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Delving into New Mexico's Atomic History

Photo: Ryan McKinny in Doctor Atomic (c) Dario Acosta

Jenny’s view

Dear Friends:

Indeed, in March of 1943, Oppenheimer, his wife, and team members stayed here. The hotel was a gathering point for scientists and staff. They came here to drink, dance and forget their heavy burden for a while.

Dorothy McKibbin and Robert Oppenheimer

(Photo: Courtesy of the Los Alamos Historical Society)

The government quickly infiltrated the hotel staff. Many of the bartenders, cocktail waitresses, front desk clerks and other staff were undercover agents. Everyone was looking for Soviet spies and wary of clandestine spy craft.

La Fonda on the Plaza, late 1930's

Robert Oppenheimer

The Santa Fe Opera’s Doctor Atomic, set during the weeks leading to the detonation of the first atomic bomb at New Mexico’s Trinity Site, draws from declassified documents, letters and interviews, poetry, and includes a traditional Tewa song. The production also features sacred Corn Dances from nearby Tesuque, Santa Clara and San Ildefonso Pueblos, too. Doctor Atomic doesn’t celebrate this chapter of our history. Rather, it raises questions about the moral and environmental implications of atomic energy. Even Oppenheimer had misgivings about pushing the boundaries of science.

Doctor Atomic

The NM History Museum’s Atomic Histories exhibition traces that science, the places and people that contributed to the Manhattan Project. Visitors can map the arrival of scientists in Lamy and their stops in Santa Fe. The exhibit follows the building of the city of Los Alamos, the workers from surrounding villages and Pueblos, and the impact of the nuclear test in Tularosa  and Alamogordo.

109 East Palace

So why would La Fonda feature a special hotel package surrounding these events? Because we were an important part of this atomic history. If you would like to stay at La Fonda and learn more about the Manhattan Project, you can call our reservations office or click on the link to get information on our Manhattan Project And Atomic Histories package.

Could there be a more perfect fusion of opera, history and venue?


Detours at La Fonda 

Featured for the month of August in Detours is Julie Rofman Jewelry:

Inspired by her background as a painter and sculptor, Julie Rofman has translated her passion for colors, patterns and easy-to-wear bohemian style into an eclectic collection of cuffs and bracelets. Using the traditional bead loom weaving method of Native Americans, she creates vibrant, geometric and modern designs reminiscent of the Bauhaus era. The beads she uses are 'delicas' and are hand-crafted by a small, family-run studio in Japan.

Julie Rofman's Geometric Designs 

Traditional Bead Loom Weaving Method

All of Julie’s designs are limited editions using a mixture of matte, translucent, opaque and shiny glass beads, creating a unique color field of sparkle. Larger bracelets are lined with soft faux suede and all bracelets have a sterling silver buckle closure or silver clasp beads with tassel ends. Each bracelet can be worn alone for simplicity or paired together for a trendy “stacked” look.

In conjunction with Santa Fe Indian Market, Pendleton Traditions since 1863:

For more than a century, Pendleton Woolen Mills has woven the legends and symbols of Native American tribes into beautiful blankets, which continue to signify honor and respect. Native Americans have acknowledged births, deaths, and major milestones and accomplishments with the gift of a Pendleton blanket. These original, exclusive designs were inspired by Native American art, legends, beliefs, ceremonies and heroes. In addition, we have a varied collection of products for the home and for personal wear including oversized jacquard towels, mugs, accessories, womenswear and menswear, jumbo bandanas, greeting cards and uniquely styled luggage sets available in several traditional Pendleton patterns.

Stop by Detours early for the best selection from both of these wonderful collections. We are open daily from 9 AM -7 PM

Pendleton Blankets

Pendleton Luggage

Recipe for Adventure

Basil-Serrano Pesto

Basil is definitely in season and a classic pesto sauce gets a southwestern makeover with the addition of Serrano chiles. From simple to sassy in one fell swoop, this zesty pesto will wow everyone. Use it on pasta, spread it on fish or chicken, spoon on a baked potato or soak it up with crusty bread.


2 Cups fresh basil

1/2 Cup grated Parmesan cheese

2 1/2 Cups ounces good quality olive oil

1 pound piñon nuts (pine nuts), roasted

3 serrano chiles, seeded and minced. Reserve the seeds

2 ounces fresh garlic, peeled

To Taste, salt and black pepper


  • Drop the garlic into a food processor while it’s running, and run the machine until garlic is minced.
  • Trim the stem off the peppers and slice into chunks. Add the reserved seeds and chunks of pepper to the processor while it’s running, until it’s minced.
  • Next add the pine nuts and Parmesan cheese and process until everything is smooth. Add the basil and pulse, scraping the insides a few times, until all the basil has broken down. Drizzle in olive oil while processing. Continue to process until pesto is as smooth as you like it.
  • Season to taste with salt and pepper, and add more olive oil if you prefer a looser pesto.
  • Store in an airtight container, and use within 10 days or freeze.


Live at La Fonda

Emmy “La Emi” Grimm puts her heart and soul into her dancing. Her passion is evident in every movement. Because flamenco isn’t just a dance. It’s a way of life. At least it has been for her.

Grimm began studying flamenco at the age of four with the Maria Benitez Institute for Spanish Arts – legendary in Santa Fe for creating exceptional flamenco artists. At ten, La Emi began working with the Institute’s youth company, Flamenco’s Next Generation. At 12 she began teaching flamenco within the Northern New Mexico public school system in towns such as Dixon, Cordova, and Española. Then she began teaching for Moving Arts Española and Maria Benitez ISA, where she is now the Assistant Artistic Director of Dance Education. All while performing and studying in Spain under world-renown flamenco masters as well.

Emmy "La Emi" Grimm

La Emi

And now she comes to La Fiesta to demonstrate why she was selected as one of the Santa Fe New Mexican’s young and emerging artists and received the 2012 Santa Fe Mayor’s Melissa Engestrom Youth Artist Award for Excellence in the Arts.

For more on this extraordinary dancer and her company EmiArteFlamenco, visit her website. Here’s a taste of the mesmerizing flamenco experience to come to La Fiesta soon.

It’s a good time to…

Unleash your spirit of adventure! Explore contemporary, traditional and Native arts, thrill to the drama and comedy of opera and go over the edge for a good cause. August has it all in Santa Fe.

Cheer on intrepid adventurers (including our own GM Rik Blyth) as they rappel down the side of the Hotel Saturday, Aug. 4 for the Over the Edge fundraiser. The day benefits one of our favorite nonprofits, Girls Inc., and coincides with the opening day of the 46th annual Girls Inc. Arts & Crafts show, happening all weekend on the Plaza, with juried works from 170 artists from around the nation.

Over the Edge with Girls Inc.

You must experience the largest and most prestigious juried Native arts show in the world Aug 18-19 – Santa Fe Indian Market. The Santa Fe Plaza swells with over 200,000 visitors from around the world for the 97th annual market that promises opportunities to buy art directly from roughly 900 Native artists. It’s the once a year event just steps from our door! And, as always, the Indian Market Gala and Live auction will be held at La Fonda (Aug 18). Tickets may be purchased here.

Santa Fe Indian Market

Santa Fe Indian Market Fashion Show

Objects of Art Santa Fe is an exciting addition to the city’s summer season. This four-day event (Aug 9-12) at El Museo in the Railyard district, features works from contemporary to historic, antique to modern – paintings, sculpture, and fine art of all kinds, as well as furniture, books, fashion, jewelry, textiles, and tribal, folk, American Indian, African, and Asian art. The annual Whitehawk Antique Indian & Ethnographic Art Show (Aug 10-13) at the Santa Fe Community Convention Center has been a Santa Fe tradition for 40 years. With over 100 dealers and merchandise not seen anywhere else, it’s a can’t miss in a month full of can’t misses.

Objects of Art

Whitehawk Antique Indian & Ethnographic Show 

The Santa Fe Opera continues to astonish crowds with its eclectic line up of new and time-honored performances: a new staging of Candide (through Aug 25) and classic Madame Butterfly (through Aug 24), favorites The Italian Girl in Algiers (through Aug 17) and Ariadne Auf Naxos (through Aug 23). This year’s Opera debut, Doctor Atomic (through Aug 16) by John Adams and directed by Peter Sellars, marries a world-class setting with a familiar New Mexico subject to extraordinary effects.

Shops at La Fonda

Rocki Gorman

Join Rocki Gorman for Indian Market August 16th-August 19th

A member of the Shops of La Fonda for 8 years, we are located on the Water Street and Old Santa Fe Trail side of the Hotel. Join us for our 15th Indian Market Trunk show Thursday, August 16th from 4-7pm with music and light fare, as well as Silverado clothing and custom hand bags by Espuela. Extended hours for the weekend.

May You Walk in Beauty with Jewelry by Rocki Gorman

Tom Taylor

This month Tom Taylor kicks off the 97th Annual Santa Fe Indian Market with a reception for 2017’s Indian Market Best of Show winning artist Pat Pruitt and his brother Chris. Join us Thursday, August 16th at 6:00 PM where we will showcase the extraordinary work of these two talented craftsmen from Laguna Pueblo. View Pat and Chris’s work online, or visit our store in the historic La Fonda on the Plaza. Mark your calendars and be sure not to miss Tom Taylor’s highly anticipated Indian Market tradition. 

Pat Pruitt

Chris Pruitt

Things Finer

Things Finer has been Santa Fe's premier source for fine antique and contemporary jewelry for over 25 years. Limited edition. "Charlie Bear" Kitty, named, Catnip, mixes her vintage turquoise with all of her best accessories including this velvet clutch from England. Available now by calling 505-983-5552 or visit the website, ThingsFiner.com.

"Catnip" Decked in Vintage Turquoise

Film & Performance

The Lensic is the place for a free performance of The Majesty of Music & Math, a multi-media television production that explores the interconnectedness of music and mathematics produced by New Mexico PBS (Aug 5).

The Majesty of Music & Math

Santa Fe Playhouse investigates The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (through Aug. 5), while New Mexico Actors Lab turns summer info fall with David Mamet’s November (Aug 2-19). The 99th annual Fiesta Melodrama, lampoons local politicians (Aug 23-Sept 9) with biting, topical humor.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night

Fiesta Melodrama

The Center for Contemporary Arts brings the best in international film with Mexican Experimental Cinema: From Coca-Cola in the Blood to Mash-up at the Multiplex, a series of short films curated by Jesse Lerner and Mara Fortes (Aug 10-11). Then catch Todo lo Demás (Everything Else) with filmmaker Natalia Almada in attendance via Skype (Aug 16).

Mexican Experimental Cinema

Natalia Almada

Out & About

An old Mexican dicho (folk saying) says full belly, happy heart. Head to El Rancho de los Golondrinas to fill your belly with the food, beer and cider of New Mexico at the Second Annual Panza Llena, Corazón Contento: New Mexico Food and Beer Festival (Aug 4-5). Then bring the kids for story telling, magic shows, animals, crafts and more for Fiesta de los Ninos: Camino Kids (Sept 1-2).

Fiesta de los Ninos: Camino Kids

The magnificent Hipico Santa Fe Summer Series showcases hunter and jumper competitions with equestrian athletes from across the United States, Europe, Canada and Mexico (through Aug 12). Horse lovers saddle up! Events are free and open to the public. The Santa Fe Farmer's Market Birthday Party celebrates local farmers and their harvests (Aug 4) at the Railyard Plaza with music, food, entertainment and more!

Hipico Santa Fe Summer Series

Santa Fe Farmer's Market

And you can’t forget the 94th annual Burning of Zozobra at Fort Marcy Park (Aug 31). Old Man Gloom goes up in smoke, taking our cares and worries with him, with dancing, food and music. Burn him! He’s part of Santa Fe Fiestas (Aug 26-Sept 8) with events that include a fine arts and crafts market, music, dancing, food, a pet parade and more. And, if you are a guest at La Fonda that weekend and want to avoid the crowds and the hassle of hauling chairs to the park early, just to get a good spot to watch the burning, we will be hosting our own Zozobra party here for you. During the day, we will be gathering your glooms in the lobby to take to the burning followed by a viewing party in the Lumpkin's Ballroom with a cash bar and featuring a live stream, sponsored by Meow Wolf, of the Zozobra burning. We hope to see our guests there! 


Music & Dance

The Center for Contemporary Arts (CCA) is the place for both music and dance in August. Roberto Hidalgo enthralls audiences with highly inventive piano (Aug 2), then The New Mexico Contemporary Ensemble present The Now of Time, a new multimedia work with contemporary classical music by Los Angeles-based composer Joshua Carro (Aug 12). CCA’s outdoor patio is also the venue for Armory: Micaela Gardner Site-Specific Performance (Aug 24-26).

Roberto Hidalgo

Joshua Carro

The Lensic presents Stars of American Ballet (Aug 3-4) for two evenings of extraordinary dance. Then catch Arte Flamenco Society presents Juan Siddi Flamenco (Aug 24) for a night of passionate, bold Spanish flamenco. Local favorites Aspen Santa Fe Ballet return for An Evening with Joyce Yang, a program of dance and piano (Sept 1).

Juan Sidd Flamenco

Joyce Yang

The Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, one of the world’s preeminent music festivals takes over the Lensic in August for its program: Bach & Vivaldi (Aug 11), Mozart & Smetana (Aug 12), Mahler, Cooke & Gilbert (Aug 13), Beethoven & Borodin (Aug 15), more Mozart (Aug 16), Orchestral Bach (Aug 18), Beethoven & Dvorak (Aug 19) and wraps with Dover Quartet (Aug 20). The Santa Fe Desert Chorale, one of the nation’s premier professional vocal ensembles, showcases 24 vocalists, 13 instrumentalists, 3 concert venues and 2 conductors during its 2018 Summer Festival (through Aug 9). Late afternoon and evening performances, free and paid events, speakers and music span four centuries and multiple continents right here in the City Different.

Celebrate the lifetime achievement of New Mexico’s music heroes and icons at The Platinum Music Awards, presented by the NM Music Commission Foundation (Aug 30) at the Lensic. Honorees include folk musician and songwriter, Antonia Apodaca; Latin vocalist, Nacha Mendez; bandmaster, Dr. William Clark; musicians Thomas Guralnick and Malcom Yepa; and Wanda Higgins, who recently passed away at 97, ran the Hummingbird Music Camp with her three children. 

Weeknights through mid-August, Santa Fe Bandstand’s free summer music festival on the Santa Fe Plaza stacks a full line up featuring Santa Fe Opera Apprentices and Nacha Mendez (Aug 1), Busy y Los Big Deals and Hispano guitar and rock Manzanares (Aug 2), the harmonic lyricists, The Sea The Sea and bluegrass with Rob Ickes & Trey Hensley (Aug 7), Lipbone Redding and singer-songwriter Jono Manson (Aug 7), and Native Drum Circle with Grammy winning and Taos Pueblo flautist Robert Mirabal (Aug 9). The series closes Aug 10 with Meow Wolf’s family friendly Monster Battle Party.

Busy y Los Big Deals

Lipbone Redding

The Bridge at Santa Fe Brewing Company continues the summer fun on their outdoor stage with the chilling harmonies of Rainbow Kitten Surprise (Aug 19), and its 30th Anniversary Kick Off Party with Steel Pulse & Tribal Seeds (Aug 21).

Rainbow Kitten Surprise

Steel Pulse

The Levitt-AMP Railyard music series put together by AMP Concerts features free music and family fun in August with genre-defying powerhouse Deva Mahal (Aug 4), and cultural barrier breaking Dengue Fever (Aug 11), reggae sensation Innastate (Aug 18), and concludes with Bob Schneider (Aug 25).

AMP Concerts continues its extraordinary line up in Santa Fe in August with Tinariwen (Aug 20) at Meow Wolf. They’re bringing big names to the Santa Fe Opera, too: Robert Earle Keen and The Flatlanders (Aug 27), The Mavericks (Sept 3), and The B-52s (Sept 10). Love Shack!



At the Museums

First Friday (Aug 3) at the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum is your chance to explore your own artistic endeavors – free with museum admission. Then discuss a currently on exhibit work of art with a member of the curatorial department (Aug 29). 

Georgia O'Keeffe, The Barns, Lake George, 1926

© Georgia O’Keeffe Museum

The NM Museum of History complements the Santa Fe Opera’s Doctor Atomic with its own journey into New Mexico’s nuclear past. Atomic Histories explores the most famous events, sometimes little-known stories, and inventions born here which impact our lives, and helps to recognize the remarkable contributions of thousands of people involved in writing New Mexico’s Atomic Histories for the last 75 years.

The annual NM Museum of Art Ice Cream Social (Aug 10) is your chance to enjoy the museum’s beautiful interior patio for ice cream courtesy of Häagen-Daz and then the summer exhibitions: Shifting Light: Photographic Perspectives (through Oct 7), Frederick Hammersley: To Paint Without Thinking (through Sept 9), Patrick Nagatani: Invented Realities (through Sept 9) and Horizons: People & Place in New Mexican Art (through Nov 25).

NM Museum of Art Ice Cream Social

Center for Contemporary Arts presents Ricardo Mazal: A 15 Year Survey (though Sept 23), an exploration of the work of this extraordinary artist over the past two decades. While you’re there, check out A Clip of Petals, a visual commentary on the pressing issue of gun control, mass shootings and the environment from artist Joerael Elliott (through Aug 5).

Ricardo Mazal: A 15 Year Survey

Joerael Elliott

Museum of Indian Arts and Culture has amassed a significant collection of Plains and Southwest moccasins, many beautifully beaded or quilled. They’re exhibiting them for the first time in decades in Stepping Out: 10,000 Years of Walking The West (through September). The exhibition includes sandals that date back thousands of years found in the dry caves of New Mexico and nearby regions.

Stepping Out: 10,000 Years of Walking the West

Save the date for the IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts’ annual Scholarship Dinner and Auction (Aug 15), right here at the historic La Fonda on The Plaza. Tickets may be purchased here. (Don’t miss their Action/Abstraction Redefined exhibit featuring paintings and works on paper from the permanent collection created in the 1960s and 1970s, either.)

Action/Abstraction Redefined


Navajo metalsmith Nanibaa Beck presents her experiences (Aug 9) at the 2018 Ronald and Susan Dubin Fellow at School for Advanced Research. Over the course of her fellowship, Beck has drawn inspiration from SAR’s Indian Arts Research Center collections and worked with fellow Native American women metalsmiths. Free and open to the public.

Film documentarian Jesse Lerner discusses his recent exhibit, How to Read El Pato Pascual: Disney’s Latin America and Latin America’s Disney, curated with Rubén Ortiz-Torres at CCA (Aug 12). He explores Walt Disney’s engagement with Latin America and Latin American artists’ re-appropriation and misappropriation of Disney’s iconography.

Nanibaa Beck

With Jesse Lerner

La Fonda and Santa Fe in the News

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The Santa Fe Reporter: Detours has secured 3rd place Best Gift Shop with only its second year in business, and the Bell Tower has placed 3rd for Best Patio! READ MORE 

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