Everything’s Coming Up Roses in Santa Fe

 

The sun is hard at work in Santa Fe, coaxing bulbs to put out their colorful blossoms to sway in the spring breezes. We’ve had our final drift of snow, and day by day, the sun sticks around in the sky longer and longer. I say it’s time to take a leisurely tour to look around the colorful Santa Fe landscape and be assured the city is indeed in full bloom.

Capture the Colors at The Bishop’s Garden

Seeing Santa Fe’s spring color in the Bishop’s Garden makes a person feel in the pink!
Seeing Santa Fe’s spring color in the Bishop’s Garden makes a person feel in the pink!

The harbinger of spring in Santa Fe is the ubiquitous forsythia. The rich yellows of this hardy plant, followed swiftly by fragrant flowering fruit trees, call me to the Bishop’s Garden, designed by Bishop Lamy who built the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis. A colorful real-life character, he is the famed subject of Willa Cather’s Santa Fe-centric novel, Death Comes for the Archbishop, a must-read for lovers of Santa Fe.

I love spending some quiet moments in our Cathedral before making a meditative circuit on the path under the beautiful blossoming trees. My next stop? A picnic on the Plaza, where the hanging baskets add color to the heart of our historic town.

Canyon Road, Painted in Mother Nature’s Hues

The Santa Fe Plaza is painted in nature’s colors in the blooming months of spring and summer.
The Santa Fe Plaza is painted in nature’s colors in the blooming months of spring and summer.

 

 

Any historic town deserves help sustaining special sites, and we’re fortunate the Historic Santa Fe Foundation is so firmly rooted in its commitment to preserving the gorgeous gardens at El Zaguan. Built in the 1840’s, the former Johnson family Canyon Road hacienda is named for its long interior hallway (the zaguan) and has served as an artists’ colony since the 1920’s when it was converted into a series of small apartments.  The Foundation continues this tradition by offering one-year residencies to artists and writers whose work benefits from the serene surroundings.

A quiet spot in the heart of Santa Fe, El Zaguan welcomes meditative moments. (Photo Credit: The Historic Santa Fe Foundation)
A quiet spot in the heart of Santa Fe, El Zaguan welcomes meditative moments. (Photo Credit: The Historic Santa Fe Foundation)

 

Some of the trees in the small but lush garden are well over 100 years old, and I love to lean against their trunks and listen to leaves murmur as they did in years gone by. Stands of lilac, lavender, and roses perfume the air from spring to fall. The Santa Fe Master Gardener Association partners with the Foundation, ensuring that the garden is a water-wise oasis retaining its historic origins and beauty. Open Monday through Saturday, 9am to 5pm, the Master Gardeners are on-site and happy to plant-talk on Thursdays and Saturdays.

A 400-plus Year-old City Has a Gardening History

A town as old as ours is bound to count dedicated gardeners amongst its citizenry. The Santa Fe Garden Club relies on many dedicated members, who planted the sculpture garden at the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture and maintain and support gardens at the New Mexico Museum of Art and the Museum of Spanish Colonial Arts.

Rocks, plants, adobe … what could be more Santa Fe than being behind adobe walls? (Photo Credit: Santa Fe Garden Club)
Rocks, plants, adobe … what could be more Santa Fe than being behind adobe walls? (Photo Credit: Santa Fe Garden Club)

If you think Santa Fe is all sagebrush and cottonwoods, you’re in for a delightful surprise! Mid-April through mid-October, the Garden Club’s Pequeno Tours (pequeno means little) offer intimate tours of three stunning homes and gardens, with a knowledgeable, plant-loving Garden Club member as guide. The tours run frequently, and are a one of a kind experience. Come July, Santa Fe is a riot of color, and the Garden Club’s Behind Adobe Walls Home and Garden Tour is too. Two successive Tuesdays take flora fanatics to eight fantastic gardens, located in private estates and historical sites.

Santa Fe Plants for the Future with a New Botanical Garden

The magnificent museum complex on Museum Hill gained a new partner across the road when the Santa Fe Botanical Garden arose amid the junipers and piñon trees. Celebrating our region’s biodiversity and plant heritage, the Botanical Garden began in 1987 with the seed of an idea planted in the minds of local gardeners. By 1993, the 35-acre Leonora Curtin Wetland Preserve opened adjacent to El Rancho de las Golondrinas and cultivated the desire for a city site to host native plants and educational events. In 2006, with 11 acres of land leased long-term from the city, planning began in earnest. With the first phase completed, the Garden opened its gates for year-round viewing in 2013. I’m excited about Origami in the Garden, a large-scale outdoor sculpture exhibition with creations from Santa Fe artist Kevin Box. Kevin’s work is on display until October 25th, and the self-guided cell phone tour ensures a fully enlightened experience whenever I visit.

Blue skies and native plants tell the tale of Santa Fe’s botanical history. (Photo Credit: Santa Fe Botanical Garden)
Blue skies and native plants tell the tale of Santa Fe’s botanical history. (Photo Credit: Santa Fe Botanical Garden)

Plans are laid for the next phase, showcasing plants used by local cultures throughout Santa Fe’s ancient past. Clustered around a central plaza, the newest plots will include plants traditionally used for healing, cooking, weaving, and dyeing, along with outdoor classrooms to host programs for the whole family.

Pick Some Pretty Posies at the Santa Farmers’ Market

Growing Southwest beauty differs from planting in the moist Midwest or coastal rain-belts. Be it food for the table or flowers for the soul, those who live by hands in the soil bring their harvest to the Santa Fe Farmer’s Market Tuesdays and Saturdays. With spring’s arrival, the Market has moved back outside, and that means vendors are multiplying. Right now, I’m all about fresh greens to grace my plate, and beautiful bunches of flowers to make my dinner table festive only gets easier as spring turns to summer.

You can pick a basket of blossoms or a bushel of chiles at the Santa Fe Farmers’ Market. (Photo Credit: Santa Fe Sage Inn)
You can pick a basket of blossoms or a bushel of chiles at the Santa Fe Farmers’ Market. (Photo Credit: Santa Fe Sage Inn)

Make Yours a Colorful Journey to Santa Fe

A Colorful Journey … there’s more than one reason this phrase is the City Different’s calling card. The sun is painting long shadows to frame the bright hues tucked against adobe walls and lining garden walks all over town. I am nurturing the notion of adventures yet to come, but in the meantime, I invite you to share the blessings of colorful blossoms and leaves that whisper softly, “Come outdoors and celebrate spring’s return.”

Make Your Next Visit to Santa Fe a Tour de Force

Do you occasionally feel like the White Rabbit in Alice in Wonderland, pressed for time and harnessed to a big watch? Discover the spirit of Santa Fe! We take relaxing-into-the-moment seriously, so I think you should leave the planning to us. Making the most of limited time means doing only what’s necessary, then letting the professionals take over. Once you’ve made plane reservations or tuned up the truck, pick out a great hotel (a tough choice you’ll have to make for yourself), then take a break by touring with adventurous experts who make it their business to see that your getaway is grand.

Train, plane or automobile — just get yourself to Santa Fe and let the locals share the best!
Train, plane or automobile — just get yourself to Santa Fe and let the locals share the best!

Lose Yourself in a Legendary Landscape

The vistas here are so large and the possibilities so many that it takes a pro to know where to start. You can’t do better than Georges and Sue Mally of Santa Fe Walkabouts, ranked #1 for Santa Fe activities on TripAdvisor. This dynamic duo and their powerful Pinzgauer (not their dog, it’s their fun all-terrain vehicle) get you out of town and into nature in informative and entertaining style. Want to explore the otherworldly Kasha Katuwe Tent Rocks? You can scramble to the top or gaze at the azure sky from the bottom of a slot canyon. Hiking can be an easy excursion past ancient petroglyphs or a challenging climb in Georgia O’Keeffe country.

Gaze at the gorgeous landscape that inspired Georgia O’Keeffe with Santa Fe Walkabouts as your guide. (Photo credit: Santa Fe Walkabouts)
Gaze at the gorgeous landscape that inspired Georgia O’Keeffe with Santa Fe Walkabouts as your guide. (Photo credit: Santa Fe Walkabouts)

Mountain biking your thing? Take a canyon-rim cruise or a strenuous trek straight up the mountain, as Georges paces you pedal for pedal. And then, there’s the Pinz … be it a rocky road to a remote area or a glorious sunset tour to say goodnight to Santa Fe, this is a one-of-a-kind ride you won’t forget in a hurry! You may lose yourself in wonder at what you see, but in the expert care of Walkabouts, you’ll never get lost in anything but dreams!

 

Feed Your Fantasies in Santa Fe

Fun in the sun makes for a delicious day, but you can combine seeing sights with scrumptious flavors in a foodie-style adventure with Food Tour New Mexico. Ranked as TripAdvisor’s #1 Santa Fe sightseeing tour, these rambles through regional specialties should not be missed. And there’s more than one recipe for a nosh through our noteworthy cuisine.

The green leafy courtyard at La Casa Sena is a thing of beauty — and so is the food.
The green leafy courtyard at La Casa Sena is a thing of beauty — and so is the food.

The Taste of Santa Fe includes such notable spots as La Casa Sena (tucked inside Santa Fe’s most beautiful courtyard), Taberna La Boca, James Campbell Caruso’s temple of tapas, and Kakawa Chocolate House, recognized as one of the country’s best places for hot chocolate. The Sample Santa Fe tour takes a similar tack, with stops at the San Francisco Street Bar & Grill (a locals’ favorite), Upper Crust Pizza, and Senor Murphy, Santa Fe’s historic chocolatier, tucked alongside the historic La Fonda Hotel. And for those who love a sippin’ sampler, there’s even a Culinary Cocktail Tour — that’s one with shaken or stirred skills to take home!

On the subject of testing the palate with pleasurable potions, be it wine, beer, or spirits, the City Different accommodates different drinking desires. Given that foodies like us like vino, it’s no surprise to learn that you can spend an awesome afternoon tasting local vintages at Estrella del Norte Vineyards.

Discover the vines in the oldest wine-growing state: New Mexico! (Photo credit: Estrella del Norte Vineyard)
Discover the vines in the oldest wine-growing state: New Mexico! (Photo credit: Estrella del Norte Vineyard)

A 15-mile drive north gives wine lovers the flavor of the northern New Mexico terroir and a scenic road trip. Throughout summer, there’s a smattering of wine dinners and classes, and there’s even an April 19th vineyard planting if you want to literally get into la tierra.

If beer’s a beloved buddy (I cherish my hoppy memories), there’s always plenty of brew bubbling. My recommendation is Small Batch Saturday at the Santa Fe Brewing Company. Originating with a local homebrew organization, these 10-gallon gatherings give local beer-loving club members a chance to brew with the experts and share the craft results. Brewery tours or tastings are every bit as tasty as you’d expect from Santa Fe’s oldest brewery, with 20 or so beers in rotation; favorites are always on tap!

It’s always “brewtastic” to taste what’s on tap at Santa Fe Brewing Company. (Photo credit: Max Otwell)
It’s always “brewtastic” to taste what’s on tap at Santa Fe Brewing Company. (Photo credit: Max Otwell)

Santa Fe is a spirited town, and the inroads made by Santa Fe Spirits are proof positive. In just a few short years, Colin Keegan, the don of distillers, has managed to put not only whisky, but vodka, gin, and an apple brandy into the mix. A short drive takes you to an artisan adventure in locally crafted spirits, and it’s enlightening to discover that what we enjoy at leisure commands so much expert attention. A distillery tour is my choice, because I like combining a sip with an education, but knowledge is on hand at the downtown tasting room if you’re afoot and footloose on a sunny Santa Fe afternoon.

It’s a barrel of fun to discover the spirits of Santa Fe and taste them too! (Photo credit: Santa Fe Spirits)
It’s a barrel of fun to discover the spirits of Santa Fe and taste them too! (Photo credit: Santa Fe Spirits)

Follow the Leader and Do It Yourself

If you’re one for marching to the beat of your own drum, make the most of Santa Fe by merely following a beaten path laid out by trail-blazers just like you. If you’re firmly convinced (I am) that a chocolate a day is the key to keeping the doctor away — it is a proven fact that chocolate is good for you – spend a sweet afternoon on a Chocolate Lovers’ Odyssey. You might want to pair that sweet tooth with a caffeine fix, in which case, a Coffee Tour will hit the spot.

One way or another, all paths lead to green chile in Santa Fe.
One way or another, all paths lead to green chile in Santa Fe.

And eventually, when it’s time to settle down for a real meal, a detour to hunt down your favorite version of our famed Green Chile Cheeseburger simply has to be on the agenda.

Leave the Driving to Us

Even if your trip is just a short hop, I commend you for coming … and I assure you, you’ll be back. The spell of Santa Fe is simply too magical. But if you only have a weekend, take a tram tour to plan for deeper exploration next time. Seeing the sights seated on your keister saves time and foot-power, because there’s just so much to see.

 

Custom Tours by Clarice shuttles the curious on daily tours of our historic downtown four times a day, seven days a week, and if Clarice herself is at the wheel, the friendly flow of conversation is wide-ranging. The Loretto Line Tour Company is Santa Fe’s oldest tram tour, but the enthusiasm and expertise of their guides is fresh as a daisy. Running three times a day every day of the week, Loretto tours cover all the legendary downtown spots, leaving you with a comprehensive overview and a plan for returning to places that piqued your interest.

There’s more than one way to ride in Santa Fe. (Photo Credit: Loretto Line Tours)
There’s more than one way to ride in Santa Fe. (Photo Credit: Loretto Line Tours)

 

Leave the Planning to Us

We’ll take good care of you once you get here; after all, we appreciate our renown as the cultural hotspot of the Southwest. And that means lots of locals make their living by welcoming with open arms and minds full of fascinating facts the visitors who want to enjoy our historic city. Why not leave the selections, explanations, and driving to us? You just kick back and enjoy the scenery, the flavor and the fun! My way of getting the best of the adventure is by spending the least amount of energy planning. Try seeing Santa Fe my way — I know you’ll like it!

Santa Fe: The Ultimate Treat for Dogs

What’s not to love about two adoring eyes gazing up at you from a four-legged friend? When you have a dog, you know you are loved. So why would you travel without your BFF (that’s Best Furry Friend)? Time was, the pooch was passed up, but we’ve become more conscious that though our pets can’t speak, they experience feelings of abandonment when we go off without them. Hence, the big mournful eyes that ensue as your packing begins. A fun adventure in Santa Fe, ranked as a top spot for canine travel, can definitely include Fido if you know where to go — and I’m happy to share my hound-dog’s favorite haunts.

A Companionable Stay in Santa Fe

The first order of travel business is finding the perfect perch with all the comforts of home. I’ve invited my Kitty-Q to travel too, because “Pets R Us,” but she let me know in no uncertain terms that cars aren’t her thing, so I’ll concentrate on the pooch patrol.

Macie Mae snuggles in for a snooze at the Santa Fe Sage Inn. (Photo credit: Sheila Williams)
Macie Mae snuggles in for a snooze at the Santa Fe Sage Inn. (Photo credit: Sheila Williams)

Whether it’s dogs, travel-tolerant cats, or iguanas (okay, not many of them travel either), Santa Fe is on point with pet travel; in fact, picking pet-friendly lodging boils down to location, price, and style. You can’t go wrong near the happening Santa Fe Railyard, and that means a stay at the affordable Santa Fe Sage Inn. As the inn of choice for the folk artists who come annually for the Santa Fe International Folk Art Market, this hotel is used to making all kinds of guests feel right at home, and four-legs enjoy the same genuinely welcoming experience. Your pup gets yummy check-in treats from Zoe & Guido’s Pet Boutique, and you get breakfast daily and free shuttle service. Cozy pet beds are provided, and what better place to walk Walter the Wire-haired Terrier than the 10-plus acre Railyard Park right across the street?

Let your pup take you to the Railyard Park for a sunset stroll. (Photo Credit: Santa Fe Sage Inn)
Let your pup take you to the Railyard Park for a sunset stroll. (Photo Credit: Santa Fe Sage Inn)

If your Coco is a city dog who likes sidewalk action, you can both be comfy downtown near the Santa Fe Plaza at the Hotel Chimayo. Named for the northern New Mexico village of Chimayo (which some of us believe grows our state’s tastiest chile), this hot spot boasts a Pet-Friendly Package that waives nightly pet fees. And along with a pet swag bag, you get a 15% discount at BOTH Teca Tu Pet Emporium and Zoe and Guido’s — hard to argue with that deal! And while your sweet Shih Tzu Suzie takes a snooze up in the room, you can catch some authentic Santa Fe flavor by kickin’ back on the tuck’n’roll seating in the hotel’s Low’n’Slow Lowrider Bar.

You can get the lowdown on Santa Fe at the Hotel Chimayo’s Low’n’Slow Lowrider Bar. (Photo credit: Hotel Chimayo)
You can get the lowdown on Santa Fe at the Hotel Chimayo’s Low’n’Slow Lowrider Bar. (Photo credit: Hotel Chimayo)

A bed-and-breakfast could well be the optimal option for that old pal who relishes curling up at your feet in an intimate home-like setting. Picture Pancho the Pug taking an afternoon siesta in one of the five individually designed rooms at the Antigua Inn, tucked in a residential neighborhood in the heart of downtown. Small size doesn’t mean any skimping on amenities, which include in-room Jura Espresso machines and loose-leaf tea from the Teahouse any time of day. As befits a classic B&B, the breakfast is a marvel, with fresh croissants and quiche from Clafoutis, along with fresh fruit and juices, organic bacon, yogurts, granola and cereals. And the fresh roses in your room every day? Oh my, you’re the one getting petted here!

A day of doggie delights in Santa Fe begins with a breakfast of champions for humans at the Antigua Inn. (Photo credit: Antigua Inn)
A day of doggie delights in Santa Fe begins with a breakfast of champions for humans at the Antigua Inn. (Photo credit: Antigua Inn)

The “Paws” That Refreshes

When you’re a member of the four-legged species, sometimes you just gotta run! Oh, it’s fine to sniff out new smells at the end of a leash as your human walks along the Santa Fe River, strolls artistic Canyon Road, or browses the shops, but sometimes a pup needs a “paws” for action! The Frank Ortiz Dog Park is the locals’ destination for dog-day cavorting with others of their tribe. There’s an off-leash area for romping, and picnic tables if you want to nosh while Rover does rollovers with Rex, but as always, pet courtesy must be observed, so be aware and have your leash handy.

Pets get off-leash and on the run at the Frank Ortiz Dog Park. (Photo Credit: Bring Fido)
Pets get off-leash and on the run at the Frank Ortiz Dog Park. (Photo Credit: Bring Fido)

Let’s Get Cleaned Up and Chow Down

Living with four paws means picking up more trail dust than two feet do, so perhaps baby will need a bath. Pooch Pantry Bakery and Boutique to the rescue! Not content with baking fresh treats daily, this pet emporium on the north end of Guadalupe Street also offers a self-serve dog wash.

 

A bathing beauty takes a break at the Pooch Pantry. (Photo credit: Pooch Pantry Bakery & Boutique)
A bathing beauty takes a break at the Pooch Pantry. (Photo credit: Pooch Pantry Bakery & Boutique)

Open every day except Monday, the best part of this experience is that once you’ve cleaned your pet, they clean up after you. Now that’s service.

Once doggy is fresh as a daisy, you can pick up pet snacks to go, as well as vitamins (don’t you travel with same?), leashes and collars, new toys, or a colorful dinner bowl.

Speaking of dinner, are you hungry? Just leash up as you leave the Pooch Pantry and lead that clean canine south on Guadalupe Street. You don’t have to let Samson suffer the left-behind blues, because he can come with you when you eat at the Cowgirl Santa Fe.

Get along little doggies, and head for the Cowgirl!
Get along little doggies, and head for the Cowgirl!

 

Spanning almost an entire block, this happening haven has a pleasant patio space for well-behaved pooches to laze while we partake of music and a meal. The craft beer selection has just doubled, the daily specials always get my attention, and portions here are beyond ample.

Bring the Four-legged Family

Maurice says, “Make Mine Santa Fe!” (Photo credit: Candace Martinez)
Maurice says, “Make Mine Santa Fe!” (Photo credit: Candace Martinez)

Traveling with Toto is a treat. As Dave Barry so memorably puts it, “Dogs love to go for rides. A dog will happily get into a vehicle going anywhere.” Pets are welcome guests in Santa Fe; after all, the patron saint of our city is St. Francis of Assisi, lover of the animal kingdom. Our fine furry friends are likely to have more than one travel tale to tell us, but until we speak their lingo, you’ll just have to settle for a look at that eager tail wagging to get full-fur approval on a visit to Santa Fe.

 

Your Shop Santa Fe Assignment: Consignment

Recent renovations on my little adobe have made me judicious about allowing things back into the house from the garage. And while I hate the thought of spring cleaning, once I start, the results are thrilling. Between the home re-arrangement and the seasonal sweep through the house, I suddenly have space to welcome something new into my life. USA Today Travel readers named Santa Fe #1 for shopping, and since my super-stylin’ Santa Fe neighbors have probably cleaned out their closets too, I’m ready to rock my favorite consignment shops on a hunt for first-rate treasures at second-hand prices.

You’ll do a double-take when you track down Santa Fe’s consignment goodies.
You’ll do a double-take when you track down Santa Fe’s consignment goodies.

Great Deals and No Doubling Down at Doubletake

Consider Doubletake’s size, and you’ll realize why it needs such a large, helpful staff. This enticing emporium has more than doubled (pun intended) in size since 1987, expanding beyond clothing into décor, collectibles, memorabilia, pawn jewelry, and antiques. Doubletake is also my best hope in the elusive quest for quality vintage clothing. Trolling the aisles of the two-story building takes time, especially when I am held captive by the biggest-ever collection of Bakelite jewelry!

Doubletake’s display is decorated with a bevy of Bakelite beauties.
Doubletake’s display is decorated with a bevy of Bakelite beauties.

Pricing throughout is fair, with everything well-curated for condition. Delicately used designer duds make a splash on opera opening night without breaking the bank. Western wear rates its own dedicated space, loaded with cowboy boots, Fiesta skirts, and cowboy shirts. Kids’ clothing offers enormous selection, and brand-new brand-name shoes are obviously recent-season items that didn’t sell retail.

The adventure at Doubletake extends up the staircase with a broad array of home décor and memorabilia.
The adventure at Doubletake extends up the staircase with a broad array of home décor and memorabilia.

Upstairs is a homey treasure trove, with colorful Fiesta dinnerware, antique furniture, and vintage linens by the score. There’s a designated art gallery, but with everything so beautifully displayed, the whole shebang is gallery-worthy! I always enjoy an hour or two here, saying good-bye to things that no longer fit my aesthetic and spending the proceeds to say hello to new adornments. Doing Doubletake is doubly fun!

Get Into a Groove with The Beat Goes On

Since we’re all Tuned Into Santa Fe, it’s no wonder that The Beat Goes On in the City Different. Right up the street from Doubletake, The Beat definitely deserves its billing as “Very Cool Consignment.” As you might imagine, Santa Feans are a diverse bunch with a wide range of stylish tastes, and The Beat gets the overflow when closets get too full. Nondescript building notwithstanding, this is a gotta-have-it collection of gently used deals.

Get the rhythm of Santa Fe with The Beat.
Get the rhythm of Santa Fe with The Beat.

There’s vintage here too, ethnic and designer styles, with shoes and boots and a medley of handbags and home goods. Prices are reasonable, and there’s always a sale rack to tempt. Don’t forget to look for lingerie, because soft silk robes may linger there. The excitement of consignment shopping lies in never knowing what you’ll find, and that’s what makes it an adventure. The selection at The Beat proves that principle beyond a doubt!

These boots at The Beat ain’t made for walkin’ because they’re tin planters!
These boots at The Beat ain’t made for walkin’ because they’re tin planters!

Boots Are Not Just for Cowboys

Trot a little further up Guadalupe Street past The Beat, pardner, and your feet will find a footwear fantasia at Kowboyz. Tucked back off the street, this is a local sweet spot for western wear, belts, buckles, shirts and hat, and – you guessed it – boots. A guy or gal (and kiddos too) need ‘em for boot-scootin’, and with over 5,000 new and vintage pairs, the only challenge is narrowing it down to a single choice. Not that I’ve done that – I’m currently holding at three pairs, but since they come in great condition at prices I can’t resist, why stop there?

Kowboyz is for Kowgirlz and Kidz too!
Kowboyz is for Kowgirlz and Kidz too!

There’s something about those just-the-right-height heels on a cowboy boot that makes a chiquita feel utterly chic in a completely different way than high heels. And don’t just wear them when you’re here to visit; wear them at home, be it North Dakota or North Carolina, and lead the way with our legendary Western style.

I’ll take that pair for the papoose.
I’ll take that pair for the papoose.

There’s Nothing Like a Flea Market for Finding Fanciful Treasures

 

Over the years, the Tesuque Flea Market up by the Santa Fe Opera has received justifiable accolades as a fun way to spend a morning. That’s great news for me, because it means less of a crowd to beat me out for bargains at the Santa Fe Flea Market! When warm weather returns, this collection of curios and curiosities moves back to its summer home at the old Downs of Santa Fe, but until then, a Saturday or Sunday browse-a-thon is on my weekend agenda.

Flea Market finds bring the blessing of bargain prices.
Flea Market finds bring the blessing of bargain prices.

Spread throughout El Museo Cultural (home to many offbeat Santa Fe events), across the railroad tracks from the Santa Fe Farmers’ Market, the Flea is a bazaar of the bizarre for those who like a good bargaining session as part of the mix. Old books and pottery, household “junque,” hand-made jewelry – it’s an eclectic mix of the rare and the ridiculously inexpensive. With 100-plus vendors anxious to go home with cash rather than their stash of collectibles, it’s impossible to leave without a smokin’ deal. And remember, you won’t see that one special thing twice, so just say “yes” to your flea market fantasies.

Revisiting the Past and Bringing It Home from Recollections

After I’ve satisfied the yen for vintage finery and folderol, I make a beeline for Recollections to see what surprises await. You can’t miss the dark-red building in the Baca Street District of Railyard, and I never miss the chance to stop, because I know I’ll come home with something fresh and unexpected. The southern end of the Railyard is an up-and-coming area, and Recollections has anchored it from the beginning. The vintage iron furniture I scored suits my patio to perfection, at a cost much less than new.

The spotlight is on whimsical antiques and unique furnishings at Recollections.
The spotlight is on whimsical antiques and unique furnishings at Recollections.

Over the holidays, a gaggle of glass photo plates made for unusual and inexpensive gifts, and the antique spotlight I yearn for is tempting me — resistance may be futile! The light-up lucky horseshoe sign must be from a casino; since New Mexico has plenty of gaming palaces, it will go quickly. This is a great spot for whiling away a lazy afternoon surrounded by a serious selection of Americana and Western arcana.

Make the Case for Consignment Shopping in Santa Fe

Out with the old, in with the “new” old! I think I’ve made a good case, don’t you? If you take time to wander off the Plaza over to the Guadalupe District and the Railyard, you’ll find bountiful bargains buried in the bins or hanging on the racks. Travel + Leisure named Santa Fe as the best for one-of-a-kind shopping, and that includes unique independent boutiques of the second-hand variety. A now-you-see-‘em, now-you-don’t shopping adventure, this one is definitively City Different!

Spring in Santa Fe…Love Your Greens

My sweaters have been washed and loaded into the cedar chest, my boots are back in the inner recesses of my closet, and I am so ready for spring. Just when I am totally fed up with winter vegetables, spring obliges me with new inspiration on getting fed. As the sun lifts higher in its course over the blue skies of Santa Fe, I feel lighter and brighter, and that means it’s time to say hello to the fresh green flavors of spring.

It makes everyone happy to see spring greenery return to Santa Fe at the Nedra Matteucci Sculpture Garden.
It makes everyone happy to see spring greenery return to Santa Fe at the Nedra Matteucci Sculpture Garden.

Vinaigrette Is So Much More Than a Salad Dressing

What can you say to a salad bistro except “I love you”? I say it regularly to Vinaigrette, along with giving thanks regularly for bountiful salads that spare me the struggle of trying to pair two lightweight appetizers to make one satisfying meal. If you bring a big boy with a bigger appetite, savory protein additions can be added, though I rarely need to tweak. During the summer growing season, a majority of the organic produce is sourced directly from the owner’s 10-acre Nambe farm, so saying Vinaigrette is farm-to-table is right on target.

A Vinaigrette salad has a whole cast of characters at play!
A Vinaigrette salad has a whole cast of characters at play!

 

My personal favorite is the French Frisee; cherie, I just feel so chic when I eat those curly greens (mais oui, the bacon lardons are tres delicieux). And j’adore the clever word play that invites me to tickle my taste buds with choices like the Nutty Pear-fessor or All Kale Caesar. There is a cast of seasonal salads in play too, and if your dining pals simply must have soup or a sandwich, both are on the menu. And in warm weather, I delight in the cozy back patio for enjoying my greens with a glass of wine and a good friend.

Sampling Sweet Spring Greens at Sweetwater

Me, I love a Brussels sprout. I always think it’s a shame that these beautiful stalks of tiny, tightly wrapped, tender leaves only seem to show up at holidays. That’s why I’m happy that they materialize at my mealtime when I land at the Sweetwater Harvest Kitchen. I’m so hooked on the bright, cheery, sustainable nature of this friendly spot, recently named by FlipKey as a top restaurant in New Mexico. My Green Goddess salad was chock-full of fresh greens, walnuts, pears and the afore-mentioned Brussels sprouts, all coated with avocado dressing. My inner goddess deserves this heavenly treat.

Green me up, Sweetwater!
Green me up, Sweetwater!

Lunch and dinner both have ample options for me and my vegan and gluten-free friends. On Wednesday Thai nights we can “Thai one on” with the once-a-week Asian dishes like Cambodian green mango salad or Vietnamese spring rolls. Wine and beer menu, yes, and those selections rotate to keep us interested. Thanks to Sweetwater, I’ve also discovered that breakfast can be pretty green, with smoothies like Sweet Greens (fruit-heavy but with spinach too!) or Soma’s Sunrise (carrots, beets, kale, and apple). Eat it…drink it…they have it all!

 

Make a Bee-line for The Beestro

Sitting in a beautiful dining room or outdoor patio is a treat at lunchtime; after all, I do plenty of brown-bagging during the week. But when there’s not enough time to make a leisurely lunch hour reality, the petite Beestro comes to the rescue. I can perch on one of the outdoor stools, or I can do take-out, which is perfect for a desk jockey, and just as perfect if I want to sit on the Plaza to people-watch. “Chef-made daily” and “available until sold-out” are calls to action that tantalize me, as is curbside service — call once to order, again at the pick-up spot, then receive the goods.

It’s always buzzing at The Beestro.
It’s always buzzing at The Beestro.

As a tried-and-true SantaFesina, I’m always up for a kick of chile, so the Serrano Lime Chicken Farmer’s Market Salad had my name on it (literally, because I called ahead just in case they ran out). Below a layer of marinated grilled chicken lay fresh greens, thin shavings of carrots and beets, salty olives, and a host of veggies snuggled together. I slathered on the piquant jalapeno ranch dressing, put my fork to work, and I was one very happy chiquita!

Bring it on, Beestro, and we’ll take it out!
Bring it on, Beestro, and we’ll take it out!

Spring is happening at the Santa Fe Farmers Market

The ultimate in greenery, of course, is being served up as we “speak” at the Santa Fe Farmers’ Market. With spring here, the Market is alive with new activity. There’s always a line for fresh greens from Mr. G’s, so get there early or go without. Bouquets of flowers are once again adorning dinner tables all over town, and the final jars of last season’s jams are selling out in preparation for what is to come.

We celebrate the return of spring with bright bouquets of color from the Santa Fe Farmers’ Market.
We celebrate the return of spring with bright bouquets of color from the Santa Fe Farmers’ Market.

Not a week goes by that I don’t feel lucky to shop at this centrally-located market, ranked as one of the country’s best by Travel + Leisure magazine. Open in the Santa Fe Railyard on Tuesday and Saturday mornings, it’s one of my go-to’s all year long, and not just for food, since I love the sustainable focus of the Wednesday movie series screening in the Pavilion at 7 pm through May.

Green Up Your Santa Fe Dining

That eat-green feeling is calling … not just for me but also for anyone who sees the sun arc higher or feels the gentle spring rain coaxing tulips to open and the first peas to flower. I am feeling refreshed and ready for everything green; will you accept an invitation to dine on the green side of Santa Fe?

 

No Place Does Spring Like Santa Fe

Santa Fe is so blessed with seasonally special sights and sounds that I never feel shortchanged at any time of year. But I admit that being on the cusp of spring has me in a fever of eager anticipation. As days grow longer, blossoming trees will begin to decorate the city and festive events will bloom all over town. Now is the moment to give in to the beauty and bounty of a colorful southwest spring, so I offer my primavera primer.

The first flowers of spring — forsythia — bloom in abundance in Bishop Lamy’s quiet garden adjacent to the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis.
The first flowers of spring — forsythia — bloom in abundance in Bishop Lamy’s quiet garden adjacent to the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis.

One Old Culture Honors Another

No country pays a more handsome homage to spring than Japan. Fragrant flowers, gusty winds sending kites aloft, a rich and ancient culture … Santa Fe has them too, though our early blossoms come from gorgeous old apricot trees. Delicious jam ensues later, so look for it at our Santa Fe Farmers’ Market. And Santa Fe also has a Japanese tradition, when we celebrate “equinoxically” on March 22 at the Japanese Cultural Festival.

The delicacy and depth of Japanese artistry is rooted in deliberate design and meaning, and I salute the 10th annual return of this spring event, known as a Matsuri. This year’s theme, good luck, is symbolized by “sho,” “chiku,” and bai,” which translate as pine (symbol of tenacity, here it’s our piñon tree), bamboo (beloved for flexibility, a vital attribute for the original New Mexico settlers) and plum (its early flowers evoking the optimism of spring). I plan to capture in full the flavor of this eloquent triad.

This Japanese kite can turn its frown upside down when it’s finally aloft!
This Japanese kite can turn its frown upside down when it’s finally aloft!

After repeatedly visiting the killer kite exhibit (which I’m happy to report has been extended through July 27) at the Museum of International Folk Art, a kite-making demo strikes my fancy as fantastic fun. I also intend to learn to turn my homey tea party into an elegant tea ceremony. And getting into the beating heart of the whole shebang will be a rhythmic riot aided by the Smokin’ Bachi Taiko drums.

Sounds for Serenading Spring

If you’re like me, your life has its own soundtrack, so you’ll also be stoked that the City Different is inviting everyone to Tune into Santa Fe this year. As a die-hard fan of summer’s rich musical offerings, I’m grateful I don’t have to wait until then to get my music fix. The Santa Fe Symphony and Chorus season covers March with gold-medal violin work, and they’re serving up a big dose of symphonic music in April and May. My calendar is marked in pastels for Easter, obligating my attendance at Santa Fe Pro Musica’s Baroque Holy Week concerts, where the timeless setting of the Loretto Chapel and evocative musical excellence sweeps me back seamlessly back through the ages.

There couldn’t be a better place to tune into Santa Fe’s musical scene than the Loretto Chapel.
There couldn’t be a better place to tune into Santa Fe’s musical scene than the Loretto Chapel.

Spring brings Aspen Santa Fe Ballet back to the Lensic, and much as I delight in classic ballet repertoire, I cherish the chances that ASFB takes with more avant-garde programs. With a world premiere in the wings and a pair of striking works by contemporary choreographers, I’m relieved to know that if I miss the March performances at the Lensic, a one-night April encore guarantees my dance date.

No Passport Needed to Paint a Pretty Picture of Spring

While New Mexico Magazine features funny monthly tales in which New Mexico is confused with Old Mexico, the only passport required to visit Santa Fe is a Passport to the Arts. Thoughtfully timed with Mother’s Day weekend (by the way, Mom, it’s been way too long since you visited!), there’s much to love — and share — when we wander in and out of the Canyon Road galleries and watch artists ply talents in the open air. Beginning Friday night with openings and receptions, the weekend is rife with demonstrations, food, and music clustered behind adobe walls and in sculpture gardens of historic buildings.

Get a Passport to the Arts on Canyon Road – it’s the only way to travel! (Photo credit: Canyon Road Merchants)
Get a Passport to the Arts on Canyon Road – it’s the only way to travel! (Photo credit: Canyon Road Merchants)

I’m awed by the Artist QuickDraw on Saturday morning, a tour-de-force event when participants combine any and all media with individual talent and techniques to create original works of art under the constraints of time and an avid public audience. When time’s up, palette knives and brushes, carving tools and crayons are retired, as the artists prepare their finished pieces and hustle them over to the Live Art Auction. As for me, I relax while they work, but I’m prepared to bid right quick on a favorite piece!

May I Invite You to May … and June Too?

By Memorial Day, Santa Fe will be gussied up in spring finery, trees leafed out and stalks of blue flax bobbing. And El Rancho de las Golondrinas will be spinning the old mill’s water wheel as the New Mexico Fiber Arts Festival returns. I feel sheepish to confess I play favorites, but El Rancho really is one of my special places, especially when it’s time to shear sheep, dye their wool, and spin it into fine colorful yarns. My sister holds the family-knitting crown, and I’m the crochet queen, so I’ll wind up with some naturally hand-dyed yarn for both of us.

Maria had a little lamb – or two, or four. (Photo credit: El Rancho de las Golondrinas)
Maria had a little lamb – or two, or four. (Photo credit: El Rancho de las Golondrinas)

Memorial Day also showcases fine fiber handicrafts at the Native Treasures Indian Arts Festival. With 200-plus artists, there’s always an ample display of museum-quality wares to admire, and it’s a perfect appetizer for everything discovered later in summer at SWAIA Indian Market. Since I’ll be fiber-minded, maybe I’ll finally find that long-sought-after Navajo rug for my bedroom. And if not, I’ll still be coming home with a treasure or two.

Spring doesn’t truly end until mid-June, so kids and all, I’ll scoot back out to El Rancho for the Spring Festival and Children’s Fair as soon as school ends. Watching “settlers” baking outdoors in an horno (the traditional NM beehive-shaped oven) and herding livestock makes this re-enactment of New Mexico village life a history lesson disguised as a fun day in the sun for little ones. And with cute baby animals bleating and clucking, there’s an “awwwww” factor that’s hard to beat.

Be Impetuous and Spring into Action

Adobe walls offer the perfect backdrop for Santa Fe’s spring colors.
Adobe walls offer the perfect backdrop for Santa Fe’s spring colors. Photo Credit: Eric Swanson Photography

On the scale of awe factors, spring in Santa Fe is a hard-to-beat-the-pleasure time. Balmy weather, flowers blooming, people smiling, and blue skies make each day a precious chance to collect kindred souls and share with them the places I return to again and again. I’ve planted some seeds for spring adventures here in Santa Fe, so don’t wait for summer — have a spring fling of your own!

 

Couple Up with Santa Fe’s Romantic Side

Romance. It’s dee-lightful, it’s dee-lovely, and it’s dee-signed for two. The good qualities my honey possesses deserve the reward of some romantic moments spent together in the place we both love so much. Considering that Santa Fe is a leading contender for USA Today’s 10 best list of most romantic getaways (hint: we’re allowed to vote daily until the January 27th close date), there simply couldn’t be a better time to dive into a dee-licious detour from daily demands by designing tempting treats for two. And I’m ready to fill in a few empty spaces on my calendar by celebrating the best of what we share — life and love — in the City Different.

Let’s Fall in Love Again – with Chocolate

Even with an inviting itinerary, it’s indulgent to start the day slowly, just lolling in bed awhile or catching the tail end of an old black-and-white movie on TV. When we give ourselves the gift of a Santa Fe hotel overnight, in-room coffee takes care of any need to rush. Instead the rush comes just after 10 am when the award-winning Kakawa Chocolate House opens, and we can start a day of delightful dalliances with a different dark and heady brew: chocolate!

Created via thoughtful research into chocolate’s historical past, Kakawa’s sipping beverages are hot chocolate like you’ve never had it. And sipping is key, because these elixirs are deep, rich, and meant to be enjoyed slowly. I’m happy that the menu is deep, too, so with two of us, sharing means twice the taste.

The way to the heart begins with a kiss of chocolate on the lips.
The way to the heart begins with a kiss of chocolate on the lips.

I’m sure I’m not alone in admitting to a weakness (okay, that’s putting it mildly) for chocolate. But I am grateful chocolate is a food substance that has undergone a massive craft conversion toward the artisanal. USA Today just gave the nod to Santa Fe’s chocolate excellence, so I say don’t stop with just one stop.  It seems to me that you can never have too much of a good thing, and I’m grateful that C.G. Higgins agreed with that sentiment by conveniently providing two locations for luscious sampling. And it’s simply divine when my sweetie comes up with a killer idea on planning ahead: “Let’s get a box of fudge for later.”

Mmmm, that chipotle chile adds a Santa Fe kick to C. G. Higgins Fudge.
Mmmm, that chipotle chile adds a Santa Fe kick to C. G. Higgins Fudge.

Oh Ho, Honey, Let’s Head for Ojo

Me and mine are big on road trips. Many of our memorable moments have come about in the front seat of a car heading out onto a back road where surprises become gifts. Maybe we see a mule deer pausing to stare back at us while her mate bounds ahead. Or it might be one of those fantastic cloud formations in which New Mexico specializes. And those sudden gifts of nature often occur when we’re on our way to treat ourselves to the healthful luxuries of Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs and Spa.

The warmth of togetherness beats any weather challenge. (Photo credit: Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs Spa and Resort)
The warmth of togetherness beats any weather challenge. (Photo credit: Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs Spa and Resort)

Although it translates literally to “eye,” “ojo” is the word used here to indicate a spring; hence, Ojo Caliente means warm spring. These natural hot springs were known for their historic healing properties long before people like me put pen to paper in praise of their efficacy. I’m a devoted fan of the public pools, with their varying mineral components, but a special day with a special someone definitely rates a private pool. Soaking tensions away under the blue New Mexico sky is so worth a scenic drive up north.

And once we’re thoroughly soaked and muscles are melting, we head for some skilled hands-on healing … ahhh … now what to choose … maybe a Hot Stone Massage for you — with basalt stones from the nearby Rio Grande — and a Sacred Journey Aroma Wrap for me?  Just thinking about all the possibilities, I feel more relaxed. So relaxed, in fact, that I think spoiling ourselves with a full spa package might be the best idea of all!

Relax with your honey in a bath or rose petals. (Photo credit: Inn and Spa at Loretto)
Relax with your honey in a bath or rose petals. (Photo credit: Inn and Spa at Loretto)

While we’re on the subject of full spa packages, doesn’t a bath for two surrounded by drifting rose petals sound like a scent-ual immersion experience? Add in a massage, a facial, and a manicure, and I am over the moon, especially when I don’t even have to put it all together by myself. The Inn and Spa at Loretto already did that when they created Corazones en Fuego – Hearts on Fire. No surprise, since the Spa has won a Condé Nast Traveler Readers’  Choice award four years running; it is definitely time to feed some rosy romantic fantasies close to home!

Let’s Nibble Our Way Around Santa Fe

I know one thing for sure: many a magic memory in my life has been enriched by a food component. Frankly, everything about living in Santa Fe makes me feel hungry — for the enjoyment of innovative art, the solace of great music, the warmth of the sun on my face (remember, minimum SPF 30 at 7,000 feet), and the taste of food prepared by talented chefs that all together form the basis of a terrific lifestyle.

On a restaurant tour with Chef Mica, you learn by listening and earn every bite by walking. (Photo credit: Santa Fe School of Cooking)
On a restaurant tour with Chef Mica, you learn by listening and earn every bite by walking. (Photo credit: Santa Fe School of Cooking)

 

Taking an inquiring mind (and taste buds) to spend a few pleasant afternoon hours on a restaurant walking tour with the Santa Fe School of Cooking means a meal in four separate stops on a relaxing stroll around downtown. The School has planned several winning combinations for comparing and contrasting the flavors that pop up on the dining tables of the City Different. My appetite is definitely aroused by hearing the thoughts and inspirations of each individual chef, and samples at these private tastings are paired with wines from the restaurant wine list.

Tasting a tempting series of treats is a way to turn an afternoon into a meal. (Photo credit: Santa Fe School of Cooking)
Tasting a tempting series of treats is a way to turn an afternoon into a meal. (Photo credit: Santa Fe School of Cooking)

And if you’re looking for a way to expand the experience, add a cooking class and take those savory Santa Fe skills home — I do it, and I live here! In fact, there couldn’t be a better time for a class than right now, since the Cooking School is offering a series of super-affordable Bonus Classes through March, as they refine their annual repertoire. Don’t you just love being the first one to show up with new recipes?

Evenings Divine with Baby Mine

Any perfect day needs a capstone, and all this talk of culinary tours and cooking classes puts me in the mood to plan a dreamy dinner, especially with Valentine’s Day on the horizon. Champagne, sunset, plus Santa Fe means it’s decided: Terra at the Four Seasons Rancho Encantado. Any excuse to drive a bit off the beaten path into the serene setting of northern New Mexico works wonders for me, especially if a great meal in an authentic setting awaits.

Spectacular Santa Fe sunsets are a bonus appetizer at Terra. (Photo credit: Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado)
Spectacular Santa Fe sunsets are a bonus appetizer at Terra. (Photo credit: Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado)

Surrounded by 57 pristine acres in the foothills of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, I always feel like I’ve gone back in time when I see the sun in all its glory setting over this unspoiled landscape. Spare and beautiful, dotted with pinon and juniper trees, the vast blue heavens arcing overhead, being here speaks to everything I love about living in the Land of Enchantment.

Dinner at Terra is an exercise in creative contrasts: a luminous backdrop of ancient mountains and sky and a tasteful contemporary use of native materials, stone, wrought-iron, and warm wood. The only challenge to settling in for a leisurely meal from Chef Andrew Cooper’s kitchen is homing in on that entrée … again, thank heavens that loving means sharing.

I may have to insist, however, that my other half weigh in when it’s time to plan where to lay our heads on a set of luxuriously soft white sheets. With so many great hotels in Santa Fe, picking out one place among the many is a two-person job. No complaints from me, though. We’re going to be the lucky ones, since I’m planning to suggest over dinner that we make this year’s anniversary present to ourselves a regular getaway right here at home. Then all we’ll have to do is snuggle up by the fire and design our next special getaway for two.

Make Memories Together in Santa Fe

I cherish the knowledge that the person I’m sharing my life with shares the same love for all things Santa Fe. Even though I occasionally hope my sweetie will surprise me with a slate of loving adventures, I’m content to make magic for both of us. And maybe that’s true for you too. But what do you think? Should we leave the computer open to this page and see what happens?

New Direction + New Year = Feeling Newly Santa Fe

One year leaves, another begins. Things change, and with the past gone, we have only the now. Einstein said “The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking.” With the calendar’s turning, I’ve been ruminating on how to re-visit and renew my connection to myself, and to my mind, body, and soul via the revitalization of change. Be it known that I intend to “Be Here Now” in Santa Fe by shuffling my deck of experiences to become a more tuned-in, turned-on version of me … call it happiness 2.0(14)!

Divining A City Different Direction

“It’s in the cards” is one of those phrases I’ve heard bandied about over the years, and I decided it was high time I found out what that meant. Chances are you’ve seen a Tarot deck yourself and wondered what a reading might reveal. Not actually a predictor of the future, the Tarot is rather an aid to help one navigate through life’s present challenges. With so many pictorial designs, there is no one deck of cards used by all, but each set consists of cards known as the Major and Minor Arcana. The four suits of the Minor Arcana (wands, swords, cups, and pentacles), each with a king, queen, knight, and page, offer a specific meaningful approach to life’s practical daily ups and downs. By contrast, the Major Arcana is comprised of picture cards that represent principles, concepts and ideals reflecting powerful, long-term energy or big events in certain areas of life.

Let the cards talk to you through Tamara Janúz at BODY of Santa Fe.
Let the cards talk to you through Tamara Janúz at BODY of Santa Fe.

To move myself thoughtfully forward further into a new year, I turned to Tamara Janúz, who reads Tarot at BODY of Santa Fe every Wednesday, 9 am to noon, and Sundays 3 to 5 pm. Seated quietly, she lays out the cards without fuss and lets the story unfold before your eyes. You’ll excuse me if I don’t reveal the essence of my reading, but I will say that both the Angel and the Queen of Hearts made an appearance.

Turning Two Fitness Ideals into One with a Yoga Hike

I don’t need the cards to tell me to stay in shape (my doctor dad did that), and thanks to any number of yoga and fitness classes all over the city, I have a regular practice schedule flexible enough to keep me flexible. But I’ve been intrigued by the thought of combining two activities I enjoy — yoga and hiking — into one unique outing this year. Thanks to Stacy Kinsley and YogiHiker, it looks like I have an excellent plan to spring into action once winter says goodbye and warmer weather returns. The notion expressed in the YogiHiker tagline, “stillness in action,” embodies much of what I hope to achieve, a centered space for conducting another year on this planet.

Get a mountain high with a yoga hike in Santa Fe. (Photo credit: YogiHiker)
Get a mountain high with a yoga hike in Santa Fe. (Photo credit: YogiHiker)

Recognizing that any practice based on repetitive movements can easily become stale is the essence of the YogiHiker philosophy, which encourages curiosity about both outdoor environs and inner connections to the self in nature. Scheduled for an average 2.5 to 3 hour outing, each of the yogi-hikes takes place close to town, so just like me, you can engage in a centering experience in the morning and still have the rest of the day, as well as a newly-heightened appetite, to mosey back into town for a healthy and well-deserved lunch.

Get the Skinny on Santa Fe Skincare

Paying attention to feeling more blissful has been all well and good, but catching a glimpse of my skin in the mirror after the holidays was not exactly a blissful experience. Okay, it was a magnifying mirror, meaning this was a helpful but brutally honest friend. After that revelation, it hasn’t taken much convincing to steer me towards better skincare. And Living Bliss Skin Care and Botanicals is my new solution.

M-M-M-My skin says thank you, Living Bliss! (Photo credit: Living Bliss Skin Care and Botanicals)
M-M-M-My skin says thank you, Living Bliss! (Photo credit: Living Bliss Skin Care and Botanicals)

A home-grown small business, just the sort of operation I love to support, Living Bliss creates its products with vegan-friendly, non-GMO, organic ingredients, which in simple terms means “fear not, we’re good for you.” And as a dyed-in-the-wool Santa Fean, knowing they’re made according to the phases of the moon for potency makes me feel that’s there’s extra magic working to make me look my best. These goodies, tailor-made for our high-altitude living so close to the sun (not that I’m complaining about 300-plus days of sun, mind you) are available online, but I like to visit the tester samples right here at the Santa Fe Artisans Market in the Farmers’ Market Pavilion on Sundays. I’m even dancing around with the temptation of a personal consultation — nothing like getting advice on best practices in person.

Delight in a New Dance

My waltz with errands around town often includes a welcome stop at a building I once knew as a Piggy-Wiggly grocery, re-incarnated as a Safeway and then Alfalfa’s Natural Grocery before reaching an apex with its current occupant, BODY of Santa Fe. A many-things-to-many-people operation, BODY opened in 2004 and has morphed organically over time into a boutique, natural foods café, a yoga and exercise studio, and spa facility responsive to visitors in search of a health-conscious and sustainably-focused lifestyle. Count me in because you’ll see me there!

A Nia class at BODY is a joyous experience! (Photo credit: BODY of Santa Fe)
A Nia class at BODY is a joyous experience! (Photo credit: BODY of Santa Fe)

Thankfully, I awoke on January 1 with only a few extra pounds donated by holiday fun, but I did not wake up with zest for my usual exercise routine. I don’t know about you, but frankly, I’m a little tired of the same old squats to the same old music.  An inspiration to try Nia delivered a perfect aural and physical detour. A barefoot movement practice drawing equally from martial arts, dance arts and healing motivation, Nia teaches practitioners to cultivate a body-centered awareness through movement to music. Discovering this dance-centric technique at the hands — and feet — of a roster of masterful instructors who teach at BODY was a revelation. The playlists are electric and eclectic, and the dance aspect let me forget about exercising for health and just flow into the freedom and fun of moving. No, I’m not ready for the Nia School White Belt Training at BODY in February (if you are, pencil in Santa Fe for February 20-23), but I’m all set to dance my way into 2014 with a lighter heart.

Appreciating the Appeal of a Young Year

You probably read it here already: the entrance into a new year should be a source of adventure not agonizing. And finding and embracing new experiences is a joyous way to live in the now. If you’ve penciled in joy on your calendar, then follow your bliss to Santa Fe. You’ll find delight in discovering so many pleasurable ways for self-revelation and renewal as a living, breathing being in this still-young century.

Party Like a Local During ¡Viva! Santa Fe

As autumn paints the Santa Fe landscape in rich golden hues, we locals welcome the green chile harvest and indulge in a colorful celebration of our centuries-old heritage. When Santa Feans hear shouts of “¡Que Viva!” ringing through the streets, it’s clear that Fiesta de Santa Fe, the citywide extravaganza dedicated to Santa Fe’s history and culture, has returned. Combine this 301-year-old party with new customs like a mouth-watering green chile cheeseburger smackdown, and you’ll see that a visit during ¡Viva! Santa Fe is a fall fantasy come to life.

¡Viva! Santa Fe loosely translated means “Long Live Santa Fe” or “Living Santa Fe,” but this year the term encompasses an updated City Different experience, packed with both traditional autumn events and new festivities. Gather your friends and family, make your reservations, and get ready to party under Santa Fe’s magnificent skies for 10 memorably unique days August 30 to September 8.

Flags and coats of arms are mounted on the Plaza during Fiesta to commemorate the peaceful reoccupation of Santa Fe by Don Diego de Vargas.

History and Culture Come Alive at Fiesta de Santa Fe

As the country’s oldest continuous community celebration, Fiesta de Santa Fe has commemorated the peaceful 1692 reoccupation of the city by Don Diego de Vargas, after the Pueblo Revolt of 1680, since 1712.

The official opening of Fiesta takes place Friday, September 6, at 6 a.m., with the Pregón de la Fiesta, when the faithful gather at Rosario Chapel to hear the Mayor of Santa Fe issue a formal proclamation declaring the start of these annual festivities. Community leaders welcome the public on the Plaza at noon, then at 2 p.m. you can witness a re-enactment of the triumphant 1692 entry of the Conquistadors.

Don Diego and his Cuadrilla triumphantly ride into town every year during Fiesta.

The Desfile de Los Ninos, the annual Pet Parade, takes place Saturday, September 7, at 9 a.m. This is a truly uniquely Santa Fe event, where you can coo over ever-so-patient family pets dressed as conquistadors or admire a happy family of Smurfs.

Pets and Smurfs at the pet parade have a happy case of the Blues.

Sunday, September 8, brings the Desfile de la Gente, colloquially referred to as the Historical/Hysterical Parade. This lively, local, anything-goes conglomeration of floats mixes local high school bands, mariachis, and sports teams with queens and politicians of every stripe, all of whom eventually end up on the Plaza.

All you need is LOVE to enjoy the Hysterical/Historical Fiesta Parade.

The official closing of Fiesta takes place at 5:15 p.m. on the Plaza and is followed by 7 p.m. Mass at the Cathedral and a solemn candle-lit procession through the historic downtown, ending at the Cross of the Martyrs, where small vigil bonfires known as luminarias flicker in the dark.

Given that Fiesta actually takes all year for the Fiesta Council to plan, a celebration this large means a lot is happening, so we encourage advance scheduling to make your Fiesta experience complete.

Let Zozobra Take the Heat Off Your Worries

What is that crazy name you’ve been hearing? Pre-dating Nevada’s Burning Man by decades, Zozobra, familiarly known as Old Man Gloom, is Santa Fe’s prescription for recovering from the year’s disappointments. Zozobra was created in 1924 by artist Will Shuster and is now lovingly re-created each year by the Kiwanis Club.

This 50-foot-tall puppet is stuffed with bits of paper bearing all manner of gloomy thoughts and goes up in smoke at an annual burning in Fort Marcy Park. Though Fiesta’s official start date is Friday, September 6, the September 5 conflagration on Thursday night tells the locals it’s on! Entertainment on the field begins at 3 p.m., but the burning and subsequent fireworks display take place well after dark. Note that this is NOT for agoraphobics, the faint of heart, or the youngest children.

Check out this vintage photo of Old Man Gloom and his creator, Will Shuster, in 1954.

Santa Feans like me can’t get enough of Zozobra, and there’s a new event honoring our sacrificial lamb Friday, August 30, from 3 to 10 p.m. when ZozoFest pulls into the Santa Fe Railyard. The annual Zozobra poster will be unveiled and signed by the artist, and an exhibit of all things Zozo opens to the public. You can stuff your worries right into Zozobra and gaze in awe at his massive head. I feel better already! This family-friendly Friday has live entertainment under the water tower and a screening of “Rise of the Guardians” at the performance green, with a fun fair on Saturday, August 31, 11a.m. – 6 p.m.

And though you might think Old Man Gloom would be feeling old and out of touch at 89, Zozobra has gone digital this year! Submit your worries online, until September 5, and watch them burn on the Burning of the Virtual Zozobra at the ¡Viva! Santa website.

Santa Fe’s modern-day Zozobra evokes the original. Photo Credit: Albuquerque Journal

Cheeseburger Smackdown Arrives at the Green Chile Harvest Festival

Roasting and eating the green chile that infuses our world-renowned cuisine — and delights the palates of foodies everywhere — is always on our autumn calendar. But this year, Santa Fe welcomes the First Annual Green Chile Harvest Festival September 7, with the finale of Green Chile Cheeseburger Smackdown as its centerpiece. The green chile harvest is eagerly anticipated, so an official celebration at the renowned Santa Fe Farmers Market is an idea whose time has come. Although it’s a maiden voyage for this event, it’s sure to sail back next year once we get a taste of the excitement.

Plan to be a People’s Taster at the Green Chile Cheeseburger Smackdown.

This tasty challenge kicked off in July when Santa Fe chefs were invited to submit their best green chile cheeseburger for online voting by locals and visitors, and boy, was the competition fierce! Now the top six burgers, along with a Lucky 7 additional burger to be announced later this month, will tantalize at the Smackdown. A panel of judges will crown the king of cheeseburgers the Reigning Chomp. If you want to be a judge for the People’s Taste Burger, you’ll be able to buy tickets at the event, so stay tuned to Facebook for news and make sure your taste buds are tuned to green chile.

Live It Up at ¡Viva! Santa Fe

Autumn is a time for creating the memories that carry us through the long winter ahead. We locals look forward to revisiting the treasures of our historic and cultural traditions, and we welcome you to join us on this colorful journey of celebration. Experience the magic of Santa Fe this fall and take part of one of the liveliest long-standing parties around. ¡Viva! Santa Fe – ¡Que Viva!

The Santa Fe Farmers Market Lives (and Grows) at the Railyard

There is energy in the air at the Santa Fe Farmers Market. It’s a sensory explosion of color, scents, music, and pride in community that is nearly impossible to put into words. The cross section of locals and visitors happily strolling, sipping coffee, and filling baskets with local produce, fresh breads, seasonal herbs, free range eggs, aromatic fresh and dried chiles, local honey and jams, luxurious body products, and homemade tamales, will transform your mood and test your bliss endurance.

Even produce basics like lettuce are a sight to admire at the Santa Fe Farmers Market

The Santa Fe Farmers Market began as a loose-knit group of farmers selling produce on Saturdays, from the back of their trucks, in the late 1960s. By the mid 70’s, the organization grew stronger, added more vendors, and outgrew the Alto Recreation Center and the Sanbusco Market Center. It was moved to its current home at the Railyard in 1999 where it thrives year round. Sherman’s Travel recently included it in “9 of America’s Best Farmers Markets”, and it made the cut of the coveted Sunset Magazine’s “Top 10 Farmers’ Markets”.

Strict standards require all food and products be made with local ingredients, which means you buy directly from the source, and I love the idea of meeting the farmer who grew my food. If you’re not sure how to get your beautiful yellow cauliflower and radish greens to the table, keep an eye for Santa Fe chefs at the market talking about recipes, providing tips for local food sources, and answering your foodie questions as part of the Cook with the Chef series.

Supporting my local farming community gives me extreme satisfaction. The knowledge that I am consuming products directly from my neighbors brings me peace of mind. Knowing exactly where my food comes from is something that is important to me in this fast food culture. My Saturday morning adventure to the Farmers Market is a spirit lifter as well, and sets me right for the rest of my day.

The Bounty of Fall Meets the People’s Passion

If you are fortunate enough to be visiting during the fall, you will be rewarded handsomely. You will be reaping the benefits of the busiest and most luscious season for produce in Santa Fe. Fall harvest in Santa Fe translates to copious crops of healthy greens, pumpkins, apples, squash, and legumes. It’s the peak season for the Patron Saint of New Mexican Cuisine, the beloved green chile. The glorious aroma of roasting chile fills the market. Tasty samples, recipes, and new ways of honoring the state’s coveted culinary mascot will keep your mouth watering, and your chile cravings in effect long after you return home.

Mouth-watering smells are in the air when Romero Farms roasts fresh green chile during fall harvest at the Farmers Market

One Shopping Bag Might Not Be Enough

There are more than 40 vendors at the market, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for a new addition for even more treasures. The Farmers Market Shops are located within the pavilion and next to the new Cafe Fresh. The cafe sources most of its ingredients from the market, so you can expect garden-fresh soups, salads, wraps, organic coffee, and pastries. Strolling around the Farmers Market Shops, you’ll find Vivac Winery, Artful Tea, ChocolateSmith, Gardens, and the Farmers Market Gift Shop. Income generated by the Shops and Cafe Fresh helps to keep vendor fees low. Win/win for all! The shops are open during regular market and Artisan Market hours.

Sunday Brings the Santa Fe Artisan Market

The vivid colors at the Artisan Market are one of my favorite parts of visiting on Sundays.

The Santa Fe Artisan Market, housed inside the Farmers Market Pavilion, boasts fine handmade crafts and artwork from more than 30 artists. The range of creative goodies spans from knitted scarves and hats, to watercolor landscapes, to artisanal teas and body products. Check out the selection of fun retro aprons, imported clothing from India, felt handbags, hand blown glassware, and a treasure-trove of jewelry. Pick up one-of-a-kind gifts here, or self-gifts — my favorites. Several crafters work while you stroll, offering unfiltered glimpses of their works-in-progress.

 

Meet at the Farmers Market for Special Summer Events at the Railyard Park

Along with the regular markets, the adjoining community space of the Railyard Park hosts many fun and family-friendly events throughout the summer. Summer in Santa Fe is a great time to check out swing dancing, reggae bands, gardening classes, art openings, and simply meeting with neighbors over coffee and burritos. All you need to do to have an essential Santa Fe experience is show up. Check the jam-packed schedule on the Santa Fe Railyard District website for information.

Locals and visitors gather at the Railyard to shop the Farmers Market, attend the free movie series, and attend family-friendly events throughout the summer

Don’t forget to gather your friends for the free Railyard Park Movie Series, which features movies every other Friday. From the Sound of Music to Willy Wonka to Stop Making Sense, there’s an entertaining movie for everyone.

See the Heart of Santa Fe at The Farmers Market

Enjoy the spirit of the lively vendors, the quality of every product laid out before you, and the energy of excited visitors. It’s a magical and lush experience that makes an impression on every guest. A day spent at The Farmer’s Market is a day immersed in the best that Santa Fe has to offer — fresh food, fine arts, diverse music, and a vibrant community.