The City Different

Exactly one year ago, we spent a memorable week in Santa Fe, New Mexico. We were guests of one of our best friend’s parents, Drs. Geoffrey and Jacqueline West. They made us feel so welcome and so at home, that we almost never left.

You read that right. If we hadn’t ultimately decided to move to Madison, our #2 favorite spot from our 35,000 mile road trip was Santa Fe. Or as some have been known to call it, The City Different. With that in mind, we felt it fitting to write a one-year-later ode to the starkly beautiful southwestern city that we, much to our surprise, fell in love with and continue to reminisce about to friends and family.

In the two months leading up to our stint in Santa Fe, we had spent the majority of our road trip in the lush forests of the Pacific Northwest, along the sunny California coast, and in the bright, bustling cities of Denver, San Francisco, Portland, Vancouver, and yes, Las Vegas. Santa Fe marked a turning point in our road trip. We disconnected from Facebook and twitter, and lo and behold, reconnected with one another and with ourselves.

As Fordy chugged and climbed up into the Sangre de Cristo mountains, we soon realized why this city had captivated countless artists, writers, scientists, and dreamers alike. It is undoubtedly different.

At over 7,000 feet, it’s the highest state capital in the country. It’s also the oldest, founded in 1610. And with less than 70,000 people, it’s more of a town than a city. Perhaps most special though, Santa Fe has grown and developed for hundreds of years, yet many aspects of the unique community have remained unchanged. As our host Jacqueline explained,

Santa Fe has long been a cultural crossroads of trade, art, history, architecture, and ideas. Those thinkers and innovators have been drawn to Santa Fe for centuries, and they still are.

Here’s a perfect example: the man who created Westeros is a longtime resident. C’mon! George R. R. Martin, people!

Over six lovely days, we couldn’t get enough of Santa Fe’s landscape, museums, artwork, pottery, FOOD, architecture, and just the general feel of everything. Okay, Santa Fe isn’t the most happening place for twenty somethings, let’s be honest. It’s pretty sleepy and well, old. Hey, it was founded in 1610! But with that beautifully-aged patina comes peace, solitude, silence, and self-reflection.

We quickly filled up Fordy’s backseat with Georgia O’Keeffe prints, tins of dried red chiles, a Cafe Pascual’s cookbook, ceramic bowls, and Zuni fetishes. We had never immersed ourselves so quickly and easily in a new city; after just a few short days, we felt like we knew it well.

Our favorite takeaway from Santa Fe was free though: simply looking out over the vast desert paired with its perpetual skyline. Even the world’s most prolific Instagrammer can’t do it justice. Ansel Adams got pretty close. You just have to trust us on this one, it’s a must-see.

If you’re still not convinced, let us suggest the following Foxwell-approved life bucket list:

  • Climb the Great Wall
  • Run with the bulls in Pamplona
  • Hike the Na Pali coast
  • Scuba dive at the Great Barrier Reef
  • Sit quietly with a glass of wine and watch the sunset in Santa Fe. Repeat.

We think of you often, City Different. We hope to see you and your beautiful treasures again soon.


Andrew & Gracie

1 Comment

  • November 15, 2014


    Hi guys! Great post – Katie and I will be heading to Santa Fe in a few weeks, we can’t wait to check it out – especially after your editorial! Hope all is well – hoping we might be able to catch up over xmas in central Illinois if it works out.