Santa Fe Update

Secretary Janet Napolitano to be Keynote Speaker

NAFUSA’s annual conference will open in Santa Fe on Thursday, September 29, 2011. Janet Napolitano, the third Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, will be the keynote speaker at the closing banquet on Saturday evening, October 1.

Prior to becoming secretary, Napolitano was in her second term as Governor of Arizona. She was the first woman to chair the National Governors Association. She also served as the United States Attorney for the District of Arizona. Secretary Napolitano is a graduate of the University of Virginia School of Law.

The conference will be held at La Posada de Santa Fe Resort & Spa. If you haven’t yet registered for the NAFUSA conference, click here for the registration form. The program for this year’s conference is almost complete. Click here for the most recent draft program.

The reservation deadline for the conference hotel was August 30, 2011, but there may be a few rooms available due to cancellations. Call La Posada at 505.954.9686 or the overflow hotel a few blocks away, the Inn and Spa at Loretto, at 866-582-1646. Mention NAFUSA and ask for the conference rate of $249 per night plus $12 resort fee.

Santa Fe advertises itself as “The City Different” and in many ways lives up to the claim. There is much to savor in its plaza, churches, museums, galleries and shops. But, if time permits, even more “difference” can be found nearby.

There’s Taos and the World Heritage Site at Taos Pueblo 75 miles away (take the High Road to Taos through Truchas and return down the Rio Grande Gorge on The Low Road).

El Santuario de Chimayó (30 miles) will awaken even the most dormant sense of spiritual wonder. Restaurante Rancho de Chimayó is a Northern New Mexico favorite.

For even greater variety, consider a trip to Los Alamos, Bandelier National Monument and the drive into the Jemez (pronounced hay-mis) Mountains past the magnificent Valles Caldera National Preserve. The late-June, early-July Las Conchas Wildfire, largest in New Mexico history, will be very much in evidence in the mountains above Los Alamos.

Los Alamos is home to Los Alamos National Laboratory, established in 1943 to develop the atomic bomb. The Bradbury Science Museum (free admission) displays exhibits about the history of the lab and its research. Los Alamos, the community — the U.S. county with the highest per capita income — is dominated by the lab and seems to retain much of its secretive origins.

Bandelier National Monument, outside Los Alamos, features dwellings of the Ancestral Pueblo people from circa 1150 CE. There are several archeological sites along the Main Loop Trail (1.2 miles round trip) and on an additional mile round-trip trail to Alcove House. Much of the monument was damaged by the wildfire and some has been damaged even more by the floods since, during summer rains. Check ahead to see if closings remain in effect.

Valles Caldera National Preserve in the volcanic Jemez Mountain was a private ranch until 2000, when Congress created the preserve. “This 89,000 acre property is situated inside a collapsed crater. Studded with eruptive domes and featuring Redondo Peak (11,254 feet), this old ranch property is now being developed to explore a new way of managing public lands.” The view of Valles Grande from Highway 4 over the mountain pass west of Los Alamos is among the most beautiful anywhere.

The round-trip from Santa Fe to Los Alamos and Bandelier is 95 miles, with some curves and grades. The round-trip to Valles Grande adds 37 miles in the mountains. There are no facilities at Valles Caldera, and access is by reservation and strictly limited.