Almost everyone (including old friends from back East and new friends from New Mexico) have asked me: "Why did you choose Santa Fe?" Most have assumed that either I had family here, or I had vacationed here extensively over the years. Neither is true, and here is the real scoop on why I chose to come here.
There are a lot of things I loved about Boston, but the weather was often not one of them. A beautiful September day--great! (Except for my allergies!) But hot and steamy summer days (and nights)? Shoveling out 10 inches of snow so you could get your car out of the driveway? (Especially living in the city where there was no place to put the snow--once we filled up the two 6x6 patches of front yard to the top of the fence there was nowhere else to go....we'd sneak it into the street at night when we didn't think our neighbor was watching...) I was tired of damp and sticky summers, dangerous streets in winter, and cold snaps where we just couldn't get the heat in the house to keep up.
I talked about the weather here in my opening post. Besides not needing AC in the summer, what surprises East Coast folks about the weather is that there is a real winter. It's not like Arizona! It does snow--typically 10-20 inches a year. But it's a "dry snow"! It tends to melt pretty quickly (except in the mountains) and there isn't the extended, icy, slushy, muddy road and sidewalk mix to contend with. Temperatures do get cold in the winter--sometimes down to the single digits at night. But the sun is warm in the daytime, and cold snaps are not extended. Real seasons are important to me--there's something wonderful about spring and fall and cold in the winter, but it's a kinder, gentler kind of season transition here. More of the good stuff and less of the bad stuff!
Proximity to Colorado
Both of my sons live in Colorado, and 2,500 miles away from them was just too far! It meant we didn't get to see each other very often. I hope that will change, now that I am only a little over 400 miles away. WIth only a few exceptions, most of my friends live relatively near their grown children, and there's something very nice about that frequent contact. We don't need to be on top of each other, but a day's drive is good.
A Sense of History
I've lived too long in Boston, with its fine (though sometimes self-important) sense of history, and the region's role in the founding of our country. I've dressed in colonial costume for my brother's full-dress Patriot's Day parties, marched the 7-mile wooded trail from Acton to Concord in the clear and dappled dawn of an April morning, accompanied by fife and drum and a lot of Cub Scouts, boarded Old Ironsides, visited the Salem witch houses, toured Plimoth Plantation and Sturbridge Village and Paul Revere's house, the list goes on and on. Living somewhere without a sense of history was not an option for me. Santa Fe is chock full of history going back as far as that of the East, and I'm looking forward to learning about it!
Shopping and Eating
Two of my greatest pleasures. Great restaurants and fun shops are key--even if I'm only browsing! And I'm not going to complain about the tourists--it's because of them that there are so many fine shops and restaurants...And there are lots of culinary pleasures here beyond restaurants--the Santa Fe Farmer's Market on Guadalupe Street on Saturday mornings, the Hatch chili people roasting chilis in shopping center parking lots up and down Cerrillos Road, the roasted corn for sale on the Plaza during Fiesta and other celebrations, cooking school classes--mmmm!!!
Again, the presence of museums, theatres, concert halls, art galleries is critical. I look forward to the Sante Fe Opera next summer, to gallery walking tours, to the Christmas festivities here which I understand are fabulous! This weekend is Santa Fe Fiesta, which started Thursday night with the burning of a four-storey tall strawman, named Zozobra, who is supposed to burn away the gloom of the people of Santa Fe. It is stuffed with shredded paper and other items that represent bad karma for the locals--a wedding dress from an unhappy marriage for example, which was shipped here from Louisiana to be added to the mix. Last night I attended a mariachi concert--four mariachi bands, as well as other singers and dancers--and most of the event was delivered in Spanish. There is a true sense of being part of a different culture here. It's one of the reasons I studied Spanish for the past three years--though I still have still have a ways to go on that front. . . However, when the master of ceremonies yelled: "Listos?" just prior to the show, I was able to shout "Si!" right back!