A week filled with New Mexico wonder, co-guided by my husband

John Gritts, a Cherokee artist very much at home in Indian Country.

Sunday, September 3 – Saturday, September 9, 2023.

Come as a couple, come with a friend, come solo!

Our thanks to Kathie Nitz, 2019 guest, for sharing many of the photos below.

The focus of this 7-day/6-night tour into the cultural heartland of New Mexico will be Native American art, Pueblo culture, the great literary salons of a century ago, the delicious cuisines of the southwest, and a rare and intimate encounter with the horses of Equus.

Please browse the sample itinerary below for an idea of how we’ll spend our days.
Details of the agenda may change but our retreat focus will always be on the wonder of the landscape,
the Native American artists, and New Mexico’s literary history.

Days 1 and 2, 9/3-9/4: La Fonda on the Plaza, Santa Fe

La Fonda

IAIA Museum Walkway

La Fonda’s La Plazuela Restaurant

Sculpture by Allan Houser

This seven-day/six-night adventure begins in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where we will rendezvous Sunday afternoon at the historic La Fonda on the Plaza, a Santa Fe’s 4-Diamond hotel with old world charm. This will be our home away from home for Sunday and Monday nights, September 3 and 4. 

Monday morning, we will visit a few galleries on the Plaza, browse the art and jewelry displayed by the local sidewalk vendors, tour the IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts, and enjoy lunch at La Fonda’s popular La Plazuela Restaurant.

Afternoon will find us on the historic Turquoise Trail, en route to the Allan Houser Sculpture Garden where approximately seventy bronze, steel, and original stone sculptures by American Master Artist Allan Hazous (of the Chiricahua Apache Tribe) are set among lush Juniper Pines and breathtaking mountain vistas. The garden gallery contains four rooms of smaller sculptures, drawings, and paintings. The property is closed to the general public, but we have arranged a private tour.

Other Santa Fe highlights include The Blue Rain Gallery, the Santa Fe Farmer’s Market, and a few free hours to visit some of the galleries on Canyon Road. We’ll be relaxing with a light lunch at The Tea House. We hope to arrange a tour of Jim Vogel’s art studio in Dixon, en route to Taos, our next destination.

Allan Houser Sculpture Gardens

Billy Schenck, Blue Rain Gallery

Bronze by Allan Houser

Rosetta Stone, Blue Rain Gallery

Blue Rain Gallery

Days 3 and 4, 9/5-9/6: Mabel Dodge Luhan House, Taos

Mabel Dodge Luhan House in early light.

Sanctuary de Chimayo and Mabel Dodge Luhan House Portal

San Francisco de Asis Mission Church

Mabel Dodge with friend.

Our second two-night stay will be in Taos at the historic Mabel Dodge Luhan House, where we’ll shift our creative focus from art to writing, celebrating the literary colonies of Taos and Santa Fe founded more than 100 years ago. In the spirit of Mabel, we’ll have our own literary salon, touching on the writing of Willa Cather, DH Lawrence, Mary Austin, Frank Waters, N. Scott Momaday, and others, with enough retreat time to settle into our own private creative space.

Our stay will also include a tour of the historic Taos Pueblo (assuming the Pueblo is open to visitors), inhabited by more than 150 of the 1,900 Taos Pueblo people who still live on the Taos Pueblo Land, which covers an expanse of 99,000 acres of high desert, and celebrates over 1,000 years of culture. The oral history of the Taos Pueblo People is extensive and an important part of their closely held cultural heritage. If time allows, we will include a visit to the Millicent Rogers Museum before strolling on our own through the main town plaza. We will return to our retreat at the Mabel Dodge Luhan House both nights to enjoy a private dinner prepared just for us by Chef Sophie.

At the end of our Taos stay, we’ll stop by the historic San Francisco de Asís Mission Church in Ranchos de Taos before journeying south on the scenic high road to Pojoaque. En route, we will visit El Sanctuary de Chimayó, a small shrine located in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains and visited by thousands of pilgrims during Holy Week. Centuries ago, the Tewa Indians named Chimayo Tsi-Mayoh, after one of four sacred hills above the valley. We will have lunch at picturesque Rancho de Chamayó before driving a short distance to the Hilton Buffalo Thunder Hotel in Pojoaque.

Tony Luhan by Edward Weston

Watch the trailers on the making of the PBS film, Awakening in Taos

"Before arriving in Taos, Mabel Dodge had become a prominent figure in the arts and society of New York City and Europe. Born to a wealthy family in Buffalo, New York, she entertained and supported many of the well-known artists, activists, writers and thinkers of her time. Her Salons were informal gatherings where the olitical and avant-garde joined to dine and to discuss the new ideas of the century, often forming relationships and fomenting ideas which would have far-reaching influences.
When Mabel left New York to settle in Taos and marry Tony Lujan, a full-blooded Taos Pueblo man, the whole world watched. During the 1930s, New Yorker Magazine cartoons quipped about Mabel in Taos, while set designs for Shakespeare productions on Broadway were based on adobe architecture. Georgia O’Keeffe, Willa Cather, Ansel Adams and others found inspiration that would shape their lives’ work while visiting Tony and Mabel’s home."

(The History of the Mabel Dodge Luhan House, Attiyeh Foundation)

Mabel Dodge Luhan House

Days 5 and 6  – 9/7-9/8: Buffalo Thunder, Pojoaque

Buffalo Thunder and Rivera bronze

Roxanne Swentzell bronze

We will spend the last two nights of our seven-day adventure at the luxurious Hilton Buffalo Thunder Resort (just 15 miles north of downtown Santa Fe) on the sovereign Native American land of the Pueblo of Pojoaque, or Po-suwae-geh Owingeh. meaning “water gathering place.”

After our lunch at Rancho de Chamayó, our next stop will be the Poeh Cultural Center, where we will tour lifelike dioramas depicting scenes of the ancient ancestral Puebloans. We will also have the privilege of viewing 100 ceramic pots that have been stored for more than a century in a Smithsonian storage vault in Maryland. “The People’s Pots” (or “In T’owa Vi Sae’We”), returned home to Tewa lands last year. For the people of the Pueblos of Ohkay Owingeh, Nambe, Pojoaque, San Ildefonso, Santa Clara and Tesuque, the return of the pots is cause for great celebration. “To Tewa breath,” said Pueblo of Pojoaque Governor Joseph Talachy, “and to Tewa hands.”

On Day 6 we will tour Bandelier National Monument, once home to the Ancestral Pueblo People, with renowned Santa Clara Pueblo artist Roxanne Swentzell as our guide. With Roxanne leading us, we will walk on easy trails among cottonwoods, and on the moderate Main Loop Trail that winds through the historic site, leading us to alcoves and ancient dwellings.

After our tour of Bandelier, we’ll drive to San Pedro (on Santa Clara Pueblo land) for a Pueblo Eating Experience with Chef Ray Naranjo, also of Santa Clara. Roxanne will join us, sharing more about the indigenous foods of the Pueblo people “before contact.”

Late afternoon will allow time back at the Buffalo Thunder Hilton to relax, enjoy the pool, or browse the curated art exhibits before our final dinner.

Roxanne Swentzell Sculpture,
The Tower Gallery

Roxanne Swentzell and Page Lambert, Bandelier National Monument

Bandalier with Roxanne


NMAI Pot at Poeh Cultural Center

Roxanne Swentzell

Day 7, 9/9: The EQUUS Experience®

EQUUS Experience horse partners

EQUUS Experience horse partner and clients

EQUUS Experience horse partners

EQUUS Experience horse partner with client

Kelly Wendorf


John and I look forward to sharing this adventure with you!
Santa Fe & Taos Autumn Sojourn: Sacred Lands, Sacred Words, Sacred Art

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