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Old 11-21-2022, 10:52 AM
 
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I agree. I don't like the feel of Taos. Too bad, it was wonderful back in the 70's when I visited. Sleepy little town without all the posers. I do realize that I have a somewhat emotional bias based on past experiences. There are plenty of decent people in Taos.
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Old 11-21-2022, 11:42 AM
 
Location: Santa Fe, NM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SunGrins View Post
Taos takes quirky into the realm of dysfunctional. Santa Fe keeps its cool but still has a bit of quirk. Zozobra might be considered a bit quirky but it is tongue in cheek. The place has a lot of history after 400 years, good and bad, and a serious side…roses and thorns. It is small enough to be walkable in most of the older parts.

In the end it is all just a subjective judgment comparison based on what you like or dislike. Anyone thinking about moving to Santa Fe or New Mexico should make a few visits at different times.
The number of people who move to a place that they have only visited during the "best time of year" is rather frightening. When considering a move, I've always been one to ask the locals what the worst time of year is, and then made it a point to spend some time there then (and make sure that my timing did not coincide with the phrase "this is nothing" or "it is sure nice this year"). But, to me that is just due diligence.

Taos is rather an unfortunate case. We visited there in 2000 and then again in 2005, and the place had a lot of charm. It was quirky, but that was just the way it was. Sometime after that the downtown became mostly tchotchke shops (in our opinions), and we have not spent any amount of time there since. It may have recovered since then, who knows.

FWIW, Sonoma, CA went through a similar transition years ago and has since recovered some of its charm, at least the last time we were there which was about five years ago.
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Old 11-22-2022, 08:55 PM
 
Location: New Mexico
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Santa Fe's nickname is "The City Different" after all, which is reflected in the responses that can't compare it to anything.

It has been a magnet for wealthy white retirees from all over, who have driven up the cost of everything for the locals. Many have had to move out of Santa Fe. So there is understandably some resentment towards outsiders from locals who have very deep roots there, often going back 12+ generations. Former Mayor Debbie Jaramillo used to say, "We painted the town brown, and moved the brown people out." This does create social problems that are hard to ignore, although said retirees try very hard to ignore them. Some of them cultivate a kind of Santa Fe "hauteur" that I haven't experienced elsewhere.

An old graffitti near the Plaza spoke volumes: "Welcome to Santa Fe. Now go home."

For some who can afford to move there, the strictly-enforced brown adobe-style architecture becomes monotonous, heavy tourism becomes tiresome (mobbing restaurants), and the winters can seem very long and cold, with snow falling as late as May (unless you like winter sports available nearby).

For me (an Albuquerque resident), it's one of those tourist meccas that are great to visit, but not to live in. Some of my friends and neighbors are originally from Santa Fe.

A curious point that is very Santa Fe: a lecturer on UFOs spoke in a local venue and asked for a show of hands from the audience of how many had had a close encounter with UFOs/extra-terrestrials. Nearly every hand went up. This might also happen in Sedona.
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Old 11-22-2022, 09:54 PM
 
Location: New Mexico
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Originally Posted by Joaquin Van Damme View Post
I taught myself Spanish in order to wring the most out of my several visits to Mexico -- including a three-month solo motorcycle ride through the heart of the country, no gringos within a hundred miles -- so I'd enjoy this as well.
As they say, New Mexico is not new, and is not Mexico. Spanish is an official state language but not required. The spoken New Mexico Spanish is a hybrid of archaic Spanish and English, very different from standard Mexican Spanish. You wouldn't be expected to speak it as a gringo. Many Hispanics no longer speak it but may understand some of it remembered from their abuelitos. If you break out your Spanish with someone supposing they will understand you because they look like they would, you may be in for a surprise. New residents will pick up some basic local terms, like "farolito", "bizcohito", "acequia," "m'ijo" and others.
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Old 11-23-2022, 09:18 AM
 
Location: State of Transition
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Mule View Post
The number of people who move to a place that they have only visited during the "best time of year" is rather frightening. When considering a move, I've always been one to ask the locals what the worst time of year is, and then made it a point to spend some time there then (and make sure that my timing did not coincide with the phrase "this is nothing" or "it is sure nice this year"). But, to me that is just due diligence.

Taos is rather an unfortunate case. We visited there in 2000 and then again in 2005, and the place had a lot of charm. It was quirky, but that was just the way it was. Sometime after that the downtown became mostly tchotchke shops (in our opinions), and we have not spent any amount of time there since. It may have recovered since then, who knows.

FWIW, Sonoma, CA went through a similar transition years ago and has since recovered some of its charm, at least the last time we were there which was about five years ago.
It was sometime after 2005 that the art galleries along the main drag in town relocated to other streets for the lower rents, and some closed altogether. Some of the gallery owners and directors moved to Santa Fe, in search of a stronger market for their work, but Santa Fe's economy is on shaky ground, too, and its downtown will start turning into t-shirt and tchotchke shops, eventually. Tourism really suffered during Covid, and I don't foresee it ever recovering to its former level, where it could support galleries and high-end stores paying grossly inflated rents.

Quote:
Originally Posted by aries63;
Some of them cultivate a kind of Santa Fe "hauteur" that I haven't experienced elsewhere.
Interesting comment. I noticed something like that, too. Mainly on the part of the NYC transplants.
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Old 11-23-2022, 11:16 AM
 
Location: The High Desert
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I think Santa Fe's uniqueness is a bit contrived but unnecessarily so. Possibly put on for the tourist trade. The place was unique before it was discovered by tourists. It is the state capital and that secures its economy somewhat -- flattens out the dips and bumps -- but the influx of newcomers with deep pockets makes it hard for the longtime residents to coexist. It is amazing to see 100-pound middle-aged ladies from NYC or LA wearing 30 pounds of silver and turquois.

The "beads and trinkets" trade is alive and well on the plaza but that is not new. The galleries on Canyon Road continue to be worth the time and energy to browse and buy if you have the interest and money. So, there are the two extremes. How much in the middle? There are some nice food and drink places tucked away if you know where...but it will cost you.

We touched on Taos quirkiness a little earlier in the thread. Los Alamos is another interesting nearby spot. It is the wealthiest place in New Mexico, but it doesn't seem to show it all that much on a casual visit. That statistic is due to the Los Alamos National Laboratory. It more closely resembles "Middle America" to my thinking, but western style. I guess people are born there but I have never met one.






.
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Old 11-23-2022, 11:20 AM
 
Location: New Mexico
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Originally Posted by Ruth4Truth View Post
Interesting comment. I noticed something like that, too. Mainly on the part of the NYC transplants.
It's the result of the concentration of wealth in Santa Fe, surrounded by the rest of New Mexico, which is poorest state in the nation or close to it. The reputation of its being a Beverly Hills of the Southwest and watering-hole for celebrities. There is the sense that "we live in a special and unique place, and that makes us special and unique". If you've lived in Santa Fe you may not have noticed it, but for those on the outside looking in, the snob factor is obvious. Not to say that there aren't perfectly decent and down-to-earth folks living there as well.

The fact that Santa Fe's art market is third in the nation after NY and LA, and yet it is a much smaller city, shows how much money there is relative to the small population. There is tremendous inequality, a huge gap between the rich and the poor there.
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Old 11-23-2022, 11:35 AM
 
Location: New Mexico
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SunGrins View Post
Los Alamos is another interesting nearby spot. It is the wealthiest place in New Mexico, but it doesn't seem to show it all that much on a casual visit. That statistic is due to the Los Alamos National Laboratory. It more closely resembles "Middle America" to my thinking, but western style. I guess people are born there but I have never met one.
.
Yes, Los Alamos' history is very short, as it sprouted up during WWII. There is some influence from the surrounding Pueblos and rural Hispanics, but it is mostly a city of well-paid scientists with almost zero poverty. Rich people from out of state avoid it in favor of Santa Fe. It lacks the aesthetic qualities of older NM towns, but has close access to some beautiful terrain since it was chosen for its remote location. The scientists cranked out lots of babies there and I have known a few people born there.
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Old 11-23-2022, 01:10 PM
 
Location: Santa Fe, NM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruth4Truth View Post
It was sometime after 2005 that the art galleries along the main drag in town relocated to other streets for the lower rents, and some closed altogether. Some of the gallery owners and directors moved to Santa Fe, in search of a stronger market for their work, but Santa Fe's economy is on shaky ground, too, and its downtown will start turning into t-shirt and tchotchke shops, eventually. Tourism really suffered during Covid, and I don't foresee it ever recovering to its former level, where it could support galleries and high-end stores paying grossly inflated rents.

Interesting comment. I noticed something like that, too. Mainly on the part of the NYC transplants.
The galleries are a different animal, and even among them there are a lot of differences. My wife works at one of them, and there is almost no relationship between general foot traffic and sales for them. Their numbers are not based on the number of tourists, but the numbers of a specific subset of visitors (those that visit Santa Fe for a particular purpose, which is to spend discretionary dollars on artwork). Many of the galleries also have a decent online presence, so they continued to generate some sales and revenue during the lockdown. Not enough to continue in that model, particularly in a high-priced storefront, but enough to keep them afloat.

From what I am being told, her gallery and several others are having record sales since they were allowed to reopen their doors. My guess is it was pent-up demand during the lockdown that emerged once people could get out. That wasn't generally the family of five from Hays, Kansas, but rather people who regularly visit the area and may well already be on the customer list.

So, I would expect some to continue on in that respect. The business model has evolved over the last 20 or so years. What may be the great equalizer is the economic outlook. Any business dependent on discretionary dollars will suffer during a recession. Even if you are appealing to a fairly well-off customer base, they don't stay well-off by not adjusting to what you believe is coming.

Aside from galleries, the current economic climate is not exactly great for small businesses, and actually businesses in general. Start with the financial impact of the lockdown, add inflation (impacts more things than people realize), supply chain issues and costs, and a bad economic outlook. Many businesses barely survived the lockdown (some didn't at all) and either depleted what reserves they had for the proverbial "rainy day," or greatly diminished them. Some took on debt to survive it. They are not in a position to survive a prolonged downturn. And the government loans, even when forgiven, did not cover the impact.

Restaurants are particularly vulnerable. That is a tough business in good times.

The other part people don't factor in with small businesses is opportunity cost. Whether they are able to stay in the black or not is really not the question. The question is whether or not they can stay enough in the black to make it worth the owner's time, effort, risk, and headaches. Back to galleries, a lot of the owners are not young, and punching out in favor of retirement, if they can afford that, gets pretty appealing after a few years of struggling and sleepless nights.

The bad times and fallout should put a downward pressure on rents. But, it never quite seems to work out that way. That is particularly true when the commercial space is owned by a small handful of people.

Who knows where this ball finally comes to rest? But, if all of those negative factors persist, we won't have T-shirt and tchotchke shops, either. There are places where that has happened before, too.


BTW, my observation on some of the NYC transplants is the same as yours. But then again, when I lived in North Carolina, this was the same migration group that gave us the saying "that's not the way we did it in Florida." I was pretty sure that when they lived in Florida, they were saying "that's not the way we did it in New York."
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Old 11-24-2022, 12:58 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aries63 View Post
There is tremendous inequality, a huge gap between the rich and the poor there.
This kind of hits it on the head. After living there awhile the dramatic differences, if you've got any heart saddens you. There are few opportunities for the younger people. The education isn't great, same with medical care. When searching for doctors I encountered concierge medicine for the first time. So I suppose if you're willing to pony up a monthly payment you can see the doctor. No thanks. I felt like a carpetbagger although I was welcomed into the community warmly. I do speak Spanish although it is not my first language.

The most genuine time I had while living there was visiting the Pecos National Historical Park. It was Christmas time. We boarded a school bus at Pecos and were driven to the park a few miles away. Hot chocolate and bizcochitos were available from a local lady. Nothing fancy, just a way to warm up on a cold night. The walkway at the park was lit by farolitos and a small fire was burning at the ruins. A Catholic priest then lead a procession down from the ruins praying the rosary alternating between Spanish and English. At the bottom an elderly gentleman played guitar and sang traditional Spanish song. Papers with the words were circulated so all could join in. It didn't matter if you were religious or not. It was community. It was beautiful. It was NM the way I will hold it in my heart.
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