The Top Three Santa Fe Art Walks You Must See

Here in our beautiful city the “Art Walk” has become a very popular way for art lovers to take in Santa Fe’s many galleries. Santa Fe has over 250 galleries, many clustered in three unique areas, including Canyon Road, the Santa Fe Railyard and Downtown Santa Fe.

What I love about art walks is the wonderful opportunity to interact personally with the artists and gallery owners. They are often available to answer questions and chat. You’ll feel the general “art opening” vibe in the air. This is a great way to meet and strike up a conversation with artists, locals and visitors alike!

If you are an art enthusiast or collector, you will find in Santa Fe an unparalleled diversity of fine art ranging from traditional to contemporary, including painting, sculpture, mixed media, graphic art and textiles.

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Serving Up A Slice Of Santa Fe Music

Serving Up A Slice Of Santa Fe Music

Santa Fe is known for its cuisine but did you know that with all that amazing food, hot music is also served up! Talk about efficient entertainment…food, cocktails and diverse music. On any given night you can be country western dancing in a downtown lounge to getting your groove on in a nightclub. Let’s rock the Santa Fe music scene!

Be Part Of Café Society

Love Santa Fe’s oldest bar, El Farol! A favorite amongst locals, enjoy world-class entertainment and  Spanish tapas, wines and liqueurs to savor. One way to sum up El Farol’s music programming would be “cafe society”. A term coined in New York in the late 30’s, it describes a place visited routinely by guests who expect the same type of music on that night. Musicians such as Tito Dimitrov, Sean Healen, Nacha Mendez and the Canyon Road Blues Jam keep that spirit ongoing.

Remember your dancing shoes for “El Farol”dance mania.
Remember your dancing shoes for “El Farol”dance mania.

Sing Us A Song, You’re The Piano Men

Ready for a piano sing-along requests? Well, Santa Fe has it’s own Piano Men! “Where can I find a world class piano bar in Santa Fe?” Look no further than Vanessie located on San Francisco Street. You’ll find on any given night you might be sitting around the piano requesting a song from the pianist or just enjoying the nights repetoire. You’ll be treated to some of the best local singer-songwriters to world class pianists and cabaret singers. You may also hear Doug Montgomery, who for over 30 years has entertained visitors and locals alike.

There’s another “Piano Man” in town and that’s David Geist. David entertains at Pranzo’s Italian Grill several nights a week and runs the gamut from Gershwin to Sondheim in his musical selections. If you’re in the mood for a memorable Italian dinner with great music and a tree top view, this is the place!

Pianist Doug Montgomery takes the helm four nights a week.
Pianist Doug Montgomery takes the helm four nights a week.

Broadway At Your Table

If you hear music from “Rent” emanating from a beautiful adobe doorway you most likely have discovered La Casa Sena’s La Cantina”. A Santa Fe favorite, the singing wait staff entertains you in this historic adobe building that dates back to 1868. The atomosphere in La Cantina is a convivial one and you may find yourself singing along. Music runs nightly from 6 pm until closing.

A server belts out a Broadway tune.
A “La Cantina” server belts out a familiar Broadway tune.

Hey Mr. DJ!

In the mood for some serious DJ dance music? Check out Skylight! Dance in of the hottest nightspots in town with nightly entertainment that includes live music, DJs, comedy and dance. You’ll want to watch dancing below from the second floor aptly named “Skylab”. Local DJ’s mix it up on the wheels of steel and Skylight occasionally brings in celebrity DJ’s such as UK house sensation, Dave Seaman.

Catch DJ acts at Skylight.
Catch DJ acts at Skylight.

Santa Fe Favorite Bands

Once you enter The Palace Restaurant and Saloon you’ll notice red flocked velvet wall paper that recalls the era gambling halls and saloons of the wild west of the 1850’s. If you’re looking for late night eats and music, this is the place! Fabulous local bands such as Nosotros, Anthony Leon and the Chain and Vanilla Pop are recurring favorites that perform here. You’ll see why British newspaper “The Guardian” listed it as one of its top ten bars in Santa Fe.

The saloon, with its red, flocked velvet wallpaper recalls the   gambling halls and saloons of yesteryear.
The saloon, with its red flocked velvet wallpaper recalls the gambling halls and saloons of yesteryear.

It Takes Two To Two Step

There’s always a lively party at La Fonda’s La Fiesta Lounge”, where live acts such as country western bring down the house six nights a week. The mood here is friendly and festive. Hear some of Santa Fe’s finest like the Bill Hearne Trio, Night Train and The Bus Tapes. Don’t know how to country two step? Here’ your chance to learn a few dance moves as you watch some of the seasoned regulars show you how it’s done.

A visit to the La Fiesta Lounge will have you two stepping in no time.
A visit to the La Fiesta Lounge will have you two stepping in no time.

One Man, One Guitar, One Voice

The “Living Room Lounge” at the Inn and Spa at Loretto plays host to Matthew Andrae, one of Santa Fe’s favorite musicians. Relax and take advantage of the romantic ambience the lounge offers. The lighting is just right as you sit back in a sumptuous couch with that special someone. Take in Matthew’s unique musical stylings while ordering delicious appetizers. Andrae’s music has been featured in movies, television shows and events such as the Winter Olympic Games and the World Expo.

You'll fall in love with Andrae's fiery flamenco rhythyms.
You’ll fall in love with Andrae’s fiery flamenco rhythms.

Nuevo Latino Rhythm

Drawing on a wide range of influences the Nacha Mendez Quartet repertoire consists of originals and music from all the Spanish speaking countries. Nacha Mendez has been serenading visitors and locals at the Staab House bar for over ten years in a beautiful setting. Hear Nacha transport you to Old Mexico or maybe even Cuba in song and rhythm. The mood  is heightened with a  stellar roster of musicians that include Chase Morrison, Carla Kountoupes and Jesus Gachupin who accompany her on Wednesday nights. Paired with this quartet you will see why Travel & Leisure Magazine said “the Staab House is the coziest bar in Santa Fe.”

These four musicians will open the door to your Latin world music journey.
These four musicians will open the door to your Latin world music journey.

Seven Nights A Week
The Cowgirl serves up some of the best local bands seven nights a week! Sit at a table outside or inside and  you will still hear acts such as Townes Van Zandt, Patsy Montana, Magic Slim and the Teardrops, Ramblin’ Jack Elliot, Shawn Mullins, Joe West, Mary and Mars and more.

Santa Fe “The City Different” showcases its impeccable range in culinary delights and music-hopping opportunities. Santa Fe provides the perfect nightlife experience combining  great food, refreshing cocktails and the rhythms of night. As you’re planning your next trip to Santa Fe don’t forget your dancing shoes!

The End Zone for Fun is Santa Fe

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

winter, outdoors, national preserve, santa fe, new mexico
Get your giddy-up going on a winter-white sleigh ride at Valles Caldera National Preserve. (Photo Credit: vallescaldera.gov)

You Can Be the Star Player in Santa Fe

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

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

Santa Fe, New Mexico, art, outdoor
There’s no skullduggery on the field at Shidoni’s Sculpture Garden, just hand-crafted beauty.

Go All Out for Art

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

 

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

 

Touch Down Inside Santa Fe for a Bounty of Beauty

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

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

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

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

Santa Fe, New Mexico, Dining, Plaza, Classic
A Frito Pie! That’s the ticket!

Santa Fe Dining: No Concessions Required

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

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

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

Santa Fe Lets You Call the Plays

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

 

Santa Fe’s Peaceful Spirit is Your Holiday Gift

Santa Fe, New Mexico, Holiday escapes
Silence is golden in the quaint adobe Friends Meeting House on Canyon Road.

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

Santa Fe is a Prescription for Peace

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

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

Santa Fe, New Mexico, Audubon Center, Nature
The Randall Davey Audubon Center is as picturesque in winter as it is in summer.

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

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

Activate Your Center with Movement

Santa Fe, New Mexico, historic landmarks
Just look up in Santa Fe and you’ll feel your spirits lifted upwards too.

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

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

Santa Fe, New Mexico,  yoga maze
You’ll be a-mazed at how centered you will feel when you visit Santa Fe.

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

Read and Reflect to Find Spiritual Refreshment

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

Santa Fe, New Mexico, Public Library
The Santa Fe library scene is one of peace and perusal.

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

Santa Fe is Truly Soul-Stirring

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

 

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

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

holiday, santa fe, New Mexico, lights, Christmas, candles, festive, holidays
Hearts are alight in Santa Fe when the holidays arrive. (Photo Credit: Hannah Abelbeck, courtesy of the New Mexico History Museum)

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

4-Xmas_Crafts2013_Hannah
Christmas crafts are part of the fun when families celebrate Christmas at the Palace. (Photo Credit: Hannah Abelbeck, courtesy of the New Mexico History Museum)

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

Anything But Silent Nights

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

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

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

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

4_xmaspromusica
Santa Fe Pro Musica goes for baroque in their annual holiday appearance at the Loretto Chapel. (Photo Credit: Santa Fe Pro Musica)

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

 

 

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

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

 

Santa Fe: Families Rekindled

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

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

Winter Over Under Santa Fe’s Blue Skies

Santa Fe, New Mexico, Art Gallery
Winter frost refreshes the view at Shidoni.

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

Spring into Action with Spring Break Santa Fe           

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

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

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

Santa Fe, New Mexico, Outdoors
Saddle up those sisters and brothers…time to ride into the west with Broken Saddle Riding. (Photo Credit: Broken Saddle Riding Co.)

Santa Fe Has A Bed for Every Head

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

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

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

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

Pack It All In with a Package

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

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

Reunite the Relatives in Santa Fe

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

Santa Fe a Bonanza for Film Fanatics

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

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

Turn on the Telly to see Santa Fe Shine

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

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

Film Fans Get Their Festival Fix

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

See Santa Fe in Full Color on the Big Screen

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

 

Artful Adventuring Awaits in Santa Fe

Summer is in full bloom–flowers blossoming and bees buzzing on long days ripe for enjoyment. I’m buzzing too, with excitement about the artistic riches in our hive. Santa Fe is always top 10 for creative cities, so we don’t need to go looking. Art and artists abound here!

The New Mexico Museum of Art is blooming outside and in.
The New Mexico Museum of Art is blooming outside and in.

See Beyond the Flower to a Colorful Career in Santa Fe

After her 30 years in residence, it’s apt that the new Judy Chicago exhibit at the New Mexico Museum of Art is titled Local Color: Judy Chicago in New Mexico 1984–2014. As the artist notes, New Mexico attracted her for the same reasons it draws so many:

“What I wanted was the freedom to work. And that’s what New Mexico has given me, far away from the centers of the art world where the international art market presses down on artists and makes it difficult to pursue a personal vision like my own.”

 

Judy Chicago: Return of the Butterfly, 2008 Lithograph from the Collection of the New Mexico Museum of Art (Photo Credit: New Mexico Museum of Art)
Judy Chicago: Return of the Butterfly, 2008 Lithograph from the Collection of the New Mexico Museum of Art (Photo Credit: New Mexico Museum of Art)

 

 

The exhibit focuses on works made in New Mexico, where Chicago shares studio space with her husband in an old hotel they renovated. A gamut of media is represented – cast bronze and needlework, stained and painted glass, works on paper and painted porcelain in themes both intimate and universal.

 

Far East Art Styles in a Southwest Setting

Our serene Santa Fe Botanical Garden provides seasonal color and form for plant-loving people. But those who love get an extra twist on the outdoors with Origami in the Garden. This large-scale installation of folded metal forms by artist Kevin Box is up until October. Each time I visit, I choose a different time of day, so the magic of light and weather always lets me experience these unique works anew.

Cranes come to life in the Santa Fe Botanical Garden.
Cranes come to life in the Santa Fe Botanical Garden.

The artist considers origami a “simple metaphor for life. We all begin with a blank page, what we choose to do with it is what matters and the possibilities are endless.” Though fascinated by this intricate Japanese art form, Box was struck by the natural impermanence of the paper traditionally used to create origami. His re-envisioning led to 15 evocative cast and fabricated sculptures thoughtfully situated throughout in the garden’s graceful setting. The garden has been a great addition to the City Different and installations like this prove it!

Kevin Box’ Origami in the Garden started in one dimension and ended in three. (Photo Credit: Kevin Box)
Kevin Box’ Origami in the Garden started in one dimension and ended in three. (Photo Credit: Kevin Box)

The Artistic Landscape is Unlimited at SITE Santa Fe

A visit to the cutting-edge SITE Santa Fe is de rigueur. From the day it opened, the quality has remained sharp, with thought-provoking exhibitions that validate Santa Fe’s credentials as an arts capital. The project, SITElines: New Perspectives on Art of the Americas, is a six-year series of linked exhibitions showcasing contemporary art of the Americas, and the museum-scale SITE space kicks off the project with Unsettled Landscapes, opening on July 17.

SITELines uncovers the past with Pablo Helguera’s performance of Nuevo Romancero Nuevomexicano. (Photo Credit: SITE Santa Fe)
SITELines uncovers the past with Pablo Helguera’s performance of Nuevo Romancero Nuevomexicano. (Photo Credit: SITE Santa Fe)

Organized by a curatorial team from throughout the Western Hemisphere, Unsettled Landscapes is the first of three biennial exhibitions taking place. Sewing together the themes of landscape, territory, and trade, the exhibit is laced with political and historical narratives. With artists from Nunavut in the northernmost reaches of Canada to Chile’s Tierra del Fuego, the artistic spectrum covers a lot of territory. I’m ready to embark on this journey July 18 with Pablo Helguera’s Nuevo Romancero Nuevomexicano, a multi-disciplinary performance based on the forbidden card games of New Mexico’s Mexican era.

 

Bring On the Blues

Anyone who knows me knows that Turquoise, Water, Sky: the Stone and Its Meaning at the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture has me enthralled. My turquoise fandom has me ooh-in and ahh-ing at this remarkable compendium of artifacts from the Museum’s collection. Not simply a semi-precious gem, turquoise has been honored as a sky and water stone, bringing blessings, good fortune, protection, good health and long life.

Cerrillos turquoise is stunning, even “in the rough.” (Photo Credit: Museum of Indian Arts and Culture)
Cerrillos turquoise is stunning, even “in the rough.” (Photo Credit: Museum of Indian Arts and Culture)

Cherished for its beauty and extensive range of hues, this “fallen sky stone” hidden in Mother Earth was a Southwestern adornment long before Columbus landed. Each individual stone’s color depends on the minerals in the area where it was mined. More copper means a bluer stone, more iron a greener one. Ancient mines dotted the Southwest, and the resulting variety of color and design is mesmerizing. And the history of turquoise in the Southwest is just as spellbinding. The museum has done a yeoman’s job of scouring the archives for examples, and an afternoon here means you’ll probably be shopping later to add to your own collection.

The sky stone comes to earth at the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture. (Photo Credit: Kitty Leaken, courtesy of MIAC)
The sky stone comes to earth at the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture. (Photo Credit: Kitty Leaken, courtesy of MIAC)

Santa Fe Creates an Especially Artistic Summer Experience

Having this rich mix of the traditional and the new means there is a pleasurable palette of experience for all. That’s why my adobe abode is summer visitors’ central! Creativity has been at the forefront of Santa Fe for centuries, so make your artistic pit stop here and you won’t go wrong.

 

Santa Fe and Photography Just Click

I firmly believe that no city in the world offers more wonder and inspiration for photography lovers than Santa Fe. Maybe it’s the way the rounded corners and angular lines of the adobe building bend the light. Or the way the Sangre de Cristo’s mountaintops invite themselves into every frame.

Cropping Not Needed: With Santa Fe’s distinctive light and iconic landscapes, there will be little you want to cut from the frame.
Cropping Not Needed: With Santa Fe’s distinctive light and iconic landscapes, there will be little you want to cut from the frame.

But whatever it is that gives Santa Fe its unique shadow and light—combine it with the totems of Santa Fe’s people, culture, and heritage—and photographic mastery is just a click away.

Santa Fe Photographic Workshops Fuel Creative Energies

Another Santa Fe Photographic Workshops student strikes photographic gold (and sepia) (Photo courtesy of Tina Miller.)
Another Santa Fe Photographic Workshops student strikes photographic gold (and sepia)
(Photo courtesy of Tina Miller.)

For the photographically inclined of any skill level, Santa Fe offers a smorgasbord of workshops ranging from the technical to the philosophical. One of my personal favorites is Santa Fe Photographic Workshops. Offering classes year round, photographers engage their imaginations, rekindle their passion, and hone their craft, all while maintaining their personal style. Be sure to check out their expansive calendar of events. Upcoming workshops include  “A Natural Eye: The Summer Landscape,” and “Crafting Dramatic Light With Small Strobes.”

Developing Skills with Santa Fe Digital Darkroom Classes

Contrasting Images: Learn how to improve yours at Santa Fe’s Digital Darkroom (Photo courtesy of Santa Fe Digital Darkroom)
Contrasting Images: Learn how to improve yours at Santa Fe’s Digital Darkroom
(Photo courtesy of Santa Fe Digital Darkroom)

If you’re like me, you feel confident in your ability to capture stirring images through the lens, but are often left asking, “Now what?”. Personalized, intensive workshops and mentoring programs offered at the Santa Fe Digital Darkroom guide you step-by-step through Adobe Photoshop®, Lightroom®, and digital photography techniques. Photographers with decades of experience and those new to the form can raise their game with the experienced, nurturing instruction here.

In addition to hands-on instruction, Santa Fe Digital Darkroom also hosts photographic tours through the city’s most breathtaking, picture-taking locales.  For starters, there’s The City Different Tour that brings legendary and off-the-beaten-path Santa Fe landmarks into your viewfinder. You can also opt for the natural beauty of Ghost Ranch, Abiquiu and the Chama River Valley as part of the Landscape Tour. And if you’re ready for something otherworldly, the Tent Rocks Tour offers a photographer’s paradise of surreal landscapes with ancient rock spires, twisting canyons and unforgettable views that comprise Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument. All told, Santa Fe Digital Darkroom offers more than a dozen photographic tours, any one of which is sure to move you.

Every Picture Tells a Story in Santa Fe

Farolitos make Santa Fe architecture even more picturesque. (Photo courtesy of Thad Roan.)
Farolitos make Santa Fe architecture even more picturesque.
(Photo courtesy of Thad Roan.)

A word of advice for any seasoned or wannabe photo buff planning a Santa Fe excursion: You better not blink, because you’ll find sources of visual inspiration at every turn.

St. Francis Cathedral is full of heavenly imagery.
St. Francis Cathedral is full of heavenly imagery.

If you’re looking for a good place to start, you can’t go wrong with the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi, located right on The Plaza. You’ll wish you had faster shutter speed when visiting this gem that dates back to 1869. You also can’t miss (literally) the iconic Cross of the Martyrs. Located at the crest of the hill on Paseo de la Loma, this 25-foot-tall cross overlooking all of Santa Feoffers the ideal vantage point for breathtaking shots of the city.

The Loretto Chapel staircase doesn’t have a bad side
The Loretto Chapel staircase doesn’t have a bad side (Photo courtesy of Matt Payne)

 

 

The hand-carved wooden spiral staircase at Loretto Chapel is a photographer’s dream, too. This marvel of craftsmanship was created with no structural means of support, and its double 360-degree spirals of velvety wood grain bathed in cathedral light make for an indelible photographic image. And when the day is done in Santa Fe, photographic ecstasy is just beginning. The applause-worthy sunsets here elicit awe from even the most seasoned shutterbug.

Santa Fe offers photographic magic as far as the eye can see
Santa Fe offers photographic magic as far as the eye can see

Make Your Santa Fe Adventure Picture Perfect

We photography enthusiasts are a restless bunch. We’re not content with standard-issue “vacation photos.” We thrive on the story within the story that great photographs convey. That’s what makes Santa Fe such a wonderland for anyone who’s been bitten by the (shutter) bug: Everywhere you turn, there’s a story, a personal narrative and the poetry of light and shadow. The best part is, you don’t need any experience or gear to capture truly awe-inspiring images. Whether you use a camera phone or a Canon, in Santa Fe there’s no way to not get the picture.