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.

Make Awe-Inspiring Outdoor Adventures in Santa Fe a New Year’s Resolution

I know, I know. We usually enter into New Year’s resolutions out of guilt, and typically abandon them out of frustration right around February. But I propose a resolution you’ll stick with joyfully: Resolve to get back to nature and make some truly life-affirming discoveries in the great outdoors in and around Santa Fe. My off-the-beaten-path experiences bring me personal inspiration and much-needed rejuvenation. And what better way to kick off the New Year than to start planning your getaway to personal renewal in 2014? Okay, buckle up for adventure and let’s go.

Tour An Outdoor Museum with Stunning Views at Pecos National Historical Park

The ceremonial Pueblo kiva at Pecos National Historical Park never fails to awe and inspire.
The ceremonial Pueblo kiva at Pecos National Historical Park never fails to awe and inspire.

I can think of nowhere on earth where getting a hands-on history lesson is more visually stunning than Pecos National Historical Park. Located just 17 miles east of Santa Fe, the Park treats you to such unforgettable sights as the Pecos (or Ciquique) Pueblo dwellings dating back to 1100 AD, the remains of the Mission Nuestra Señora de los Ángeles de Porciúncula de los Pecos (a Spanish mission built in the early 17th century), and even a stretch of wagon ruts left by pioneers traversing the Santa Fe Trail. In all, you get a vivid snapshot of how human culture has travelled to and from the Pecos Valley for thousands of years. The Park is a wonder to behold, with piñon, juniper, and ponderosa pines towering above the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. I’d suggest bringing a lunch and setting aside plenty of time for gazing and sighing, because this place is a wonderland.

Go Back in (Geologic) Time at Bandelier National Monument

The unexcavated Tsankawi section of Bandelier National Monument offers a rustic, off-the-beaten-path experience.
The unexcavated Tsankawi section of Bandelier National Monument offers a rustic, off-the-beaten-path experience.

Bandelier National Monument will give your jaw a real workout, because it will be dropping over and over again. Take it from someone with first-hand experience of the place: The pristine nature, postcard-worthy terrain, and stunning pueblo dwellings will be forever imprinted in your mind. More than one million acres of the Santa Fe National Forest surround the Monument on all sides. This is the stuff breathtaking hikes and mountain bike rides are made of. Within the park, you’ll explore pueblo dwellings dating back to the 1300’s that appear both ancient and totally modern in design. These structures are among the Monument’s abundant evidence of a human presence going back over 11,000 years, which includes Petroglyphs, and dwellings literally carved into rock cliffs. That’s because nomadic hunter-gatherers followed migrating wildlife across the mesas and canyons here, and later, the Ancestral Pueblo people built the more permanent adobe settlements. In all, Bandelier National Monument comprises a visually staggering 33,000 acres of beautiful canyon and mesa country.

There’s also a relatively undiscovered gem at Bandelier: The unexcavated Tsankawi section of the Monument. Here, you can hike the very same trails used by the Ancestral Pueblo people, while marveling at numerous archeological sites and petroglyphs—all set against Tsankawi’s spectacular vistas. Be sure to bring your camera, because your friends are in for one legendary slide show! You can make the short one-hour drive to Bandelier from Santa Fe by heading north toward Los Alamos.

Looking for a Real Hot Spot? Valles Caldera National Preserve is Downright Volcanic

Your outdoor wish is Valles Caldera’s demand.
Your outdoor wish is Valles Caldera’s demand.

If you’re looking to get back to Nature, the natural choice is Valles Caldera National Preserve, located a short jaunt north west of Santa Fe. Expect to see wildlife, sweeping vistas, and the Preserve’s defining features: Hot springs, pristine streams, volcanic domes and “fumaroles,” or cracks in the earth’s crust that emit steam and gas. You see, Valles Caldera (also known as Jemez Caldera) is a wide volcanic caldera (or collapsed volcanic dome) that runs for almost 14 miles along the Jemez Mountains of northern New Mexico. The Preserve climbs to its highest point at Redondo Peak, an 11,253-foot resurgent lava dome located entirely within the Preserve. During the winter months, sleigh and wagon rides (complete with a guided tour) within the Preserve offer a magical experience for the whole family. Just be sure to check the available dates for sleigh and wagon rides when planning your trip. Warmer months at Valles Caldera offer a mind-blowing array of outdoor adventures that ranges from fly-fishing and elk hunting, to equestrian trail riding and mountain biking.

Valles Caldera is also home to several lush grass valleys teeming with wildlife. And get this: Only one of these valleys is accessible by a paved road. (Talk about getting back to your natural state!) Trust me, you’ll get the feeling you have this glorious natural setting to yourself, because the Preserve limits the number of visitors each day to ensure an optimal experience. Here, you’ll experience a tranquil sense of solitude that no man cave or bubble bath can touch.

Lose Yourself (and Find Yourself) at Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument

You’ll Feel Transported at Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument.
You’ll Feel Transported at Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument.

Just 40 miles southwest of Santa Fe lies the doorway to another world. Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument (Kasha-Katuwe means “white cliffs” in the Pueblo tongue) achieved its cinematic beauty to layers of volcanic rock and ash deposited by flows from a volcanic explosion 6 to 7 million years ago. Time and water then carved canyons and the legendary tent rocks that are cones of soft pumice stone that range in height from a few inches to 90 feet.

I must confess, Tent Rocks was a life-changer for me. When I first visited, I wandered in awe through the water-etched canyons and arroyos, then summited a bluff that overlooked these otherworldly tent rock formations. The best way I can describe them is a cross between prehistoric stone monuments and fanciful backdrops from classic Roadrunner cartoons. “How did the hand of Nature create something this surreal?” you’re left to wonder.

A hiker’s paradise, Tent Rocks offers trails for novices and adrenaline junkies alike. These trails reveal birds and other wildlife rarely seen by vacationers, not to mention countless meditative moments, and yes, envy-inducing photo-ops. I urge you to make Tent Rocks part of your resolution to explore the wonders of the outdoors. Here, you get a little of that outdoor “I did something adventurous” boost, while nourishing your soul with soul-stirring vistas and the hushed whispers of the canyons.

Make Outdoor Discoveries in Santa Fe a 2014 Resolution

Frijoles Canyon Inspires Santa Fe Visitors 365 Days a Year.
Frijoles Canyon Inspires Santa Fe Visitors 365 Days a Year.

Hey, there’s no law that says New Year’s resolutions have to be something you agonize over. Break out of that same-old thinking about the new year and plan your escape to the outdoor marvels you’ll find at every turn near Santa Fe. You’ll feel rejuvenated, reenergized, and reconnected to nature. And that’s a resolution you’ll love keeping.

 

 

 

 

Day-trip Down Santa Fe’s Artistic Studio Trails

I enjoy a museum or gallery day as much as any art-loving gal does, but when the fall Santa Fe Area Area Studio Tour season begins, I am one happy camper. The reason is simple: Not only can I admire unique and imaginative creations, but I can also see the spaces in which they’re crafted, and I can meet the artists who dreamed them into reality. Santa Fe is the perfect home base to explore the variety of artistic expression on any of the incredible tours that surround the City Different. To me, that’s a complete picture. If you feel the same way, then map one of these terrific art tours into your Santa Fe getaway.

Choose the High Road for an Artistic Adventure

The High Road to Taos Studio Tour is so full of talent that it runs two weekends. This stellar event, September 21-22 and 28-29, kicks off the autumn studio tour season in a big way, as befits an organization encompassing so many artistic villages. This all-day outing lets you experience great nearby galleries and eclectic studio spaces. You’ll also take in the pristine scenery of northern New Mexico, and the dramatic light that has called to artists throughout the centuries. The 2013 High Road Tour celebrates its 15th anniversary, and honestly, it gets better with every passing year.

Dive right into the flow of art by driving north from Chimayo to visit the historic Santuario. Then, come home a different route via the low road along the Rio Grande. Be sure to make a 360-degree scan of the stunning views as you choose which treasures will decorate your home with Santa Fe memories.

Sally Delap-John’s painting “Cordova” captures the essence of a trip on the High Road Tour.

 

Traditional northern New Mexico weaving is a tradition that lives on along the High Road through the work of artists like Jennette Vigil.

The Secret Heart of Art

My mother taught me to share, so I’ll let you in on my favorite unknown place, about an hour north of Santa Fe: El Rito. Don’t zip by the turnoff to this beautiful spot on your way to Abiquiu and O’Keeffe country or you’ll miss something special. If you head to the El Rito Studio Tour October 5-6, you’ll see the glory of fall’s golden colors in the north country, spread out over a green plateau ringed by mountains. While not as large as some of the other tours, this one is just as rich in artistic expression. El Rito hosts a branch of Northern New Mexico Community College, which has helped keep the traditional arts alive. You can think ahead and pick up lunch to go from a Santa Fe restaurant or head to El Farolito Restaurant right on El Rito’s Main Street for a home-cooked treat.

“Pines by the River” (oil transfer drawings on Japanese Rice Paper) floated up from the fertile imagination of El Rito artist Julie Wagner.

Going Galisteo Way?

The Galisteo Basin has been home to artists for literally thousands of years, as the numerous unexcavated Puebloan ruins in the area demonstrate. And the Galisteo Studio Tour October 19-20 gives you a rare opportunity to immerse yourself in the charm and history of this sweet village, 23 miles southwest of Santa Fe. Galisteo is home of many privacy-loving notables, including the late painter Agnes Martin and ‘50’s songsmith Burl Ives. This spot also packs a large punch of talent in current residents potter Priscilla Hoback, painter Woody Gwyn, art critic Lucy Lippard, and chef/food maven Deborah Madison. 25 stops encompass 33 artists’ work, and there’s food along the way — I love that!

Look for a Galisteo street-side sculpture by Candyce Garrett.

The Fabled Gold of Eldorado Is the Art

While the conquistadors’ determined search for gold was unfulfilled, the local community of Eldorado, named for the city they quested, is rich in artistic treasures. Originally developed as a retirement community with a bent for passive solar design, Eldorado quickly became a residential choice for artists and craftsmen of all persuasions. Not a surprise given its expansive views and the buried utility lines that allow for unobstructed  enjoyment of the fantastic sunsets.

The main studio event takes place in May with a tour throughout the community, and the artists of Eldorado also bring their work right into Santa Fe every autumn. The fall show is October 25-26 at St. John’s Methodist Church. Last fall, 58 artists participated, so you can get all of the beauty in one easy-access spot right in the heart of Santa Fe.

Evie Gaurhier is one of the artistic treasures you’ll find in Eldorado.

Doing It Artistically in Dixon

The first weekend in November heralds the arrival of the Dixon Studio Tour, now in its 32nd incarnation. Tucked along a canyon 26 miles south of Taos, Dixon not only includes 29 artists’ studios to visit, it’s also the only studio tour that boasts a winery built by two brothers and a garlic farm gardened by a writer. If you get the artistic bug yourself, you can take a creative workshop. Stopping into the Elementary School Mercado guarantees that you’ll meet some of the local families who have carved out a living in this scenic enclave perched along the Rio Grande.

La Cienega, a Hidden Haven of Talent

Late-autumn travelers wind up the studio tour season with a visit to La Cienega, a mere 10 miles or so south of Santa Fe. The name translates to “the swamp,” but all it signifies now is that the area is an oasis of old cottonwoods and poplar trees. This whole valley was once a Spanish land grant, and the water that makes it tree-laden is still part of the attraction. While the leaves may have dropped by Thanksgiving weekend, November 30-December 1, when the studio tour occurs, the timing means you can start your holiday shopping by buying direct from the artists of the La Cienega Studio Tour. This is one of the smaller tours, but most of the artists on it have lived out here on their acreage for many a long year, and their level of craft has been honed to perfection.

A radiant representation of the vivid La Cienega landscape, courtesy of LeRoy Thompson

Let a Tour Create Your Memories

You can see that Santa Fe comes by its artistic reputation honestly, and not just because of the many world-class museums and stellar galleries that you find all over this art-loving town. And since the studio tours are planned over different weekends throughout the year, you can always return for a whole new experience. If you venture out into the hidden haunts where the artists themselves find inspiration, you’ll be inspired too – and hopefully bring back something beautiful to remind you of your Santa Fe art adventures.

Santa Fe Nature is All Around Us

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

Santa Fe Walkabouts — So Much More than Walking

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

Be Inspired with Outspire

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Geocaching always brings out everyone’s inner adventurer.

 

Santa Fe Is an Outdoor Adventure

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

Ignite Your Competitive Spirit with Santa Fe’s Gorgeous Sport Adventures

Editor’s note: As much as she would like to fancy herself the outdoorsy sporty type, our writer’s legendary inappropriate footwear gives her away. This week, she turns over the blog to one of her more sports-minded friends who understands flip-flops are not always the best shoe choice for Santa Fe.

It doesn’t take much effort to turn Santa Fe into an outdoor sports playground. With its extremely refreshing weather and gorgeous surroundings, people just can’t help but want to go out and get moving. Biking, running, golf, baseball — from the serene to the extreme — Santa Fe is a natural sports paradise. That’s a good thing, because with so much delectable food in Santa Fe, you’ll be looking for a thrilling way to burn a few calories.

I know you are excited, but let’s go over some basic tips for getting active in Santa Fe. The City Different is located at an elevation of 7,000 feet. So while the air might be the cleanest in the country, it’s probably a little thinner than what you’re used to. Allow yourself a day to get acclimated before embarking on that epic hike or trail run. Drink plenty of water and avoid excessive intake of alcohol; save the silver coin margaritas for the post-ride victory celebration. Thinner air also means you’re going to want lots of sunscreen. And, of course, dress in layers for cool mornings and warm afternoons.

The view from Atalaya Mountain (Source: im me, flickr.com)

Mountain Biking

Mountain biking in Santa Fe is truly world class, offering everything from beginner trails to expert terrain. The prestige of Santa Fe’s trails lead the International Mountain Bike Association to hold their world summit here. Choose a slow-paced scenic route, a challenging brutal trek, or a fast-paced downhill run like the Windsor Trail.

Just minutes north of downtown, the Dale Ball South trail network is an easy-to-access, immaculate 22-mile trail system offering single-track loops for all levels of riders. You don’t need expensive gear or a closet full of race jerseys to enjoy an invigorating ride overlooking the city. Just hop on, pedal, and enjoy. Experienced riders looking for a challenge can take on the Atalaya trail leading to the top of Atalaya Mountain. Ride on weekdays to avoid crowds. Check out the Santa Fe Fat Tire Society for the inside scoop on the best trails and group rides.

For those with an inclination for organized events, make plans for Santa Fe’s 28th Annual Century Ride, rich in both pedal power and tradition. 100 miles of history pass under your wheels as you ride the ancient Turquoise Trail across the Ortiz and San Pedro Mountains, the Estancia Valley, on to the historic village of Galisteo, and back to Santa Fe. Six food stops along the way provide riders with hydration, snacks, fresh fruit, and more. There are 25- and 50-mile “out & back” routes for riders not yet ready to knock out the full century. The Century Ride gets rolling May 19. Don’t miss your chance to ride this historic trail.

Running: The Santa Fe to Buffalo Thunder  Half Marathon + Gladiator Dash

Prefer to tackle Santa Fe on foot? Explore one of the many running trails in and around the city and its glorious natural surroundings. If you’re looking for more motivation, try the Santa Fe to Buffalo Thunder Half Marathon, one of Santa Fe’s many destination races. The primarily downhill run takes you from the heart of historic Santa Fe to the magnificent Buffalo Thunder Casino.

The USATF-certified course has spectacular views of the Sangre de Cristo and Jemez Mountains and takes runners into the colorful Rio Grande Valley. The starting pistol fires Sunday, September 15th. The run benefits Global Running Culture, a nonprofit group dedicated to promoting youth fitness.

Good but not-so-clean fun at the Gladiator Dash Credit: ultimategladiatordash.com

Runners looking for something a bit more “extreme” should get down and dirty with the Gladiator Dash. The Dash is a 5K “Ultra Extreme Mud Obstacle Challenge” that commands you to climb, jump, crawl, and conquer. This race will definitely leave your body covered (and I mean covered) in mud. It’s an absolute mess and an insane amount of fun. The Gladiator Dash wreaks havoc on September 7th. Sign up with a friend or race as a team.

Golf

Sports in Santa Fe aren’t all about testing your limits; they can also test your patience. Experience the glory and heartache at one of Santa Fe’s exceptional golf courses. Schedule a tee time at the Marty Sanchez Links de Santa Fe, named after the late Santa Fe legend. This municipal course is an attractive value, with lush, challenging greens, magnificent views, and a friendly staff. If the weekly tournaments don’t keep you coming back, the expansive pro shop and delicious grill just might. Like Marty Sanchez himself, this course is a gift to the city. Walk-ups are welcome.

The Fuego

Pitcher Rod Tafoya brings the heat for the Santa Fe Fuego (Credit: Scott Sacker,
flickr.com)

Last year, professional baseball arrived in Santa Fe with the Fuego. Pecos League commissioner and Santa Fe owner Andrew Dunn called the Fuego’s first season at Fort Marcy Park, “quite possibly the best year of any expansion team I’ve ever had.” The brand new team led the independent league in attendance. How’s that for hometown spirit! “The community understands the commitment of the players and appreciates the players and fully supports the team,” said Dunn. The Fuego’s first home game is against the Taos Blizzard May 16th at Fort Marcy Park. Take a nine-inning break and root, root, root for the home team.

Whether planning a trail run or lining up a birdie, there’s so much to experience and explore in Santa Fe. If you really want to get away from it all, nothing helps melt stress like exercise. Remember, after a workout, be sure to properly recover and refuel. As for me, I’ll either be on my bike, debating what club to use at Marty Sanchez, or at Fort Marcy Park wearing a Fuego cap and sipping on a Happy Camper IPA.

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

Mountain Splendor, Thrilling Adventures and Tantalizing Cuisine.

If you’re craving some outdoor adventure, then Santa Fe needs to be at the top of your must-explore list. Its gorgeous landscape is home to miles of trails, perfect for hikers and bikers of all experience levels. And whether journeying on foot or on wheels, you’ll be breathing the cleanest air in the country, just ask the American Lung Association. You don’t have to go far to enjoy this outdoor enthusiast’s paradise – the wilderness of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains begins just minutes from downtown Santa Fe. It’s time to hit the trails!

Photo courtesy of Southwest Mountain Adventures – Santa Fe, NM

The Aspen Vista Trail is the most popular in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. Its gradual uphill climb is ideal for hikers of all abilities and ages. And, when the snow starts falling the trail makes for the perfect cross-country skiing. If you’re looking for a steeper ascent, head to the top of the Atalaya Mountain Trail. You can catch your breath as you admire majestic views of the Rio Grande valley and Santa Fe below.

View from Aspen Vista Trail – Santa Fe, NM

There are many other trails that provide scenic trips through some of the most magnificent scenery in the southwest. Awe at the large stands of evergreens, piñon and juniper forests, cottonwood and willow trees, lush aspen-fir forests, vibrant fields of wildflowers, and stunning monarch butterflies. You can easily a find great place to picnic, camp, bird watch, and more. Before you head out, don’t forget to prepare for high elevation adventure. Fuel up with a traditional New Mexican breakfast, Café Pasqual’s and the Plaza Café both dish up tasty huevos rancheros.

For those who prefer their fresh-aired splendor a bit bumpier, Santa Fe provides some of the best mountain biking in the southwest. Trails range from slow-paced scenic routes to challenging brutal treks. The Dale Ball Trails is an easy-to-access, immaculate 22-mile trail system just minutes from the plaza. Ranging from St. John’s College to the Sierra Del Norte trailhead just north of downtown, the trail network offers single-track loops for all levels of riders. You don’t need a custom helmet and endorsement deal to enjoy an invigorating ride overlooking the city. Just hop on, pedal, and enjoy.The newly renovated La Tierra trail network of service roads, double track and single-track runs, takes riders through a classic New Mexico piñon forest and expansive open spaces.  This trail system is suited for novice riders, but do expect to see experienced cyclists blur past.

And just in case any doubt remained about Santa Fe’s bike cred, the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) chose the City Different as the destination for thier 2012 World Summit (October 10th to the 13th). The conference will discuss and explore all things mountain bike. Attendees can expect a week of professional development, rejuvenation, networking, and of course, unparalleled riding.

International Mountain Bicycling Association 2012 World Summit October 10-13, 2013.

Looking for something a little more low-key? The annual Santa Fe Gourmet Classic held every fall, offers riders of all levels the opportunity to cycle for their supper. This 65-mile gastronomical cruise features rest stops serving up scrumptious snacks and gourment southwest cuisine. The non-competitive ride offers beautiful views of the Sangre de Cristo and Sandia mountains.

Flat tire? Forgot your padded shorts? If you need a quick repair or to restock some gear, stop by Rob & Charlie’s for Santa Fe’s best selection of bikes and parts. If the only part you’re missing is the bike itself, Mellow Velo can hook you up with a rental. Whatever you do, just make sure to bring plenty of water and sunscreen. You don’t want anything to get in the way of post-journey victory enchiladas.

Challenging rides, gorgeous hikes, and spectacular views, make Santa Fe the perfect destination for anyone who loves a vacation that roams.  So tie up those laces and get ready to see Santa Fe in its natural and rugged beauty. Happy trails!

Upcoming Events:

The IMBA 2012 World Summit October 10-13, 2012

Miles of Trails

Aspen Vista Trail

Dale Ball Trail System

La Tierra Trail

Chamisa Trail

Borrego – Bear Wallow – Winsor Loop

Resources and Guides:

FREE Santa Fe Visitors Guide 

Steals and Deals 

Accomodations

Trail Alliance of Santa Fe

Santa Fe Fat Tire Society

A Bike Friendly Community

IMBA WORLD SUMMIT OR BUST!

IMBA 2012 World Summit a Celebration of All Things Mountain Biking

Santa Fe offers riders bountiful terrain and welcoming hospitality

October 1, 2012: If it can be done on a mountain bike, it will be going on at the International Mountain Bicycling Association’s (IMBA) biennial World Summit in Santa Fe, October 10-13. The sixth annual event will include a Vendors Expo featuring major bike and gear manufacturers, daily group rides in the Southern Rockies on the edge of Santa Fe, a fun criterium around the Santa Fe Plaza and daily sessions and workshops.

Photo Courtesy: The International Mountain Bicycling Association

The non-profit IMBA is recognized as a leader in low-impact biking advocacy and as an educational force promoting cooperation between varied trail user groups. More than 100 volunteers will help the hundreds of summit attendees find their way around the city, learn about Santa Fe, and discover the boundless riding on the city limits.

Educational sessions held at the Santa Fe Convention Center will cover topics about mountain bike tourism, creating youth initiatives, developing urban core trails, creating an urban wilderness, the evolution of bike-friendly land policies, and many more topics including a case study of Gallup, New Mexico and how it became the “Adventure Capital of New Mexico.”

The public is welcome to explore the Vendors Expo in and nearby the Santa Fe Convention Center on Thursday, and Friday from 3 PM to 7 PM. Then, on Friday evening, 10/12, downtown will come alive with events. A criterium will be contested around the Santa Fe Plaza on kid-sized Strider bikes–no pedals, all foot powered–during multiple heats. In addition, a trail cutting machine obstacle course will be set up, a demonstration urban bike park will be on display, and the Red Bull film, “Where the Trail Ends” documenting the most ambitious mountain biking expedition ever will be showing at the convention center. www.wherethetrailends.com/ . (All ages, tickets available to the public.)

Group rides will take place every afternoon and be led by the Santa Fe Fat Tire Society and the Santa Fe-based Pedal Queens. Motorists should be aware of increased bike traffic along East and West Alameda, Camino Cabra, Upper Canyon Road, Camino de Las Crucitas, and Camino de Los Montoyas as riders head out to the Dale Ball Trials and the La Tierra Trails. Ride times are:

  • Wednesday 10/10 from Noon to 6:30
  • Thursday, 10/11 from 3:00 to 6:30
  • Friday, 10/12 from 3:00 to 6:30

On Saturday, 10/13 the Winsor Trail will be used by the cyclists from 8:30 AM to 1:00 beginning at the Santa Fe Ski Area parking lot trailhead down to the Chamisa Trial, Sidewinder Trail, and Little Tesuque Creek Trail, ending up on Hyde Park Road. Again, motorists should be mindful of the increased bicycle traffic while hikers and other trail users should be alert to the high volume of bicycle activity on the trails during these times. The National Forest Service will be posting notices and trail intersections will be manned with volunteers reminding users to be alert.

Santa Fe’s outstanding bike terrain and mountain biking infrastructure, small town feel, and ideal location against the foothills of the Southern Rockies were some of the reasons IMBA selected the city for the World Summit. They are also reasons bikers continue to discover Santa Fe as a perfect stepping off point for mountain biking in Northern New Mexico.

Local sponsors include the Santa Fe Convention & Visitors Bureau, Bicycle Technologies International, Outside Magazine, O’Leary Built Bicycles, Santa Fe Fat Tire Society, Santa Fe Brewing Company, Second Street Brewery, Santa Fe Spirits, Marble Brewery, Santa Fe Subaru, the Santa Fe REI store, 10,000 Waves, Hotel Santa Fe, Hilton Santa Fe, Santa Fe Conservation Trust, Century Bank, Wilson & Co., and santafe.com .

 

For more information; www.imba.com/world-summit

World Summit program:

http://issuu.com/imbapublications/docs/2012_summit_program_finalhttp://issuu.com/imbapublications/docs/2012_summit_program_final

 

Need A Change Of Altitude?

Travelers at the summit of Atalaya Trail

Whether you’re looking for an athletic challenge to get your adrenaline flowing, or you’re planning your vacation around cooler temperatures and a landscape beautiful enough to lose yourself in, chances are you’ll find something to love about autumn in Santa Fe. Nestled in the southern foothills of the Rocky Mountains, Santa Fe is the perfect place to find leisurely walks, and hiking trails, as well as more active events like the annual Buffalo Thunder Half Marathon and the International Mountain Bicycling Association’s World Summit. Athletes have always loved the challenge offered by trails like the 22.2 mile Dale Ball system, and the expansive La Tierra system. And, at an elevation of 7,000 feet above sea level even power shopping on the Plaza can qualify as a sport.

 

A customized excursion with Santa Fe Walkabouts

No matter how you decide to spend your time in Santa Fe, you’ll be surrounded by some of the most vibrant fall colors in the southwest thanks to the pristine 1.6 million acre Santa Fe National Forest.  We always get a kick out of sharing our mountain vistas, hiking trails, and scenic country roads with visitors. But, we want your first taste of the cleanest air in the country to be as refreshing as possible, so you can fall head-over-heels in love with Santa Fe the way visitors have for hundreds of years. So, here are a few useful  tips to get you prepared for your change of altitude.

Stay Hydrated

Lots of water seems to help with just about everything, and elevation is no exception.  So drink up. Sure, bathroom breaks might add a little time to your road trip, but you’ll be ready to hit the trail or hit the town as soon as your bags hit the hotel floor.  And trust us, you’ll want to experience as much as possible.

Eat Well

Sopapillas at Tia Sophia’s photo by Justin Delaney from www.goboogo.com

Break your diet and go for those carbohydrates (we recommend the locally loved sopapillas with honey). Seriously. Carbs give your body the immediate energy it needs to let you play hard hiking, biking, or checking out all of Santa Fe’s art markets.

We don’t want to brag, but Santa Fe was just nominated Best Food Town in America by USA Today and Rand Mcnally’s ‘Best of the Road.’ So come hungry. We also have a top ranked local farmer’s market which can provide a bounty of
fresh, seasonal gastronomic surprises. Remember, this is for your health.

Pace Yourself

Santa Fe Plaza during SWAIA Indian Market

Even if you don’t happen to be running in the Buffalo Thunder half marathon, this is still good advice. Don’t try to see and do everything Santa Fe offers that first night here.  Even locals can’t fit all Santa Fe’s great music, cuisine, shopping and hiking trails in one weekend. And we live here. Go ahead and take that extra day or two off work and give yourself the time to relax. And, don’t forget to include a few hours at one of our great spas in your schedule. Remember, vacations are supposed to be relaxing.

Want to know more about the great events going on during your visit, the best places to eat, or hotel specials?  Find it all on our homepage www.santafe.org.  See you soon!

 

Athletic events to get you going: 

Buffalo Thunder Half Marathon – September 16
Santa Fe Gourmet Classic Bicycle Ride – October 6
International Mountain Bicycling World Summit – October 10-13

Click here to explore the hiking & biking trails that Outside Magazine called one of the top five adventures in the Southwest!