In January 2013 we received the new AG catalog featuring the Girl of the Year – Saige. I have always loved the Southwest and West, and had never considered visiting New Mexico. Saige inspired me to consider the logistics of such a trip. I found out that Santa Fe is only 24 hours from Chicago on AMTRAK – now I had a really unique vacation idea taking shape!
Brianna was 8 when we took this trip, and we were already fans of Josefina and her books. My mom (AKA Grandma) and I had made a Josefina-inspired dress for Brianna a year or two earlier, so of course that came on the trip along with the doll.
We stayed at The Old Santa Fe Inn. I surprised Brianna by purchasing Josefina’s summer outfit and leaving that on her bed. Josefina was all set to be back home in Santa Fe!
One of the great things we were able to do in Santa Fe was visit El Rancho de Las Golondrinas. This rancho is a museum with buildings dating to Josefina’s time and before. They offer a “Josefina” tour for a nominal amount. We had a tour guide all to ourselves, and she was a former schoolteacher. Wonderful lady! Many of the authors who have written books for AG about Josefina have visited this rancho, including Kathleen Ernst who wrote the Josefina mystery “Secrets in the Hills.”
The most amazing thing to me was that the bed in one of the rooms in the rancho looked almost exactly like the bed American Girl sells for Josefina. Can I find this picture? Of course not. You’ll have to take my word on that one.
In addition, you can see the horno, or oven, outside which was also used as inspiration for Josefina’s horno. It’s really big!
We did not make it down to Saige’s neighborhood of Albuquerque on this particular trip, but we really loved Santa Fe and hope to return some day. If you love Josefina, I recommend Santa Fe’s gorgeous weather, great food, unique history, and easy driving.
Happy to answer any questions about AMTRAK trips!