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!

holiday, santa fe, New Mexico, lights, Christmas, candles, festive, holidays

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.

Santa Fe, Shopping, Antiques, Jewelry

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.

 

 

 

 

skull, art, santa fe, new mexico, shopping, gift, holiday, heart, day of the dead, sugar skull

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.

 

shoes, gifts, santa fe, new mexico, shopping, colorful

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.

holiday, plaza, santa fe, new mexico, lights, christmas, new year, festive, people, gathering, winter

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

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Santa Fe: Families Rekindled

Santa Fe, New Mexico, Family Reunion

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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Santa Fe is a Craft Beer Bonanza

I’m spelling this month Octobeer because autumn is the perfect time for exploring Santa Fe’s booming craft breweries. Local brew has deep roots – witness this April 29, 1889 journal entry from archeologist Adolph Bandelier (for whom Bandelier National Monument is named): “Went to Mass. In the afternoon to the brewery”. Why not take heed of Mr. Bandelier’s suggestion and come along with me on a foamy foray?

It’s All in the Name and In the Beer Too

Tucked in Santa Fe’s southside, Santa Fe Brewing Company has 26 years in the keg. Its flagship Santa Fe Pale Ale remains the rock this brewery was built on and a plethora of specialty beers pop up seasonally.  Right now, I have my eye on – you guessed it – Oktoberfest, a cheery ode to the season that I can’t resist and the 2014 bronze medal winner at the 2014 Great American Beer Festival in the American Sour Ale category, the brewery’s very own Kriek.

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A refreshing afternoon is always on tap at Santa Fe Brewing Company.

Two tasting rooms on opposite ends of the county (the brewery perched on the Turquoise Trail and the Eldorado taproom off I-25 north) make casual get-togethers a breeze. Cap off your experience with tours at the brewery location. Small Batch Saturdays feature five-gallon experimental beers – a great pick for the best in beer-lovin’ weekends. What’s more? The brewery’s events calendar is topped off with fun.

Hit Second Street for First-rate Brews

After a long day, a glass of craft brew is a tempting notion and, thankfully, Second Street Brewery is always just around the corner. The original brewery on – where else – Second Street is a funky mix of artists’ studios, stoneyards and fitness studios. This homey pub includes a host of beers on tap. I’m a Kolsch girl myself – I love this light ale with lager-like flavor. Pairing brew with offerings like beer-back pork shanks and lots of live music guarantees a great time.

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A beer and a bright blue sky make the perfect combo at the Second Street Brewery at the Railyard.

 After a Saturday morning shopping spree next door at the Santa Fe Farmers’ Market or downtown gallery hopping, I stop by Second Street’s Railyard outpost for a break with a beer boost. It features the same great craft brews and the Alien Burger, winner of the 2014 Green Chile Cheeseburger Smackdown 

Beer and New Mexico – Matchless Bar Buddies

I was a Blue Corn Café regular before they added the brewery and the 1997 decision to start brewing made things even better! Six house beers and four rotating specialties present plenty of choice for beer aficionados. Blue Corn Brewery’s aptly named Blue Corn Café and Brewery Gold Medal Stout won—yup—the gold medal at the 2014 Great American Beer Festival. This latest award complements its collection of hardware for the brewhouse’s Resurgence IPA, winner of the 2013 New Mexico IPA challenge and its classic best-seller, Road Runner IPA, is a hops-lover’s dream. Boasting the same super beer selection just off the Plaza, the downtown Café is an ideal spot for enjoying classic New Mexican cuisine.

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Like the sign says, Blue Corn Brewery is all about the craft.

 I’ve always been a sucker for their Atomic Blonde Lager and chicken fajitas make a fine companion, especially on game days! This friendly hangout puts out the welcome sign for beer socials on once-a-month Thursdays at the Brewer’s Table. And beer to go? This month, that 32 oz. growler will be filled with Night Train, a seasonal German schwarzbier (a smooth black lager) that I’m dying to try with take-out tamales.

No Need to Duel;There’s Plenty to Share

Imperial pour is a great concept and its full golden glory arrives in proper glassware at Duel Brewery. Off the beaten path and utterly craft-driven, this Belgian brewery has a creative side to complement the complex flavors of their brews. Duel’s Fiction IPA is precisely named; although they didn’t set out to make beer that would have hopheads cheering, the balance in this brew is more than enough to qualify its best-seller status.

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Duel Brewery makes it an OctoberFest-ive night out!

Given the time of year (and my German ancestors), Duel’s Octoberfest captured my full attention as accompaniment for their sausage plate. White bratwurst paired with spicy hot sausage rest on a pile of sauerkraut with Duel’s killer marble rye bread. Let’s just say I fell in love with October all over again! The beatnik atmosphere and industrial setting is my kind of pub scene. With life drawing sessions ($25 gets you a beer, a signature waffle and two hours with a live model), movie screenings and a healthy roster of live music, Duel is the place for expressing your artistic side as you explore their palette of beers.

Sample the Golden Colors of Autumn in a Glass

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A hunt for the Southwest’s best beers leads to Santa Fe.

With fall colors painting the mountains and fresh-roasted green chile appearing in restaurants all over town, what could be a better partner for the season than a frosty local beer? I definitely recommend a 2015 Santa Fe Bike and Brew getaway but don’t wait until then. I guarantee it won’t take an archaeological hunt worthy of Mr. Bandelier to craft your own beer saga this year in Santa Fe!

 

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Burritos: Santa Fe’s Breakfast of Champions

 I’m a believer – a breakfast believer, that is. The first sip of coffee lets me know I’m awake and the first meal of the day primes me for action. Let the English have their muffins and the French savor their croissants, we Santa Feans know we have the best of the bunch with that first bite of a breakfast burrito! Hand-held or smothered in chile verde or rojo (that’s green and red, for the uninitiated), there’s nothing like the spicy flavor of the Southwest to get the day off to a great start.

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Eating like a New Mexican is easy when you head for El Parasol.

El Parasol Cooks It Up On-the-Go for Those in the Know

When I’m on the go, I head straight to El Parasol. A Santa Fe Reporter  Best of Santa Fe best breakfast winner, this joint has three Santa Fe county outposts. Translation: You’re close to one no matter where you are in Santa Fe. Stuffed with eggs, potatoes, cheese and a choice of red or green chile, this is a hand-held honey. You can also order it smothered in red or green, maximizing that fantastic chile flavor.

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Oh, that Pantry burrito is a potent plate of goodness!

There’s Something Savory Waiting in the Pantry

Speaking of smothered with chile, The Pantry has you covered. This favorite locals’ hangout (voted the No.1 breakfast spot by Santa Fe Reporter readers) is always buzzing with breakfast lovers. Count me as one of the faithful. The plate-hogging burrito leaves just enough space for a side of perfectly-cooked potatoes that any Irishman would approve. Both the red and green chile versions are so good that I can never choose – I just order my burrito Christmas-style (half red, half green). The Pantry’s cheerful surroundings and the steady flow of burrito lovers make for a people-watcher’s breakfast paradise. A second – or even third – cuppa joe is accommodated with a smile and encouragement to linger. That’s my kind of breakfast!

 

Take a Breakfast Trip to Tia’s

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A spicy holiday arrives on the platter when you order a Christmas-style breakfast burrito at Tia Sophia’s.

A sense of place is an integral part of the Santa Fe culinary experience, and I make a beeline for dining spots that serve up classic Santa Fe ambiance with the meal. Tia Sophia’s is just one of those places. Since there’s no dinner service, insiders know to satisfy their craving when the day is young. Part of the extended family empire that includes Atrisco and Tomasita’s, Tia’s has been a Santa Fe go-to for as long as I can remember – no wonder 2014 Santa Fe Reporter readers voted it No. 3 for both best breakfast and best breakfast burrito. You can celebrate Christmas on the plate all year long, but if you want that Saturday morning chorizo burrito special, you’d better go early!

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A big burrito and a good buddy are all you need for a great breakfast –or lunch – or dinner – at Santa Fe Baking Company.

 

Santa Fe Baking Company Goes Beyond Baked Goods

Eating local is an integral part of my dining recipe, regardless of the time of day. If a restaurant is going to use Santa Fe in its name, I expect it to deliver – and the Santa Fe Baking Company does. When I order a breakfast burrito, the plate that arrives on my table is a welcome delight along with the all-I-can-pour Aroma Coffee. Breakfast burritos are wrapped in a white or whole wheat tortilla, and the veggie selections are a delicious addition to the variety on offer. I often grab the classic version to go, but I like to make time to savor a burrito invitingly perched on a plate swimming in chile. Since the Baking Company serves breakfast all day, if you missed morning at Tia’s, you can still get that burrito fix at day’s end.

Why Not Wake Up to Breakfast in Santa Fe?

I know you’re probably looking at your bowl of oatmeal wistfully now, but I can’t say I’m sorry for sharing the yummy truth. While you might find recipes for homemade breakfast burritos to tide you over, there’s simply no substitute for eating one here in Santa Fe, the true home of the breakfast burrito.

 

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Santa Fe a Bonanza for Film Fanatics

Santa Fe captured the visual imagination of artistic types early on and movie cameras swiftly fell under New Mexico’s spell. Just imagine Errol Flynn and Ronald Reagan making their way west – onscreen – along the fabled road whose destination is Santa Fe. From the past to the present, New Mexico has been a dramatic draw for filmmakers of all stripes and our film scene is booming.

Film stars have been making their way down The Santa Fe Trail for decades!

Film stars have been making their way down The Santa Fe Trail for decades!

Turn on the Telly to see Santa Fe Shine

Santa Fe has been earning its TV cred via Longmire, the A&E weekly western based on the best-selling books by Craig Johnson. New Mexico made an ideal stand-in for the books’ Wyoming setting, and although the series suffered a sudden summer cancellation, fans mounted a Twitter “stampede” in hopes of a revival. More proof that Santa Fe is a favored site comes from Manhattan. This exciting series, now airing on WGN, was created around actual events closer to home – the birth of the nuclear bomb at Los Alamos, a.k.a. the Manhattan Project. Albuquerque continues to build on its Breaking Bad years with a new spinoff, and celebrity sightings will likely continue.

New Mexico has a starring role in Manhattan! (Photo Credit: WGN America)

New Mexico has a starring role in Manhattan! (Photo Credit: WGN America)

Film Fans Get Their Festival Fix

With its vibrant film and TV industry, a town like ours is a film festival natural. And given Santa Fe’s quirky personality, the line-up in the Oct. 15-19 Santa Fe Independent Film Festival is sure to feature the best indie film debuts of the year. This year, 60 feature films and a raft of shorts (debuting on Wed. night with all New Mexican short films) will be screened at venues all over town. Fascinating discussions with film-world luminaries are interspersed between screenings, and it all culminates with a closing night party at the historic Dragon Room of the Pink Adobe – now that’s a wrap!

The Santa Fe Independent Film Festival brings film-lovers out in droves. (Photo Credit: Lisa Law for the Santa Fe Independent Film Festival)

The Santa Fe Independent Film Festival brings film-lovers out in droves. (Photo Credit: Lisa Law for the Santa Fe Independent Film Festival)

If one film festival is good, more is better! The January Santa Fe Film Festival’s New Mexico Filmmakers Showcase awaits us in 2015. Santa Fe even has a truly City Different festival targeted to a very unique genre – the Santa Fe Jewish Film Festival’s year-round roster has featured fascinating film fare since its 2010 origins. Their new season, opening Oct. 12, includes a first for Santa Fe: The Chosen: A Mini-Festival of New Israeli Cinema, a November Israeli film festival complete with directors’ interviews. In addition, February 2015 brings a set of fresh, intriguing Italian cinema treasures to Santa Fe – grazie, Italian Film Festival!

“Being Jewish In France” – this movie is just a sample of the Santa Fe Jewish Film Festival’s riveting roster.

“Being Jewish In France” – this movie is just a sample of the Santa Fe Jewish Film Festival’s riveting roster.

Independent Cinema Has a Home – or Two – in Santa Fe

Festival time or not, Santa Fe always exhibits a case of movie mania. Our movie-mad town boasts more than one indie theater for parking with a pal and a box of popcorn. The Cocteau’s calendar includes screenings of the old, new and quirky with intimate conversations with film-makers, authors, artists and performers. If you want to toast your leading lady, the Jean Cocteau Cinema is on tap with mixed drinks, beer, wine and mead (a humorous nod to theater owner/author George R. R. Martin’s Game of Thrones fame) and savory snacks.

The Jean Cocteau Cinema can take you “Back to the Future” and then some. (Photo Credit: Clyde Mueller for the Santa Fe New Mexican)

The Jean Cocteau Cinema can take you “Back to the Future” and then some. (Photo Credit: Clyde Mueller for the Santa Fe New Mexican)

And if you want to view with a brew, head for Brew and View screenings at Duel Brewery – yes, movies in a Belgian brew pub, with a mix of local films, indie treats and thoughtful documentaries screened every other Sunday. I’m a sucker for craft beer, especially when it’s accompanied by the wellspring of craft on display in films making their first appearance in Santa Fe.

Enjoy double the pleasure with a mug of beer and a movie at Duel Brewery. (Photo Credit: Luke A. Montavon for The Santa Fe New Mexican)

Enjoy double the pleasure with a mug of beer and a movie at Duel Brewery. (Photo Credit: Luke A. Montavon for The Santa Fe New Mexican)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Years of movie-going have enthralled me at the CCA Cinematheque, and I bet I saw George R. R. Martin as a local movie buff before I read his books. CCA has treated film fans to a collection of first-runs, award-winning foreign films and oddball offerings for as long as I can remember. The big and beautiful screen and stellar sound system are the anti-multiplex experience. And the ample gallery space is a big plus, with exhibitions that showcase regional and national contemporary artists.

CCA is the spot for movies and great gallery exhibitions too!

CCA is the spot for movies and great gallery exhibitions too!

Legendary actress Greer Garson left her mark onscreen in the past; in the present it comes via her dedicated support of the Santa Fe University of Art and Design (formerly College of Santa Fe). Her post-film life in northern New Mexico resulted in a generous legacy that created the Garson Studios and made year-round film-making a reality. One soundstage retrofitted into a quality venue became The Screen, a theater space right on campus that thrills film students and locals alike with consistent, intriguing programming.

Talent behind the camera at the Garson studios results in memorable movies on The Screen. (Photo Credit: Santa Fe University of Art and Design, Laureate International Universities)

Talent behind the camera at the Garson studios results in memorable movies on The Screen. (Photo Credit: Santa Fe University of Art and Design, Laureate International Universities)

See Santa Fe in Full Color on the Big Screen

Now that summer’s active outdoor days are behind us, I say it’s time to settle inside for some adventurous autumn film fun. Santa Fe definitely has more than one top-drawer temptation flickering in the wings. I promise I’ll save you a seat!

 

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