Romantic Guide to Santa Fe

Couple exploring Downtown Santa Fe

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

 

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

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

Estrella del Norte Vineyard

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

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

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

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

Spectacular sunset from La Fonda Bell Tower

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

Indulging in a romantic dinner

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

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

 

Valentine’s Day & Annual Romantic Events

At the Artist Table

WHEN: February 14, 2013 from 6 – 9 pm

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

Moonstruck at the Lensic Performing Arts Center

WHEN: February 14, 2013 at 7 pm

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

ARTfeast

WHEN: February 22-24, 2013

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

Santa Fe Restaurant Week

WHEN: February 24–March 3, 2013

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

 Aspen Santa Fe Ballet

WHEN: March 29-30, 2013

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

First Friday Art Walks

WHEN: First Friday of the Month

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

Last Friday Art Walk at the Railyard Galleries

WHEN: Last Friday of the Month

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

Santa Fe Opera Festival Season

WHEN: June 28 – August 24, 2013

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

By Gabe Trujillo 2/14/13

Can’t-Miss Santa Fe Winter Experiences

“What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness.”  – John Steinbeck

While many towns lull into hibernation during the winter months, Santa Fe vibrates with life. Picturesque snowdrifts blanket adobe walls. Laughter and conversation surround crackling kiva fireplaces. The spicy aromas of piñon and cedar permeate the air. Deep relaxing pueblo drumming echoes northern New Mexico. And flavorful pots of posole and green chile stew transport you back to grandma’s cozy kitchen. Food & Wine proclaims, “Winter is the perfect time to explore Santa Fe and discover all of its wondrous offerings.” We locals couldn’t agree more!

Winter in The City Different is, well, different. In a city blessed with a gorgeous array of winter scenery, you’ll often find lunchtime temperatures 30 degrees warmer than our crisp mornings, and sunshine during a snowfall is not uncommon. Few things match the sublime sight of light rays dancing between giant snowflakes.

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PARTY ON IN PEACE: Celebrating the 300th Anniversary of Fiesta de Santa Fe.

If there’s one tradition that captures the vibrant spirit of Santa Fe, it’s our city’s annual celebration, La Fiesta de Santa Fe–a colorful, historic feast unlike anything you’ve experienced. With parades, dancing, concerts, and a 30-foot effigyof gloom built every year just to be burned to the ground, La Fiesta de Santa Fe is truly a feast for all the senses.

As thousands of fiesta-goers who return year-after-year will attest, celebrating Santa Fe style means more than just revelry. Legendary food, music and the pageantry of 300 year traditions provide the perfect celebration.  Crowds discover and rediscover a bounty of authentic local cuisine and regional wines at gourmet restaurants and traditional food booths lining the Plaza. Streets spill over with music, parades and cries of “Viva la Fiesta,” with festivities pausing only for a majestic, time-honored Catholic ceremony.

Ask any local, and you’ll discover that Fiesta de Santa Fe has a special place in the hearts of Santa Feans. Beyond its fun and pageantry, it offers a unique blend of ancient culture, modern art, and longstanding community traditions.  ¡Viva La Fiesta!

A Celebration of Peace

With a name that means “holy faith” in Spanish, it won’t surprise anyone to learn that there’s a lot of Spanish colonial heritage in Santa Fe. In fact, Santa Fe was considered the capital city even when New Mexico was still the “Kingdom of New Mexico” under the rule of the King of Spain. La Fiesta de Santa Fe is a celebration created by the conquistadors who helped establish colonies here.

It might be hard to get excited about celebrating colonialism in the Twenty First Century, but Fiesta de Santa Fe has survived since 1912 because it was never a celebration of Spanish conquest. La Fiesta de Santa Fe has survived so long because it celebrates cultures coming together in peace. After years of conflict between colonists and native tribes, Don Diego de Vargas successfully re-occupied Santa Fe without conflict or bloodshed. It was such a profound step toward peaceful coexistence that De Vargas attributed it to divine intervention and insisted that a feast be held in reverence of the Virgin Mary.

Conflicts did not completely disappear, but the tradition of celebrating a peaceful marriage of differing cultures remained, an attitude that characterizes Santa Fe even today. Visitors can celebrate culture and history by retracing the actual steps of the city’s ancestors through the center of town, or by joining a candlelight procession on the last day of the Fiesta.

A Celebration of Art

In 1924, before Burning Man, and comparatively new to the rest of Fiesta celebrations, the burning of Zozobra began as a creation by artist William Shuster. A member of a group known around town as Los Cincos Pintores (the five painters), Shuster was among the first Anglo artists to discover Santa Fe’s unspoiled beauty and natural splendor. By then, La Fiesta de Santa Fe was over two hundred years old and had seen better days.

Not content to let the tradition die, Will Shuster and several of his friends hatched a plot to stage a fiesta of their own in an empty lot behind City Hall. Shuster adapted a tradition with roots in Roman Catholicism as well as the cultural ceremonies of the Yaqui Indians to create a huge marionette personification of gloom that would be burned into cinders.

This year Fiesta de Santa Fe celebrates its 300th anniversary, proving that partying in peace can be a lasting tradition. So join Santa Fe in watching your troubles and gloom go up in smoke. “Viva La Fiesta”!

Fiesta De Santa Fe Events: September 5-9, 2012

September 5

Concierto de Mariachi: 10am – 12pm & 2pm – 4pm at the Lensic Performing Art Center
Historical Fiesta Lecture:  6pm – 7:30 September 5 at the New Mexico History Museum

September 6

Burning of Zozobra: 3pm – 11pm  at Fort Marcy Park

September 7

Pregon de la Fiesta: 6am – 7am at Rosario Chapel
Fiesta Fine Art and Craft Market: 9am – 5pm at the Santa Fe Plaza
Food Booths: 9am – 10pm at the Santa Fe Plaza
Bandstand on the Plaza: 10am – 10pm at the Santa Fe Plaza
Official Opening of the Fiesta: 12pm – 12:30pm at the Santa Fe Plaza
Entrada de Don Diego de Vargas: 2pm – 3pm at the Santa Fe Plaza

September 8

Desfile de Los Ninos (The Pet Parade): 9am – 10:45am Downtown Santa Fe
Bandstand on the Plaza: 10:45am – 10pm at the Santa Fe Plaza
La Merienda (The Fashion Show): 3pm – 5pm at the James A. Little Theater
Gran Baile: 7:30pm at the Santa Fe Community Convention Center

 September 9

Solemn Procession: 9:30am – 10am at the Palace of the Governors
Pontifical Mass: 10am – 11:15am at the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Francis of Assisi
Bandstand on the Plaza: 11am- 5pm at the Santa Fe Plaza
Desfile de la Gente Historical Parade: 12:30pm – 3 pm Downtown Santa Fe
Closing Ceremonies: 5:15pm – 5:30pm at the Santa Fe Plaza
Mass of Thanksgiving and Candlelight Procession: 7pm – 9pm at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi

Find more ways and reasons to celebrate in Santa Fe here!

Artsy Flavor on Canyon Road

canyon road sky

Canyon Road is the heart of art in Santa Fe. This charming neighborhood has developed into global destinationteeming with diverse and captivating art collections. You’ll find Contemporary, Native and Folk Art, sculptural works, textiles, ceramics, jewelry and fashion, to name but a few. Whatever your tastes, you are likely to be sated here. The vibe is mellow and inviting as people mill about, following the road where it takes them, resulting in an easy unfolding of the perfect kind of day.

canyon road blue gate
Amazingly, there are over 100 world-class galleries available for your viewing pleasure on Canyon Road. This density of art creates a dynamism of experience that is easily accessible.

Begin your expedition at the bottom of the canyon just off Paseo de Peralta. A whimsical sculpture of three dancing lambs will greet you on the left at Gallery 203B. Just across the street, a more recent addition, Arroyo focuses on a Western sensibility in a multitude of forms.
Be sure to take your time as you walk amid the fragrant pines and spreads of colorful blooms, back-dropped against the canvas of the azure summer sky. You can feel the stress dropping away with each step, as you partake of the visual wonderment.

Ventana Fine Art serves up vibrant Contemporary fare, Chalk Farm Gallery takes us to the stratosphere and beyond with it’s Visionary art, and don’t miss the magical outdoor sculpture garden at Wiford Gallery.

You’ll want to have your camera ready for the stunning sights that abound, including our legendary monsoon cloud formations that typically gather in the summer afternoons.
It’s easy to spend a whole day taking in the sights.

Canyon Road first developed as a farming community. A bucolic terrain settled by the Spanish, Santa Fe is the oldest capital city in the United States.
The history of Santa Fe pulses in the architecture on Canyon Road, from the warm adobe walls ofTerritorial and Spanish homes, to the few surviving farmhouses that still exist.

Artists began to populate here in the 1880’s, many were drawn to the area for relief from respiratory ailments which were soothed in the dry, high desert air. Eventually, artist colonies formed and flourished. Like Paris in the 30’s and 40’s, one’s creativity blossomed in the fecund ground of Santa Fe’s idyllic ambiance. Canyon Road even had a unique “residential arts and crafts” zoning classification.

After drinking in the beauty of this enchanting road, you will work up an appetite, and Canyon Road does not disappoint. You have an array of choices as well;
Casual settings with tasty food can be found atThe Teahouse, known for their Cowboy Chai, orCanyon Hideout Cafe. If you want to indulge in award-winning cuisine, The Compound or Geronimoare memorable choices.
For scrumptious tapas and drinks, try El Farol, Santa Fe’s oldest restaurant which has live music Thursdays through Sundays.
For in-depth information on all things Canyon Road, visit: Canyon Road Arts Website.
canyon road archway
canyon road mermaid