We love to visit small towns and Santa Rosa is no different. Santa Rosa is divided by pre-1937 Route 66 (now I-40). It too has a scenic drive that a geologist would find exciting just south of downtown. We drove highway 91 past Rattles Snake Canyon to Puerto de Luna (Gateway to the Moon), a former county seat and early adobe village. The story is that Puerto de Luna was once a thriving community but alas the railroads chose Santa Rosa as their route and thus Puerto de Luna lost out.
Puerto de Luna is home to Our Lady of Refuge Church and the story is that Billy the Kid visited often and had many friends in the area. He supposedly had his last Christmas dinner there with Father Gzybowski, who was influential in the Church’s Slavic design. Still standing is the Church in great beauty, the original Guadalupe County Court House and the classic adobe architecture is still evident in the homes in the area.
Another drive north gave a very different landscape. The paved road to Santa Rosa State Lake is only seven miles and an easy drive through. It less craggy and more serene scenery. The lake is beautiful, a bit low in water but not nearly as low as we expected. The campsites were shaded, each had a shelter and a picnic table and showers and restrooms nearby. Some sites had electric and water and some electric only and others offered no utilities. Unfortunately for us it was booked solid for the Labor Day week-end when we would be here. We will certainly try next time. It is a Corps of Engineer Lake and our Senior Pass would have helped the budget.
Santa Rosa is touted as “The City of Natural Lakes”, its’ Blue Hole is one of seven sister lakes joined underground by a vast system of water. The Blue Hole is a geological phenomenon called the Santa Rosa Sink. It is 80+ feet deep and shaped like a bowl. There are underground caves but they are grated to protect the everyday divers. We stopped by the Blue Hole and found it crowded with young people diving from cliff sides into the deep round pool which is a steady 68 degrees F. It was such fun watching them think about if this is a good decision to jump or dive or maybe just let someone else go first. The water is clear blue and it bubbles when they submerge. This place is open year round with winter being its’ busiest season. We admired it but did not have the desire to experience it ourselves. There was once a time when we would have joined in. The incredible beauty of the Blue Hole is considered the “Sapphire of Santa Rosa”, according to the pamphlet given to us at the Blue Hole Center.
We stayed at Santa Rosa RV Park on Route 66/I-40. The review is another blog. We enjoyed our time in Santa Rosa and will be heading out to visit Santa Fe and then Albuquerque.