Santa Fe holds a special place in my heart. It was the first place me and Marisa went on a road trip to without our parents, completely on our own, after we graduated. We went on a whim, just to experience something for ourselves and to feel like adults. 7 years later and we’re back and I’m still finding things I love.
Rony, me, Marisa, and my friends Alex, Jazmin and her husband Brandon all rented a beautiful Airbnb for our stay. It had two stories, a nice kitchen, dining room, tv room, and a living room with a fire place. That fire place came in handy. It was off a golf course so the only downside is that when we went to the backyard patio, you had to watch for golf balls. But there was an adorable neighbor heeler named Penny that loved pets and attention.
We got to town on Friday, went to the Airbnb, Trader Joe’s for groceries and baking stuff, and then went to eat at Jambo Cafe. It was a really nice and cozy African restaraunt where we got to eat traditional foods and try something new. It was delicious and though I’m a picky eater, I went adventurous and tried the Harissa Spiced Lamb Sandwich which was basically slices of Lamb and veggies on a fluffy pita with yogurt sauce. It was very very good and I did NOT overeat this time (no judging).
Friday was very much a resting, chill day. We lazed around, I watched everyone do Yoga in our room, and we all messed with out planners. We ate strawberry ice cream Mochi in bed and passed out early.
Saturday was hella busy. We got up early, got dressed and went to the Farmer’s Market. There were so many interesting foods and stalls that we broke and got cash so we could buy some things. We all got bundles of flowers and Sage and little handmade wreaths with chili peppers. Rony got a Lindberry Donut and I bought a jug of the most delicious Cider (which unfortunately went bad on the way home T_T)
The artist market was across the street so we ventured there too, taking a look all over the Railyard. Rony found an old Halloween card of Frankenstein saying “Boobs” instead of Boo and we hung out at a fairy tale/medieval stage set while Marisa and them ordered food from a stall.
Our last stop at the Railyard was The Ark bookstore which is a New Age shop. They had a beautiful selection of crystals and art and everything I love. I found 2 neat little enamel pins, a watercolor postcard, and Marisa bought me a beautiful Tarot card deck for my birthday since it’s on my goals list. It’s gorgeous and I love it. Afterwards we went to eat at the Plaza and explored a bit, going to the Cathedral and finding a little Christmas shop for Alex.
After a quick stop home, we went on to the main event. Meow Wolf. I’d been seeing different things about Meow Wolf for a while and followed them online. It increased after we went to Ruidoso and hung out with Rony’s family. One of Rony’s cousins visited it multiple times and was in love and it made me want to visit even more.
If you don’t know, Meow Wolf is an interactive, immersive art exhibit with an overall narrative. The place was funded by George R.R. Martin and was created by a giant artist collective and has roughly 70(?) rooms to explore. It’s a permanent installation but is updated regularly so something is always new and they hold concerts, workshops, and have a Maker’s Lab. It’s an absolutely amazing place and close to the idea of what I want to make in my Artist Market/Studio idea.
There were so many people there that I wasn’t sure how it was going to work. I was interested in figuring out the story but knew it was going to be hard with a crowd. You walk in and there’s a house. Basically, the whole story is you’re trying to figure out what happened to them and why there are portals all over their house.
The puzzles and figuring out clues was my favorite part. We read the letters in the mailbox, read the newspapers in the kitchen, the kids’ drawings, magazines, searched videos and computers and decrypted alphabets and safes. We were so immersed and interested in this strange story. I don’t want to give too much away, but if you like Sci-Fi mysteries then I think you’ll love it.
The first place we went was through the refrigerator. Yep. Through it. It led to this space portal travel agency thing where we had to pick a door to go through. I don’t remember the first one’s name but it led to this trailer that was decked out in lights and cactus. Then we went to the main hub, the tree house. It’s amazing. The floor is carpet but looks like bark and there’s a carpet pit to lay in, if you slide through the dryer (which is much harder than it sounds, you end up in the pit area. You can climb up the stairs to the tree house or go to the second story of the house and explore those rooms. Everything led to more and more doors and more rooms and every nook and cranny had even more stuff.
We didn’t even realize you could hit the mushrooms on the tree and they would light up.
(Snow owl yeti is my favorite)
We found a arcade, a space Chinatown, a Mammoth with musical bones, a rainbow aquarium forest, anime room, an upside bus, and so much more. It takes a minimum of 2.5 hours just to see everything and we were there well over 4+ hours and I could have stayed longer just to soak it all in.
The whole experience invites you to play and snoop and touch and handle everything (just don’t break anything). We pressed buttons and opened drawers and climbed over everything. There are small spaces to crawl and stairs and sometimes we’d think we found a place that was off limits but it led to even more things.
You could get lost in the maze of this house. I was constantly looking at everything, seeing how it was made, trying to figure out how it was tied to the narrative and what it meant.
It’s been a few days since I’ve left and I’m still in love with this place. How it came to be, how each room feels different but cohesive and all the love that went into it. Rony and I talked about it and he felt really skeptical that it was going to live up to the hype but he was blown away. It’s something you have to experience and touch and see.
They’re actually going to be closed at the end of the month to add new rooms and updates and that makes me excited to go back. And I want to see a concert there so badly. I want to see how they utilize the space and how it all works.
I’ve talked with Rony a lot about my long term goal. I want to have a building where artists can rent studio/shop space and work together and have a place to display and sell their work. Huntsville’s art market gave me the inspiration for that aspect. Having an art walk and this building where people can discover art and buy from local artists directly. But I’ve wanted some sort of experience that draws people in. I’ve seen things like Refinery 29’s 29Rooms and the Ice Cream Museum and have loved that idea.
Meow Wolf is that to the extreme. And I love that. It’s inspiring to see the idea of immersive art paired with narratives. That’s definitely going to help and shape the idea of what I want to create in the future.
Finally, we decided we had discovered all the rooms and seen what we could. Our feet hurt and our minds were boggled and we were still discussing the story on the way home. We stopped by the gift shop and Rony bought me my very own Meow Wolf plush and we got a Charter enamel pin and some patches. By the powers that be, we ended up buying the Halloween event shirt not knowing it was for Halloween. It was cool, we liked the design, and now it’s a little extra special.
At the Airbnb we ordered pizza, talked and played music, and stayed up until 3am playing The Thing Boardgame. I was the Thing and I won. Suck it.
The next morning we packed up and started the ride home. The pups stayed at a Pethotel for the first time and were excited to see us. We snuggled and I was loved and it was a perfect way to turn 27.
I love my friends and I’m so glad they got to come with me to celebrate. Thank you to Rony for making sure I was happy this whole weekend.
Thanks Santa Fe, we love you