New Year’s Eve in Santa Fe is Yours to Create

“Should auld acquaintance be forgot and never brought to mind?” Absolutely not, Mr. Burns, that can’t happen in a town that’s more than 400 years old – too many auld acquaintances to play with! Every one of my auldies but goodies has a favorite spot for ringing in the New Year, so I’ve made a list and checked it twice to see where we’ll have fun being naughty and nice!

Santa Fe, New Mexico, Holiday Celebrations, Mixology

Any day can end with ahhh at the Agave Lounge.

Firm believers in top-drawer food with party beverages head to the Agave Lounge at the Eldorado Hotel to pair green chile Kobe sliders with their margaritas or martinis. The handsome fireplace casts cozy warmth throughout the room at this locals’ favorite, where a Happy Hour meet-and-greet easily flows into the wee hours. And if you’re planning on going the distance, the Eldorado’s New Year’s Eve Package has everything you need to welcome 2015 in true Santa Fe style.

Given that Santa Fe has a Palace of the Governors, it’s no surprise that there’s a party palace too, the Palace Restaurant and Saloon. Once the bailiwick of the notorious Doña Tules (yes, there’s a story), the Palace has Happy Hour covered, but things really get going once the music starts. The calendar is always fully-loaded, and New Year’s Eve promises a speakeasy with The Shiners Club Jazz Band to swing 2015 into gear.

“Buon Anno” will roll off the tongue when you lubricate your vocal cords with an Italian twist and a glass of Prosecco for a toast at Il Piatto. Not one, but two happy hours on tap here, molto bene! The early one has half-off appetizers and choice wines by the glass. And late diners score at the 9:30 version with those half-off apps, selected wines and a three-course Prix Fixe dinner!

Santa Fe, New Mexico, Holiday Celebrations, Mixology

New Year’s Eve in Santa Fe can be colorful when you toast 2015 at Del Charro.

If you’re feeling casual, the Del Charro Saloon can’t be beat; inexpensive chow and a friendly howdy are guaranteed. Margaritas come with their own shakers, so you can say good-bye to the old year as you pour a good-bye to your last drop. No need to get gussied up – just sit back and relax, nibble an order of Nachos Royale, and watch the ball drop on the screen over the bar.

Casual comfort has a storied past at the Pink Adobe’s Dragon Room, a haunt that locals have been coming to forever (well at least for the last 70 years). Smack-dab in the center of the historic Barrio de Analco, the Dragon Room possesses all the rustic and authentic charm Santa Fe is known for. Tuck yourself into an corner with a margarita close at hand and you might well find yourself making friends with a local sharing tales of bygone days when Rosalea Murphy, the Pink’s legendary founder, reigned nightly for the artists and writers who courted her favor.

Santa Fe, New Mexico, Holiday Celebrations, Mixology

You can light up the night in Santa Fe at Skylight. (Photo Credit: The Santa Fe New Mexican)

Party people skedaddle to Skylight, a hot hit from the moment it opened in summer 2014. Food, yes; drinks, yes; music – sí, sí,sí! Santa Feans like to get their party on and this is the place. Laugh in the New Year with a performance by the Bonkerz comedy team (6:00 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.) then keep the amusement alive at the late-night dance party (10:30 p.m. to 1:00 a.m.) You can even beat the New Year’s rush and meet at Skylight on December 30 for Tuesday 50-cent wings and $2 Tecates!

There’s a new kid on the nightlife block and the Blue Rooster is sure to keep it rocking well into morning on New Year’s Eve. In the former home of the Rouge Cat (and sticking with the colorful naming), the Rooster has Santa Fe’s gay scene firmly in its sights, but there’s no pecking order on who’s invited to play. Diversity rules this hen house and all are welcome to party their way into 2015. And if your New Year’s Eve dance card is full, come back on Saturday night to hear Santa Fe’s resident disco diva, DJ Oona, pull out all the stops.

Santa Fe, New Mexico, Holiday Celebrations, Mixology

New Year’s Eve is sure to be hot when you let The Den mix the drinks! (Photo Credit: The Den)

Head for The Den, located underneath the Coyote Café, and you’ll feel right at home. This intimate hideaway is ideal for pre-dinner cocktails then comes to life for late-night endings with music spun by knock-out Santa Fe DJs. The signature cocktails are truly inventive and some lucky wordsmith had a great time coming up with awesome appellations for the Den’s apertifs and after-dinner specialties – cheers to them!

Every town has that one local bar that you absolutely must see to say you’ve been there. In Santa Fe, that’s Evangelo’s! There’s an upstairs and an Underground and you want to visit both. The face of bar-founder Evangelo Klonis became familiar world-wide thanks to a famed World War II picture by W. Eugene Smith, and the family atmosphere is palpable. Regulars will regale you with stories (both believable and far-fetched) of musicians they’ve heard here, including bands tailor-made for the movies (witness Jeff Bridges strumming in Crazy Heart).

For ending the night in true dive fashion, I suggest the intriguing set of stairs on the corner of Don Gaspar and West San Francisco Street leading down to The Matador. This hole-in-the-wall with rockabilly flair is the perfect place for a rendezvous with your best buddies. It’s dark, it’s funky, but it’s all Santa Fe – and all of Santa Fe has made a pilgrimage to close a night, a week or the year with a nightcap at the Matador. Close your night by linking arms for a stroll under the twinkling lights of Santa Fe Plaza.

Santa Fe, New Mexico, Holiday Celebrations, Mixology

No matter where December 31 takes you, Santa Fe’s great mixologists will help you shake off 2014 and welcome the New Year!

Ten, nine, eight, seven,….well, you know how it goes. Gather the gang to say good-bye to 2014 City Different style and use my skinny on these ten spots to light up your getaway before the year is gone. Santa Fe has 400-plus years of experience at getting the year off to a festive start – say Prospero Año Nuevo the Santa Fe way and your 2015 is guaranteed to be a truly Happy New Year!

 

 

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Giving Santa Fe: No Wrapping Paper or Bows Required

Surrounded by the radiance of light-strung cacti and piñon trees at the Santa Fe Botanical Garden’s Garden Glow, I couldn’t help but get that warm, fuzzy feeling of true holiday cheer.  It reminded me once again that what we remember most about the holidays isn’t what we get or even what we give, but mostly what we do, the experiences we create.  In Santa Fe, there’s a sleigh full of one-of-kind memories just waiting to be made.  So what are you waiting for? Be here now!

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Holiday carols and colorful lights set the mood at the Santa Fe Botanical Garden Glow (Photo Credit: Santa Fe Botanical Garden)

Cooking Up Holiday Surprises

When I send out gift certificates from the Santa Fe School of Cooking, I know that my recipients and I will both enjoy the fruits (and veggies) of the encounter. I’m living proof that your average Santa Fean’s cooking skills go from satisfactory to sublime with a Chile Workshop. Your visitors will reap the same results!

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Smiles come with the spatulas at the Santa Fe School of Cooking. (Photo Credit; Santa Fe School of Cooking)

And the Cooking School has more than just hands-on and demonstration cooking classes. Gifting someone with the School’s Shop Walk might mean you receive something unique in return. Signature sea salts or Spanish olive oil sound pretty tasty!  There’s even a three-day Southwest Culinary BootCamp for intrepid home chefs ready to delve deeply into our regional cuisine working side-by-side with some of Santa Fe’s best chefs.

Any conversation about Santa Fe’s best chefs has to include Rocky Durham. After Durham honed his skills in Europe and hosted his own cooking show, this talented maestro came home (as do native Santa Feans who miss the signature foods they cut their teeth on) to create some local culinary buzz. And he’s cooked it up right at the Santa Fe Culinary Academy! The academy’s mission to provide a classic and holistic education for future food industry professionals includes delicious community classes that cater to foodies hungry for authentic experiences.  And the series of Pop-Up Dinners that appear on the calendar are pure palate pleasure.

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Chef Rocky Durham is hands-on in the kitchen at the Santa Fe Culinary Academy. (Photo Credit: Eddie Moore for the Albuquerque Journal)

The Pros Provide the Guide to Santa Fe’s Dining Delights

Seeing the town on foot can be foodie heaven, too, and Santa Fe has double the fun on offer. Both the Santa Fe School of Cooking Restaurant Walking Tours and Food Tour New Mexico provide the perfect way to discover Santa Fe’s restaurant scene. Strolling to Santa Fe’s best restaurants, meeting the chefs, and sampling the flavors is entertainment and dinner in one fell swoop. You could even set up a friendly family rivalry by sending one team to each tour to report back on restaurant revelations!

 

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Who wouldn’t love to experience Santa Fe with Food Tour New Mexico as a guide? (Photo Credit: Food Tour New Mexico)

Clever Christmas Presents Include Creativity

Rest assured that there’s more than dough and spices to get anyone’s hands into. How about an afternoon at Santa Fe Clay? Located in the happening Santa Fe Railyard, this professional pottery studio is home to 20 resident artists and ideas burn as hot as the kiln in the 10,000-square-foot space. The gallery is full with treasures and family-friendly classes and weekend workshops let everyone spend fun-filled hours turning a ball of clay into an artistic masterpiece. And the most fervent craftsman in your family would be thrilled to attend a  2015 summer workshop – Santa Fe’s summer art season is inspiration that never quits.

 

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Hands-on at Santa Fe Clay is a colorful way to spend a day. (Photo Credit: Santa Fe Sage Inn)

 

Creativity runs rampant in the City Different and Santa Fe Creative Tourism’s year-round classes come in every do-it-yourself medium imaginable! Budding photo buffs can graduate from selfies to stunning landscape shots and the camera faithful can up the ante with digital film-making classes. Put pencil to paper or brush to canvas for capturing the beauty of Santa Fe’s inspiring scenery. Traditional arts like yarn-spinning and tinsmithing teach the history of New Mexico along with technique. And those who just can’t hold the excitement inside can shake it with belly-dancing or capoeira (Brazilian martial arts) classes.

 

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A monotype class with Sasha Wasko is a one-of-a-kind one-print experience courtesy of Santa Fe Creative Tourism. (Photo Credit: Santa Fe Creative Tourism)

 

Christmas + Santa Fe = An Experience Memories are Made Of

Have I lit a fire in your mind? You don’t have to let the gift-giving frenzy get you into a tizzy! As you plan a Santa Fe Plus getaway for that special person on your holiday gift list, make sure you include yourself in the experience – when you combine “be here now” with “do it in Santa Fe,” you’ll want to be along for the fun.

 

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Santa Fe is a Star in Tamalewood

As visions of sugarplums dance in some heads, a City Different scene appears in my mind. I dream instead of the deliciously scented cloud that drifts up as I lift the lid off a pan of freshly-steamed tamales. No Santa Fe Christmas scene would be complete without a pile of pillowy treats on the table, and all over town families are setting the stage for their tamalero (tamale-making party).

Santa Fe, New Mexico,

There’s a cast of thousands when it’s tamale time in Santa Fe.

The tamale is an ancient dish and the multi-step preparation works best when family and friends put many hands and much laughter to work. An assembly line forms to mix up soft masa harina (finely-milled ground cornmeal) dough for encasing familiar fillings or star actors cast by the abuela (grandmother) who shares her secrets judiciously (personally, I’m grateful to the auteur of the Tamale Dressing for Turkey in the Museum of New Mexico Foundation’s cookbook). Mama spreads the masa on a pre-soaked cornhusk before passing it to a skillful tia (auntie) who fills and dexterously folds before tying it with a thin strip of cornhusk. The post-production staff packs up a portion of the treasure for the freezer then steams a batch for the hungry horde hovering nearby.

This year, my family crew is spread east and west for the holidays, so rather than a solo production, I’m letting the professionals fulfill my Tamalewood dreams. Care to come along for the ride?

Tamales, Santa Fe, New Mexico

Let every Posa’s flavor audition for a part in the dining scene!

Posa’s is a Featured Player at the Holidays

Peruse the prepared food section in Santa Fe grocery stores and you’re sure to spot a six-pack of Posa’s tamales. It’s a lifesaver for the time-challenged, as all it takes is a few minutes in boiling water to get these beauties on the table. But if time allows, a visit to Posa’s southside Café is a must-do. With options like red chile pork, green chile with cheese or chicken and a green chile vegan version featuring zucchini, black beans and corn, everyone is sure to be accommodated.

 

Tamales, Santa Fe, New Mexico

Fat and fabulous – El Parasol writes a great script for tamale temptation.

 

El Parasol is a Location Scout’s Dream

When it’s a grab-n-go day, there’s no better pick-me-up than the hefty take-out tamales that come from El Parasol’s cocinita (little kitchen). Larger than average, these tender treats are stuffed edge to edge with potent flavor. Order red pork and the generous portion of fiery shredded meat tints the tender masa with a scarlet glow. Spicy flavors linger on the tongue long after the tamale is gone. Green chile is no slouch either – whether you order the green chicken version or the green with cheese, you know you’re in New Mexico now, Dorothy!

Tamales, Santa Fe, New Mexico

A rich veggie filling has top billing in La Casa Sena’s tamale production!

 

Tamale-Time for a Close-up, Mr. de Mille

In the hands of an expert like Chef Patrick Gharrity, tamales dressed for an elegant appearance and a white-tablecloth dinner at La Casa Sena are cult classics. His mixed mushroom tamale is tucked into poblano-scented masa laced with fried sage butter, topped with shallot rings and served on a bed of avocado-tomatillo sauce. Perfection for fervent fungi fans! Pair it with an autumnal beverage like Crispin hard cider and a side of calabacitas (sautéed summer squash) and you’re in food heaven. My, oh my, is this tamale superstar ever ready for the red carpet!

Tamales, Santa Fe, New Mexico

Having fun is part of the setting when the Santa Fe School of Cooking is in the director’s chair! (Photo Credit: Santa Fe School of Cooking)

 

Be the Star in Your Own Tamalewood Production

Once you take a tamale tour through Santa Fe, I guarantee you’ll want to know how to direct your crew to make these signature flavors at home. If you can’t borrow a friend’s abuela for training purposes, let the expert chefs at the Santa Fe School of Cooking do the honors. Its ever-popular (read: sell-out) tamale-making classes provide hands-on instruction through the assembly process and run the gamut from the red chile pork standard to a south-of-the-border chicken tamale wrapped in a banana leaf. All classes end with a feasting on the fruits of the labor and the school’s brand-new 25th anniversary cookbook has an invaluable storyboard for home tamaleros!

Tamales, Santa Fe, New Mexico

A Santa Fe holiday is a sweet affair when Señor Murphy writes the final scene with caramelos, their scene-stealing piñon-candy tamales.

 

Make Tamales Your Classic Santa Fe Holiday Storyline

The holidays are a delicious time of year for Santa Fe locals and visitors. The town sparkles with excitement and our signature regional foods play their roles with gusto. Just be sure to make your holiday getaway Christmas-style – let red and green chile play starring roles and a standing ovation is guaranteed

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There’s No[el] Better Holiday than Santa Fe

Poor Bing Crosby! He clearly never spent his holidays in Santa Fe. If he had, he probably would have never crooned “I’ll Be Home for Christmas.” After all, who wants to be home when Santa Fe strikes the pitch-perfect note throughout the holidays? From the church bells tolling in the background on November 28 when Santa Fe’s Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony ignites holiday spirits to the a capella carolers traipsing up and down Canyon Road on Christmas Eve, there’s a beautiful season rich in song and historic celebration to discover in the City Different!

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Hearts are alight in Santa Fe when the holidays arrive. (Photo Credit: Hannah Abelbeck, courtesy of the New Mexico History Museum)

Deck the [Palace] Halls
Strike the right holiday note with your little elves by bringing them to the Palace of the Governors, decked out in piñatas and live music for Christmas at the Palace, December 12 at 5:30 p.m. Free, fun family activities include operating the antique printing press and with hot cider and cookies on tap. This is one party you’ll want to attend! Be sure to follow up another day with a visit to the New Mexico History Museum to see Gustave Baumann and Friends: Artist Cards from Holidays Past, an exhibit of festive cards created by New Mexico’s most renowned artists.

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Christmas crafts are part of the fun when families celebrate Christmas at the Palace. (Photo Credit: Hannah Abelbeck, courtesy of the New Mexico History Museum)

Strolling back to the Plaza a mere two days later on December 14 is a must. At 5:30 p.m. it’s time for Las Posadas, an annual re-enactment of the Holy Family’s search for lodging. A loyal coterie of volunteers braves winter’s chill to circle the Plaza in a candle-lit procession as devils pop out to menace the seekers at each stop. When shelter is found and evil is vanquished, everyone heads to the Palace of the Governors’ courtyard to warm up, sip cider and sing carols around a cozy bonfire.

Anything But Silent Nights

Musically speaking, Santa Fe makes the holidays sparkle. On December 14 at 4:00 p.m., the Santa Fe Symphony and Chorus welcomes guest conductor Jason Altieri to the Lensic for a romp through favorites from White Christmas to Brazilian Sleigh Bells. I suspect you’ll be tempted to hum along with a carol or two! Want to sing, not hum? Return to the Lensic December 15 at 7:00 p.m. when Greg Heltman, founder/general director of the Santa Fe Symphony and Chorus, takes the podium to conduct the Santa Fe Concert Band in a rousing annual Christmas Concert. And the audience is always invited to sing along!

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You never know who might show up at the Santa Fe Concert Band’s Christmas Concert! (Photo Credit: Santa Fe Concert Band)

The glorious sounds of the Santa Fe Desert Chorale’s Carols and Lullabies concerts reach perfect heights December 16 and December 18-20 at 8:00 p.m. in the inspirational setting of the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis. If you can’t wait that long, your best bet is the Chorale’s Winter Festival benefit opener, Christmas + Cabaret : The Lighter Side of Christmas, December 9 at the Inn and Spa at Loretto. And those who love a happy ending should complete the year with Ending and Beginnings: Chilling with Voasis, the eight-voice a cappella jazz/pop ensemble performing December 27 through New Year’s Eve at the Lodge at Santa Fe.

Another magical Santa Fe backdrop has been the holiday home of Santa Fe Pro Musica for ages. Pro Musica’s Baroque Christmas is beloved by locals (read: sell-out) and no wonder. As candles flicker on the altar of the rococo Loretto Chapel, authentic baroque instruments ring out their holiday best twice nightly, at 6:00 and 8:00 p.m., from December 19 through December 24. And of course, it simply wouldn’t be Christmas without Aspen Santa Fe Ballet’s Nutcracker, dancing across the Lensic stage on December 20 and 21!

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Santa Fe Pro Musica goes for baroque in their annual holiday appearance at the Loretto Chapel. (Photo Credit: Santa Fe Pro Musica)

Dashing Through the Snow. . . And the Lights, too
While touring Christmas lights is a tradition everywhere, the experience is totally unique in Santa Fe. After all, how many towns commit hours of preparation to creating an awe-inspiring display for just one night? I’m referring to the annual Christmas Eve Farolito Walk that leads you from the Santa Fe Plaza to the surrounding historic neighborhoods. Bundle up the gang to see brown paper bags achieve signature status as they turn into farolitos with the addition of sand and a votive candle. Left burning all night long, these humble holiday lights signify lighting the way for the Christ Child. Regardless of your religious persuasion, the beauty is universal.

 

 

Have a Holly Jolly Christmas in Santa Fe. . .
Or a Feliz Navidad. Or sing Joy to the World. Whatever your tune, I’m certain you won’t be singing old Bing, wishing you’d were Home for Christmas. Turn your own holiday into a Santa Fe get-together getaway and a holiday soundtrack you’ll want to repeat for years to come.

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Santa Fe adobes share wall space with farolitos and colored lights alike! (Photo courtesy of the Inn of the Governors)

 

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Gift-Givers’ Guide to Santa Fe Style

Can you feel the holidays humming in the air? Snow has graced the mountaintops, seasonal foods are simmering, and celebrations are in store. Don’t let the thought of holiday shopping scare you because Santa Fe is a gift-giver’s paradise! I hope your list is made and you’ve checked it twice. This is the perfect time and place to score future smiles from one-of-a-kind holiday surprises.

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Things Finer’s name says it all – Santa Fe is full of fine things that amaze and delight!

Festive Finery Makes Gorgeous Gifts

Tucked inside La Fonda, the venerable hotel beloved by locals and visitors alike, Things Finer turns someone else’s unique treasure into a treasured gift. Glittering jewels mesmerize and antique curiosities beckon you to take a closer look. This is a place where you truly never know what you’ll find – that’s what makes it an exciting adventure.

 

 

 

 

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You’ll be sure to meet colorful characters in the Museum of New Mexico gift shops.

Discover Priceless Treasures by Museum Shopping

If you dig unique discoveries, the Museum of New Mexico’s shops need to be on your list. From folk art to handcrafted jewelry to books galore, the staff has searched far and wide to come up with a collection of distinctive global and local items that reflect each museum’s individual mission. Every historic exhibition yields special artistic gems, and they’ve made it easy to shop online for gifts that spread holiday cheer back to the hands that made them.

And don’t forget to go where the artists are. With  250 galleries in Santa Fe, you can’t miss! It’s always exciting to catch an artist on the cusp of a brilliant career, and The Shop at CCA is ideal for scoping out local talent on its way up. The goods on display have the same quirky sensibility as the Cinematheque schedule, with tons of originality.

 

To Market, To Market, To Find a Fine Treat

When you wander over to the Santa Fe Farmers’ Market, make a beeline for Bon Marché, across from the Railyard Water Tower. Even on wintry days, the colorful collection instantly whisks you to sunny destinations.

 

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Stroll in to Bon Marché – whose name means “good deal” in French – and you’ll walk out with happy feet and a happy wallet.

Multi-hued Catalan fabrics are woven on turn-of-the-century machinery then shipped to New Mexico where local artisans turn them into must-have beauties. Bright espadrilles evoke summer’s return, and beach bags add flair for lucky friends taking a winter cruise. And if you leave without those cheery napkins you loved, no problem – you’ll find them online.

 

 

Think of Fido’s mournful face if there’s no treat under the tree – you know you need something fun for four-legged BFFs. Pooch Pantry has the best for barkers, and you can even place orders for fresh-baked goodies. Doesn’t Coco deserve to eat her Christmas meal out of festive dinnerware? And if your hound stepped in a puddle on your holiday shopping trip, take heed of the self-service dogwash!

Simply Log In for Hands-free Shopping

For sweet stocking stuffers, I believe a spot of chocolate is required. The wise choice from afar? A jaunt to The Chocolatesmith! Nothing says Santa Fe like a rich dark chocolate pâté infused with chile. The only challenge with signature Santa Fe treats is not to eat them before they get tucked into that holiday stocking! Not to worry, munch away because these delicious delights are available online.

If you opt for gourmet chile chocolate pâté, you’ve got to do it Christmas-style, red and green! (Photo Credit: The Chocolatesmith)

If you opt for gourmet chile chocolate pâté, you’ve got to do it Christmas-style, red and green! (Photo Credit: The Chocolatesmith)

Online is the ticket for making a memorable Santa Fe statement with a gorgeous O’Keeffe poster from Posters of Santa Fe. The brick-and-mortar shop is no more, but theirs is a huge art archive of reproductions on paper. Once you’ve trolled through the online collections to make your choice, it’s a snap to have a poster shipped in time to tuck under the tree.

Light Up Your Holiday the Santa Fe Way

All this shopping and no schlepping required! Just visit PakMail or UPS and your hands are free to snap selfies at the November 28 Christmas tree lighting on the Santa Fe Plaza. If the holiday lights remind you of your own tree, head for The Shop: A Christmas Store or Susan’s Christmas Shop for ornaments with authentic New Mexico flavor. And remember the November 29-30 SWAIA Winter Indian Market for handmade Native American treasures you won’t find anywhere but Santa Fe.

A Santa Fe getaway definitely gives you the luxury of shopping in person, but you can be sure those distinctive presents you chose online will arrive for placement under the tree in plenty of time. Either way, shopping Santa Fe means yours will be the gifts that family and friends cherish for years.

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Don’t wait – start your holidays now in Santa Fe!

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Santa Fe: Families Rekindled

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Any time of year becomes a holiday when families are together. (Photo Credit: Santa Fe School of Cooking)

No doubt about it, Santa Fe is a family town. How could it be otherwise in a place that’s well over 400 years old? City Different Facebook friends are constantly pointing out connections to great-greats going back centuries. And every local restaurant worth its salt has a private room where alumni assemble and 100th birthday parties hold court. Even the Santa Fe School of Cooking is ready, willing and able to put together a festive private party! I always cheer when far-flung relatives and assorted in-laws arrive to celebrate our bond – with a little advance planning, you can do the same.

Winter Over Under Santa Fe’s Blue Skies

Santa Fe, New Mexico, Art Gallery

Winter frost refreshes the view at Shidoni.

I love the fact that Santa Fe has four distinct seasons. Every time of year offers perfect opportunities for a family gathering. With winter on its way, we’re waxing skis and snowboards for the moment when Jack Frost’s powder starts falling at Ski Santa Fe, where snow sports regularly include a cloudless blue sky. Winter Glow nights at the Santa Fe Botanical Garden light up the landscape and a stroll around the Shidoni Sculpture Garden is magical when snow decorates the fanciful creations. If your semester break encompasses January, brew up a visit for the legal-age crew at the New Mexico Brewer’s Guild WinterBrewFest on January 23.

Spring into Action with Spring Break Santa Fe           

Santa Fe, New Mexico, Folk Art Museum

The whole family will turn into fans at Santa Fe’s fascinating Museum of International Folk Art. (Photo Credit: Museum of International Folk Art)

All school districts have individual spring break times, and it’s a blessing that Santa Fe offers so much for visitors with kids in tow. A visit to the Museum of International Folk Art is an experience for the young and the young-at-heart. Be sure to take the little ones to see the awesome collection of bugs and natural oddities at the Harrell House.

You’ll fall under the Old West’s spell as you lope along the trail with Broken Saddle Riding Company. All mounts are smooth-gaited – even inexperienced cowpokes can enjoy a serene ride through the sagebrush. While family foodies taste their way around town with Food Tour New Mexico, sporty siblings can corral 18 holes at Marty Sanchez Links de Santa Fe. A wildflower hiking trip is a spring awakening and even the least mobile family member can enjoy a sunset tour in Santa Fe Walkabouts’ Pinzgauer 4×4. Extra-lucky visitors can follow up the May 8-10 Passport to the Arts with five full days of Bike and Brew adventure from May 13-17.

Santa Fe, New Mexico, Outdoors

Saddle up those sisters and brothers…time to ride into the west with Broken Saddle Riding. (Photo Credit: Broken Saddle Riding Co.)

Santa Fe Has A Bed for Every Head

My cozy adobe welcomes a sibling or two from time to time, but having so many great hotels is a definite plus when the whole family comes to call. Fortunately, Santa Fe has no equal in accommodations and charm. The only problem is choosing!

Wonderful winter memories from the Christmas Eve farolito walk are easy to be had with a stay at a downtown Santa Fe hotel. La Fonda on the Plaza has authenticity built into its very bones; a recent property-wide renovation has this Grand Dame looking spectacular.  For close-to-Canyon-Road action, look no further than the sparkling new Drury Plaza Hotel whose complimentary ample breakfast and afternoon reception are sure to please everyone.

Santa Fe, New Mexico

Santa Fe will feel like home with a stay at La Fonda on the Plaza. (Photo Credit: Robert Reck; Courtesy of La Fonda on the Plaza)

For warm weather reunions, consider the Inn and Spa at Loretto or La Posada de Santa Fe – both let grown-ups sip a cool margarita while kids cool off in the pool. And the Bishop’s Lodge Resort adds tennis courts and horseback riding to their list of amenities, along with their splendid pool.

Pack It All In with a Package

Santa Fe hotels put a lot of creative effort into crafting great deals for their guests. The Inn on the Alameda’s Girls’ Getaway is as sweet for college alums as it is for cousins. Hotel Santa Fe’s Ski Package (through April) has spring break skiing covered. Santa Fe Restaurant Week offers tasty savings from February 22-March 1 and Wine Down Wednesdays at Four Seasons’ Terra feature half-price bottles – and the fabulous views are free!

Santa Fe, New Mexico, Sunsets

Nothing says Santa Fe like the 360-degree sunsets that Four Seasons’ Terra delivers.

Reunite the Relatives in Santa Fe

As the holidays approach, thoughts naturally turn to family, so why not put something special under the tree? I’ve shared a few ideas, but you can let the Santa Fe professionals put together something just for you. Either way, an invitation to celebrate kinship in Santa Fe is a gift that everyone will cherish and remember for years to come.

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Santa Fe: Between the Lines

For over 400 years, Santa Fe has attracted quite a cast of characters — from New Spain explorers to Old West cowboys, renegade priests to virtuous madams. Which, perhaps, explains why a legion of literary lions have found their stories (and made their homes) here. As you stock up on books for those fireside hours, I have a few recommendations. But my best tip? Pull your nose off the page and start your own exciting new chapter in Santa Fe.

Santa Fe, New Mexico

The story of the man behind the building of the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis is a Santa Fe must-read. (Photo Credit: LeRoy N. Sanchez)

Real People Make Rich Characters

You can’t go wrong with a classic. Countless visitors admire our gorgeous Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis, but how many delve into the history of the man who brought this magnificent edifice into being? Be among those in the know by settling down with Death Comes for the Archbishop, Willa Cather’s fictionalized portrait of Bishop Jean-Baptiste Lamy. This fascinating historical perspective is well worth getting to know. Your appreciation of his beautiful church and verdant garden will be enriched by this lively tale of a remarkable individual and his lasting Santa Fe legacy.

Santa Fe, New Mexico, Native American, Bandelier National Monument

You can muse on the mysteries of a Bandelier kiva from Adolph Bandelier himself. (Photo Credit: National Park Service)

Mining Fact for Historical Fiction

Given Santa Fe’s rich multicultural heritage, authors digging for subject matter never come up short. Renowned archaeologist Adolph Bandelier is best known for the fabulous site that honored his excavation by naming it Bandelier National Park. One of New Mexico’s must-see spots, these extensive ruins are a magnet for locals and visitors alike. Your hike will never be the same after Bandelier’s imaginative gem, The Delight Makers, brings this ancient culture to life. And speaking of Native culture, a Santa Fe getaway always involves at least one great Tony Hillerman novel featuring his intriguing Native American detectives Jim Chee and Lt. Joe Leaphorn.

Santa Fe, New Mexico, George R.R. Martin, Game of Thrones

Even though it was George R. R. Martin Day in Santa Fe, the author had to sit carefully on that Iron Throne! (Photo Credit: The Santa Fe Reporter)

Santa Fe: Where Fantasy Fiction Reigns

Colorful characters still abound in Santa Fe, and winter nights are perfect for fantastic tales from one-of-a-kind local, George R. R. Martin. This prolific author, best known for his A Song of Fire and Ice series (aka HBO’s wildly successful Game of Thrones), has called Santa Fe home since the late 1970s. Fans avidly await the next book in the Fire and Ice series, but Santa Fe got an extra gift when Martin renovated the beloved Jean Cocteau Cinema, which delights film fans with a quirky selection of the old and new. And speaking of old and new, Martin fans who only know the Fire and Ice saga can keep themselves plenty busy with his rich collection of fantasy fiction.

A Real-Life SyFy Thriller

Specific events have indelibly marked modern life, and modern life is just as lively in the spoken word (read “screenplay”) as it is on the page. The exciting tale of the atom bomb has been writ large in today’s riveting WGN Manhattan TV series. The Manhattan Project was rooted in an unremarkable building at 109 East Palace Avenue in Santa Fe.

Santa Fe, New Mexico, Manhattan Project, History

It took years of secrecy before the history of the bomb was finally revealed. (Photo of an article from The Saturday Evening Post article from November 1945)

Scientists on their way to Los Alamos had to stop first at this 1600s hacienda-turned-government-office to receive security passes and IDs before heading north with directions to the clandestine site. Due to the top-secret nature of the project, 109’s personnel handled correspondence and personal matters so the geniuses could work in uninterrupted privacy. And WGN’s screenwriters have been handed a treasure trove of colorful characters in this exciting saga of “the Hill,” as it’s known around these parts.

Santa Fe, New Mexico, Witter Bynner

It’s easy to imagine being inspired to poetry with a stay at the Inn of the Turquoise Bear, formerly home to poet Witter Bynner. (Photo Credit: The Inn of the Turquoise Bear)

Santa Fe in Verse

You can’t say “spoken word” and not talk poetry! Poetic types are well aware of poet Witter Bynner, whose charmed early 20th century Santa Fe lifestyle included acquaintances like D. H. Lawrence, Georgia O’Keeffe and Ansel Adams. Artists and intellectuals of all stripes shared pleasant hours at Bynner’s adobe home, now the Inn of the Turquoise Bear. A bequest from Bynner’s estate founded the Witter Bynner Poetry Foundation to perpetuate the art of poetry through grants and since 1997 the Witter Bynner Fellowship has been awarded to recipients selected by the U.S. Poet Laureate. Santa Fe even boasts its own poet laureate, and thanks to the Muse Times Two readings at Collected Works Books, poetic expression here is alive and thriving.

Let Your Legs Lead You on a Literary Tour

If you need to stretch between chapters, tell your feet to work together with your imagination and take a Literary Tour of the City Different. Add the Lannan Readings and Conversations to your literary survey of Santa Fe and your education is complete. After a trip to Santa Fe, you’ll have quite the story to tell!

 

 

 

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In Santa Fe, There Are So Many Reasons to be Thankful

Every year, we have a designated opportunity to give thanks for life’s many benefits. But for us Santa Feans, reasons to be thankful jump out daily – from the awe-inspiring mix of scarlet and gold in a sunset that stops us in our tracks to the comforting warmth of a fresh tortilla on a crisp autumn morning. I could go on and on, but instead I’ll just list five reasons why you should make yours a City Different Thanksgiving. You can thank me later.

winter, ski, sports, santa fe, mountains

Your heart will soar as you ride the lift to the top of the mountain at Ski Santa Fe.
(Photo Credit: Don Gaspar Inn)

I’m thankful for Santa Fe’s. . . Weather.

An average of 320 days of sunshine a year ensures delightful times as you hike up or glide down a snowy hillside with brilliant blue skies. And all without the bone-chilling humidity. The mountains encircling Santa Fe are gorgeous any time of year, but fresh powder for a Thanksgiving opening? It’s entirely possible and Ski Santa Fe has set its sights on a November 27 opening – fingers crossed!

Santa Fe, New Mexico, Cuisine, Tamales, Classes

Chef Noe Cano demonstrating the holiday art of homemade tamales. (Photo Credit: Santa Fe School of Cooking)

I’m Thankful for Santa Fe’s . . . Chile

Whenever I mull the idea of living elsewhere, the thought of a chile-less life stops me cold. I cannot imagine autumn without the scent of roasting chiles, let alone giving up my breakfast burritos to go on a snowy morning. As for Thanksgiving, turkey is the centerpiece but the distinctive flavors of our regional New Mexico cuisine find their way onto holiday dining tables all over town. Speaking of which, classes at the Santa Fe School of Cooking have been tuning up my family recipes for years, and a Native Harvest Feast class (November 6) taught by Native American Chef Lois Ellen Frank offers wonderful alternatives for your holiday table. I cherish this family-run temple of taste, marking their 25th anniversary with a new cookbook out in December.

Native American, Pueblo, Tesuque, dance

An undated Tesuque Pueblo Turtle Dance captured by renowned New Mexico photographer Laura Gilpin. (Photo Credit: Laura Gilpin; in the collection of the Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Fort Worth, Texas)

I’m Thankful for Santa Fe’s. . . Cultural Combinations

Santa Fe was diverse long before diversity became a buzzword. Frontier life meant neighbors of every persuasion pitched in to create a community. You’re as likely to meet a Valdez with blue eyes and blond hair as one with thick black braids trailing down his back. Having a thriving Native culture adds unique character to the Land of Enchantment, and I honor that gift annually by attending Pueblo feasts. Tesuque Pueblo is less than ten miles from Santa Fe, and its San Diego Feast on November 11 is a memorable event celebrated with beautifully costumed dancers and a drum group on the pueblo’s central Plaza.

Santa Fe, Holidays, Lensic, Performing Arts

Wise Fool’s Circus Luminous lights up the Lensic stage annually. (Photo Credit: Wise Fool New Mexico)

I’m Thankful for Santa Fe’s . . . Vibrant Arts Scene.

Not a day goes by that I don’t feel lucky to live where the artful spirit is so alive. From lovingly handcrafted mission altarpieces to cutting-edge art exhibitions; from solo Native flute to a full orchestra; from age-old legends told around a campfire to pop-culture poetry readings; Santa Fe has it all. Every season is graced with inspiration, and Thanksgiving is no exception. SWAIA’s Santa Fe Winter Indian Market (Nov. 28-29) showcases the rich artistic culture of the First Peoples. A Saturday afternoon bronze pouring at Shidoni Gallery demonstrates the traditional execution of sculptural expression. The Santa Fe Symphony and Chorus’ annual presentation of Handel’s Messiah fills the Lensic on Sunday, November 23 and four rousing performances of Wise Fool’s Circus Luminous are on the Lensic’s roster November 28 to 30.

I’m Thankful for…Santa Fe’s Festive Spirit

Santa Fe is a town that loves to celebrate old traditions and create new ones. From January’s Souper Bowl to May’s Passport to the Arts; from July’s International Folk Art Market to November’s PieMania, Santa Fe knows how to throw a great party! And Thanksgiving ushers in an unusually rich series of pleasures. After the turkey is reduced to leftovers, we’ll head down to the Plaza on Friday, November 28 to watch as the big Christmas tree lights up to celebrate the start of the holiday season. With so much December fun in the wings – Christmas at the Palace and Las Posadas, the Christmas Eve Farolito Walk and Christmas Day dances at the Pueblos – not a moment goes by that I’m not grateful to be living here.

Wine, Fireplace, Santa Fe

Toast the love of friends and family by spending Thanksgiving together in Santa Fe

You’ll Be Thankful You Came to Santa Fe

It‘s easy for me to ramble on about the wonders of Santa Fe  because the magic is real in the Land of Enchantment. And best of all? The welcoming spirit of the people, who share the same questing spirit and love of life that brings you here! Why not celebrate your Thanksgiving with a stay in Santa Fe where gracias is lived all year-round?

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Santa Fe Shoppers’ Survival Guide: Disinterested Husbands Edition

Santa Fe, New Mexico, Things to Do

Save your sweetie from sitting in this seat!

Santa Fe is well known for delivering top-drawer retail therapy! An itinerary with ample time for wandering our gallery-laden, shop-lined streets is a must for Santa Fe travelers. But if your guy is like mine, his patience for shopping is nil. But there’s no reason to let hubby be bored in our happening town! Take my hints for partner-friendly activities while you browse the boutiques and everyone goes home happy.

Santa Fe’s Museums Are Partner-Perfect Adventures

Beyond the wealth of artistic treasures on display in Santa Fe’s world-class museums there’s also a world of history and New Mexican culture close at hand. The New Mexico History Museum’s extensive collection is housed in a state-of-the-art building adjacent to the 400-plus-year-old Palace of the Governors. Step in either and emerge hours later; there’s plenty to see. Photo buffs (who isn’t one on encountering New Mexico?) will be captivated by the Poetics of Light: Pinhole Photography exhibit at the History Museum.

This undated pinhole photo of San Francisco de Asis Church by Dallas Sells is currently on view at the New Mexico History Museum. (Palace of the Governors Photo Archives)

This undated pinhole photo of San Francisco de Asis Church by Dallas Sells is currently on view at the New Mexico History Museum. (Palace of the Governors Photo Archives)

The Palace of the Governors is an engaging chronicle of colonial New Mexico. Just to see the adobe walls and aged floorboards and stand in the courtyard under the same sky as the Spanish gobernadors – that alone is worth the price of admission.

After the History Museum whets the appetite, delving deeper into the Land of Enchantment’s past comes via the New Mexico National Guard Military Museum. Storied figures like Kit Carson fought on the Union side in the Civil War era and New Mexicans served with Teddy Roosevelt’s Roughriders. World War Two’s Pacific Theater intelligence relied on the Navajo Code Talkers’ unique skills, and the notorious Bataan Death March claimed many of our native sons. New Mexico boasts one of the nation’s largest per capita veterans populations, with their experiences intriguingly represented at this fascinating museum.

Santa Fe, New Mexico

It’s definitely worth taking a drive to the New Mexico National Guard Military Museum where memorabilia from every era of service is on display.

And as you’re touring downtown Santa Fe, look for the statue of Santa Fe native Staff Sgt. Leroy Petry who was awarded the Medal of Honor in for service in Afghanistan.

Santa Fe, New Mexico, military

Medal of Honor winner Staff Sgt. Leroy Petry was in attendance at the dedication of his statue outside Santa Fe’s City Hall in June 2013. (Photo Credit: NM Watchdog)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oh Danny Boy, The Greens, The Greens Are Calling

While museum-going is a must in Santa Fe, being outdoors may be equally tempting for your travel buddy. Suggest a round of golf at the Marty Sanchez Links de Santa Fe, a city course surrounded on all sides by mountain ranges. With 320-plus days of sun, golfing is year-round activity in Santa Fe. The Baxter Spann course is a par three known as “The Great 28.” And those 18 holes can be followed by a brew and the view at the Links Bar and Grill.

Santa Fe, New Mexico, Golf, Sports

Tee up to 360 views at the Marty Sanchez Links. (Photo Credit: Golf New Mexico)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Let Him Get His Game On

If your partner wants to watch the pros get sporty, there’s no shortage of spots. While you’re strolling the Railyard trolling for vintage treats, he can pull up a seat at Junction, where the big screen schedule lets him follow his fantasy players as he savors a burger and a brew. If you’re scoping out the southside, Blue Corn Brewery has him covered with craft beer and a gameday schedule. And a simple barstool perch at the Santa Fe Bar and Grill is a destination Santa Feans have enjoyed for years.

Santa Fe, New Mexico, Sports, Bars

There’s a screen tuned to every taste at the Junction!

A Spirited Adventure Comes in a Glass

Forego your last round of treasure hunting and rejoin your other half at Santa Fe Spirits. It’s so relaxing to gather in the clubby interior as their friendly Chihuahua mascot Layla makes the rounds, making it the perfect place to show off your new finds to your significant other.

Santa Fe, New Mexico, Drinks

If your sweetie makes a date to sip a martini (locally handcrafted vodka or gin) with Layla, there’s no need to worry – she’s only interested in the snacks!

The craft liquor selection – two malt whiskies (Silver Coyote and Colkegan), Wheeler’s Gin, Expedition Vodka and Apple Brandy – is created on the southern edge of town, and the distillery tour is a fun way to the time. Tasting is a must at both locations!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Free to be You and Me City-Different Style

Give yourselves a break. Grab a Santa Fe hotel deal and let each pursue different personal pleasures as you both discover the best of Santa Fe. Now that’s what I call smart shopping!

 

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Getting Your Just Desserts in Santa Fe

Santa Fe’s culinary scene is renowned the world over mostly for its fiery chile. But a bevy of bakeries and chocolatiers are sweetening up Santa Fe’s dining scene. From unusual cupcakes to creative caramels, Santa Fe’s sweeter side perfectly complements our fiery cuisine—and sometimes combines with it. Chocolate chile, anyone?

Gluten-free is Full-Flavor at Revolution Bakery

Behold the sticky bun at Revolution Bakery where gluten-free is a revelation.

Behold the sticky bun at Revolution Bakery where gluten-free is a revelation.

Life is uncertain – eat dessert first. I honor that saying by starting healthy at Revolution Bakery. My mother raised a family of sticky bun devotees, and I follow Mom’s recipe to the letter when I bake at home. Revolution Bakery’s version of this classic breakfast goodie is made with a mix of brown rice, tapioca and sorghum flours and speckled with chopped pecans and cinnamon. Everything at the Bakery is 100-percent gluten-free and 100-percent delicious. It’s no wonder there’s always a line at this revolutionary restaurant. Mind you, I’m a good girl – I do wait to open the box of gluten-free cookies until after lunch!

Be Sweet to Your Body at BODY Café

Bright eyes are a bonus when your daily dose of carrots comes from BODY Café’s raw vegan carrot cake.

Bright eyes are a bonus when your daily dose of carrots comes from BODY Café’s raw vegan carrot cake.

I admit to a sweet addiction but I also want to make wholesome choices. Fortunately, these two goals are not mutually exclusive when I satisfy my yen for something yummy at the BODY Café. This vegan-friendly dessert destination is on my short list for afternoon delights. I’m happy to lunch on raw carrots but raw vegan carrot cake? Now that’s a discovery! Coated with macadamia nut frosting and healthy as can be, it proves why raw food lovers flock to desserts like this. BODY’s vegan cookies are always at the ready and as for the gluten-free chocolate ganache torte – I’m not sharing!

Find Your Chocolate Fix at Kakawa

Treat a friend to a chocolate from Kakawa.

Treat a friend to a chocolate from Kakawa. Photo Courtesy of: Kakawa

Chocolate is on my list of the best things in life (thank goodness research finally concluded it’s good for you). When I’m in the mood to linger over a liquid dessert, Kakawa Chocolate House satisfies the urge. Voted one of the top places in the world to drink hot chocolate, Kakawa takes your tastebuds on a trip around the globe. From Thomas Jefferson’s own sweet 1790s recipe to rich Meso-American elixirs with deep dark flavor, the only problem is choosing just one. Fortunately, Kakawa’s knowledgeable staff will pour a sippin’ sample to help fulfill your fancy. And if a sip is not enough, I suggest salted chocolate-covered caramels to go.

Good luck choosing at C. G. Higgins!

Good luck choosing at C. G. Higgins!

Truffle Hunting is Easy at C.G. Higgins

When I want my chocolate to go – or when it’s time to send a signature treat to friends and family – I’m grateful C.G. Higgins (known locally as Chuck’s) has two spots in Santa Fe to pick up a box of succulent sweets. It’s hard to argue with handmade truffles in exotic flavors. Of course, chile makes an appearance! As a fudge fan who watched longingly as Mom dropped molten chocolate into cold water to test its readiness, I can report that Chuck’s does fudge proud. Santa Fe souvenirs should include chile caramel corn or piñon nut brittle, as both honor New Mexico’s agricultural heritage. And after wandering the downtown galleries, I look forward to a pick-me-up of Taos Cow’s piñon caramel ice cream – mmmmm!

Pat-a-Cake, Pat-a-Cake, Bake Me a Treat

More than one means Swiss bliss at the Swiss Bakery and Bistro.

More than one means Swiss bliss at the Swiss Bakery and Bistro.

With the Farmers’ Market and an active gallery scene, I spend plenty of time in the Santa Fe Railyard area so it’s nice to have a go-to for goodies. The Swiss Bakery and Bistro is open all three meals of the day, but I’m happy to graze when it’s time for dessert. At this altitude, a successful croissant or Napoleon is a notable achievement, and the Swiss Bakery has perfected them both. I never (I mean never) say no to an éclair, and I make no apologies for ordering two of the mini versions. Fresh fruit tarts come full-size or miniature, but I have switched my dessert allegiance to the petites because that means I can sample raspberry and strawberry and apricot too.

Don’t Desert the Dessert Course

Santa Fe has a sweet way of going straight to your heart.

Santa Fe has a sweet way of going straight to your heart.

Did I make you yearn for only-in-Santa-Fe treats? I hope so, since every word is delectably true. Put dessert on your list of what to do in Santa Fe and you can discover just how sweet it is to be here.

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