You’ve danced at the Bandstand to some hometown Americana and spent a sophisticated night discerning the political commentary of the Santa Fe Opera’s Fidelio. You’ve strolled Canyon Road, sipping wine on the QT and taken in kitschy Southwestern works. You’ve also hiked the trails; attended all the local theatre productions and the independent movies, had your Tarot cards read because this is Santa Fe and consumed so many locally grown vegetables from the Farmers Market your friends are begging you to buy some chips for once. Your Saturday afternoons are now reduced to laying on the Plaza grass, glassy-eyed, longing for something new. Here are a few suggestions for shaking up your summer days.
Play with Puppies
(or cats or doves or horses)
Imagine a house filled with puppies. Two German shepherd-corgi mixes clamber over each other, while heelers yip and jump playfully on your leg. Your mission: socialize them. At Heart & Soul Animal Sanctuary (369 Montezuma Ave., 757-6817), you can play outside with a large number of animals and feel like a good person at the same time. “They have an air of humility, these dogs,” says founder Natalie Owings, who is followed constantly across the 130-acre property by a friendly pack of approximately 20 older dogs. “They’re just grateful to have a home and to be rescued.” Some of the formerly abused, neglected and abandoned dogs will be adopted, while others run free through the trees and open-air houses on the Glorieta sanctuary for the rest of their lives. More of a cat—or dove, duck, horse, goat, chicken, rabbit or guinea pig person? You can help them too here. Prefer a bit of attitude? There’s llamas too.
To volunteer, call Owings to set up an appointment. Free.
One stab by SFR’s art director’s dagger bloodied my nose as my jammed left thumb throbbed from my close-combat struggle with martial arts and fencing enthusiast Demetri Cervone. But I was more irritated that I had to sit on the side, applying gauze, and watch others slash away with foam broadswords and rapiers. You, too, can join in the fun of the blissfully informal Santa Fe Swords. The club meets every other Sunday in Monsignor Patrick Smith Park off East Alameda to practice their swordplay, grappling and general battle tactics. Some nerdier folk may understand the game as similar to Belegarth, LARPing or SCA, garb and medieval reenactments excluded. Others may have no idea what those are but just want to hit people. All are welcome in this friendly, all-ages group. Smack talk, while not required, is appreciated.
To fight, call Cervone at 795-6626 to see if Sunday at 11 am is on. Free.
"Smack talk, while not required, is appreciated."
Sometimes diners at La Plazuela claim they see a young woman in a nightgown run across La Fonda and dive into the fountain. Legend has it she died in the 1920s or ’30s, jumping into a well after shooting a gambler who killed her newly pronounced husband on their wedding night, no less. For tonight, I’ll believe it. Phillip Westen, dressed à la Billy the Kid, is leading me on a ghost walk through downtown, pointing out all the local haunts. The Historic Walks of Santa Fe guide takes me outside the old St. Vincent’s hospital and tells me of stepping through disappearing pools of blood when he was working the night shift there at age 16. The locale’s basement, he says, was used to house bodies excavated by the Natural History Museum, and the building is now in the final stages of becoming a hotel.
To learn local history in the creepiest way possible, call 570-0564 to set up a Tuesday, Saturday or Sunday evening tour departing from the Eldorado Hotel. $14.
Forget cheese; the waxing moon looks more like fermenting sourdough starter as I take my turn to squint into the peephole of a 10-foot-tall Newtonian reflector telescope on a desert ranch near Cerrillos. I smile remembering the words of self-taught astrophotographer Peter Lipscomb minutes earlier: “A day on the moon lasts two weeks. So if you hate Mondays, it’s not a good place for you.” Astronomy Adventures is equal parts gag-worthy humor and Astronomy 101. Over the evening, Lipscomb points out Polaris and Vega and tells the story of Ursa Major and how black holes happen. He reminds us that the sky is our shared humanity, and the same elements in the stars, like carbon, nitrogen and oxygen, are in us too. “We’ve become so far removed from our connection to the natural world,” Lipscomb says, “but the night sky is a way…to get reconnected to the essence of your being.”
To stargaze, call Lipscomb at 577-7141 for reservations and directions. $40.
Brad Gallegos remembers balancing on a cable to cross a lake in Oklahoma and then getting really muddy just because he could. You can do similarly on August 2, sans the body of water, during the Ultimate Gladiator Dash at the Santa Fe Downs. The five-kilometer run is less of a mind-numbing workout and more like an obstacle course on steroids, containing a 100-foot water slide; at least eight mud pits and, yes, monkey bars. Do you fear the challenge? Gallegos says he’s seen an 84-year-old woman do it and not come in last. Granted there are a lot of tough elderly folk out there, but hell, what are you waiting for?
To crawl, climb and run through the mud with thousands of other people. $85.