-streets and alleys and arrive at a place from a different direction than the street they reside on, and their main entrance. It’s like getting to see behind the scenes.
Sunday morning was the perfect time to have this adventure with our friends. (Who, coincidentally, are much younger and stronger than us! I brought up the rear all morning!)
Most people weren’t up-and-about yet, allowing us to ride through the streets. Santa Fe is very bike friendly, pathways are built all over town, and the locals are extremely respectful; almost always yielding the right-of-way, waving for me to cross. Not so much some of the fancy tourists… they would just as soon have run me over.
We zipped through the plaza downtown, riding alongside the Indian Market in front of the Governor’s Palace… red and yellow flags flapping along the portal, people strolling along to observe the jewelry, pottery, and baskets on offer. People relaxed in the park. A woman in a Victorian costume played the violin for everyone within earshot.
Just as I crossed in front of the St. Francis of Assisi Cathedral, the bells began to peal. I stopped to take it all in: the cathedral with so few people around, the crisp air, the golden morning light filtering through tall spruce trees, and the ringing church-bells. It felt like a benediction to me.
We rode past Seret & Sons, known for their stunning rugs and architectural elements from Asia and Tibet. This morning, we came at it from the back, then rode alongside it – and I was blown away by how many doors they had! Their lot was a maze of doors, portals, pergolas, statues, and entire wooden room findings and occupied a whole city block.
The best part of the ride for me was cutting through another alley and finding lovely bungalows nestled on both sides. Some looked like English stone cottages, others were cozy adobe. A sign read Inn of the Five Graces. Thick, low walls and fragrant rose bushes added to it’s “secret garden” feel. It may well be the most beautiful place I’ve ever not seen! I looked it up when I got home, and it is owned by Sylvia and Ira Seret… yes, the same Serets. Every room is richly, and perfectly, appointed. Tourmaline entries, lapis lazuli sinks, sandalwood doorways, and lush carpets and upholstery throughout. Sylvia’s mosaic tilework in the bath areas is nothing short of Heavenly!
Since it is monsoon season here – it rains a bit pretty much every afternoon – it started to sprinkle, so we rode like the wind, and chose to wait it out by having lunch at the Boxcar, on their covered patio.
I had to take all day yesterday to give my legs a chance to recover, I’m a flat-lander, after all. But, what a day!