Santa Fe Nature is All Around Us

It’s so satisfying to wake up on a summer morning with a cool breeze playing through the piñon tree outside my windows. One terrific – and often unsung – benefit of living in Santa Fe is the weather. Santa Fe’s high elevation keeps it cooler than other parts of the state in summer. Standing in the shade of an old cottonwood is sublime, but instead of just standing, I recommend you heed the call of the wild and let an experienced guide reveal the summer beauty of the unique Santa Fe landscape just beyond the trees.

Santa Fe Walkabouts — So Much More than Walking

Ever heard of a Pinzgauer? I hadn’t either until I met Georges and Sue Mally of Santa Fe Walkabouts. This all-terrain Swiss vehicle is an off-roader like no other, able to climb a peak for an incomparable sunset view, or rock across a muddy streambed. Occasionally bumpy, but definitely memorable. Try traveling by Pinz on old Route 66, or hold your breath as Georges navigates a switchback tour ending with a dip in Cochiti Lake. Or let Walkabouts customize a family reunion with an off-road adventure through the New Mexico back-country.

 

Pinz pride! Take a break to take it all in.

Georges has biked through Europe and the United States, so if you like to be at the wheel, join him for a mountain bike tour. You can ride along a mesa, tour O’Keeffe Country, or navigate carefully along the rim of the Rio Grande, as Georges provides a scenic travelogue.

Georges does the talking, you do the admiring and pedaling.

 

Hankering for a hike? Walkabouts lives up to its name, with easy-to-strenuous private guided tours. One of the Walkabouts’ specialties is a trip through the otherworldly terrain of Kasha-Katuwe, the Tent Rocks. This easy 5-hour scenic hike winds through soft post-volcanic forms that line a slot canyon and lead to a stunning mesa-top view.

Sue says tours deepen visitors’ cultural awareness about Santa Fe. “We showcase our nature and scenery, but what we add is the history,” Sue says. “The experience takes you beyond the typical vacation and we make it easy to surround yourself with Santa Fe’s natural beauty.” Walkabouts offers full-service tours, including a pick-up service.

Avid lovers of New Mexico, Georges and Sue have hiked and biked all the scenic byways, and their enthusiasm is contagious. Their mission is to promote responsible enjoyment, foster respect for wildlife, and experience physical and mental well-being in natural surroundings. It culminates in just a few words: let’s have fun outdoors!

Be Inspired with Outspire

Taking a hike can be as simple as lacing up your shoes and hitting the trail, but it becomes much more with an experienced guide. Biologist-turned-guide Karen Denison has been leading hikes in Santa Fe since 1997, and she’s assembled a deep roster of talent at Outspire — there’s even a geologist available for rock hounds.  Karen says that “a good guide always remembers that the outing is not about what they know or what they think is fun or important. It’s about the guest.  But if you really love a place, your guests can see that.”

A hike in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, named for the color that the setting sun casts on this terminal range of the Rockies, can be easy or challenging, planned for your level of ability. Along the way, Outspire guides point out seasonal alpine flowers, take you through a fragrant stand of towering pines or lead you to listen to the chattering of a grove of aspen trees high above Santa Fe. And if you just want to see the sun changing the peaks to a rosy red, Outspire’s short sunset walk does nicely.

Hiking in the green grass of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains is a wonderful way to begin or end your day in Santa Fe.

 

Native American ruins dot the northern New Mexico landscape, and Bandelier National Monument, named for archaeologist Adolph Bandelier, is one of my hands-down favorite places. Settled, then abandoned, this ancient Puebloan ruin has been lovingly restored to reveal the legendary history and culture of New Mexico. Seeing the archaeological treasure of Bandelier in the interpretive company of an Outspire guide brings Native American New Mexico history to vivid life. Climb a ladder to peer into a cliffside cave dwelling or gaze down into a ceremonial kiva as you learn about the religious rituals of these Pueblo ancestors. A leisurely stroll through the park or a full-day backcountry hike, the choice is yours. Outspire’s guides want your outdoor experience to be fun, but Karen also hopes that “ … guests take away a deeper appreciation for all the interconnections here in New Mexico. Not only the land and wildlife but the people as well.”

The Name Tells You the Game Plan at Santa Fe Mountain Adventures

If you want to spend all your vacation time having fun, and none of it in pesky planning, Santa Fe Mountain Adventures will do the work for you. Owen Perrillo’s Mountain Adventures program lets you experience the best of outdoor Santa Fe, while his staff handles the logistics of a wide roster of adventures for groups and families.

Taking a trail-ride brings the Old West back to life in an unforgettable way. The blue sky spread high above the pines and fresh mountain air makes you feel right at home in nature’s magnificent forest cathedral. Bouncing along a high-alpine path on the back of an experienced horse from Tererro Riding Stables may bring Jeremiah Johnson to mind, but you won’t need mountain man skills, since snacks and beverages come along on the ride. What you will need to bring are the usual suspects: appropriate clothing and footgear, a sun hat and sunscreen, and a camera, of course, to capture your memories. Not to worry, Mountain Adventures will make sure you’re prepared before you saddle up.

Adventure Director Kerry Helke notes that these adventures are also great for those on business travel. Work colleagues have gotten to know each other and the city by discovering the joys of downtown scavenger hunts, which are a fun and unique way to discover the beautiful nature and history of Santa Fe. SFMA can accommodate travelers with limited time by customizing hikes in nearby mountain trails. “People don’t realize that we have a national forest right in our back yard,” says Kerry. “We go a mile or two up the trail, and we’re on a scenic mountainside.”

Remember those scavenger hunts at your neighborhood slumber party? SFMA turns the hunt into an orienteering feat with their family-friendly geocaching hike. Combining an enjoyable physical activity with a learning experience, a GPS device helps you find clues and locate cool treasures for the kids as they develop an understanding of how coordinates tell them where they are. It’s a family-bonding adventure and summer-school math lesson in disguise.

 

Geocaching always brings out everyone’s inner adventurer.

 

Santa Fe Is an Outdoor Adventure

I treasure the world-class museums and galleries of Santa Fe, our musical and performing arts, and I relish our world-renowned cuisine. But when I wake up each morning, the first thing I do is look outside to see that azure sky beckoning me. Let Mother Nature welcome you outside into her glorious landscape for a memorable time in the pristine wilderness. Experiences like a Pinz tour down arroyos transport you to a side of Santa Fe you never even knew existed.

Stroll for Margaritas in Santa Fe

TGIF? No, TGIM – thank goodness it’s margaritas! A margarita is the natural partner for Santa Fe’s world-renowned cuisine, especially when shared in a taste-testing stroll around downtown Santa Fe. With judicious pacing, appetizing morsels, and plenty of water, you can make some tequila magic in the City Different.

 

Kick things off with a tried-and-true lime margarita on the rocks.

Honor Margarita Basics at the Inn of the Anasazi

We arrived at the Rosewood Inn of the Anasazi prepared to sit and sip a while before moseying along. Perched on the patio, we got down to the business at hand, as classic house margaritas materialized, accompanied by warm buffalo empanadas, rich with spring onions and fresh chimichurri sauce created by chef Juan Bochenski. It was tempting to stay in this lively spot watching the world go by, but once our empanadas disappeared, we knew we should move on while the afternoon was young. Emptying our water glasses, we looked longingly at the Aria dessert menu with a vow to return.

We made the Inn of the Anasazi’s buffalo empanadas a disappearing act.

 

Down Past the Plaza for Round Two

Relaxing in the natural light of La Plazuela, the dining room in the heart of La Fonda on the Plaza, the history of Santa Fe becomes a palpable presence. Formerly an open courtyard, this is a favorite haunt for locals and visitors. We arrived between lunch and dinner, so ordering a snack from La Fiesta Lounge menu was a snap. La Fonda margaritas are presented in classic glassware, perfect for capturing the characteristic salted rim. Chef Lane Warner must have known our need for something significant, because the towering platter of nachos that appeared was an ideal match for the Don Rael margarita. A girlfriend getaway means everyone agrees it’s okay to dig in for the cheesy bites. With the guacamole gone, and only a few pickled jalapenos remaining, it was time for more water and a walk in the fresh air.

Third Time’s a Chile

We headed for the Inn and Spa at Loretto to see what was shaking, where Sergio kept things lively in the aptly-named Living Room Lounge. In this case, living it up meant sipping slowly, since the Herradura tequila was infused with Serrano chiles. Paired with that hot-cold sensation, chef Brett Sparman’s grilled achiote shrimp was a menu item we’d have fought over, if we hadn’t been such good friends. Big, juicy, nestled in pumpkin herb mole, this dish is Santa Fe style all the way. It was hard to leave the Loretto behind, but the margarita trail was calling, so we soldiered on, after rehydrating with agua fria.

 

Santa Fe has mastered the balance of caliente and cold.

Sip Some Creative Concoctions at Del Charro Saloon

Del Charro Saloon, perfectly placed on the corner at the Inn of the Governors, invites you right in, with its tantalizing open windows. By now, we were braving more than classic house margaritas, although Del Charro’s policy of delivering the house version with its shaker is a nice touch. Our colorful mood made the mango margarita with its red chile-dusted rim dusted a definite crowd-pleaser. Adding blue curacao makes a margarita look as cool as it tastes, and our ruby red pomegranate margarita was sweet and fresh. Fortunately, our well-balanced plan kept our appetite for tantalizing treats alive, so we opted for a nacho reboot. Easy, cheesy, saucy with salsa, this bar snack is a time-tested favorite, and nachos do rate a repeat appearance. We checked off our mandatory glass of water and made our way to our next destination.

The art of the margarita meets the art of decision-making at Del Charro.

 

The Song of Summer Is Up on the Roof

Although we were too early for a sunset, that didn’t dampen our enjoyment of Coyote Cantina, especially after a warm welcome from chef Eric DiStefano. His cheerful smile assured us the menu would be rich in deliciousness. The Cantina’s signature Senorita margarita suited our slowing pace and lady-like fancies. We were less lady-like when the black-sesame honey shrimp arrived; the horseradish cream and pineapple sweet-and-sour sauce necessitated a certain amount of finger-licking. This lively outdoor rooftop is a favorite Santa Fe summer scene, but we had one spot left to complete our circuit.

Be prepared to dip into delights at Coyote Cantina.

 

What Would a Margarita be Without Agave?

It’s fitting to end where the name honors the tale of tequila, and that meant the Agave Lounge at the Eldorado Hotel and Spa. We’d made it all this way on foot, but when a friend driving by offered us a lift, we jumped in for hometown service to the hotel’s valet garage (the Lounge will validate, no need to look for parking). Had we been a little braver or earlier, we might have opted for a mezcal from the long list of premium choices, but we knew we’d better stick to the straight-forward approach. Being New Mexicans, we’re partial to turquoise, but the house La Casa margarita gave us that “mi casa es su casa” feeling with which to end our adventure. And noshes like the mini beef tacos with tomatillo sauce and pork taquitos with avocado dip, the case for frequent patronage is solid – yes, we’ve been many a time, and the future is bright for a return.

 

Getting all that goodness to fit into one frame isn’t easy.

The Takeaway for a Getaway

As you can imagine, in a town renowned for culinary traditions and captivating choices all over the city, you can easily create your own tasting tour. Since every good girlfriend looks out for her pals, remember that our 7,000-foot altitude makes the liquor work faster, which is why we stress a water feature at every stop. Gather good friends to sample the tempting tastes of Santa Fe, and you can spend a memorable afternoon toasting togetherness in the City Different.

Find Your Inner Calm in Santa Fe’s Soothing Waters — Pools, Springs, and Spas

The concept of “taking the waters” is nothing new. For centuries, people from all walks of life have sought refuge in natural, mineral-rich water for ailments ranging from arthritis to zinc deficiency. Here, in Santa Fe, restorative waters abound. From outdoorsy rustic to a deluxe pampered spa experience, Santa Fe and the surrounding area have much to offer for those of us wishing to unplug from our hectic lives and reconnect with ourselves. As if The Land of Enchantment could squeeze in any more magic, a visit to one or all of these places will deepen your appreciation of what long-time inhabitants have known all along — water is powerful medicine.

Although I can’t claim, as wealthy women in the Victorian era often did, that I am cured of gout or hysteria after a dip, I can tell you that a trip to these spots will relax, rejuvenate, and inspire you with the simple act of slowing down and soaking your body in warm water.

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Santa Fe Women’s History – Nothing Boring About It

With its formidable, winding alleys, stately adobe facades, and love of all things chile, Santa Fe could justifiably be accused of exuding a somewhat manly – dare I say macho –air.  But hold it right there, bro-meisters. Being Women’s History Month and all, I not so humbly draw your attention to just a few of the women who shaped Santa Fe. I’m talking about genre-defying artists, social advocates, nationally recognized preservationists, and legendary rabble-rousers who left their indelible footprints in our beloved city.

Santa Fe women embody the best of both frontier spirit and cultural élan-presiding proudly in that place where local color meets Louboutin. Let’s celebrate their cultural legacy by proudly sharing their stories, and inspiring the next generation of history makers.

Confession moment: not too long ago my grasp of women’s cultural history went about as far back as Mary Tyler Moore. A coffee-talk with Dorothy Massy of Santa Fe’s Collected Works Bookstore encouraged me to dig deeper. “Santa Fe has a long history of nurturing creative thinking,” she says. “To this day Santa Fe is a mecca of creative expression not only for women, but for all individuals.” I was intrigued. And burrowing into a stack of non-Kindle volumes in our surprisingly charming public library, founded by the Women’s Club and Library Association 1896, I quickly discovered an inspiring truth: the legacy of Santa Fe’s most influential women is alive and permanently on display all across the city I love.

With a few fascinating field trips under my belt, I offer you this nonacademic guide to doing Santa Fe right – that is, enjoying this colorful city through the lens of landmarks and icons Santa Fe’s monument-worthy women literally put on the map. Much like Santa Fe women’s history itself, this guide is a work in progress. Read it, share it, add to it. Before you know it, you’ll be that interesting dinner party guest who starts a conversation about Santa Fe County’s first living history museum–hint: founded by a woman. Or the colorful character who invokes the name of Santa Fe’s most notorious gambler at your next game night–fyi: she charmed priests and judges alike.

SANTA FE CELEBRATES NOTABLE WOMEN AT EVERY TURN            

Georgia O’Keeffe

Santa Fe’s most famous visual artist was actually born and educated in the Midwest. Early in her career, however, O’Keeffe discovered the spiritual allure of Santa Fe and the surrounding landscape. For more than 20 years she visited the area to work, explore and seek inspiration. Today, Santa Fe proudly boasts the only museum in the world dedicated to an internationally known American woman artist–The Georgia O’Keeffe Museum.

Stroll to the eponymous Museum, just steps from the historic Plaza to enjoy the single largest repository of O’Keeffe’s work in the world. The Museum is open 7 days a week from 10 AM to 5 PM, and on Friday evenings until 7 PM.              

Pablita Velarde

Born at Santa Clara Pueblo, Velarde is an internationally acclaimed painter considered one of the founding mothers of Native American art.

Experience Velarde’s iconic depiction of Pueblo life by visiting the Pablita Velarde Museum of Indian Women in the Arts, just three blocks from the plaza. For a full immersion into the landscape and legacy that shaped Velarde’s vision, trek nearby Bandelier National Monument, where a young Velarde completed murals and paintings commissioned by the Work Projects Administration.              

Laura Gilpin

Ansel Adams called Gilpin, “one of the most important photographers of our time.” Dramatically capturing photographic images of Southwestern cultures and landscapes, her pioneering use of platinum and palladium printing earned international recognition.

Let Gilpin inspire your Santa Fe journey. Awaken your creative spirit, and enhance your photographic or printmaking skills at one of Santa Fe Photographic Workshops’ weekly instructional seminars. Novices welcome. (Take it from a novice.)              

Maria Gertrudis Barceló – AKA Doña Tules

A noted gambler and courtesan, Barceló operated a gambling house and saloon on Burro alley. She traveled up El Camino Real from Sonora, Mexico in 1815, and ruled the social set with a golden fist.

Burro Alley

Trace Barceló’s adventurous footsteps in downtown’s Burro Alley, a charming, European-flavored walkway just three blocks West of the Plaza. Grab what many locals (including me) consider Santa Fe’s most decadent pastries in Burro Alley Café, and imagine yourself in untamed 19th century Santa Fe.              

Mary Cabot Wheelwright

Transcending barriers of class and culture, Boston art heiress Mary Cabot Wheelwright adopted Santa Fe as her home, and devoted her life to the preservation of Navajo spirituality. In honor of southwestern native culture, Wheelwright created the Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian.

Wheelwright Museum

Wander just 2 miles South of the Plaza for a cultural journey unmatched in authenticity and quiet power. Experience what the Museum describes as “…an opportunity to sense the beauty, dignity, and profound logic of Navajo religion.”              

Mother Magdalen and the Sisters of Loretto

The Sisters of Loretto arrived in Santa Fe in 1852. In January, 1853 they established Our Lady of Light Academy, later known as the Loretto, the first school for young women in the Territory of New Mexico.

Do the Sisters proud by thinking global and reading local. Visit Collected Works, Santa Fe’s oldest independent, woman-owned bookstore, located just blocks from the plaza on the corner of Galisteo & Water Streets. Browse an extensive collection of books on local travel, Southwest and Native American culture and much more, then relax Santa Fe style in the local-is-better coffeehouse featuring organic, locally-roasted coffee and tempting treats.              

Sisters of Charity

Enduring a hardscrabble environment and unstable living conditions, the first Sisters of Charity arrived in New Mexico Territory in 1865 with the mission of serving all peoples regardless of race, religion or ability to pay. Today’s St. Vincent Hospital and Orphanage and St. Elizabeth Shelter for the Homeless endure in testimony to the power of their spirit.

Live the Sisters’ mission in Santa Fe by embracing our multicultural roots. Visit Museum Hill, a cultural “neighborhood” housing the Museum of Spanish Colonial Art, the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture, the Museum of International Folk Art, and the Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian.

Celebrate Santa Fe Women Every Month of the Year

Santa Fe celebrates our most prominent women’s cultural contributions every day of the year. Discovering the deep-down influence Santa Fe’s notable women have had on our city, I am humbled by their ingenuity, dedication, heart and love of Santa Fe, a town that’s never been afraid to show its feminine side.

Mom, Abuela, Daughter, Sister, Girlfriend, we celebrate YOU this Women’s History Month. And for all you who happen to be in this colorful corner of the world, I hope you’ll let the richness that is Santa Fe inspire your journeys – near and far.

Romantic Guide to Santa Fe

Couple exploring Downtown Santa Fe

Santa Fe has been arousing spirits and stirring passions for over 400 years. Maybe it’s the city’s dramatic sunsets and picturesque mountain vistas. Or maybe it’s the charming adobe buildings, cozy kiva fireplaces, and tantalizing cuisine. Whatever it is, Santa Fe, like a Pablo Neruda poem, embodies true love, making it an ideal destination for a romantic getaway. Did you know that “Santa Fe” is the universal word for “love”? Ok, not really. However, The City Different does have the ability to inspire the heart, rekindle an old flame, or spark a new one. Don’t take my word for it. U.S. News Travel recognized Santa Fe as a top destination for romantic retreats and Livability dubbed it one of the Top 10 Romantic Cities in America. Below is my insider’s guide to a romantic stay in Santa Fe.

 

Chocolate elixir from Kakawa Chocolate House
Photo courtesy of Food Network TV

What better way to re-ignite a romance or proclaim your love than by spending a day indulging in fine art, breath-taking skies and mountains, and delectable cuisine? Start with a couple’s massage and a soak in one of Santa Fe’s calming spas. Then, make your way to Kakawa Chocolate House for some midday sweetness. Your senses will be invigorated after sharing a few cups of Kakawa’s “Tonantzin” chocolate elixir, an herbal aphrodisiac said to flame the passions within. While you’re there, purchase a box of Aphrodite Truffles, which were inspired by the Love Goddess herself.

Estrella del Norte Vineyard

Nothing is more sensual than a spicy encounter in the kitchen. Spend the day mastering  the flavors of the real Southwest with a cooking class taught by highly acclaimed local chefs. Try the “Green Chile Workshop” at Santa Fe School of Cooking, or the “Exploring España” class at the Santa Fe Culinary Academy to really heat things up. For you wine lovers, sample award-winning vino varietals with an intimate tour at Estrella Del Norte Vineyard, which offers a “Cupid’s Arrow Wine Lover’s Special” for the month of February.

If museums and world-class art stimulate your desires, head to Museum Hill to explore exhibits like “New World Cuisine, the Histories of Chocolate Mate y Mas” at the Museum of International Folk Art. Then make your way to the legendary Canyon Road where you’ll discover vibrant international art galleries. Stroll the intimate adobe walled streets as you treasure hunt for the perfect piece of original artwork to fall in love with.

Enjoying the serenity of the Santa Fe wilderness
Photo Courtesy of Homes.com

In the midst of all the affection, take some time to appreciate the scenery with the person you love. Just the two of you…explore Santa Fe’s crisp, pure mountain air and whispering pine forests with a hike or horseback ride through the peaceful Sangre de Cristo Mountains. Stop by the Santa Fe Farmers Market before you head up and grab a few ingredients like local red chile raspberry jam and artisan cheese, the perfect compliment for your romantic adventure. Having Santa Fe’s pristine wilderness to yourselves will reinforce your appreciation for nature, as well as each other.

Spectacular sunset from La Fonda Bell Tower

As daylight turns to dusk, Santa Fe’s evening skies create a symphony of colors, transforming from turquoise blue to deep orange and red. Marvel at the sunset and enjoy a specialty silver coin margarita from La Fonda’s fifth-floor Bell Tower, the highest terrace in Santa Fe (open weather permitting). Or hop on the Pinzgauer Tour offered by Santa Fe Walkabouts for a ride up to Baldy Peak, offering a 12,000-foot panoramic sunset view.

Indulging in a romantic dinner

The City Different is home to an unrivaled collection of James Beard recognized culinary gourmands and local farm-to-table food artisans. Whether you’re looking for elegant sophistication or something a little more quaint, Santa Fe is teeming with romantic restaurant options. After a day of passion, have an intimate dinner next to a crackling piñon fire at Rio Chama Steakhouse. And at the end of the night, enjoy a night cap with your amor at Secreto Bar, located inside the sublime St. Francis Hotel. Here you’ll discover ancient wine-making traditions introduced by Santa Fe’s Franciscan monks, as well as a wide array of award-winning, hand-crafted cocktails.

Romance is found everywhere in Santa Fe. Wherever you go, you’ll be smitten by the city’s charm, sophistication, and ever-present beauty. And as your love for Santa Fe grows, so will your love for one another.

 

Valentine’s Day & Annual Romantic Events

At the Artist Table

WHEN: February 14, 2013 from 6 – 9 pm

Looking for a truly memorable way to celebrate Valentine’s Day? “At the Artist Table” presents an intimate evening of fine art and cuisine.

Moonstruck at the Lensic Performing Arts Center

WHEN: February 14, 2013 at 7 pm

Join us for a Valentine’s Day screening of this romantic comedy, released in 1987 starring Cher and Nicholas Cage.

ARTfeast

WHEN: February 22-24, 2013

Fine art meets fine dining in this one of a kind event. There are fashion shows, an auction, home tours, and the Edible Art Tour–an evening of gallery hopping with art-inspired nibbles prepared by the area’s finest chefs.

Santa Fe Restaurant Week

WHEN: February 24–March 3, 2013

Feast on delicious, three-course meals at a fraction of the cost. Dinners will be priced at $25 for two for casual-dining restaurants, or $20, $30 or $40 per person, depending on the restaurant.

 Aspen Santa Fe Ballet

WHEN: March 29-30, 2013

This innovative dance company returns home this March with a program featuring Kylián’s poignant Return to a Strange Land, Alejandro Cerrudo’s striking new ballet Last, and Trey McIntyre’s seductive Like a Samba.

First Friday Art Walks

WHEN: First Friday of the Month

Join the West Palace Arts District Galleries every month on the First Friday for a variety of openings and exhibitions. Hours for events are usually from 5 to 7:30 pm.

Last Friday Art Walk at the Railyard Galleries

WHEN: Last Friday of the Month

Held the last Friday of every month, this exciting world-class contemporary art experience opens up the hip Railyard Arts District at night. RAD (The Railyard Art District), a cooperative of 10 Railyard art galleries hosts its “Last Friday Art Walk” throughout the Railyard.

Santa Fe Opera Festival Season

WHEN: June 28 – August 24, 2013

The repertory includes a world premiere, the first Santa Fe performances of another brilliant opera by Rossini, the return of a comic opera by Jacques Offenbach, and two popular revivals.

By Gabe Trujillo 2/14/13

Santa Fe: A Bit of Old Mexico in the US

Santa Fe architecture

Fred Donnelly, Travel Writer for Bon Voyage gave us the rundown on his latest trip to The City Different.

“Santa Fe, New Mexico, population 69,000, has a strange almost other worldly aspect to it. Clearly it’s a city but it has no high-rise buildings to speak of and its civic architecture displays an eerie uniformity. For many decades its building codes have not only restricted heights of structures but also colours and styles.

To the visitor from away, it looks Spanish or Mexican or exotic. Perhaps this is its charm, to be foreign in appearance but still part of the American West.

The old central Plaza laid out by the Spanish all those centuries ago is still the hub of activity for the tourist. Running away from it in all directions are side streets, warrens of arcades, galerias and courtyards, along with many smaller “Plaza Mercados”. Santa Fe is a top destination for high-end shopping, with its many retail outlets. What’s on offer is fine art work, jewelry, native handcrafts, western apparel, rare books, antiques, china, leather goods and luxury imports of every type.”

Read the full article to find out why Santa Fe’s history makes it a fascinating and intriguing cultural destination.

What’s New in Santa Fe?

 

Santa Fe is a 400-year-old historic city that is ever changing. We want to make sure you are  in the know about all the latest happening in the City Different! Read on to find out What’s New in Santa Fe.

 Skiing

New Ski Area Base Lodge: Ski Santa Fe, located 16 miles from downtown Santa Fe, will open a 12,000 square foot expansion to La Casa Lodge base facility this winter. The new addition will increase the size of the rental shop, add new seating space in the food service area, expand menu options and add additional retail space. The area offers a dedicated children’s ski school and terrain for all abilities. Ski Santa Fe’s scheduled season for 2012-2013 is Thanksgiving through Easter.

 

Restaurants and Dining 

New Chef at Rancho Encantado.  Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado Santa Fe welcomes Andrew Cooper as its new executive chef. Cooper arrives from the Four Seasons Hualalai on Hawaii’s Big Island.

Chef of the Year Award.  Chef Carmen Rodriguez of La Posada de Santa Fe Resort & Spa was named Chef of the Year by the New Mexico Restaurant Association. Rodriguez was chosen not only because of his fine cuisine, but also because of his many contributions to the Santa Fe community and his efforts to encourage more Hispanic chefs.

Sweetwater Harvest Kitchen: First time restaurateur Fiona Wong and longtime culinary professional Soma Franks open their new health food café and wine bar. The restaurant will focus on using as much locally sourced farm to table food as possible, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner Monday through Saturday.  1512 Pacheco in Pacheco Park.

Cave Wine Bistro: Opening soon, this intimate space will feature an eclectic menu and an extensive wine list with more than 125 wines by the glass alone. Plans call for keeping the kitchen open late every night at the bistro’s convenient location in the Plaza Galeria facing the Santa Fe Plaza.

Momo & Co. Bakery and Boba Tea Bar: An entirely gluten-free and mostly vegan bakery and teahouse that opened this fall. Baker Leslie Thompson, a native of New York, has met the many challenges of not only baking without flour, eggs and butter but doing so at Santa Fe’s 7,000 foot elevation. She joined with boba tea fan Carola Kieve, who created an all-natural version of boba tea, to open the Johnson Street storefront. The bakery also offers gluten-free and vegan entrees including pizzas, sandwiches, soups and salads.

The Real Butcher Shop.  Pollo Real has been a popular staple at The Santa Fe Farmers market for years, providing customers with tasty, naturally raised poultry and eggs. Now the farmers are taking the next step, opening a butcher shop that will feature their own products and also naturally raised, grass finished and heritage meats and charcuterie from New Mexico and Colorado. The results promise to be delicious. The store opens around the first of the year.

Cooking Schools

Santa Fe School of Cooking Moves.  The Santa Fe School of Cooking is in its expansive new location at 125 North Guadalupe Street. The beautifully renovated building, a former Packard dealership, has a cool retro/modern/New Mexico vibe and houses two kitchens and a large outdoor patio. Santa Fe chef and restaurateur Tracy Ritter is Director of Cuisine.

Santa Fe Culinary Academy Opens.  The Santa Fe Culinary Academy, on the top floor of the downtown Plaza Mercado, is open and teaching classes. Fall classes include everything from basics classes for home cooks to continuing education for restaurant professionals. In January, the academy will welcome its first full-time class of aspiring professional chefs. A student restaurant will allow them to polish their craft. Santa Fe native Rocky Durham and Tanya Story are executive chefs and co-founders.

Museums & Openings

Santa Fe’s newest museum.  The Pablita Velarde Museum of Indian Women in the Arts is a national museum honoring the work of Native women from North America. Named for the first female student in the first Santa Fe Indian School art class, Pablita became the first Native women to paint full time as a career. The museum features the work of Native painters, potters, sculptors, weavers, jewelers, dancers, musicians, filmmakers, poets and writers.

New World Cuisine. A major new exhibit titled New World Cuisine: The Histories of Chocolate, Mate, y Mas, at the Museum of International Folk Art, explores our food’s many fascinating historic, cultural and geographic connections. The exhibit, which opens this December 9 and runs until January, 2014, will feature more than 300 objects related to the gathering, preparation, serving and storage of food. The histories of chocolate and mate are of particular interest and are illustrated by the many decorative cups, sippers, stirrers and pots used to make the popular beverages.

Hands on Santa Fe

DIY: A Creative Journey. In March, 2013 Santa Fe Creative Tourism and Santa Fe’s lodgers collaborate on a month of creative experiences combining workshops and classes taught by local artists with savings at participating accommodations. Discover Santa Fe through a hands-on class in painting, glasswork, writing, photography, folk art and more during this month of personal expression in Santa Fe.

In the News

Top Choice in Conde Nast Traveler. For the twenty-first year in a row, avid travelers who subscribe to Conde Nast Traveler magazine ranked Santa Fe as one of the top cities to visit in the United States. Santa Fe ranked fourth in the travelers pick, behind Charleston, South Carolina, San Francisco, California, and Chicago, Illinois. The popular survey, which is widely used by people planning vacation travel, polled more than 46,000 readers.

Additionally, five Santa Fe hotels were included in the Conde Nast survey’s Top 25 Hotels in the Southwest. Number one on that list is the Inn of the Five Graces. The Inn and Spa at Loretto was ranked fifth, Rosewood Inn of the Anasazi tenth, Hotel Saint Francis twentieth, and La Fonda on the Plaza twenty-first.

Travel + Leisure magazine also picked out Santa Fe for its many charms, ranking it the second best city in America overall during its annual American’s Favorite Cities 2012 poll. The results included voting Santa Fe a #1 Cultural Getaway in addition to praising the city’s shopping, romantic side, museums and galleries, food, cleanliness, environmental friendliness and historical sites.

For more information visit www.santafe.org

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Advice From PeterGreenberg.com: Skip the Strip For Santa Fe!

Not every girlfriend getaway begins or ends in Las Vegas.  Not that you can’t have a lot of fun there, but instead of the traditional shopping and cocktails, we sent Fit Globetrotter Dena Roché to New Mexico for a Southwestern alternative to the typical getaway. Think natural spas, galleries and outdoor opera in and around Santa Fe.

An ancient Native American proverb reads, “Don’t allow the grass to grow on the path of friendship.”

While girlfriend getaways are a dime a dozen, Santa Fe offers something different. The city weaves adventure, culinary treats, culture and the requisite pampering with a memorable landscape and unpretentious locals.

We couldn’t have said it better, Dena. Read the full article to see why experts are gushing about Santa Fe, and find everything you need to plan your getaway on Santa Fe’s Official Travel Website SantaFe.org

The City Different

There are arguably other cities as exotic as Santa Fe. Just not on this continent.

It strikes you the first time you see The City Different. When city officials came up with that name early last century, they got it exactly right. For rarely does a place speak to so many people on so many levels.The landscape conspires to take your breath away. The sunsets are so beautiful and the stars so clear that you can’t take your eyes off the skies. But you’ll quickly see that there’s much to admire in our historic city. The narrow, winding streets invite you to walk closer together. The 400-year-old adobe buildings say, Hey, what’s the hurry? Linger a little. And you’ll find that lingering is easy to do here.

visiting santa fe textThere’s certainly plenty to explore, from the spectacular Sangre de Cristo Mountains outside of town to the world-renowned galleries, museums, boutiques and restaurants just outside your door. The list is almost endless. This site can only whet your appetite and help you plan your perfect visit, whether you’re here for a shopping excursion, an outdoor adventure, a rejuvenation weekend or a food odyssey.

To truly understand why the readers of Conde Nast Traveler put Santa Fe near the top of their must-see list, you’ll just have to experience it first hand. And start a love affair of your own. It only takes one visit to see that this is one of the world’s extraordinary places. And you’ll want to return again and again.