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New Mexico

Great American Get-Together in Santa Fe

Explore local culture as you discover national monuments, historic sites and world-class museums, and learn about Santa Fe and Northern New Mexico from experts.
Rating (5)
Program No. 20684RJ
8 days
Starts at
New Mexico

Great American Get-Together in Santa Fe

Explore local culture as you discover national monuments, historic sites and world-class museums, and learn about Santa Fe and Northern New Mexico from experts.
8 days
Starts at
8 days
Rating (5)
Starts at
Program No. 20684RJ

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To make your experience as safe as possible, we require all participants to be fully vaccinated. See our Safety Roadmap

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At a Glance

Immerse yourself in one of the most fascinating areas in the United States as you join Road Scholars and local experts for a week exploring and learning in beautiful Northern New Mexico. Experience the best of the Southwest with in-depth presentations and field trips to an array of significant historical and cultural sites. Learn about Georgia O'Keeffe, explore world-renowned Museum Hill and visit Bandelier National Monument.

Best of all, you’ll…

  • Experience treasures of Northern New Mexico on expert-led field trips to the villages of Taos, Abiquiu and Chimayo.
  • Explore world class museums in Santa Fe and Taos.
  • Hear from local experts about contemporary issues facing Native American populations in the Southwest. Climb up ladders and into caves at Bandelier National Monument

General Notes

Max of 140 participants, divided into smaller groups for activities.
Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
New Mexico Wildlife, An Introduction to Familiar Species
by James Kavanagh
A handy fold-up card featuring color illustrations of common plants, animals and reptiles of New Mexico.
The Magic of Bandelier
by David E. Stuart
Guidebook featuring the archeology and anthropology of Bandelier National Monument
Ancient Peoples of the American Southwest
by Stephen Plog, Amy Elizabeth Grey (Illustrator)
This illustrated introduction provides an in-depth look at the ancient cultures that first inhabited the pueblos and cliff dwellings of the American Southwest. Organized chronologically, it features hundreds of maps, mostly black-and-white photographs and site diagrams.
Santa Fe Map
by MapEasy
A plastic-coated, fold-up map of Santa Fe, including Taos and Albuquerque. Size: 18x27 inches.
Anasazi America
by David Stuart
A thought-provoking, engaging account of the rise and fall of Anasazi society in the desert southwest.
Pueblo Nations: Eight Centuries of Pueblo Indian History
by Joe Sando
An expansive history of the Indian Pueblos of New Mexico from a Native American perspective. The book explores the origins of the tribe to its current struggles to maintain sovereignty, land and water rights.
New Mexico Geologic Highway Map
by New Mexico Geological Society
by Leslie Marmon Silko
A powerful novel about Tayo, a half-white Laguna Pueblo Indian who returns to his reservation after surviving as a prisoner of the Japanese during World War II.
Taos, A Topical History
by Corina A. Santistevan
Profiling the small, but highly influential northern New Mexico town, this collection of 23 essays were written by scholars in a variety of fields, including: archaeology, geology, history, art and literature.
Ancient Child
by Momaday, N. Scott
Dark Beauty, Photographs of New Mexico
by Jack Parsons
Southwest photographer Parsons presents the rugged landscapes and the people of New Mexico, exploring religious iconography, far-flung ranches, small towns and wide open spaces in this full-color coffee table book.
Portrait of an Artist, A Biography of Georgia O'Keeffe
by Laura Lisle
Lisle shows how O'Keeffe was both changed and inspired by her Southwestern surroundings in this insightful biography of Georgia O'Keeffe.
Georgia O'Keeffe: A Life
by Robinson, Roxana
A Study of Southwestern Archaeology
by Stephen Lekson
In this volume Steve Lekson argues that, for over a century, Southwestern archaeology got the history of the ancient Southwest wrong. Instead, he advocates an entirely new approach—one that separates archaeological thought in the Southwest from its anthropological home and moves to more historical ways of thinking. Focusing on the enigmatic monumental center at Chaco Canyon, the book provides a historical analysis of how Southwest archaeology confined itself, how it can break out of those confines, and how it can proceed into the future. Lekson suggests that much of what we believe about the ancient Southwest should be radically revised. Looking past old preconceptions brings a different Chaco Canyon into view: more than an eleventh-century Pueblo ritual center, Chaco was a political capital with nobles and commoners, a regional economy, and deep connections to Mesoamerica. By getting the history right, a very different science of the ancient Southwest becomes possible and archaeology can be reinvented as a very different discipline.
Georgia O'Keeffe and New Mexico, A Sense of Place
by Barbara Buhler Lynes, Lesley Poling-Kempes, Frederick Turner
A catalogue of O'Keeffe paintings pairing 20 original images with modern photographs of the landscapes depicted by the curator of the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe.
Taco Table
by Lois Ellen Frank
A handbook for creating these Southwestern staples with easy to prepare recipes, from homemade tortillas to meat, poultry, seafood, and vegetarian fillings, to salsas that top them off.
In Search of the Old Ones, Exploring the Anasazi World of the Southwest
by David D. Roberts
An exuberant, engaging account of archaeological adventures in the desert Southwest. Roberts investigates the factors that may have led to the demise of the Anasazi civilization and looks into longstanding controversies.
Bandelier National Monument Map
by Trails Illustrated
A detailed map of Bandelier National Monument at a scale of 1:29,000.
American Prometheus
by Bird, Kai and Sherwin, Martin
My Time There: The Art Colonies of Santa Fe and Taos, NM 1956 - 2006
by Dick, R. H.
The Spell of New Mexico
by Tony Hillerman (Editor)
A selection of 12 thoughtful essays on the New Mexico state of mind by great writers, including C.G. Jung, Mary Austin, D.H. Lawrence and Lawrence Clark Powell. Hillerman succeeds in communicating the lure of the desert Southwest in this wonderful, literate introduction to the state.
Georgia O'Keeffe and New Mexico: A Sense of Place
by Buhler Lynes/Poling-Kempes/Turner
The Geology of Northern New Mexico's Parks, Monuments and Public Lands
by L. Greer Price, Editor
Anasazi: Ancient People of the Rock
by Muench, David and Pike, Donald G.
National Audubon Society Field Guide to the Southwestern States: Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah
by Peter Alden
A compact photographic guide to the wildflowers, trees, mosses, butterflies, fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals of the American Southwest.
DK Eyewitness Top Ten Santa Fe, Taos and Albuquerque
by Eyewitness Guides
A compact, illustrated guide in the popular series, featuring the best natural and cultural attractions of the region.
The Book of the Navajo
by Locke, Raymond Friday
Foods of the Southwest Indian Nations
by Lois Ellen Frank
Photographer Lois Ellen Frank spent four years documenting the culinary techniques used on reservations throughout the Southwest, compiling her discoveries into this handsome book, rich in photos and recipes.
Desert Solitaire
by Edward Abbey
One of the great works on the value of the desert, eloquent and laugh-out-loud funny. Although Abbey writes specifically about his experiences as a ranger at Arches National Park outside Moab, Utah, his message is universal.
Spider Woman's Granddaughters: Traditional Tales and Contemporary Writing by Native American Women
by Allen, Paula Gunn
American Indian Myths and Legends
by Alfonso Ortiz and Richard Erdoes
More than 160 tales from eighty tribal groups gives us a rich and lively panorama of the Native American mythic heritage. From across the continent comes tales of creation and love; heroes and war; animals, tricksters, and the end of the world. In addition to mining the best folkloric sources of the nineteenth century, the editors have also included a broad selection of contemporary Native American voices.
The Great Taos Bank Robbery
by Tony Hillerman
Nine indelible tales of life in New Mexico by the great newspaperman and author of the terrific series of mysteries set on the Navajo Nation.
Recreational Map of New Mexico
by GTR Mapping
A very good fold-out map of New Mexico.
Indian Arts of the Southwest
by Susanne Page
Featuring color photographs of the basketry, pottery, weaving, jewelry, and carvings of 200 noted artists, this book is both a collector's guide and cultural history of the Navajo, Hopi, Zuni, Pueblo peoples and other native peoples.
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8 days
7 nights
16 meals
7 B 4 L 5 D
Check-in, Registration, Orientation, Welcome Dinner
Santa Fe
Hilton Santa Fe Historic Plaza

Activity note: If you chose the “Free Airfare” option and will be arriving in Albuquerque on Day 1 of the program, Road Scholar staff will be on hand in the baggage claim area on the lower level of the Albuquerque Sunport to greet you and direct you to a motorcoach/shuttle. Look for Road Scholar signs. Our chartered motorcoaches will leave at regularly scheduled intervals. There may be some delay between arrival in Albuquerque and departure for Santa Fe. Hotel check-in from 4:00 p.m.

Afternoon: Program Registration: After you have your room assignment, join us at the Road Scholar table in the lobby to register with the program staff, get any updated information, and confirm the time and location of the Orientation session. If you arrive late, please locate your Group Leader and let them know you have arrived. Orientation. The Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer questions. This is a Road Scholar Great American Get Together (GAGT) program. GAGT programs involve a large group of participants from all over the country who get to learn about a wide variety of topics and themes from some of Road Scholar’s most acclaimed instructors. For some scheduled activities, participants will be divided into smaller groups. What follows is a representative schedule. The order of the elements each day will vary by group, but each group will have an opportunity to experience all scheduled activities. The activity level of this program is “Keep the Pace.” All activities take place at an elevation of 7,000 feet; routine physical activity will be more challenging than at sea level. Transportation for program-related activities will be via motorcoach unless specified otherwise. Periods in the schedule designated as “Free time” and “At leisure” offer opportunities to do what you like and make your experience even more meaningful and memorable according to your personal preferences. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may change due to local circumstances/conditions. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.

Dinner: At the hotel.

Evening: At leisure. Continue getting to know your fellow Road Scholars, settle in, and get a good night’s rest for the day ahead.

SW History, Georgia O'Keeffe, Historic Santa Fe Plaza Area
Santa Fe
Hilton Santa Fe Historic Plaza

Activity note: Walking up to 2 miles; paved but uneven surfaces, uphill grade, some stairs. Extent and duration of walking and other activities during free time according to personal choice.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: We’ll gather in the meeting room where a local expert will provide an overview of New Mexico history from the Ancestral Puebloan inhabitants of the area to the Spanish and American soldiers and settlers who followed. After a short break, we’ll continue with an expert-led presentation about the life and art of Georgia O’Keeffe. O’Keeffe was one of the most influential artists of the 20th century and a pioneer of American modernism. Although she is best known for the work she produced in New Mexico, O’Keeffe was a prolific artist with over 3,000 works over the course of her career and was the first female artist to have a museum dedicated solely to her work.

Lunch: At the hotel.

Afternoon: Next, we’ll set out with our Group Leaders on a walking field trip to the Santa Fe Plaza area where we’ll see some of the sites mentioned in this morning’s history lecture. We’ll then return to the hotel for with some time to freshen up and relax before dinner.

Dinner: We’ll gather in the lobby for a short walk to our dinner destination.

Evening: At leisure.

Full-day Taos Field Trip
Santa Fe
Hilton Santa Fe Historic Plaza

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 150 miles, approximately 3 hours total riding time over the course of the day. Walking up to 2 miles; paved and unpaved, uneven surfaces, uphill grade, some stairs.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: We’ll board motorcoaches and ride north to Taos. On arrival, we will stop at the Martinez Hacienda. The Martinez Hacienda is one of the few northern New Mexico style, late Spanish Colonial period "Great Houses" remaining in the American Southwest. Built in 1804, this fortress-like building with massive adobe walls became an important trade center for the northern boundary of the Spanish Empire. The Hacienda was the final terminus for the Camino Real. Today the Hacienda's twenty-one rooms surrounding two courtyards provide a rare glimpse of the rugged frontier life and times of the early 1800s. From the Hacienda, we’ll take a short ride to the Rio Grande Gorge that we’ll cross via the bridge that is the fifth-highest in the U.S. It spans the Rio Grande Gorge 565 feet above the river, affording breathtaking views, and has been used as a location in a number of motion pictures. Our Group Leader will provide commentary on the bridge and surrounding area. Next, we’ll ride to Taos Plaza, where we’ll have time for self-directed explorations of the Taos Plaza area. There are a number of museums, colorful galleries, and shops in this area, all within walking distance of Taos Plaza. Nearby museums include the Harwood Museum of Art that houses the Agnes Martin Gallery; the E.L. Blumenschein Home & Museum, home of artist Ernest Blumenschein, a founding member of the Taos Society of Artists; the Kit Carson Home & Museum; and the Taos Art Museum at the Fechin House.

Lunch: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to have what you like. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Afternoon: Free time. This period of time has been set aside for your personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most. Please refer to the list of Free Time Opportunities. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. Please note that the period scheduled for free time is subject to change depending on local circumstances and opportunities for independent exploration. We will head back to Santa Fe in the late afternoon, stopping for dinner en route to the hotel.

Dinner: At historic Rancho de Chimayó, a charming restaurant housed in an old hacienda.

Evening: Returning to the hotel, the remainder of the evening is at leisure.

Navajo Culture, Canyon Road, Alas de Agua Performance
Santa Fe
Hilton Santa Fe Historic Plaza

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 2 miles round-trip, approximately 1/2 hour total. Walking up to 2 miles; paved but uneven surfaces, uphill grade, some stairs. Extent and duration of independent exploration according to personal choice.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: We will be joined by Rex Lee Jim, a noted poet, playwright, and former Vice-President of the Navajo Nation. Rex will read some poems from his latest book and share insights into current events in the Navajo Nation. Following a short break, we will board motorcoaches for a short drive up to Canyon Road.

Lunch: At a local restaurant.

Afternoon: Free time. Take this opportunity to see and do what interests you most. There are a number of colorful galleries and shops within walking distance of the restaurant. Those who wish to walk back to the hotel after exploring are welcome to do so. Or you can choose to ride the motorcoach back to the hotel.

Dinner: At the hotel.

Evening: We will gather in the meeting room for a poetry performance by Israel Haros Lopez and members of Alas de Agua. Alas De Agua Art Collective is an intersectional, grass-roots space providing resources and opportunities for artists of color, native artists, immigrant, undocumented, and queer artists who have historically and currently been marginalized and not afforded the same resources. They help support artistic visions that are counter-narratives to dominant culture and believe diversity is key in creating community.

Contemporary Native Issues, Museum Hill, Free Time
Santa Fe
Hilton Santa Fe Historic Plaza

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 5 miles round-trip, approximately 20 minutes. Standing and walking at museums. Extent and duration of walking and other activities during free time according to personal choice.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: We’ll be joined by a local expert for a presentation on contemporary Native issues such as protecting and preserving sacred spaces, indigenous women, NAGPRA (the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act), and language reclamation. We’ll then board the motorcoaches for a short drive to Museum Hill and field trips to explore the Museum of Indian Arts & Culture and the Museum of International Folk Art. The Museum of Indian Arts and Culture features pottery, jewelry, sculpture, baskets, and other objects made by Native Americans from the earliest times to modern day, scrupulously documented and beautifully displayed. Most of the work is from the Southwest. The Museum of International Folk Art focuses on indigenous populations from around the world through their art, ranging from ceremonial dress and masks to furniture. The museum hosts the largest collection of international folk art in the world, including wings featuring some of the 106,000 pieces donated by collectors Alexander and Susan Girard and Lloyd Cotsen’s Neutrogena collection. Returning to the hotel, the rest of the day is free.

Lunch: On your own to have what you like.

Afternoon: Free time. Take this opportunity for independent exploration to see and do what interests you most.

Dinner: On your own to sample local fare and have what you like. There are a number of restaurants within walking distance of the hotel and Santa Fe Plaza. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Evening: At leisure.

Bandelier National Monument, Los Alamos Museums
Santa Fe
Hilton Santa Fe Historic Plaza

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 90 miles round-trip, approximately 2 hours riding time. Walking up to 2 miles; unpaved, well-maintained trails.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: We will board motorcoaches and ride 40 miles northwest to Bandelier National Monument, fascinating both for its geology and archaeology. After stopping at the Visitor Center, we’ll explore some of the trails in Frijoles Canyon where we can see “cavates” — cave-like dwellings used by the Ancestral Pueblo people who lived here 400 to 800 years ago.

Lunch: In the park, we’ll have boxed lunches.

Afternoon: Next, we’ll take a short drive to Los Alamos, where we will visit the Los Alamos History Museum and the Bradbury Museum of Science for two self-led explorations. The Los Alamos History Museum is located next to Fuller Lodge, which was once the dining hall for the Los Alamos Ranch School. Its mission is to preserve and share the history of Los Alamos through award-winning exhibits that include the geology and archaeology of the area, as well as exhibits dedicated to various aspects of the Manhattan Project. The Bradbury Museum of Science has wonderful exhibits about the history of Los Alamos National Laboratory, its national security mission, and the broad range of science, engineering, and technology research programs including the lab’s focus on Stockpile Stewardship. We will then return to the hotel for dinner on your own and a free evening.

Dinner: On your own to have what you like.

Evening: At leisure.

Geologic History, Ghost Ranch, Echo Amphitheater
Santa Fe
Hilton Santa Fe Historic Plaza

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 130 miles round-trip, approximately 3 hours total riding time throughout the day. Walking up to 2 miles; dirt terrain, some steep inclines. At amphitheater, inclined 1/2-mile walk through native piñons.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: We will gather for a presentation by an expert geologist on the fascinating geologic history of the region. We’ll then board motorcoaches and ride about 60 miles north of Santa Fe to the Ghost Ranch Education and Retreat Center. We'll have an on-board lecture about the area and learn more about its geology. Ghost Ranch was Georgia O’Keeffe’s first home in New Mexico was located on the ranch property. The ranch is now a retreat operated by the Presbyterian Church, which operates three small museums on site and also maintains several hiking trails into the red-rock country that O’Keeffe’s paintings made famous. While her home is now in private hands and not open to visitors, we will have the opportunity to see the landscape that enchanted O’Keeffe so much that she moved permanently to the area.

Lunch: In the Ghost Ranch Dining Hall.

Afternoon: We’ll take a short ride to Echo Amphitheater, a natural stone amphitheater with unique acoustic qualities. We’ll walk amid native piñons — small pine trees with edible seeds.

Dinner: In one of Santa Fe’s most renowned restaurants featuring locally sourced and seasonal ingredients. Share favorite experiences with new Road Scholar friends during our farewell dinner.

Evening: At leisure. Prepare for check-out and departure in the morning.

Program Concludes
Santa Fe

Activity note: Hotel check-out 11:00 a.m.

Breakfast: At the hotel. This concludes our program.

Morning: If you are returning home, safe travels. If you are staying on independently, have a wonderful time. If you are transferring to another Road Scholar program, detailed instructions are included in your Information Packet for that program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Don’t forget to join our Facebook page and follow us on Instagram. Best wishes for all your journeys!

Important registration tip:
If you want to attend the live lecture, please do not wait until the last minute to enroll.
If you enroll after a lecture is complete, we’ll send you a recording of the event.