From Steel City to Santa Fe

Gay men from Pittsburgh move to Santa Fe
Gay men from Pittsburgh move to Santa Fe

From Steel City to Santa Fe

Andy Warhol knew what worked for him. In fact, the noted artist famously claimed to have eaten the same thing for lunch for 20 years. Recent Santa Fe transplant Greg Burchard knows a thing or two about the famed artist, having served as Senior Manager of Rights, Reproductions and Photographic Services for the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh.

But unlike Warhol’s 20-year lunch habit, after nearly two decades of sharing their lives together in a climate that’s frequently cold and wet, Greg and his husband Kevin Bursley, a psychologist in private practice, felt it was time to change things up. In 2017, the soon-to-be retired couple decided to spend their next chapter in the Southwest, in a climate with distinct seasons, but lots of sun.

They had a few key requirements for their new Santa Fe home. They wanted space, light, views, and close (but not too close) proximity to the Plaza. After being shown several properties by Mark Banham, Greg and Kevin settled on a three-bedroom home in the Los Lomas community.

With the help of Mark’s social connections (and some Friends of Dorothy events), Greg and Kevin are now officially Santa Feans! When they’re not hiking or exploring the town and surrounding areas, they’re busy volunteering and even learning a second language.

What made you decide to break up with Pittsburgh and move to Santa Fe?

Kevin: We loved Pittsburgh – it is an amazing city. But we didn’t want to spend the rest of our lives there.

Greg: But after 20 years in a relationship, Kevin and I still found we had different ideas of what we liked as far as where we wanted to live next.

Kevin: Greg gravitated toward somewhere progressive, like Northern Europe. He wanted Norway.

Greg: And Kevin wanted the sun. I like winter, climates with seasons. And, after years in a congested city like Pittsburgh, the idea of a smaller, manageable city appealed to both of us.

Kevin: But we still wanted a city that had a lot of cultural opportunities, which Santa Fe certainly does. Santa Fe just seemed to check off a lot of boxes for both of us.

Kevin: And fortunately, on our first visit together, we both fell in love with it.

Greg: I was here with my family as a seven-year-old and there were certain things like the Plaza that stuck with me visually. It is amazing how Santa Fe seems to retain such a historic, unique feel while having so many amenities of a larger city.

How did you find Mark?

Kevin: We had a couple of friends who were looking here before we were, and they worked with Mark, but they really hated the cold, any cold. So they ended up in Palm Springs.

Greg: They really highly recommended Mark and it ended up being a perfect match for us.

How was your house hunting process?

Greg: While we were still living in Pittsburgh, we visited Santa Fe a few times and looked at properties during each visit. Convenience was important to us, but we also wanted views. We loved the idea of waking up to an amazing view.

Kevin: We also wanted a lot of light. In Pittsburgh we lived in a 100-year old house with not many windows. Combine that with the weather there and it was often dark inside. Santa Fe gets 300 days of sun. When we got here, we wanted to feel it.

Greg: After our third visit, we made an offer on our house. It’s on the High Road just off West Alameda in the Los Lomas community a couple of miles from the Plaza.

Kevin: We have lots of peace and quiet with great views of the hills and Sangre de Cristo Mountains, which light up at sunset in the most amazing reddish and pink hues. But even with that quiet privacy, we can still go see a movie at the Railyard or a performance at The Lensic and be home in 10-15 minutes. In Pittsburgh, it would take 15 minutes just to get out of the parking garage.

How did Mark help you with the transition from Pittsburgh to Santa Fe?

Kevin: This was the first time either of us had bought a house from out of town. With Mark and his assistant Ian, the process went so smoothly. We felt like we were in good hands. They both have a great attention to detail. It all worked so smoothly.

Greg: When we have needed to find people to work on house projects, like when we wanted to redo the master bath, he gave us a contractor who was brilliant. We feel so fortunate with how Mark has been there for our whole move-in process.

Kevin: And after the move, knowing Mark has really helped socially. We really knew no one when we came here. It was a new adventure. Mark is always helping us make new connections, by inviting us to Friends of Dorothy events, dinners and more.

So now that you’re here, how is life as a new Santa Fean?

Greg: We both spend a lot of time volunteering. There are amazing organizations here in Santa Fe that are doing so many wonderful things – it is easy to find places to join and be a part of something special, to really experience what the city is doing.

Kevin: I work at the Food Depot every week and I’ve done some work at the Santa Fe Botanical Garden. And I’ve just started working for the Literacy Volunteers, which I’m really excited about.

Greg: I work with animals at both the Santa Fe Animal Shelter & Humane Society and the Espanola New Mexico Wildlife Center in Española. I’m also volunteering in the Photo Archives of the New Mexico History Museum.

Kevin: We’re both taking Spanish classes at the community college, and I’ve also taken photography courses. And both of us have experienced some incredible lectures at the Renesan Institute.

Have there been any surprises in this new chapter of your life?

Greg: The incredible history of New Mexico is something I wasn’t expecting and especially how much the state celebrates its diverse heritage. Volunteering in the photo archives has been fascinating. If I let it, it could take up all my time.

Kevin: Santa Fe has really exceeded my expectations. It seems like there are always new places to see and new things to do.

Gay men chose to live in Santa Fe for next chapter

Gay couple retires in Santa Fe New Mexico

Thinking about purchasing a vacation home or relocating to Santa Fe? Reach out to Barker Realty Broker Mark Banham to learn more about real estate opportunities in the Santa Fe Area as well as the cultural and social opportunities available in this unique, welcoming community.