New Mexico has one of the most aptly named state mottos: The Land of Enchantment. There is something rather enchanting about a state that has just celebrated its Centennial. While it is a relatively new addition to the US, it’s an ancient land with much of the culture still intact. We headed out today to the Native American artist market that takes place every day in front of the Palace of the Governers.
Built in 1610, it is the oldest continually occupied public building in the country. The jewelers that occupy the spaces are oftentimes 5th or 6th generation metalsmiths, which is apparent as soon as you see the complexity and quality of the work. Adam and I spent hours browsing their wares and hearing their stories, and of course ended up with a sack full of treasure to bring back to the shop! After working all morning, we took the afternoon to take a drive up to Chimayo, a pueblo nestled in the foothills of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains.
It’s most famous for the Santuario de Chimayo, a chapel built in the 1800’s that houses the Miracle Dirt, which is thought to heal a variety of ailments. It’s also home to a rich tradition of weaving families, and artists of all sorts. We had the pleasure to stop in at the Chavez Gallery and chat for awhile with the owner, Patricio Chavez, and admire his masterful wood carvings, as well as his wife’s amazing visionary paintings. He and his family are direct descendants of Francisco Chavez, the original caretaker of the Santuario. They are also farmers, and he gifted us a bag of the famous heirloom Chimayo Chile seeds for our garden, as well as some of their homemade Chimayo Chile powder! We left him with some of our heirloom Herkimer Diamonds in gratitude for his kindness. Before we left, we headed in to the Santuario and spent some time sitting silently and taking it all in. And of course we scooped a bit of miracle dirt to take with us on our journey! Tomorrow, we will head to Tucson to continue our journey through the spellbinding Southwest, and to continue buying treasures, trinkets and talismans to bring back home to you!