We are becoming quite good at early starts and packing up and getting on the road in a hurry! We were at the Acoma Cultural Center by 9am. The Casino has definitely wrought some changes here. The drive in to Acoma shows you beautiful new tribal buildings and how the Casino money is helping the whole community. I am sure there are downsides but it was nice to see money helping the tribe.
The Cultural Center is beautiful -- gorgeous pueblo architecture, a stunning museum, nice gift shop, and an amazing cafe. We signed up for the tour and headed out at 10am.
Our tour guide was Conran. He did a great job explaining the history, sharing beliefs and stories, and giving us a feel for the life at Acoma.
Acoma is one of the longest inhabited sites in the US. People have been living at Acoma Pueblo since the 1100s. It is high on a mesa in the middle of a lovely valley. There is no electricity or running water there and they intend to keep it that way. About 100 people live at Acoma year round. The other families visit for special ceremonies and to keep their traditions alive. When you visit, you have to promise not to photograph anyone without asking there permission first. The only people we saw (It was a Monday) were people selling their artwork. My pictures make the town look deserted but it really was not and didn’t feel that way at all. It’s an amazingly beautiful place and one that is showing signs of improvement. There are new building projects going on and people are improving their homes. We bought a few items from the indians. Their artwork is so beautiful that you could go broke -- you’ll see everything from earrings for a dollar to amazing pots for $1,500. We purchased a large Acoma pot 20 years ago when we visited and it is cherished in our collection.
Gage bought a stone point made by Conran our guide. Ruthie got some earrings. We bought a cherry pie one of the ladies was selling.
Greg and Gage chose to walk down the Mesa using the “stairs” while Ruthie and I went back on the bus. The “stairs” were VERY cool but very intense as well. They are carved into the side of the mesa and are sometimes ladders. I was impressed that Gage made it down . . . He’s not a BIG fan of heights!
When they got down, we ate at the excellent cafe they have at the Cultural Center. The menu is fantastic and we learned later that the chef is a local Acoma man who brought what he learned about the food industry and applied it to Acoman foods and created a really amazing menu. We also discovered that we, as a family, don’t care for Elk. Gage, however, learned that a venison burger was a good thing!
Ruth wanted ONE thing on this trip . . . A beautiful indian flute. We had seen several (and have seen more since then). But they had a beautiful one at the store at Acoma. She asked for it for her birthday (in July) and, wow, is it lovely.
[Coming soon -- picture of Ruthie and her flute]
We headed back to the motorhome, packed up, and headed on down the road. Santa Fe was awaiting us!
We got settled in at our campground and drove into Santa Fe to shop and eat. We found the Plaza and drove around exploring. Eventually, we made our way to the Train Depot and had dinner at Tomasita’s.
We had a good dinner -- we love New Mexican cuisine. Ruthie discovered her passion for sopapillas and the rest of us ate food that was TOO hot but TOO delicious!