La Fonda on the Plaza - Then and Now

Read about La Fonda's new book - Available Soon

Jenny's View

History buffs are going to love this beautiful coffee-table book about La Fonda, complete with gorgeous photos and original essays. In recent years we’ve put out two booklets on the hotel’s art and history, but this project is on a different level. It’s really the first resource for many anecdotes and stories that make the story of La Fonda so fun to share.

Conceived by me and graphic designer Alex Hanna, the 224-page book is divided into sections on art, architecture, design, food, and hospitality, all illustrated by historic and contemporary photos of then and now. The best part was bringing together people who know La Fonda’s story most intimately, starting with Fred Harvey biographer Stephen Fried, who penned a beautiful introductory essay laying out the hotel’s 90-year history.

We have artist Tony Abeyta writing about the hotel’s art collection; architect Barbara Felix, who has done years of research into the original design by Mary Elizabeth Jane Coulter; and curator Meredith Davidson of the New Mexico History Museum, writing about the Harvey Girls and the Santa Fe Railroad. Seriously, we had a hard time choosing which of the many colorful stories and crazy anecdotes to include—which is to say we picked the very best!

I am really proud of this effort and pleased to have it available for sale by Thanksgiving. Corny as it may sound, one of the best parts of this effort was how it brought together a community of people to share knowledge and have fun—something the hotel has always done, then and now.

Happy reading,

Jennifer Lea Kimball

Recipe For Adventure

Blackening is the name given to a quick-cooking process developed by New Orleans chef Paul Prudhomme. Blackening produces a peppery black crust, while searing in all the juices and flavor, which makes it a great choice for the grill. Chef Lane has shared his recipe for the perfect blackening rub. 

Southwest Blackening Rub  Yield 8 oz.  Covers 8 portions of protein


1 oz. kosher salt

1 oz. sugar

1 oz. smoky paprika

1 oz. onion powder

1 oz. black pepper

½ oz. garlic powder

¼ oz. cayenne pepper

½ oz. white pepper

1 oz. cumin

¼ oz. chile powder


- Mix these dry ingredients well and use for blackening spice on your chicken breast, fish fillet or cut of meat.

- Unless you have a great hood/ventilation system in your kitchen then we recommend doing this outdoors.

- Heat a cast iron skillet to smoking temperature, oil piece of meat and then liberally cover piece of meat with blackening spice.

- Place on smoking hot cast iron and blacken both sides, place piece of meat in oven to finish cooking process to your preferred degree of of doneness.

Live at La Fonda

A veteran musician from the Baby Boom era, Little Leroy knows his generation. Whether it’s the Beatles, the Stones, Simple Minds or Tears for Fears, he mixes it up with Swing, Blues, Funk, and whatever else gets toes tapping and hips swinging. Basically the funny guitarist in his tall hat, with sidekick Jake Jones on rhythm guitar, wants people to have a great time grooving to songs they already love.

“I’ve played in a lot of original-music bands, but I wanted to play music that people could immediately relate to,” says Little Leroy, a.k.a. Murali Levine, whose CD Enjoying a Life won a New Mexico Music Award in 2011. “We’re all older—I’m 65 and most of the guys are over 50—so we have a sense of what people are looking for in terms of entertainment.”

New to La Fonda with his band, Little Leroy has played La Fiesta Lounge with other bands over the years, and appreciates the sophisticated crowd. “They can actually understand our humor and relate to it,” he laughs. “We want to give them an experience that they’ll remember and want to come back again.” Catch Little Leroy and His Pack of Lies in La Fiesta Lounge on Aug. 17.

It's a Good Time To...

Landing in Santa Fe in late August is lucky timing in any case. The week-long schedule of events for the 95th Santa Fe Indian Market (Aug. 20-21) includes many free events, such as the public kickoff party at the Convention Center with performing art, light installations, and dancing (Aug. 18); a Native Cinema Showcase screening at Railyard Park (Aug. 20), the Fashion Show at the Convention Center (Aug. 20) and Fashion Challenge contest on the Plaza (Aug. 21), not to mention music and dance performances all weekend long.

Art buyers will find ample opportunity to browse outside Indian Market, with the venerable Whitehawk Antique Indian and Ethnographic Art Shows (Aug. 12-15) at the convention center for those who collect antiques.



The Santa Fe Opera is another must-do in summer, with a menu this year that includes Puccini’s La Faniculla del West, Mozart’s Don Giovanni, Charles Gounod’s Romeo et Juliette, Richard Strauss’s Capriccio, and Vanessa by Samuel Barber and Gian Carlo Menotti. The Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival (July 17-Aug. 22) continues at Lensic Performing Arts and the St. Francis Auditorium at the New Mexico Museum of Art, as well as at the Albuquerque Academy’s Simms Auditorium.

                                      Benjamin Bliss  & Joshua Hopkins 

                           Joshua Roman

Can’t get enough vocal virtuosity? Operatic concerts at the Scottish Rite Center include soprano Leah Crocetto (Aug. 4) and the tenor/baritone duo of Benjamin Bliss and Joshua Hopkins, with Joseph Illick at the piano (Aug. 7). Santa Fe Desert Chorale’s 34th annual Summer Festival continues through Aug. 14 with Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater at Loretto Chapel (Aug. 1, 7, 10), Sephardic Legacy at the New Mexico History Museum (Aug. 2), Shakespeare’s Sounds and Sweet Airs at Church of the Holy Faith (Aug. 3 & 7), American Voices at Christ Church (Aug. 4) and Rachmaninov Vespers at the Cathedral Basilica (Aug. 11). Santa Fe Pro Musica opens its 35th season with Revolutionaries and Romantics (Sept. 17-18), including pre-concert talks by conductor Thomas O’Connor and an artist dinner Sunday with guest cellist Joshua Roman.

Free outdoor concerts are everywhere in August, including the Santa Fe Bandstand and Railyard Park, where you can see The Record Company (Aug. 14), an end-of-summer show TBD (Sept. 3), the AHA Festival (Sept. 18), and the horn band Swing Set during Last Friday Artwalk (Sept. 30). The 2016 Free Fall Music Fest presents concerts all day at Buffalo Thunder (Sept. 4). 

                      The Record Company 

Ziggy Marley

At the Lensic, Graham Nash plays a concert (Aug. 7), followed by the Lake Street Dive (Aug. 8) and the Inuit throat singer Tanya Tagaq (Aug. 29). Explosions in the Sky plays at Meow Wolf (Aug. 25), followed by Saint Motel (Sept. 27), while the Bridge at Santa Fe Brewing presents Ziggy Marley (Aug. 18) and Kyle Hollingsworth Band (Aug. 20). Michael Franti and Spearhead perform with Lila Downs and Zella Day at the Opera (Aug. 28), where contemporary music fans can also hear Neko Case play a show with Son Volt (Sept. 17). And for world music fans, it’s not too early to get tickets to the 12th annual İGlobalquerque! festival in Albuquerque (Sept. 23-24).

                     Neko Case

Out and About

For the 92nd year since Santa Fe art colony member Will Shuster founded the original “burning man” in 1924, Zozobra will send your cares up in flames at Fort Marcy Park (Sept. 2) to inaugurate Las Fiestas de Santa Fe. This annual celebration of Hispanic culture mingles the spiritual and secular with a weekend of events ranging from the Mariachi Extravaganza at the Santa Fe Opera (Sept. 3) to the Entrada de Don Diego at the Santa Fe Plaza (Sept. 9), children’s pet parade (Sept. 10), and Gran Baile (grand ball) that evening at the Convention Center. Entertainment, food and craft booths, and general revelry dominate the Plaza all weekend. If you won’t be in town for Zozobra, catch a preview of all things gloomy at ZozoFest 2016 (Aug. 27) at the Railyard.  

For foodies, harvest season is the perfect time to visit New Mexico, with such immersion experiences as the 26th annual Santa Fe Wine & Chile Fiesta, celebrating two of our greatest crops (Sept. 21-25). 

Equestrian events run back-to-back at HIPICO Santa Fe horse park in August and September.

For those who prefer hoofing it to hooves, there’s the annual Santa Fe Thunder half marathon to Buffalo Thunder (Sept. 18). And the weather is also ideal for admiring other people’s rides at the annual Santa Fe Concorso exotic car show (Sept. 23-25)

Explore life on the Western frontier at El Rancho de las Golondrinas during the Summer Festival (Aug. 6-7) or journey back to old Spain at the Santa Fe Renaissance Fair (Sept. 17-18). For a completely different experience at the living history museum, return Sept. 22-25 for UnifyFest, dubbed the biggest transformational festival in New Mexico, with yoga, health, sustainability, and celebrations “high vibrational.” 

Santo Domingo tribe celebrates its feast day annually on Aug. 4, with the Green Corn Dance ceremony in the plaza of the old pueblo. Other pueblo feast days include Picuris Pueblo (Aug. 10) and Santa Clara Pueblo (Aug. 12). Ask at the concierge desk for directions and details on protocol.

There’s no better time to tour the High Road To Taos than during the two weekends of the annual art tour (Sept. 17-18, 24-25), when you can pop into artists’ studios and visit the farmer’s markets in Penasco and Truchas.

At The Museums

      "Fractured Land" (2015)

The last Sunday in August, all five museums on Museum Hill are free for everyone, with special activities planned.

SITE Santa Fe has opened its biennial exhibition much wider than a line, part of its New Perspectives on Art of the Americas, featuring 35 artists from 16 countries and 11 new commissions (through Jan. 8). A series of related events includes an evening with performance artist Marina Abramovic (Aug. 23), which is sure to draw crowds to the Lensic.

Back downtown, the history museum opens Agnes Martin and Me (Aug. 5), a chronicle of photographer Donald Woodman’s time with the famous Modernist. Also at the history museum, the 16th annual Native Cinema Showcase presents the latest in independent Native film during a weeklong festival (Aug. 15-21) during Indian Market; “Class X” winners screen Aug. 19. 

Tibetan monks from Drepung Loseling Monastery will create a sand mandala starting Aug. 10 as part of the exhibit Sacred Realm: Blessings and Good Fortune Across Asia at the Museum of International Folk Art. A performance will take place at the James A. Little Theater (Aug. 13) featuring sacred music, dance, and conversation.


The Lensic presents the ballet Wahzhazhe, choreographed and danced by the Osage people  (four shows, Aug. 6-7). The annual Stars of American Ballet brings the principals and soloists of the New York City Ballet to town (Aug. 10-11). And Aspen Santa Fe Ballet presents its final show of the Santa Fe season (Sept. 3), a company premiere and two commissioned works.

Railyard Park screens Zootopia (Aug. 12) and Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Aug. 26) for free, along with a Native American showcase film for Indian Market (Aug. 20). National Theatre Live returns to the Lensic with an encore broadcast of Helen Mirren in The Audience (Aug. 24) in honor of the Queen’s 90th birthday, including a Q&A with director Stephen Daldry and Mirren herself, as well as an encore of A View from the Bridge (Sept. 30).


La Fonda and Santa Fe In the News

The Reporter:  La Fonda Takes Best of Santa Fe Lodging 5 Years in a Row! READ MORE

Gayot: 72 Hours in Santa Fe READ MORE

Travel & Leisure: Santa Fe Takes #4 as Top City in the United States  READ MORE