New Direction + New Year = Feeling Newly Santa Fe

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

Divining A City Different Direction

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

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

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

Turning Two Fitness Ideals into One with a Yoga Hike

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

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

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

Get the Skinny on Santa Fe Skincare

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

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

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

Delight in a New Dance

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

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

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

Appreciating the Appeal of a Young Year

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

Party Like a Local During ¡Viva! Santa Fe

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

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

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

History and Culture Come Alive at Fiesta de Santa Fe

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let Zozobra Take the Heat Off Your Worries

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cheeseburger Smackdown Arrives at the Green Chile Harvest Festival

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

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

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

Live It Up at ¡Viva! Santa Fe

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Bounty of Fall Meets the People’s Passion

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

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

One Shopping Bag Might Not Be Enough

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

Sunday Brings the Santa Fe Artisan Market

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

See the Heart of Santa Fe at The Farmers Market

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

Santa Fe Railyard

Get On Board Santa Fe’s Newest Old Hot-Spot: The Railyard District

In a city known for its high altitude, elevated spirits, and glorious skies, one might understandably overlook Santa Fe’s most down-to-earth cultural icon: the Santa Fe Railyard District.

Santa Fe Railyard
Santa Fe Railyard. All Rights Reserved. 2013 Santa Fe CVB.

The Railyard District is Santa Fe’s newest old neighborhood, offering an ever-evolving version of the authentic Southwestern experience. While Santa Fe’s historic Plaza may be the heart of town, the Railyard is its new cultural lifeline, serving up a casual — dare-I-say hipper — side of Santa Fe, while tipping its hat to traditional and time-honored activities just blocks away, and living side by side with one of Santa Fe’s oldest neighborhoods. Here locals and visitors converge in an eclectic mecca of contemporary art, fresh food, unique shopping, and old-fashioned relaxation.

Long before it became a “district,” however (more than a hundred years ago, for you history buffs), the Santa Fe Railyard served as the official gateway to the City Different. Tourists, artists, businessmen, and more than a few adventure seekers discovered a magical frontier beyond their wildest dreams, courtesy of the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railway. And the rest, as they say, is history.

Strolling the picturesque district on a coffee-fueled spring morning, I learned that the Santa Fe Railyard District once supported a booming railroad economy, bringing laborers and materials vital to the development of our distinctive central neighborhoods and landmarks. Decades of economic glory faded into memory, however, as new generations of travelers found Santa Fe by car and eventually airplane. And the once-bustling Railyard fell to neglect and abandon.

Thankfully, Santa Fe’s past and future got back on track, so to speak, when the city pledged to revitalize the Santa Fe Railyard District, restoring the cultural hub’s historic elements, and reinventing a lively network of colorful, open-air community spaces. The district’s revitalization included the establishment of the Railyard Park, which is the “green heart” of the district. The park includes an outdoor performance space for movies and concerts, picnic areas in shady groves and gardens, and 5,000 feet of walk-bike trails that will link to a citywide trail network.

Much like the rail lines of old, the Santa Fe Railyard District offers refreshing, surprising, and unforgettable stops. Indulge in Santa Fe’s emerging performance events, dining destinations, and to-die-for shops. Or just set off on a local journey defined only by the district’s enchanting rhythm. So let’s roll down the tracks …

Tomasita’s

Swirl margaritas and abuela-approved chile at Tomasita’s

Tomasita’s proudly holds court among Santa Fe’s chile royalty. But there’s nothing stodgy about this local landmark. Open since 1974, the lively restaurant is considered by many the epicenter of the Railyard. Drop in to begin or end your day, to see and be seen, or to soak up the Railyard’s good vibes and creative energy. Authentic — as in, “abuela’s in the kitchen” — New Mexican food is the specialty. That means mouthwatering traditional chiles rellenos, enchiladas, and stuffed sopaipillas. (I confess the smell of fresh tortillas sustained me as I waited in the quick-moving line of hungry patrons.) Diners are encouraged to fearlessly dive into local red and green chile, and then toast the culinary adventure with a famous sangria swirl margarita.

 SITE Santa Fe

Listening to ice melting at SITE Santa Fe

Visit SITE Santa Fe to experience full-throttle visual and performance art in the Railyard District. Here video, photography, large-scale sculpture, and painting coexist in harmony, as internationally recognized artists make full use of this modern space. SITE’s fantastic, flexible gallery space and groundbreaking contemporary art exhibitions provide an intoxicating yang to the yin of Santa Fe’s beloved traditional arts. I can proudly say I expanded my artistic horizons by simply wandering through each of the current exhibitions. A video installation by performance artist Linda Montano entitled “Art/Life Counseling” really called to me (though I’m not exactly sure what it said). The video monitor is draped in a disheveled red wig and the face of the artist speaks directly to viewers. Comical, endearing, and, mildly unsettling. Bravo, SITE.

Santa Fe Clay

Santa Fe Clay

If observing isn’t enough for your artistic endeavors, there is no finer way to get your hands dirty than with a visit to Santa Fe Clay.  This is a dream facility for diehard DIY-ers, or anyone craving an enlightening hands-on experience. At a sprawling 10,000 square feet, the fantastic space offers endless hours of creativity via its gallery, artist studios, retail store, wheels and kilns, and massive workshop and teaching space with expert staff. Santa Fe Clay hosts classes year-round for adults and children, and exhibits some of the finest clay artists working in the medium today. I’m not talking pinch pots and light switch covers here. Santa Fe Clay is a dynamic, forward thinking studio. Inspired by the shelves of creations set out to dry, the fresh-out-of-the-kiln pots, and the sheer joy on the faces of workshop participants, I have officially pledged to get my clay groove on.

Railyard Artisan Market

Local paintings at the Artisans Market

Saturdays and Sundays bring the Santa Fe Artists Market and the Railyard Artisan Market. Prepare to be surprised. Housed alongside the east walkway of SITE Santa Fe on Saturdays or inside the Farmers Market Pavilion on Sundays, the respected markets boast fine handmade crafts and artworks ranging from knitted scarves and hats to watercolor landscapes to artisanal teas and body products. My credit card limit flashed before my eyes as I beheld a gasp-worthy selection of fun retro aprons, imported clothing from India, felt handbags, hand blown glassware, and a virtual trove of jewelry. Pick up one-of-a-kind gifts here, or self-gifts — my favorites. Several crafters work while you stroll, offering unfiltered glimpses of their works-in-progress.

Farmers Market

Fresh greens at Santa Fe Farmer’s Market

Perhaps the unifying event in the Railyard is the renowned Farmers Market. This market prides itself on strict standards requiring that all food and products be made with local ingredients, and prohibiting reselling. That means you buy directly from the source. I love the idea of paying the farmer who grew my food. The market is alive with energy, color, and happy shoppers. Fresh breads, seasonal herbs, overflowing baskets of greens and veggies, free range eggs, aromatic fresh and dried chiles, local honey and jams, luxurious body products, organic coffee, and homemade tamales transform moods and test your bliss-endurance. Meanwhile, strolling musicians and kid friendly activities keep young shoppers smiling. The market is open 8 am-1pm Saturdays (year-round) and Tuesdays (May through Thanksgiving week). June-September the hours shift forward an hour: 7 am-noon.

Beyond the food scene, a true feeling of community pervades this burgeoning creative space. Whether you want to swing dance or catch a reggae band, see a thought-provoking film, visit with neighbors over coffee and burritos, even witness a dynamic aerial acrobatic performance held right on site, all you need to do is show up. Check the jam-packed schedule on the Santa Fe Railyard District website for information. Or take my advice and gather your friends for the Free Railyard Park Movie Series, which features movies every other Friday night all summer. Meet me at “The Princess Bride” July 27 or “… prepare to die!

Balancing history, authenticity, adventure, art, food, and performance, the Santa Fe Railyard District sparkles with timeless appeal and youthful. Find your favorite stop, as you get on board with a cultural treasure that is definitely moving in the right direction.