Spring Into Santa Fe With Style

The first crocus has popped a yellow blossom up through the earth and fruit trees are covered with buds. Santa Fe is warming up daily as days grow longer and the sun moves higher in the sky. I’m high on the promise of spring adventures. The season is the ideal time to visit, offering a host of events to tempt the enterprising traveler.

Style Yourself Creative
March may sometimes come in like a lion, but around here you take less notice because it’s DIY Santa Fe month! Thanks to Santa Fe Creative Tourism, “Do It Yourself” takes on meaning way beyond home repair projects.

A visit to Santa Fe is the ideal way to heat up your creativity! (Photo Credit: Santa Fe Creative Tourism)

A visit to Santa Fe is the ideal way to heat up your creativity! (Photo Credit: Santa Fe Creative Tourism)

Have an urge to play with clay? Magpie Pottery teaches you to transfer images onto clay and a class at Heidi Loewen Porcelain Gallery means you’ll watch the clay dance on the wheel. Prefer to dance with your feet? African Dance with Elise Gent at the Railyard Performance Center and Monday Night Swing Dance at the Odd Fellows Hall tap you into a creative rhythm. You can craft a photographic book from start to finish, master construction of an art book or make an archivist’s relic from found objects. Painting and drawing classes abound and photo junkies will wax enthusiastically about choices that include encaustic for photographers. Those whose creativity runs to food are not ignored. A pop-up paleo dinner at the Santa Fe Culinary Academy delves into the diet of the ancestors and chef Paddy Rawal of Raaga brings the flavors of India to the Academy through his Native Harvest meal. No matter what ingredients are essential in your recipe for creativity, there’s something for every taste.

There’s no charge for the view at a Santa Fe Culinary Academy pop-up dinner. (Photo Credit: Santa Fe Culinary Academy)

There’s no charge for the view at a Santa Fe Culinary Academy pop-up dinner. (Photo Credit: Santa Fe Culinary Academy)

Sing A Song Of Spring
Music has echoed throughout Santa Fe’s historic adobe downtown for centuries. Our history is tuned to the sounds of flamenco guitar, old time bluegrass, chamber music and everything in between. Spring is no exception to Santa Fe’s repertoire, with renowned mezzo-soprano (and New Mexico native) Susan Graham visiting the Lensic Performing Arts Center with Performance Santa Fe on March 12 and Arlo Guthrie closing out a month of Lensic events on March 31. The Santa Fe Symphony celebrates spring at the Lensic with a March 15 Beethoven Festival and ends its season with Verdi’s Requiem in May. Santa Fe Pro Musica puts music-lovers into an Easter mood with the annual Baroque Holy Week concerts on April 2-4 in the evocative Loretto Chapel, home of the mesmerizing staircase that draws Instagrammers and photo fanatics by the tens of thousands.

Enjoying an evening of glorious music at the Loretto Chapel is the way to capture all the beauty of Santa Fe. (Photo Credit: Loretto Chapel)

Enjoying an evening of glorious music at the Loretto Chapel is the way to capture all the beauty of Santa Fe. (Photo Credit: Loretto Chapel)

Santa Fe’s musical landscape is truly global. Case in point: The March performance of contemporary Hawaiian music by HAPA on March 29 at the Lensic. The Taiko drums set the scene for the annual Japanese Cultural Festival at the Convention Center on March 28. This year’s theme is Cherry Blossoms and it will be just about impossible to resist the flowery kimonos and unusual curios on sale.

Santa Fe’s Great Outdoors Is Calling
Temperatures are already hitting the 60s and that means outdoor weather! For those who enjoy ambling under azure skies, Passport to the Arts is an invitation to spring pleasures. From May 8-10, the Canyon Road gallery scene comes alive with Friday night openings where work by 100-plus artists is on display. The Saturday Quick Draw has talent on parade up and down the street as artists work en plein air (working onsite to fully capture the ambiance) and the Live Auction does a brisk business.

The sightseeing is utterly artistic when you have a Passport to the Arts. (Photo Credit: Visit Canyon Road)

The sightseeing is utterly artistic when you have a Passport to the Arts. (Photo Credit: Visit Canyon Road)

If you’re the outdoorsy type who prefers a more brisk experience in nature, the Outside Bike & Brew Festival offers five days of exceptional road and mountain biking with beer chasers at signature Santa Fe beer festivals. There’s no better way to earn a cold pint than burning up calories as you burn up the road on your two-wheeled steed. 2015 is the 30th anniversary of the Santa Fe Century, New Mexico’s longest-running bike event, so strong legs can make the 100-mile ride on May 17 their Bike & Brew capstone.

When the biking’s done, it’s time to have fun at Bike & Brew! (Photo Credit: Outside Bike & Brew festival)

When the biking’s done, it’s time to have fun at Bike & Brew! (Photo Credit: Outside Bike & Brew festival)

Spring Into Action For A Southwestern Adventure
Whether you’re taking a contented stroll through the flowered courtyard of the Bishop’s Garden or blazing full-throttle down the mountainside on your bike, Santa Fe has everything you need to capture the spirit of the season—and you still have time to win that five-day Santa Fe Getaway! Roundtrip airfare and car rental, signature Santa Fe hotel stays, dining and spa treatments, ballooning and river rafting… what are you waiting for?

 

 

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February Foodie Fest In Santa Fe

I have an appetite for adventure: a dining adventure that is! Locals and foodie tourists alike are wowed annually when Santa Fe Restaurant Week makes its appearance. The City Different is justly renowned for its delicious panoply of dining options, and I’ve got my list made for all eight days from February 22 – March 1. The plan? Delve into old favorites and add new discoveries to my dining routine. If you’ve got a craving to satisfy, prix fixes dinners from $20 to $40 per person are the tastiest dining deals around.

Santa Fe Specializes In The Art Of Dining
Sunday is my museum-hopping day. With a new exhibition to savor at the O’Keeffe Museum, I’m going to follow an afternoon at the museum with a digestif and dinner right next door at Georgia. I confess to feeling envious every time someone I know raves about a meal there, so my eight-day week begins with discovering the delectable secrets hidden in this historic building.

Reviewers rave about Georgia’s flare with fish. (Photo Credit: R.B. on Yelp)

Reviewers rave about Georgia’s flare with fish. (Photo Credit: R.B. on Yelp)

When I leave my desk on Monday, I’m not in the mood for cooking, but my other half is definitely in the mood for a meal. Dinner for Two to the rescue! This cozy spot is a Wine Spectator Award of Excellence recipient for ten years running and a Santa Fe favorite year-round. Their specials for Restaurant Week include El Rito, NM lamb chops–perfect for pairing with a glass of wine and a happy hubby.

Take A Trip Around Santa Fe’s Culinary World
T stands for Tuesday and for tapas. Taberna or La Boca, take your choice—one chef with two great spots equals terrific small plates and a signature wine list that includes memorable Spanish sherries. Both restaurants have an intimate yet lively atmosphere and each features a four-course Restaurant Week special. When I see jamón serrano and blood orange aioli on the menu, I know the meal will be muy sabroso.

Take a table at Taberna and your dining future is rosy.

Take a table at Taberna and your dining future is rosy.

I’ve had my eye on Bouche Bistro for longer than I care to admit. I am ever so grateful for the opportunity to satisfy my desire to share a bon appetit with my BFF and start a midweek dinner sipping French Onion soup or scarfing down escargot. She has celebrated her anniversary at Bouche ever since it opened, so I know she’ll steer me to the right choice of entrée. And she’s generous about sharing dessert!

What could be more a delicious finale than Profiteroles au Chocolat? (Photo Credit: Bouche Bistro)

What could be more a delicious finale than Profiteroles au Chocolat?
(Photo Credit: Bouche Bistro)

As long as I’m taking a culinary tour, following Spain and France with a visit to Italy is a must. Every family has its comfort food and when we’re not in the mood for New Mexican, we often opt for pasta. By Thursday, I look forward to the comfort of a well-sauced plate at Pranzo Italian Grill to make it through to Friday. I will concede, however, that the pork schnitzel sounds awfully tempting.

When 5:00 rolls around on Friday, find me heading east—the Far East—to Shohko. I was raised in a fish-on-Friday household and old habits are hard to break, but Mom never made sashimi! Shohko has set the standard for authentic Japanese dining since 1975 and I’ve made many a pilgrimage to this temple of subtle tastes. I never, never tire of Shohko’s seaweed salad and green tea ice cream tempura. Well, Mom never made that either!

There is plenty to love about the food artistry at Shohko. (Photo Credit: Shohko Café)

There is plenty to love about the food artistry at Shohko. (Photo Credit: Shohko Café)

Weekends Mean Dining Wonderfully
A woman’s work is never done, and Saturdays are always full of errands and shopping. Not that I mind, since I Santa Fe boasts plenty of fascinating shopping beyond groceries. I’m ending brown bag duties on the southside of town, so I told my honey to meet me at The Ranch House. We’ve been looking for an excuse to park our buggy there and the prix fixe has five hearty entrees to entice a hungry man.

Our Restaurant Week is ending with elegance when we celebrate Sunday dinner at The Compound. This beloved restaurant is housed in what is arguably the loveliest historic dining room in Santa Fe—and the cuisine matches the ambiance to perfection. I’ll wrap up the evening with a memorably sweet finish: maybe the bittersweet chocolate torte or a prickly pear mousse.

A taste of chocolate torte at the Compound is a sweet finish to Santa Fe Restaurant Week. (Photo Credit: The Compound)

A taste of chocolate torte at the Compound is a sweet finish to Santa Fe Restaurant Week. (Photo Credit: The Compound)

Speaking of sweet treats, I’ll toss in a pitch for weekend lunch at Sweet Lily Bakery. Even if you just stop in for cookies, rest assured that your gluten-free pals can have dessert too!

Santa Fe Restaurant Week Is Rich In Flavor—And Savings
By all means, don’t limit yourself to my suggestions. Your menu meanderings can include any of the 52 dining establishments on the list. That’s up to you, but no matter how you slice it, I promise you’ll be eating the best of Santa Fe at the best prices of the year.

 

 

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Bring Your Bachelor To Santa Fe

The wine was flowing and red roses adorned every table when Buffalo Thunder Resort & Casino held a screening party for ABC’s The Bachelor. The romantic allure of Santa Fe was a featured player in the first two episodes that aired this month. Members of The Bachelor Nation fell under the sway of our beautiful city as it cast its spell on Chris Soules and his coterie of hopefuls. Are you hoping for a dose of romance in your own life? Enter to win, and you’ll be following in the footsteps of the show! Maybe your bachelor will be handing you a red rose in Santa Fe!

The Bachelor, Chris Soules, had a Santa Fe backdrop for romance. (Photo Credit: ABC)

The Bachelor, Chris Soules, had a Santa Fe backdrop for romance. (Photo Credit: ABC)

Romance And History Go Hand-in-Hand In Santa Fe

Those who tuned in got a glimpse of the iconic Santa Fe Plaza, the heart of The City Different—and there’s no better jumping off point for a Santa Fe experience than a stay at La Fonda de Santa Fe. This historic hotel, tucked between the Plaza and the magnificent Basilica Cathedral of St. Francis of Assisi, is a Santa Fe icon. The hotel’s property-wide renovation, completed in 2014, wisely kept emblematic designs like the Mary Jane Colter ballroom chandeliers and the whimsical painted windows that enchant locals and tourists alike. Your guy can easily sneak across the street and pick out a turquoise engagement ring from the Native American vendors under the portal at the Palace of the Governors. Unless he books La Fonda’s La Rosa Romance Package that is, because that one includes the ring!

thebach-girls

A bevy of bachelorette beauties competes with the beauty of a Santa Fe sunset on the deck at La Fonda. (Photo Credit: ABC)

Both Art And The Art Of Intimacy Are Found In Santa Fe

Producers of The Bachelor captured Santa Fe’s alternative culture with a twist that the show has likely never seen – a session with a shamanic guide. Tziporah Kingsbury led an intimate transformational session for two that sent the show’s Twitter feed sky-high. If that “OMMMM” moment grabbed your attention, schedule your romantic Santa Fe getaway for March to begin your visit with her Shamanic Ceremony. Your chakras will be opened and your creativity flowing, making you perfectly attuned to diving into a fabulous Santa Fe Creative Tourism experience.

Get creative together at Santa Fe Creative Tourism to win the heart of your bachelor. (Photo Credit: Elena Paschinger)

Get creative together at Santa Fe Creative Tourism to win the heart of your bachelor. (Photo Credit: Elena Paschinger)

March is Creative Tourism DIY month in Santa Fe and the possibilities for imaginative adventure are endless: craft a photographic book together, make a stained glass mosaic in southwestern colors, discover the alchemy of mixed media, or invent a new form altogether. You can create your own memories – literally – then take them home and hang them on the wall!

Go Rafting To Ride On A River Of Love

If your bachelor is a sporty type, maybe the only part of The Bachelor that caught his eye was the Los Rios River Runners white water rafting trip on the Rio Grande. Yes, one of the girls got dunked, but that’s why the professionalism and safety of river guides like Los Rios matters. Taking a full-day ride through the Taos Box or a sunset dinner float is an adventure for two you’ll never forget. The snow has been great this winter, and the rafters will be out as soon as spring allows. If you just can’t wait that long to come to Santa Fe, snow is the operative word. 96 percent of the mountain is open at Ski Santa Fe and the snow bunnies and daredevils have been in snow heaven!

The Bachelor and his boat crew are ready to ride the rapids on the Rio Grande. (Photo Credit: ABC)

The Bachelor and his boat crew are ready to ride the rapids on the Rio Grande. (Photo Credit: ABC)

Up, Up And Away To Santa Fe

You have to wait until balloon season starts in May to experience the ballooning adventure you saw in Britt’s one-on-one date with The Bachelor, since that scene was filmed at October’s Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. Once May rolls around, pilot Johnny Lewis of Santa Fe Balloons will be glad to take you for a ride over the pristine northern New Mexico countryside. Ballooning is early morning excitement – always ending with a champagne toast – so that means your appetite will be fully whetted for a dose of great Santa Fe home cooking. There’s no better place for a Christmas-style breakfast burrito—that’s both red AND green chile—than The Pantry, recently designated by Thrillist as one of America’s best diners!

 

Chris and Britt’s chemistry took flight on an early morning balloon adventure. (Photo Credit: ABC)

Chris and Britt’s chemistry took flight on an early morning balloon adventure. (Photo Credit: ABC)

Be Romanced By Santa Fe

Chris Soules, The Bachelor himself tweeted, his loyal 125,000 Twitter followers with these words of advice: “Santa Fe should be on everyone’s bucket list, and it should be the first to be crossed off!” Whether you copy the trip step by step or do it City Different style with your own choice of romance packages, you’ll share unforgettable memories that will be the envy of your social media communities and have you both craving an annual getaway sequel.

After all, even The Bachelor couldn’t complete a Santa Fe adventure in just one episode! Launch your own romantic getaway now, by entering our sweepstakes to win a five-day vacation in beautiful Santa Fe.

 

 

 

 

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5 Romantic Spa Retreats in Santa Fe

Expedia Viewfinder teamed up with SantaFe.org to discover couples spa retreats in The City Different.

Expedia Viewfinder teamed up with SantaFe.org to discover couples spa retreats in The City Different.

With spas that offer tantalizing treatments and perfect panoramas, Santa Fe, New Mexico, is a prime spot for couples looking to rekindle their spark. With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, our team at Expedia Viewfinder wanted the inside scoop on ways to spend a romantic spa vacation for two in Santa Fe. We teamed up with the experts over at SantaFe.org to reveal the best spots for everything from hot-stone massages to water treatments that send couples into blissful relaxation:

La Posada de Santa Fe

With views of the impressive mountains and lush gardens, La Posada de Santa Fe offers a striking landscape. Indulge with the Ayurvedic Herbal Rejuvenation, or entice the senses with an aromatherapy massage. The lavender steam room and relaxation lounge encourage guests relax and unwind. Couples can savor delectable daily breakfasts, massages, and champagne and strawberries in their rooms after plunges in the salt-water pool and strolls around the charming grounds.

The Spa at Loretto

With its focus on holistic healing, the Spa at Loretto offers a spiritual retreat. The spa brings couples together with services such as astrology, reiki, cranial sacral therapy, chakra balancing, and intuitive readings. Earth tones and natural elements decorate the suites where twosomes can revel in hot-stone massages, water treatments, and other therapeutic spa services. Many of these therapies even blend traditional rituals from different cultures with natural products for a one-of-kind experience.

SháNah Spa at the Bishop’s Lodge

Incorporating Native American traditions into its services, the SháNah Spa rejuvenates every aspect of the mind and body for the ultimate state of rest and relaxation. Duos can reflect and meditate in the Native American Teepee, or blissfully soak together in the Watsu pool. A visit to this spa is an escape from modern hustle toward ancient wisdom, as it offers out-of-this-world massages in teepees, Tesuque clay wraps, and indulgent caviar facials.

The Spa at the Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado

Known for its luxurious amenities, the Four Seasons Resort beckons couples to surrender to the sensations of indulgence and nature. The private retreats for couples invite partners to melt their stress away with adobe clay body masks and juniper-sage massages or open-air soaks and sessions in the sauna. With names like Art of Surrender and Mountain Spirit Initiation, the couples packages at this spa welcome pairs to do nothing but enjoy the sumptuousness of being together.

Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs Resort & Spa

With four natural springs that bubble with legendary water that is said to relieve a variety of conditions, Ojo Caliente is an escape from the traditional spa. Reconnect with your partner while basking in the restorative waters of the private outdoor pools, with temperatures ranging between 80 and 190 F. Get down and dirty with a mud treatment or experience the Ancient Echoes, an East Indian Head Massage.

From the ancient holistic practices to the peaceful ambiances, couples flock to Santa Fe for a romantic and relaxing sojourn. Whether it’s a Valentine’s Day getaway or a pampering vacation simply because, you and your honey are in for a heavenly experience at the spas in Santa Fe.

Expedia Staff Writer

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Santa Fe: The Sure Cure for Cabin Fever

There’s no hiding from the fact that Old Man Winter has the northern hemisphere firmly in his frosty grip. Santa Fe’s 320-plus days of sunshine help mitigate winter’s icy hold and even the season’s short days still seem long – especially now that I’ve read all the books I got for Christmas. There’s only one cure: get up and go! Care to leave the cabin and come along?

Mountain Medicine is a Cure-all

Ninety five percent of Ski Santa Fe’s 77 trails are open, groomed and ready to tackle on skis or boards. Schussing down the hillside beneath a cloudless blue sky or catching some air on a mogul makes you feel totally alive. An easy 16-mile drive leads to the 10,350-foot base and 660 pristine acres. Unless you’re wedded to your gear, forget schlepping and rent what you need (or forgot) at the Ski Shop. After that, it’s up to you!

Skis or boards, simply Ski Santa Fe and you do either! (Photo Credit: Ski Santa Fe)

Skis or boards, simply Ski Santa Fe and you do either! (Photo Credit: Ski Santa Fe)

The runs (20 percent easy, 40 percent intermediate and 40 percent expert) and colorfully named trails (Burro Alley, Desperado, Muerte) are unmistakably New Mexico.  The winter event schedule mixes weekend races with Beats on the Basin monthly afternoon concerts. And that cute guy serving Irish coffee at Totemoff’s Bar midway up the mountain? Call that an added bonus!

If slow immersion into snow-white alpine surroundings is your thing, choose snowshoes. Outspire Hiking & Snowshoeing’s tours are an irresistible temptation to bundle up and venture out into the forest. If you’re a novice like me, Outspire’s great guides really help you get the rhythm right. The plop of snow dropping from a Ponderosa pine, the screech of a hawk circling overhead, a gust of wind dropping the last dead leaves from an aspen grove – Santa Fe’s unique winter beauties quietly await your audience.

Walking in a Winter Wonderland is the tune you’ll be singing when you take a snowshoe hike with Outspire. (Photo Credit: Outspire Hiking and Snowshoeing)

Walking in a Winter Wonderland is the tune you’ll be singing when you take a snowshoe hike with Outspire. (Photo Credit: Outspire Hiking and Snowshoeing)

Santa Fe Loves Stars on Ice

Those 320-plus days of sunshine I mentioned mean no outdoor ice skating, but that doesn’t mean you can’t skate to your heart’s content. The Genoveva Chavez Center, home to basketball and racquetball courts, an indoor running track, full-on fitness facilities, lap pool and warm-water therapy pool, also boasts Santa Fe’s open-daily ice rink. And with a climate-controlled environment, instead of layering up into immobility, you can glide with comfort and ease.

Holiday on Ice? A Hanukkah party at the Genoveva Chavez Rink made that happen and private parties are welcome! (Photo Credit: Genoveva Chavez Community Center)

Holiday on Ice? A Hanukkah party at the Genoveva Chavez Rink made that happen and private parties are welcome! (Photo Credit: Genoveva Chavez Community Center)

The variety of available activities makes the Chavez Center a family-friendly destination. Skates are an easy rental, and there’s ample seating for spectators to take a picture of your precise pirouetting or watch a battle on hockey skates.

Warm Up Your New Mexico Visit the Meso-American Way

A cup of hot cocoa is the classic winter companion. But Santa Fe’s hot chocolate has City Different style. If you’ve never tasted the nectar that ancient Meso-Americans created from cacao, you’re in for a surprise. Kakawa Chocolate House takes tastebuds on a chocolate adventure you won’t soon forget.

Picturing – and partaking of - a perfect potion at Kakawa is a sweet Santa Fe sensation.

Picturing – and partaking of – a perfect potion at Kakawa is a sweet Santa Fe sensation.

Kakawa’s chocolate elixirs are a revelation that changed the way I think about the cup of comfort Mom served after the mittens came off. Deep, rich, not overly sweet or bitter, these beverages deserve to be sipped and savored slowly. Spiked with native herbs or flowers (and of course, there’s a chile iteration), these concoctions are lovingly hand-crafted into an alternative universe of chocolate flavor. The Pre-Columbian era receives its due, as do 16th and 17th century Europe. American versions run the gamut from Jeffersonian to contemporary, along with original recipes like Modern Mexican and Chai. No wonder the New York Times called Kakawa a 36-Hours must! And with artisanal 80 percent dark chocolate creations made in-house, I guarantee you’ll be back!

You’ve Earned a Cuddle-Up by the Fireplace

Once you’ve gotten your ya-ya’s out, cabin fever is history. That’s when it’s time to toast your toes and challenge your nose over a wine glass. When day is done, grab a seat at El Cañon Cafe & Bar inside the Hilton Santa Fe and you’ve got it made.

Light up the night with a visit to the Hilton Santa Fe for a glass of vino at El Cañon! (Photo Credit: Hilton Santa Fe)

Light up the night with a visit to the Hilton Santa Fe for a glass of vino at El Cañon! (Photo Credit: Hilton Santa Fe)

Part of El Cañon’s coziness comes from the 300-year-old hacienda it calls home. The location is ideal for friendly coffee meet-ups but nighttime is the right time to warm up by the kiva fireplace and compare vintages from the extensive wine list. Light dinner fare lets you create your own pairings in a relaxed and welcoming atmosphere that just says “ahhh, Santa Fe.” Be sure to check out the Hilton’s Winter Getaway Package, which thoughtfully includes two adult beverages nightly!

Escape for the Cure

Share a toast to Santa Fe and beat those winter’s blues.

Share a toast to Santa Fe and beat those winter’s blues.

Don’t let winter keep you home on the range and stuck in the house. A Santa Fe getaway is the perfect prescription for curing winter weariness. Plus, there’s no better time to catch the year’s best specials. And what could be more special than fresh snow, azure skies, and a memorable spot for sharing a glass of wine by a warm piñon fire? 

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The End Zone for Fun is Santa Fe

It’s that time of year. Monday morning quarterbacks are calling buddies, stocking the fridge with beer and filling the pantry with calorie-laden snacks. If your Monday nights mean anything but football and you’re really excited about the Super Bowl, but only because it means the season will be over, then I suggest you make your own play and head to Santa Fe as if you’ve got the ball and 11 burly NFL defensive players chasing you.

winter, outdoors, national preserve, santa fe, new mexico

Get your giddy-up going on a winter-white sleigh ride at Valles Caldera National Preserve. (Photo Credit: vallescaldera.gov)

You Can Be the Star Player in Santa Fe

I like sports as much as the next gal, but I like to be the one doing, not the one watching. The urge to move is irresistible when everyone on the screen is running around, so I’m leaving him in charge of the remote and strapping on the gear for an outdoor adventure. Now that winter is holding court, Santa Fe’s frosty mountains extend a standing invitation to head for the hills.

Although Christmas is over, sleigh bells still jing-a-ling when you take a sleigh ride through the gorgeous Valles Caldera National Preserve. The 89,000-acre landscape is unforgettable any time of year, but it’s especially memorable when the dark green pines command attention in the snowy white bowl of the caldera created by a one-million-year-old volcanic explosion. And yes, there is a sleigh ride scheduled on Super Bowl Sunday!

Santa Fe, New Mexico, art, outdoor

There’s no skullduggery on the field at Shidoni’s Sculpture Garden, just hand-crafted beauty.

Go All Out for Art

Combining art with the outdoors is something at which Santa Fe excels. I love strolling through Shidoni sculpture when winter’s low sun pairs the artworks with wild shadow patterns. If you hit the foundry on the right Saturday, you’ll catch a bronze pour to expand your understanding of the sculptural process. I might add that this is the place to make creative artwork of your selfies!

 

Touch down at Museum Hill Café for a winter lunch on Museum Hill.

Touch down at Museum Hill Café for a winter lunch on Museum Hill.

 

Touch Down Inside Santa Fe for a Bounty of Beauty

Santa Fe boasts several world-class museums all less than long-pass away from each other at Musuem Hill. The hill features four museums—perfect for dividing your afternoon into quarters of a different sort. No worries about lunch – Museum Hill Café referees that call.

The Museum of Spanish Colonial Arts is a great starting point for enriching your understanding of New Mexico’s deep artistic past. The Museum of International Folk Art is a cornucopia of hand-crafted creativity in four loving-curated wings, with rotating special exhibitions. Museum Hill also boasts not one, but two Native American showcases, the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture and the Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian; each is a rich treasure trove worth visiting. End at the Case Trading Post on the lowest floor of the Wheelwright; whoever does the buying has an impeccable eye and oh, the beauties I have scored there!

Santa Fe, New Mexico, museums

The Case Trading Post at the Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian is the spot to score big with an only-in-Santa-Fe treasure. (Photo Credit: Eddie Moore for the Albuquerque Journal)

Speaking of scoring beauties, our city is a shopper’s paradise! Condé Nast Traveler just ranked Santa Fe as one of the world’s best shopping destinations, a place for discovering City Different pieces no one else will have. From authentic Native American jewelry vendors under the portal of the Palace of the Governors to custom-designed wedding dresses at Laura Sheppherd to vintage delights at a variety of consignment stores and souvenir postcards at the Five & Dime, Santa Fe goes long!

Santa Fe, New Mexico, Dining, Plaza, Classic

A Frito Pie! That’s the ticket!

Santa Fe Dining: No Concessions Required

I can’t mention the Five & Dime without mentioning their Frito Pie, a legendary (yes, I’m using that word) concoction of Fritos bathed in red chile, beans and cheese. There is something so special about carrying that warm bag across the street to enjoy your spicy treat on a sunny Plaza bench.

Santa Fe, New Mexico, Dining

Your stay-at-home hombre will miss out on catching the flavors of Paella La Valencianna at El Meson. (Photo Credit: El Meson Santa Fe)

Of course, dining in Santa Fe is legendary in and of itself. Don’t feel guilty if your honey is home with a bag of Cheetos and a brewski; that’s his choice. Your choice is unlimited! Want to parlez-vous Francais? Bouche Bistro, L’Olivier and 315 Restaurant & Wine Bar each answer Mais Oui with a signature iteration of duck confit. Hungry to practice your Italian? Andiamo (translation: let’s go) to that plate of pasta via Il Piatto, Pranzo Italian Grill, and of course, Andiamo! Santa Fe’s Spanish ancestors would tip their sombreros to tapas at El Meson or La Boca. Sushi and sake take pride of place downtown at Shohko Café and up on the mountain at Izanami. No wonder Condé Nast named Santa Fe the #1 Best Small City in America – being a winner at dinner is a snap!

Santa Fe Lets You Call the Plays

A trip to Santa Fe offers plenty of reasons to cheer! While they’re rooting for the team, we’ll root for bargains, eat roasted root vegetables, and root our hearts in age-old traditions. Sounds like an enchanting plan, no? With so much to see and do in Santa Fe, you’ll never be on the sidelines.

 

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Visiting Santa Fe: A Resolution Worth Keeping

An old Spanish proverb says this: “A man too busy to take care of his health is like a mechanic too busy to take care of his tools.” Since the holiday time-crunch is past, it’s high time to tinker with the chassis so I’m sharpening my utensils to carve a healthy approach to 2015. And I’ve sketched a blueprint for reaping the benefits of a delicious and nutritious new year in Santa Fe.

Healthy, Dining, Gluten Free, Santa Fe, New Mexico

Take a taste at Revolution Bakery and be amazed how good gluten-free can be!

Santa Fe Has a Revolution in G(F)oodness

Gluten-free eating makes all sorts of people feel a whole lot better. Even those of us who don’t experience true intolerance see gluten-free results (witness my sister’s enviable weight loss). I’m a die-hard toast-lover but I never feel like I’m sacrificing or skimping at Revolution Bakery. Their tagline –100% gluten-free paradise – is apt considering the amazing selection. I appreciate the sample baskets for turning tastebuds into appetite. And that gluten-free brioche? Vive la revolution! 

Lunch time is also munch time at Rev Bakery. Pair any of four varieties of 8-inch pizzas (plus one daily special) with a crisp salad to achieve yummy gluten-free liberation. Veggie activists receive their due; of four sandwiches, two are vegetarian and one is vegan. The price point is incredibly reasonable given the unique culinary niche. And that niche is ably filled thanks to owner Dionne Christian and her skillful, early-rising bakers!

Healthy, Dining, Gluten Free, Santa Fe, New Mexico

An apple a day keeps the doctor away and BODY’s apple crisp is good medicine!

Do Right by Your BODY

Holiday indulgences are behind us, but that mirror is not my friend yet! Thankfully, BODY of Santa Fe is on my tune-up menu. Chef Juan Carlos works wonders with a Café menu committed to organic ingredients, locally-procured whenever possible.

Founder Lorin Parrish made clean eating the Café’s goal from the get-go. Everything on the menu (plus a dedicated kids menu) is clearly identified as vegetarian, vegan, raw or gluten-free and select meat and fish offerings are cleanly sourced. Seasonal availability takes precedence so what’s on the plate is always centered on the best body fuel for the season. I never tire of the ginger stir-fry but winter enchiladas – a spot-on combo of spaghetti squash and green chile – satisfy that chile craving. And a bit of sweet goodness from an incredible warm apple crisp is a welcome finish.

Healthy, Dining, Gluten Free, Santa Fe, New Mexico

Health on a plate or in a glass? Rasa Juice bar does both.

Capture the Full Flavor of Health at Rasa

Ayurveda is intriguing; Deepak Chopra’s reach proves this 500-year-old tradition is thriving. A tip from a savvy 14-year-old vegan sent me to Rasa Juice Bar to get the skinny on this science of life (Ayu means life, Veda means knowledge or science) focused on optimum health via diet. It took Santa Fe little time to catch on; Edible Santa Fe has already featured Rasa twice, most recently with a vegan dessert in the seasonal cookbook issue.

Raw, vegan, organic – the words tell all. Confused? The lovelies who oversee this enterprise – Wendy, Pamela, Mariela and Andrea – explain everything (silky smoothies and cold-pressed juices, raw and dehydrated savories and sweets) in appetizing detail. The food is testimony that healthy equals flavor (rasa) in the hands of those inspired by wholesome eating. Thai Green Chili noodles hit my spicy spot perfectly and that raw oatmeal cookie? I’m glad to be in the know now!

Healthy, Dining, Gluten Free, Santa Fe, New Mexico

Verde Juice sports fresh green on the staff and in the bottle!

Juice Me Up, Scotty

Locals warmly welcomed brand-new Verde Juice, brainchild of Kelly Egolf whose calling grew from her own needs after surgery led to a two-month liquid diet. Canned nutritional supplements may have the right vitamin-mineral mix, but the flavor leaves much to be desired. Egolf’s creativity yielded tasty recipes with complementary nutritional value. When family and friends sampled the results, the home juicer was pressed into service in a bright, inviting space that instantly says “fresh.”

Healthy, Dining, Gluten Free, Santa Fe, New Mexico

In Spanish, verde means green; at Verde Juice Bar, it means happy, healthy sipping.

Ingredients are raw, unpasteurized and additive-free and the cold-press method means not made-to-order. Instead, juice blends are bottled for three days only, ensuring freshness and quality. I admit the three-day juice cleanse (comprised of six different juices) requires willpower given Santa Fe’s fabulous dining options, but it’s on my birthday wish list. And the good news? Lizz Redman, formerly in the kitchen at BODY, will be adding prepared foods!

Try Feeding on Santa Fe’s Finest

Hippocrates said that “Healing is a matter of time, but it is sometimes also a matter of opportunity.” I say take the opportunity to grab a full dose of the best medicine going – delectable food – when you taste the pleasures of a Santa Fe getaway. There’s a bounty of beneficial blessings on a City Different plate so dig in and dig the healthy feeling of Santa Fe!

 

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Santa Fe Winter is Full of Wonder

The jingle bells have stopped ringing but winter is definitely on. And I am psyched to make snow angels and welcome the New Year to Santa Fe. The great thing about being a local is having an earmuff to the snowy ground in plenty of time to plan for a wonderland of fun. So put on your mittens and come along with me for the best in winter adventures Santa Fe style!

Santa Fe, New Mexico, Winter Must Dos

Soup’s on in Santa Fe: Fill your belly and treat your tastebuds—and those of NM’s most needy, too—at this beloved charity event (Photo Credit: The Food Depot)

Santa Fe is All Souped Up This Winter

It’s impossible to resist SuperBowl XLVIII fever, but for those who can’t wait for kickoff, Santa Fe’s January 17 SouperBowl XXI makes cups runneth over. This delicious soup competition is firmly established as a January taste sensation and proceeds benefit the Food Depot. Get inspired by the intriguing mix of ingredients that Santa Fe chefs put in the pot and your soup repertoire will improve by the bowlful. Last year’s Best Soup winner, the Winter Squash and Chorizo Soup served up by Terra at Four Seasons Rancho Encantado, was a hearty hit and I can’t wait to see what Chef Andrew stirs up this year. With four other categories (best cream, best savory, best seafood and best vegetarian), there’s sure to be plenty of slurping going on!

Santa Fe, New Mexico, Railyard, Craft Beer, Beer Fest

It’s cheers to you when you lift your glass at Santa Fe Winter Brew Fest. (Photo Credit: New Mexico Brewers’ Guild)

Brewing Up the Best of Santa Fe

Santa Fe is a chic pick for craft beers (most recently recognized by Thrilist.com as one of the nation’s best brew cities) and there’s no better time to see—and taste–why than at WinterBrew. On January 23,16 breweries and a selection of food stands converge at the Santa Fe Farmers’ Market Pavilion for a cheery, beery evening. Last year’s slate has been expanded with two new Albuquerque brewers, Red Door Brewing and Ponderosa Brewing. Local favorites like Duel Brewery and Santa Fe Brewing Company (whose 2014 Great American Beer Festival entry won best American-style Sour Ale) will be on tap with seasonal styles. And beer-lovers line up for regulars like Bosque Brewing (Beer Festival winner for Fresh Hop Ale) and Marble Brewery (who scored for Imperial Red Ale). Tickets go fast, so don’t wait to get your taste!

Santa Fe, New Mexico, Art, Cuisine

Combining fine art and festive dinners is a Santa Fe specialty.

Feasting on Art is a Santa Fe Tradition

I suspect I sound a bit tummy-centric, so let me paint a picture of Santa Fe ArtFeast for you. This year’s artistic events have seen the Edible ArtTour move to June but February still has a yummy blend of beauty on the The Art of Living palette They’ve stolen my personal credo – It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere – but I don’t mind because I can share in the February 20 fun and festivities (which do include food) that benefit art in the schools. And I’ll take that February 21 invitation to Step Up to the Plate too, thank you very much! The Art of Home tour is the most picturesque way to see Santa Fe design and style in its full glory but be warned – you may well end up wanting your own adobe casita by the time you’re done!

Santa Fe, New Mexico, Fine Dining

You should definitely “Andiamo” to Santa Fe during February Restaurant Week!

It’s Time to Eat and Time to Save in Santa Fe

Returning to my food-centricity (can’t help it, Santa Fe equals great cuisine), I look forward to cashing in on Santa Fe Restaurant Week deals. Other cities may have similar events, but they lack the one-of-a-kind regional ingredients that bring foodlovers back to Santa Fe year after year. Fifty-seven restaurants are already on the roster and that list will grow as we get closer to February 22. Smart hoteliers have cooked up getaway deals so I suggest you grab your BFF (best foodie friend) and make reservations for a seat at Santa Fe’s finest tables. Prizes and giveaways are in store along with terrific deals, making everyone a winner at lunch or dinner.

Santa Fe, New Mexico, Winter, Sports, Mountain

A Santa Fe mountain snowshoe hike with Outspire will inspire you! (Photo Credit: Outspire Hiking and Snowshoeing)

Get Away to Santa Fe’s Winter Wonderland

Of course, a gal has to work off her enjoyment with some outdoor activities and that’s where Ski Santa Fe comes to the rescue. It wouldn’t be winter without a return to the mountains for a dose of snowy magic! Don’t schlep your skis or board, just rent them right on the mountain. Then pick some happening dates and do your downhill in the morning, so you can chill at Beats on the Basin from noon to 3:00 p.m. And if you’d prefer to see the Sangre de Cristo Mountain scenery at a slower pace, plan a snowshoe hike with Outspire to capture Santa Fe’s sparkle and serenity in equal measure.

Get Your New Year On in Santa Fe

Have I convinced you? I’ve been convinced for years – and my 2015 calendar is already marked with monthly must-do’s. There’s nothing like bright blue skies and a blanket of crystalline white snowflakes to start a new year right – and Santa Fe is ready to show you how.

 

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Santa Fe’s Peaceful Spirit is Your Holiday Gift

Santa Fe, New Mexico, Holiday escapes

Silence is golden in the quaint adobe Friends Meeting House on Canyon Road.

Holiday madness is not just a catch phrase, it’s a reality. No matter how early I get the shopping and cooking done, by the time I’ve worked my way through the festivities with friends and family, I am so ready for my share of serenity. In the spirit of the season, here’s my holiday offering to those of you who need the true escape and soul refreshment that Santa Fe has offered for centuries.

Santa Fe is a Prescription for Peace

Sitting mindfully is a spiritual prescription known to East and West alike. And Santa Fe has both varieties for meditative moments. Sunday mornings at the Quaker Meeting House require nothing but a way to get there to sit and soak up the goodness. First Day (Sunday) Meetings are held in the historic Olive Rush house on Canyon Road and visitors are welcome to worship with the Friends.

In a town with historic Catholic roots, it’s no surprise to find a Carmelite Monastery. Santa Fe’s Carmelites are guided by St. Teresa of Avila’s commitment to leading life in silence and contemplation. You can be soothed by tranquility at the daily morning Mass or simply wander the grounds in private reflection.

Santa Fe, New Mexico, Audubon Center, Nature

The Randall Davey Audubon Center is as picturesque in winter as it is in summer.

Those whose minds turn east find their way to the Upaya Zen Center, which hosts four daily zazen sessions, as well as an ongoing slate of programs and retreats. The gorgeous setting at the top of a canyon is an inspiration in itself – pristine nature echoing the clarity our souls endeavor to reach.

Finding a beautiful place to be inspired doesn’t require any particular affiliation. The Santa Fe Audubon Center lets birdsong do the work of lifting spirits. Located at the top of Canyon Road in the former home of animal-loving artist Randall Davey, the Audubon also has easy access to the Dale Ball Trails.

Activate Your Center with Movement

Santa Fe, New Mexico, historic landmarks

Just look up in Santa Fe and you’ll feel your spirits lifted upwards too.

Walking meditation is my personal go-to at times when sitting won’t do; sometimes one just has to move to feel centered. Climbing to the top of the Cross of the Martyrs always energizes my body and settles my spirit. Gazing up at the Cross and then out over the city reminds me of all the blessings that life in our special city imparts daily.

Holiday visits from family and friends invariably include a trip to Museum Hill, so as we drift from the Folk Art Museum to the Museum of Indian Art and Culture, we stop on the Milner Plaza and walk the Labyrinth, which silences even the kiddos as they concentrate on staying within the circuit. And there’s even a second labyrinth at the Santa Fe Community Yoga Center!

Santa Fe, New Mexico,  yoga maze

You’ll be a-mazed at how centered you will feel when you visit Santa Fe.

Speaking of yoga, there’s simply no way not to feel more balanced than after a yoga session and Santa Fe abounds in teachers and classes. The aforementioned Community Yoga Center is one of many studios that bring light and life back to body and soul; at BODY of Santa Fe, a yoga class followed by a spa treatment will keep you in the flow.

Read and Reflect to Find Spiritual Refreshment

There’s so much to know about this city that’s more than 400 years old that I sometimes find it a challenge to put it all together. My secret salvation is the Southwest Reading Room at the downtown Santa Fe Library. Classic library etiquette means stillness and silence and an hour spent perusing Santa Fe history enriches any experience. Just about anything you ever wanted to know about New Mexico is waiting on the shelves.

Santa Fe, New Mexico, Public Library

The Santa Fe library scene is one of peace and perusal.

After you read up on the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Asissi, your admiration for the magnificent edifice is enhanced by knowing its story. And when you sit with your thoughts in a pew, you may even be lucky enough to hear an organist practice or the choir rehearsing a new hymn. Just be sure to exit by the southside door by the Chapel so you can amble through the Bishop’s peaceful Prayer Garden south of the rectory.

Santa Fe is Truly Soul-Stirring

Turn down the holiday buzz and tune up your soul with a Santa Fe getaway and you’ll see how quickly everything becomes lighter and brighter inside. The City Different enjoys world-class status as a UNESCO Creative City and when you create soul-soothing adventures of your own, you’ll bring joy to your holiday world.

 

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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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