What's Old is New Again

"What Would Mary Do?"

Jenny's View

Dear Friends,

Architect Barbara Felix has been working on restoring La Fonda to the vision of its original, 1920s designer, since Sam Ballen hired her in 2007. She constantly asks herself, “What would Mary do?” This explains why Jenny Kimball and the hotel have brought back the kinds of designs, layout (from archival blueprints), and local craftsmen that had gotten buried under decades of restorations and patches since the 1950s.


We have just laid the finishing touches on the final round of renovations, which brings back the open layout of the lobby area—classic to La Fonda when it became a center for Santa Fe social life in the first half of the 20th century—and the horseshoe-shaped bar from the 1950s, the earliest design we found. (There was no bar in the lobby area before then.) Some people have reacted with surprise at this “modernization” of La Fiesta Lounge. This reaction seems to speak more to the “retro” trend in exists in today's designs than any intention on our part to evoke a more contemporary atmosphere.

We do recognize, though, what the reaction is really saying: that Santa Feans cherish the hotel where they have celebrated their most important moments, and that they feel the change as personal, at a time when everything is changing so fast. As the current stewards of La Fonda, we are truly honored to be ensuring the sustainability of this cultural treasure—a responsibility we do not take lightly, as our painstaking research into every bit of restoration evidences. In time, we trust that history will honor the results as passionately as those being defended now.


Jennifer Lea Kimball

Recipe For Adventure

The cool snapper ceviche in La Plazuela is the perfect way to refresh after walking around in the summer heat. Marinated in both lime and lemon juice, and accented with red onion, jalapeno peppers, avocados, and cilantro, it’s a nice cool summer meal. Chef Lane Warners says, "Make sure to cut the fish into uniform pieces, so it cooks evenly."

Red Snapper Ceviche - Serves 4-6  Yields 1 Pound


1 lb. snapper fillets, skin off, diced small

6 oz. fresh lemon juice

6 oz. fresh lime juice


2 oz. cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced small

1 oz. red onion, diced small

2 TBL. fresh cilantro, chopped

1 ea. avocado, diced small

1 ea. jalapeno, minced

1 oz. fresh lime juice

1 oz. fresh orange juice



- Marinate diced snapper in the fresh juices for about 3 hours under refrigeration, until cooked thru and fish appears white in color.

- Rinse off gently with cold water and toss the garnishes of choice with the fish (see above).

- Serve on or with tostadas or corn chips         

Live at La Fonda

Cathy Faber has been playing La Fonda for more than a decade, first with veteran crooner Bill Hearne, and then with her own band since May 2010, when Cathy Faber’s Swingin’ Country Band debuted at the hotel.

Known for the loyal two-steppers who follow her from gig to gig, Faber reports that her loyal band has grown even more loyal by supporting a marriage:  Dave Devlin (lap steel, pedal steel, dobro, mandolin and telecaster) to Laura Leach, who took over from her on upright bass. It’s the first time she can recall a married couple working out for a band, she laughs.

A yodeler and rhythm guitarist, Faber plays Western Swing, rockabilly, and retro country that’s great for dancing and not tired radio fare, she says. The Seattle native won Best Country CD at the New Mexico Music Awards in 2013 and is a favorite at cowgirl venues around town. She especially enjoys La Fiesta Lounge for the staff. “It feels like home to me to see the same folks I’ve been working with for years,” she says. Plus, the renovated stage has put some distance between her and the tables where someone would inevitably yell to be heard, right into her microphone and out through the speakers. “I am very pleased about that!” she says.

Catch Cathy Faber and her band at Fiesta Lounge on June 17 and 18, and the next day at Taos Mesa Brewing in Taos, where she is sure to attract her full fan base of “dancin’ fools.” 


Warm up your walking shoes on the Edible Art Tour (June 10-11) or very local Fantase Fest (June 18) before the season of big art fairs kicks in. Art Santa Fe brings contemporary galleries from around the world for a four-day juried show for art collectors at the Santa Fe Convention Center (July 7-10). 



The biggest event of its kind and bigger every year (not to mention affordable), the International Folk Art Market brings hundreds of artisans from around the world to transform Museum Hill into a colorful bazaar, with an always sold-out opening-night party on Friday (July 8-10).

The 65th Traditional Spanish Market on the Plaza (July 30-31) gathers some 250 Spanish Colonial artists for a week’s worth of cultural activities iconic to the region (July 25-31). And while you’re out on Last Friday Artwalk at the Railyards, check out The Fence New Mexico, Santa Fe’s first year as part of a multi-city outdoor photo exhibition that showcases storytelling through photography (July 9 through Oct. 9).

Out and About

NM Cocktails & Culture (June 3-6) presents four days of teaching and tasting that “raise the bar” over the fame of locally made beer and wine. The Liquid Muse Bar Awards and NMCC Closing Party will be held at La Fonda from 5:30pm to 8:00pm in La Terraza ballroom.

Later in the month, you can enjoy street food from Vietnam with signature cocktails at a fundraiser for the Santa Fe Independent Film Festival in a private setting (June 25).  

The Rodeo de Santa Fe (June 22-25) offers more western entertainment, starting with the popular annual parade past the Plaza (June 18).

But rodeo is not the only horse sport in New Mexico! HIPICO Santa Fe hosts equestrian events this summer at the horse park out by the airport, including the A-rated Summer Series of hunter-jumper competition culminating in the Grand Prix (July 27-Aug. 14).

Pancakes on the Plaza is an Independence Day tradition now in its 41st year. And if your vacation is keeping you as overbooked as work, take an hour to sit quietly with others as part of City of Silence at the Railyard Park Rose Garden Ramada every Wednesday at 6 p.m. There’s also the city’s annual golf championship, now at three different courses (July 21-23).


At the Museums

Father’s Day (June 19) is Community Day at the New Mexico History Museum, with author Denise Chavez speaking on lowrider culture, plus a free family workshop painting a miniature metal car. Lowriders star again in the Low Writing Workshop (both poetry and calligraphy) for all ages at the history museum (July 17).

Map geeks take note: The Chavez History Library at the history museum hosts the Map Mania Symposium (June 24-25), including a day of cartographic discussion.

If your passions lean more toward the Founding Fathers, the Palace Press is creating a commemorative version of the Declaration of Independence to take home, with a reading of the text in the museum lobby as part of Free First Friday (July 1). 

Buy artwork from budding young artists whose parents are in the Palace of the Governors’ portal program, in the Palace Courtyard, during the Young Native Artists Summer Show and Sale (July 2-3). El Rancho de las Golondrinas’ summer calendar of events includes a fiber arts fair (June 4), herb and lavender festival (June 18), Santa Fe Wine Festival (July 3), and a celebration of Mexico (July 6). 

And tattoo anthropologist Lars Krutak speaks at the International Folk Art Museum as part of the exhibition Sacred Realm (June 5). ( Photo at right)

Music & Performance

At the Railyard summer music series, you can listen for free to Orgone (June 18) and the Johnny Cash tribute band from San Diego known as Cash’d Out (July 23) until Santa Fe Bandstand season starts up July 5 and opens with Lone Piñon (photo at right), bringing you free concerts to the Plaza almost every night through August, with La Fonda as one of its sponsors. 

​Opera season opens July 1 with great fanfare, including three days of festivities and two weekend operas. That’s where you’ll be getting your classical music fix this summer, unless it’s at the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival (July 17-Aug. 22), which opens with a four-course wine dinner and performances at La Posada de Santa Fe (July 19). There’s also Santa Fe Desert Chorale’s 34th annual Summer Festival, with two world premieres by leading American composers and a series of concerts in different locations, including an all-night vigil at churches in Albuquerque and Santa Fe (July 19-Aug. 14). 

Otherwise, the musical scene is all popular and contemporary, including, at the Lensic, Leon Russell (June 4) and five-time Grammy Award winner Robert Cray Band (June 14).

Don’t forget the Lensic’s India-themed fundraising gala on June 18 and Italian film fest, CineFesta Italia, June 2-4. On Father’s Day (June 19), classic blues guitarist John Mayall plays the Bridge at Santa Fe Brewing Company (formerly Sol), after veteran Cuban band Los Van Van (June 15). At Meow Wolf, you can catch Lucky Dragons (June 4), and SXSW award-winners The Bright Light Social Hour (July 29). Over the Rhine comes to Center Stage (July 30). And at GiG Performance Space, Leni Stern African Trio (June 17) is followed by Little Tybee (June 28) from Atlanta.

La Fonda and Santa Fe in the News

Edible Santa Fe:  "Revitalization of Popular Hotel Bar Includes New Cocktails"  Click here to READ MORE

Dallas Morning News: "Where Texpats Hang Out in Santa Fe" Click here to READ MORE

Denver Post: "15 Things to Do, See and Eat in Santa Fe" Click here to READ MORE