Santa Fe: Between the Lines

For over 400 years, Santa Fe has attracted quite a cast of characters — from New Spain explorers to Old West cowboys, renegade priests to virtuous madams. Which, perhaps, explains why a legion of literary lions have found their stories (and made their homes) here. As you stock up on books for those fireside hours, I have a few recommendations. But my best tip? Pull your nose off the page and start your own exciting new chapter in Santa Fe.

Santa Fe, New Mexico
The story of the man behind the building of the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis is a Santa Fe must-read. (Photo Credit: LeRoy N. Sanchez)

Real People Make Rich Characters

You can’t go wrong with a classic. Countless visitors admire our gorgeous Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis, but how many delve into the history of the man who brought this magnificent edifice into being? Be among those in the know by settling down with Death Comes for the Archbishop, Willa Cather’s fictionalized portrait of Bishop Jean-Baptiste Lamy. This fascinating historical perspective is well worth getting to know. Your appreciation of his beautiful church and verdant garden will be enriched by this lively tale of a remarkable individual and his lasting Santa Fe legacy.

Santa Fe, New Mexico, Native American, Bandelier National Monument
You can muse on the mysteries of a Bandelier kiva from Adolph Bandelier himself. (Photo Credit: National Park Service)

Mining Fact for Historical Fiction

Given Santa Fe’s rich multicultural heritage, authors digging for subject matter never come up short. Renowned archaeologist Adolph Bandelier is best known for the fabulous site that honored his excavation by naming it Bandelier National Park. One of New Mexico’s must-see spots, these extensive ruins are a magnet for locals and visitors alike. Your hike will never be the same after Bandelier’s imaginative gem, The Delight Makers, brings this ancient culture to life. And speaking of Native culture, a Santa Fe getaway always involves at least one great Tony Hillerman novel featuring his intriguing Native American detectives Jim Chee and Lt. Joe Leaphorn.

Santa Fe, New Mexico, George R.R. Martin, Game of Thrones
Even though it was George R. R. Martin Day in Santa Fe, the author had to sit carefully on that Iron Throne! (Photo Credit: The Santa Fe Reporter)

Santa Fe: Where Fantasy Fiction Reigns

Colorful characters still abound in Santa Fe, and winter nights are perfect for fantastic tales from one-of-a-kind local, George R. R. Martin. This prolific author, best known for his A Song of Fire and Ice series (aka HBO’s wildly successful Game of Thrones), has called Santa Fe home since the late 1970s. Fans avidly await the next book in the Fire and Ice series, but Santa Fe got an extra gift when Martin renovated the beloved Jean Cocteau Cinema, which delights film fans with a quirky selection of the old and new. And speaking of old and new, Martin fans who only know the Fire and Ice saga can keep themselves plenty busy with his rich collection of fantasy fiction.

A Real-Life SyFy Thriller

Specific events have indelibly marked modern life, and modern life is just as lively in the spoken word (read “screenplay”) as it is on the page. The exciting tale of the atom bomb has been writ large in today’s riveting WGN Manhattan TV series. The Manhattan Project was rooted in an unremarkable building at 109 East Palace Avenue in Santa Fe.

Santa Fe, New Mexico, Manhattan Project, History
It took years of secrecy before the history of the bomb was finally revealed. (Photo of an article from The Saturday Evening Post article from November 1945)

Scientists on their way to Los Alamos had to stop first at this 1600s hacienda-turned-government-office to receive security passes and IDs before heading north with directions to the clandestine site. Due to the top-secret nature of the project, 109’s personnel handled correspondence and personal matters so the geniuses could work in uninterrupted privacy. And WGN’s screenwriters have been handed a treasure trove of colorful characters in this exciting saga of “the Hill,” as it’s known around these parts.

Santa Fe, New Mexico, Witter Bynner
It’s easy to imagine being inspired to poetry with a stay at the Inn of the Turquoise Bear, formerly home to poet Witter Bynner. (Photo Credit: The Inn of the Turquoise Bear)

Santa Fe in Verse

You can’t say “spoken word” and not talk poetry! Poetic types are well aware of poet Witter Bynner, whose charmed early 20th century Santa Fe lifestyle included acquaintances like D. H. Lawrence, Georgia O’Keeffe and Ansel Adams. Artists and intellectuals of all stripes shared pleasant hours at Bynner’s adobe home, now the Inn of the Turquoise Bear. A bequest from Bynner’s estate founded the Witter Bynner Poetry Foundation to perpetuate the art of poetry through grants and since 1997 the Witter Bynner Fellowship has been awarded to recipients selected by the U.S. Poet Laureate. Santa Fe even boasts its own poet laureate, and thanks to the Muse Times Two readings at Collected Works Books, poetic expression here is alive and thriving.

Let Your Legs Lead You on a Literary Tour

If you need to stretch between chapters, tell your feet to work together with your imagination and take a Literary Tour of the City Different. Add the Lannan Readings and Conversations to your literary survey of Santa Fe and your education is complete. After a trip to Santa Fe, you’ll have quite the story to tell!

 

 

 

Santa Fe Shoppers’ Survival Guide: Disinterested Husbands Edition

Santa Fe, New Mexico, Things to Do
Save your sweetie from sitting in this seat!

Santa Fe is well known for delivering top-drawer retail therapy! An itinerary with ample time for wandering our gallery-laden, shop-lined streets is a must for Santa Fe travelers. But if your guy is like mine, his patience for shopping is nil. But there’s no reason to let hubby be bored in our happening town! Take my hints for partner-friendly activities while you browse the boutiques and everyone goes home happy.

Santa Fe’s Museums Are Partner-Perfect Adventures

Beyond the wealth of artistic treasures on display in Santa Fe’s world-class museums there’s also a world of history and New Mexican culture close at hand. The New Mexico History Museum’s extensive collection is housed in a state-of-the-art building adjacent to the 400-plus-year-old Palace of the Governors. Step in either and emerge hours later; there’s plenty to see. Photo buffs (who isn’t one on encountering New Mexico?) will be captivated by the Poetics of Light: Pinhole Photography exhibit at the History Museum.

This undated pinhole photo of San Francisco de Asis Church by Dallas Sells is currently on view at the New Mexico History Museum. (Palace of the Governors Photo Archives)
This undated pinhole photo of San Francisco de Asis Church by Dallas Sells is currently on view at the New Mexico History Museum. (Palace of the Governors Photo Archives)

The Palace of the Governors is an engaging chronicle of colonial New Mexico. Just to see the adobe walls and aged floorboards and stand in the courtyard under the same sky as the Spanish gobernadors – that alone is worth the price of admission.

After the History Museum whets the appetite, delving deeper into the Land of Enchantment’s past comes via the New Mexico National Guard Military Museum. Storied figures like Kit Carson fought on the Union side in the Civil War era and New Mexicans served with Teddy Roosevelt’s Roughriders. World War Two’s Pacific Theater intelligence relied on the Navajo Code Talkers’ unique skills, and the notorious Bataan Death March claimed many of our native sons. New Mexico boasts one of the nation’s largest per capita veterans populations, with their experiences intriguingly represented at this fascinating museum.

Santa Fe, New Mexico
It’s definitely worth taking a drive to the New Mexico National Guard Military Museum where memorabilia from every era of service is on display.

And as you’re touring downtown Santa Fe, look for the statue of Santa Fe native Staff Sgt. Leroy Petry who was awarded the Medal of Honor in for service in Afghanistan.

Santa Fe, New Mexico, military
Medal of Honor winner Staff Sgt. Leroy Petry was in attendance at the dedication of his statue outside Santa Fe’s City Hall in June 2013. (Photo Credit: NM Watchdog)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oh Danny Boy, The Greens, The Greens Are Calling

While museum-going is a must in Santa Fe, being outdoors may be equally tempting for your travel buddy. Suggest a round of golf at the Marty Sanchez Links de Santa Fe, a city course surrounded on all sides by mountain ranges. With 320-plus days of sun, golfing is year-round activity in Santa Fe. The Baxter Spann course is a par three known as “The Great 28.” And those 18 holes can be followed by a brew and the view at the Links Bar and Grill.

Santa Fe, New Mexico, Golf, Sports
Tee up to 360 views at the Marty Sanchez Links. (Photo Credit: Golf New Mexico)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Let Him Get His Game On

If your partner wants to watch the pros get sporty, there’s no shortage of spots. While you’re strolling the Railyard trolling for vintage treats, he can pull up a seat at Junction, where the big screen schedule lets him follow his fantasy players as he savors a burger and a brew. If you’re scoping out the southside, Blue Corn Brewery has him covered with craft beer and a gameday schedule. And a simple barstool perch at the Santa Fe Bar and Grill is a destination Santa Feans have enjoyed for years.

Santa Fe, New Mexico, Sports, Bars
There’s a screen tuned to every taste at the Junction!

A Spirited Adventure Comes in a Glass

Forego your last round of treasure hunting and rejoin your other half at Santa Fe Spirits. It’s so relaxing to gather in the clubby interior as their friendly Chihuahua mascot Layla makes the rounds, making it the perfect place to show off your new finds to your significant other.

Santa Fe, New Mexico, Drinks
If your sweetie makes a date to sip a martini (locally handcrafted vodka or gin) with Layla, there’s no need to worry – she’s only interested in the snacks!

The craft liquor selection – two malt whiskies (Silver Coyote and Colkegan), Wheeler’s Gin, Expedition Vodka and Apple Brandy – is created on the southern edge of town, and the distillery tour is a fun way to the time. Tasting is a must at both locations!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Free to be You and Me City-Different Style

Give yourselves a break. Grab a Santa Fe hotel deal and let each pursue different personal pleasures as you both discover the best of Santa Fe. Now that’s what I call smart shopping!

 

Launch Balloon Fiesta Fun in Santa Fe

The first weeks of October are high times in New Mexico, especially for balloon pilots and their friends! The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta began in 1972 with only 13 hot air balloons and has blown up (pun intended) into the world-class festival it is today. This year, more than 600 balloons will launch from a 365-acre dedicated park. Due to a stellar 43-year safety record, visitors can amble among the balloons – which come in every shape and color combination imaginable – for up-close views and a chat with the pilots and crew.

The shapes and colors boggle the imagination at the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta!. (Photo Credit: visitalbuquerque.com)
The shapes and colors boggle the imagination at the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta!. (Photo Credit: visitalbuquerque.com)

The glorious October weather also plays a starring role, with cool mornings giving way to glorious autumn sun. Early risers catch the Dawn Patrol and the evening balloon glows offer an incredible opportunity to admire these majestic “sailboats of the air.” Balloon Fiesta is definitely a bucket-list event, and approaching it from Santa Fe is the insider’s way to get the best of everything.

A balloon glow is a magical moment. (Photo Credit: Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta)
A balloon glow is a magical moment. (Photo Credit: Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta)

Make Santa Fe Your Home Base for Balloon Magic

Albuquerque hotels will be bursting at the seams Oct. 4-12 during Balloon Fiesta, as the Duke City (Albuquerque’s nickname) welcomes more than 100,000 visitors for this signature event. Those in the know head north to grab a great hotel deal in the City Different. From intimate B&Bs to luxurious spa resorts, Santa Fe offers a tranquil respite from the lively action down south. What’s more, you can’t underestimate the bounty of dining possibilities in our renowned culinary destination.

The Mine Shaft in Madrid, NM is a welcome detour on the Turquoise Trail.
The Mine Shaft in Madrid, NM is a welcome detour on the Turquoise Trail.

Early morning launches mean the drive to Albuquerque includes an unforgettable sunrise over the Sandia mountain range. And after the balloons touch down, you can take the scenic drive up the Turquoise Trail to rendezvous for lunch in Madrid at the Mine Shaft Tavern, one of eight finalists in this year’s Green Chile Cheeseburger Smackdown.

Stroll and Shop to Your Heart’s Content

Take the afternoon to wander legendary Canyon Road and you’ll find colors that rival those seen in the balloon ballet above. A self-guided Canyon Road art walk is a must-do for every Santa Fe visitor. No surprise — Santa Fe’s 250 art galleries uphold our reputation as the arts capital of the Southwest. Regrouping for refreshments is a snap; simply stop at Caffe Greco for a potent Lavazza espresso or head to The Teahouse for a cuppa. You can even wind your Canyon Road day right into evening with dinner and live music at El Farol.

Canyon Road is worth some face time when you visit Santa Fe. (Photo courtesy of The Eldorado Hotel and Spa)
Canyon Road is worth some face time when you visit Santa Fe. (Photo courtesy of The Eldorado Hotel and Spa)

Going home with Balloon Fiesta souvenirs is fun, but shopping the Santa Fe Plaza is still numero uno in my book. Whether it’s silver, turquoise or stylish southwest clothing, you’ll find a multitude of choices, from Native American vendors under the portal at the Palace of the Governors to shops showcasing leatherwork or lacy lingerie. Galleries thrive here too, with renowned Native artists like Allan Houser and the Namingha clan ensconced on Lincoln Avenue. And food? The only problem is choosing where … carnitas from Roque’s stand or a visit to The Shed, tucked in the colorful courtyard of Sena Plaza.

The Best of Fall Grows in Santa Fe

Santa Fe boasts a bonus during the first weekend of Balloon Fiesta Oct. 4-5 since El Rancho de las Golondrinas ends its annual series of festivals with the most popular event of all: Harvest Festival. This living history museum takes you back through New Mexico regional heritage with bread baking in hornos (beehive-shaped outdoor ovens) and grapes crushed by hand. This is your opportunity to learn how to string a chile ristra, the ubiquitous autumn décor hanging from portals and porches all over the state. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate the arrival of fall than a day at Golondrinas!Harvest-Festival-ristra-stringers

Look Up at the Skies then Look North to Santa Fe

The ideal launch pad for your Balloon Fiesta adventure, Santa Fe offers all of New Mexico’s beauty with a fraction of the crowds – it’s hard to argue with that prescription for pleasure. Go ahead and get high on Albuquerque’s aerial artistry and let Santa Fe provide the spot for a perfect landing.

Santa Fe: Native Treasures and Artistic Pleasures

Even with its long days, summer is a season that simply seems to fly by. But here in Santa Fe, our numerous arts events prove summer has yet to reach its peak. I’ll be taking my vacation off-season and enjoying the great weather at home, because August is an amazingly artful month of can’t-miss experiences.

Indian Market
SWAIA Indian Market is the largest Native Arts festival in the country.

Santa Fe has a centuries-old history of Native art and culture. Baskets and beads, paintings and pottery, jewelry and clothing — all are part of an artistic legacy that grew from usage. And over time, these items grew more beautiful and desirable to collectors. SWAIA Santa Fe Indian Market has history, too, and Santa Fe is primed for its 93rd appearance Aug. 18-24.

The whole town dresses up for this party. And even after years of attending, I can’t wait to show up in my finery. Seeing the crowd decked out in its silvery best sends any style-hound hunting for a Concho belt or dangly turquoise earrings.

Turquoise earrings come in every shade.
Turquoise earrings come in every shade.

The Market hosts artists from coast to coast so you’ll find both Penobscot baskets and Pueblo pottery. Haida carvings find a home near Hopi katsinas, and Navajo rugs and colorful paintings are also part of the mix. Bring your collector’s eye and you won’t be disappointed.

Meet a Native Art Star on the Page and in Person

One of the West’s most celebrated painters makes a special trip to Santa Fe during Indian Market. Kevin Red Star, a Crow native from Lodge Grass, Mont., delves deep into family experience and heritage to create contemporary works prized by collectors. One of the first students of the Institute of American Indian Arts, Red Star also received a scholarship to the San Francisco Art Institute.

Imagine seeing a painting like this on your wall – this one is available. “Dancers (The Red Star Brothers)” by Kevin Red Star (Photo Credit: Kitty Leaken)
Imagine seeing a painting like this on your wall – this one is available.
“Dancers (The Red Star Brothers)” by Kevin Red Star (Photo Credit: Kitty Leaken)

The experience provided exposure to political and social concerns that affect Native life and continue to inform his work. Red Star notes “I hope to accomplish something for the American Indian and at the same time achieve personal satisfaction in a creative statement through my art.”

Meet Red Star Aug. 20 at Collected Works Books where he will sign copies of the gorgeous new book Kevin Red Star Crow Indian Artist by Daniel Gibson and Kitty Leaken; all proceeds that day benefit SWAIA. An opening reception for Red Star’s new exhibit and another book signing are at Windsor Betts Gallery Aug. 22.

Get Familiar with IFAM

IFAM, the Indigenous Fine Art Market, sets down roots in the Santa Fe Railyard Aug. 21-23. This new festival runs concurrently with Indian Market, giving visitors double the reason to be in Santa Fe. IFAM’s mission is to provide exposure for artists whose work may not fit SWAIA categories or regulations. There are over 565 registered Native American nations and IFAM’s palette of participants includes a host of Canadian First Nations and indigenous Hawaiian artists. It’s no surprise that the artist list has grown quickly!

Kevin-Red-Star-by-Daniel-Gibson-Book-Cover
Between the historic pictures and the fascinating story, this is a book to cherish. (Photo Credit: Kitty Leaken)

And IFAM hosts a special event Aug. 21 called Red Star, Rising Star with — you guessed it — Kevin Red Star. Red Star is mentoring George Alexander, a young Muscogee artist, and together they’ll do a live paint accompanied by music from Brian Frejo. The resulting artwork will be raffled off and a book signing at the event both benefit IFAM. The Market runs both days 10 a.m.–5 p.m., with entertainment on the Railyard stage noon-10 p.m. Friday and noon-5 p.m. Saturday.

Georgia O’Keeffe and Ansel Adams Are a Perfect Pair

Speaking of indigenous Hawaii, I heartily recommend the O’Keeffe Museum’s killer exhibit Georgia O’Keeffe & Ansel Adams: The Hawaii Pictures Exhibit. Both artists had a special connection to New Mexico, so pairing them makes sense, especially as they also shared a natural ability to let native flora create an authentic sense of place.

Georgia O’Keeffe always had an eye for beautiful trees. “Papaya Tree, Oil on Canvas,” collection of the Honolulu Museum of Art; Gift of the Georgia O’Keeffe Foundation. (Photo courtesy of Georgia O’Keeffe Museum)
Georgia O’Keeffe always had an eye for beautiful trees. “Papaya Tree, Oil on Canvas,” collection of the Honolulu Museum of Art; Gift of the Georgia O’Keeffe Foundation. (Photo courtesy of Georgia O’Keeffe Museum)

It’s amazing to think of O’Keeffe as a hired art-hand for the Hawaiian Pineapple Company, which commissioned her to create ad illustrations in 1939. O’Keeffe’s compositional ability is always remarkable, and her tropical blossoms and landscapes offer a lushness that contrasts with her Southwestern works. Adams was also in Hawaii on commission; his 1948 government assignment was followed by a 1957 bank commission. Adams’ love of the outdoors and deep connection to the land are always at the forefront of his images and this stunning compendium is no exception. See this one before it closes Sept. 17.

Wrap Up Your Summer With Only-in-Santa-Fe Experiences

Summer’s beauty is far from over. And Santa Fe can prove it, with a bounty of treasures ripe for the picking. There’s no place like here to tuck an artistic rendering of colorful memories into your bag. When the arts of August arrive, just get here and let Santa Fe do the rest.

 

Artful Adventuring Awaits in Santa Fe

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

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

See Beyond the Flower to a Colorful Career in Santa Fe

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

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

 

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

 

 

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

 

Far East Art Styles in a Southwest Setting

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

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

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

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

The Artistic Landscape is Unlimited at SITE Santa Fe

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

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

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

 

Bring On the Blues

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

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

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

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

Santa Fe Creates an Especially Artistic Summer Experience

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

 

Santa Fe: Artful and Full of Art

Drawn to the artistic? I know the feeling well. Watching the talent on parade at Canyon Road’s Passport to the Arts last weekend left me with an appetite for more. Fortunately, Santa Fe delivers a mighty dose of the artistic every single month. There’s so much happening this summer that it’s taken me two weeks to share it all with you. (You read last week’s post, right?) Rest assured, my soul — and yours — won’t go hungry.

Let Your Eyeballs Lead You on an Artful Tour

Summer’s arrival brings long shadows. Around here, we call that time of day “legend light” and the magnificent landscape has been inviting paintbrushes, pastels, and photographers for centuries. Many artisans call Santa Fe home, and revelation arrives when these artistic residents open their doors to welcome us to the Santa Fe Studio Tour June 27-29.

Painter Jayne Levant plies her brushes with ease. (Photo Credit: Santa Fe Studio Tour)
Painter Jayne Levant plies her brushes with ease. (Photo Credit: Santa Fe Studio Tour)

A Friday night preview at the Santa Fe University of Art and Design kicks off the excitement. On Saturday and Sunday, it’s time to work the map. The Santa Fe Studio Tour offers the opportunity to visit with 58 artists in 37 studios across the city. Chatting with the artists and seeing their creative spaces always gives me more context, deeper insights into their work. Plus, I get to see whose space is the quirkiest.

 

 

 

 

From Cutting Edge to Classic at Weekend Warp Speed

The Downs at Santa Fe may have morphed from a racetrack into a flea market, but the City Different is way out ahead of the field with this summer’s Art Trifecta. From July 12-14, three stellar organizations join forces to create a winning triplet of artistic expression. Two are storied annual festivals, Art Santa Fe and the Santa Fe International Folk Art Market, and they share this summer weekend with SITE Santa Fe. Santa Fe’s year-round destination for the avant-garde, SITE is revered by locals for showcasing radical re-evaluations of what art means in the 21st century.

Enrique Martinez Celaya pulls you into the world of The Pearl. (Photo Credit: Peter Kirby)
Enrique Martinez Celaya pulls you into the world of The Pearl. (Photo Credit: Peter Kirby)

The Friday, July 13 opening for The Pearl proves the point with a multi-media exhibition of works by Cuban artist Enrique Martinez Celaya (who also trained as a physicist – now that definitely piques my interest).

 

 

Art Santa Fe — Three Words That Say It All

While Santa Fe has a justifiable reputation as the art capital of the Southwest, the art is by no means all Western-style. We have our share of cowboy painters —and darn good ones, too — but cutting edge work shows up all the time. And nowhere is this more evident than at Art Santa Fe.

At Art Santa Fe, you can look at the art while it looks at you. (Photo Credit: Art Santa Fe)
At Art Santa Fe, you can look at the art while it looks at you. (Photo Credit: Art Santa Fe)

Kids rebelling against the idea of another museum? Turn their eye-rolling into the eye-opening with a trip to Art Santa Fe. The international, contemporary art fair July 10-13 brings the newest, boldest, most original works in its 14th show. My little artist anticipates seeing what’s new every summer and participating in a number of the event’s special sessions, like Korean papermaking I know where I’ll be spending a lot of the weekend.

 

 

 

 

Globally Yours in Santa Fe

You’re guaranteed to find the finest in folk art under the blue skies of Santa Fe.
You’re guaranteed to find the finest in folk art under the blue skies of Santa Fe.

Just as the quickly as Art Santa Fe has transported me to unimagined other worlds, a quick jaunt over to Museum Hill to the Santa Fe International Folk Art Market sends me back to the past, to traditions, and to the far reaches of the globe.

Bertha Aquino works intricate designs onto a gourd at the Santa Fe International Folk Art Market.
Bertha Aquino works intricate designs onto a gourd at the Santa Fe International Folk Art Market.

 

 

 

 

 

 

With over 150 folk artists from more than 60 countries collected in the space (the expansive Milner Plaza), on same weekend (July 11-13), I can watch a Guatemalan master gourd carver at work, while munching on Indian samosa and listening to Kenyan music.  The best part? As I load up my new, handmade basket for Farmers Market shopping or adorn myself with some great new ethnic jewelry I’ve picked up at the market, I’ll do it in good conscience: Artists take home roughly 90% of all proceeds to support their families—and traditions– back home. I’ve already purchased my ticket!

Santa Fe’s Historic Art Heritage Hits the Plaza

It’s no surprise that Santa Fe boasts the deepest roster of traditional Spanish artists in the country. Many of the artisans who show at Spanish Market are direct descendants of the Spanish settlers who, when packing for their trip across the ocean into the new world, decided against packing easels and paint brushes. (No room on the burro!) Without any of the Old-World gold-leaf for decoration, the settlers turned instead to gold-colored straw, crafting intricate straw inlay to decorate their homes and churches.

Lawrence Cordova’s santos are altar-worthy.
Lawrence Cordova’s santos are altar-worthy.

And without any oils or paints, they mixed natural pigments still used by traditional retablo artist to depict and honor their favorite saints.

It’s not just the divine that’s sublime, though.  After popping into the St. Francis Basilica, I like to head over to the Contemporary Hispanic Market for some twists on tradition.

 

 

Pack Your Comfortable Walking Shoes for Indian Market

Santa Fe’s renowned SWAIA Indian Market turns 93 this year but hardly shows its age. In fact, it seems to get bigger and stronger every year. No wonder, since this is the country’s premiere Native American Arts Festival. (Note to self: Don’t forget the comfy footwear!)

Beautiful beadwork will blow your mind at SWAIA’s Indian Market.
Beautiful beadwork will blow your mind at SWAIA’s Indian Market.

Indian Market is a sell-out occasion, so make hotel reservations in advance. That way, you can hit the stalls early before the best pieces are whisked away by proud new owners.

I appreciate how the entire town–locals and visitors alike–turns out in their finery for Indian Market. No doubt, we’re stimulated by the variety of colors and textures on display. And if you mosey over to the Bandstand, you might see how all the elements of a Native costume work in unison when the person on stage does a hoop dance.

Indian Market covers not only the entirety of Santa Fe’s Plaza but the gamut of native art as well. And it’s not all pottery and turquoise.

Painter Ryan Singer poses with his self-portrait.
Painter Ryan Singer poses with his self-portrait.

Artistic traditions vary from region to region, with Pima baskets and Haida carvings, Pueblo pottery or Navajo weaving. Contemporary artists are also on display, giving us a generous peek at the next generation of tradition. Simply put, Indian Market is on my Must List!

From Far and Near, the Art Comes Here

I know, lucky me, I live here. Sorry if I’ve made it hard for you to choose. That’s why my own visitors come back again and again … and again. All these wonderfully artistic events return annually, too, so pick what you’ll be doing in Santa Fe this summer and next summer — I know you’ll be back!

Santa Fe: It’s Summer-Sensational

Seven weeks of spring, and already I’m yearning for the next season. Impatient, I know. That’s part of spring, though, that anticipatory feeling that bids you to hop out of bed every morning, brain bursting with ideas. I’m grateful the days are getting longer, because my list of this year’s what-to-do is getting longer too!

St. John’s Music on the Hill is a Santa Fe thrill. (Photo credit: St. John’s College)
St. John’s Music on the Hill is a Santa Fe thrill. (Photo credit: St. John’s College)

The Hills are Alive with the Sound of Music

It’s possible – Rodgers and Hammerstein might get jazzed up or Latin-inflected, but you’ll have to set aside Wednesday evenings to find out. From 6-8pm, June 11 through July 25, St. John’s College’s hosts Music on the Hill, and this ever-so-pleasant way to enjoy Santa Fe skies with a musical backdrop is an ever-so-popular midweek outing.

Six concerts (none on July 2) in this ninth season offer great sounds on the grassy lawn, and you can either bring a picnic or feed the family via Walter Burke Catering at the venue. Parking is limited, so take the free shuttle and settle without a hassle.

 

 

 

Strike Up the Band (Stand)

Carve a spot in the crowd at a Santa Fe Bandstand Concert.
Carve a spot in the crowd at a Santa Fe Bandstand Concert.

I’m an aficionado of public spaces like our beautiful Plaza, and when free entertainment is part of the scene, I am so there, especially for the Santa Fe Bandstand Concerts. What could be better than totally free music in the heart of town as the City Different invites us all to Tune into Santa Fe? Nightly performances June 23–August 28 bring time-tested favorites such as Joe King Carrasco and local legends like the Santa Fe Chiles Dixie Jazz Band; some of the 2014 New Mexico Music Awards finalists are also on the bill.

Picnic blanket or a pair of chairs; choose your seating on the Santa Fe Plaza for a Bandstand Concert.
Picnic blanket or a pair of chairs; choose your seating on the Santa Fe Plaza for a Bandstand Concert.

Absolutely my favorite summer party, the Bandstand concerts let locals mingle with neighbors who hibernate in winter, and visitors get that insider’s intro to Santa Fe’s resident talents. All you need is a picnic blanket, a nosh, and a swing partner.

Sultry Singing, Stravinsky, and Sun Yat-Sen

It could only be the Santa Fe Opera! Anyone who knows me knows I can’t wait to see the sun set over the stunning Crosby Theatre. Although each two-month season presents repeat pleasures, there’s always a thoughtful new repertoire. It’s true again, with six all-new productions, including one double-the-treat double-bill.

Sit, settle, and let the sun set before you’re swept away by the music at the Santa Fe Opera.
Sit, settle, and let the sun set before you’re swept away by the music at the Santa Fe Opera.

Seductive solos start June 27 with Bizet’s Carmen, a sell-out whenever the sets go up and the lights go down. Laughter follows tragedy with Donizetti’s Don Pasquale, sure to offer stupendous comic relief. Beethoven’s only opera, Fidelio, a mighty tale employing a ton of talent, brings new Chief Conductor Harry Bicket to the podium. The aforementioned double-header pairs Mozart’s witty opera, The Impresario, with Stravinsky’s exquisite one-act Le Rossignol. SFO’s annual mission of presenting premieres is completed with the U.S. debut of Huang Ro’s Dr. Sun Yat-Sen, a mix of classical and folk styles from East and West.

The Strings are the Thing

Classical music has deep roots in Santa Fe, and I assure you it doesn’t stop with opera. Now in its 42nd season, the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival is the epitome of a summer music must-do. Brahms, Handel, Mozart – you’ll hear music from all the masters, with concerts almost nightly from July 22 through August 25. And the weekly noon-time offerings are my special secret for a musical lunchtime escape.

Sit, settle, and let the sun set before you’re swept away by the music at the Santa Fe Opera.
Bravura “bowmanship” is at its best at the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival. (Photo Credit: Santa Fe Reporter)

Performers are top of the line, with a mix of professional chamber ensembles like the Orion String Quartet, and a gathering of talents brought together to play specific concerts. Faithful piano lovers are rewarded with Yefim Bronfman and Joseph Kalichstein taking to the keys. And personally, I’m psyched that new music is on the scene at a concert of new works by young composers, performed by the Flux Quartet.

Get the Scents and Sights of the Santa Fe Scenery

Whew, let me catch my breath from singing Santa Fe’s musical praises and head outdoors! Santa Feans spend mucho tiempo en el campo, meaning we cherish summer outside. My choice for country charm is El Rancho de las Golondrinas, the 200-acre history museum south of town. From May through October, weekend events reveal the unique culture and traditions of New Mexico. Golondrinas embraces its educational mission seriously, but always makes it fun and fascinating.

El Rancho de las Golondrinas is the essence of all things New Mexico.
El Rancho de las Golondrinas is the essence of all things New Mexico.

Once summer is officially here, fresh herbs grace the stalls at the Santa Fe Farmers’ Market, and summer scents rule at Golondrinas’ June 21–22 Herb and Lavender Fair.  You’ll come away with fresh ideas for a home herb garden via tips from professional cultivators. Just walking the grounds is a distinct pleasure; you can discover how an acequia (New Mexico’s fabled watering system) works or learn about traditional village life. An integral part of my summer activities, a jaunt to El Rancho is my way of re-visiting New Mexico’s historic heritage.

In New Mexico, where water is precious, an acequia gate controls the flow.
In New Mexico, where water is precious, an acequia gate controls the flow.

Taking Pride in Santa Fe

Santa Fe is known for warmth and welcome, extended to the LGBTQ community long before there was an acronym. Many global cultures are home to individuals with diverse gender identities, and New Mexico is no exception. Santa Fe is doing a brisk business in gay weddings, and that’s a source of pride for the City Different.

Santa Fe shows its pride of place at the June Pride parade.
Santa Fe shows its pride of place at the June Pride parade.

 

 

 

 

 

We celebrate our equality activists at Santa Fe Pride on June 28. This annual event, organized by the Santa Fe Human Rights Alliance, opens with a colorful parade from the Roundhouse, our State Capitol building, to the Railyard, ending with food, fun, and all-day entertainment. I’m planning on breakfast at the Santa Fe Farmers’ Market, before grabbing curbside space for parade viewing. Bring a parasol or wear a hat and sunscreen if you plan to stay all day.

Why Wine? Why Not?

If you crave the whisper of terroir from wine, note that New Mexico is the nation’s oldest wine-growing region. Long before the union of states, settlers tended vines and crushed grapes in the Land of Enchantment. When summer ends, we welcome fall at the Santa Fe Wine and Chile Festival, but we also save a slice of the July 4th weekend for the Santa Fe Wine Festival.

Get a taste of Santa Fe and New Mexico wines this summer. (Photo Credit: Santa Fe Wine Festival)
Get a taste of Santa Fe and New Mexico wines this summer. (Photo Credit: Santa Fe Wine Festival)

At 21 years, the Wine Festival is “old enough to drink,” as the organizers cleverly put it, and there’s plenty to sniff before sampling. Vintners from all over the state will pour their best for our appraisal, and there will be food – look for me at Roque’s Carnitas. The roster of arts, crafts and unique products is too long to list; suffice it to say, there will be no lack of entertainment!

 

Read It Here Now, Relax Here Later

So what ARE you doing this summer? If you’re craving a unique summer adventure, then Santa Fe should surely be on your itinerary. Slip some of our signature events into your vacation, and you won’t be disappointed. And check back next week for the rest of my round-up … you didn’t think this was everything, did you? Oh, no, the fun here lasts all summer!

 

 

Couple Up with Santa Fe’s Romantic Side

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

Let’s Fall in Love Again – with Chocolate

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

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

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

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

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

Oh Ho, Honey, Let’s Head for Ojo

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let’s Nibble Our Way Around Santa Fe

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

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

 

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

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

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

Evenings Divine with Baby Mine

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

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

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

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

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

Make Memories Together in Santa Fe

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

Find One-of-a-Kind Santa Fe Gifts for your One-and-Only Gal

It’s true the early bird catches the worm, and that goes double when you’re searching for absolutely perfect gifts for the special ladies in your life. Be it Mom, sister, or BFF, you love her, and you want to make her holidays happy with a unique treat. With that in mind, I hereby submit there is no better place for finding a one-of-a-kind treasure than Santa Fe, with its historic position on the colonial trade route from Mexico to the U.S., and its reputation as a legendary shopping hub for settlers traveling west on the Santa Fe Trail. Stylish shops and wonderful galleries line our streets, and your early-bird attention to the hunt will help you score with plenty of time to kick back and enjoy the holiday festivities yourself. (Check back here in a couple weeks for my tips on where to holiday shop for the men in your life.)

The historic Santa Fe Plaza is picture-perfect at the holidays, and so is gift-hunting at surrounding shops.
The historic Santa Fe Plaza is picture-perfect at the holidays, and so is gift-hunting at surrounding shops.

These Boots Are Made for Walking Anywhere

Whether she’ll be sashaying onto a dance floor or stepping up to collect a prize for her rendition of “Oklahoma” at the local talent show, any glamour gal looks the part in a pair of signature cowboy boots from Back at the Ranch, tucked in a classic old home, set back from the sidewalk on East Marcy Street. The shape and style of a great pair of boots put a different swing in her step, and she can be dressed up or down as the occasion demands. My black boots and my brown ones serve just fine for every day, but that red snakeskin pair just puts me in a holiday frame of mind. Your lady friend might feel the same when Susan La Pointe shows you how hand tooling and a favorite color can combine to make an artistic custom piece that says “made in Santa Fe.” The wise purchase of a quality pair of boots ensures they’ll fit perfectly and age well. But if your cowgirl is the type who prefers that already-aged look, Kowboyz on West Manhattan ponies up a selection of vintage boots that will make her feel ready to ride – and consignment shopping is an adventure in its own right!

 Start styling those boots with the basics — then form, function, and fun will follow.

Start styling those boots with the basics — then form, function, and fun will follow.

Finding Finery at Daniella Boutique

Once you’ve scoped out the boot market for the holiday hoedown, maybe it’s time to rustle up some party clothes for a late-night holiday affair. Fashion-forward types here head down to the Market Station in the Santa Fe Railyard where Daniella Fox has curated a classy collection of women’s clothing. The exclusive designer lines featured include premium denim J Brand jeans, which will certainly pair nicely with the aforementioned cowboy boots. The bi-coastal flair on display at Daniella, recognized as one of Lucky Magazine’s Top U.S. Stores, paints an up-to-the-minute picture of Santa Fe style that works day or night, especially with some tasteful accessorizing, upon which Daniella will competently advise.

And if you slip a super-stylish Rebecca Minkoff handbag under the tree, your chic credentials will be confirmed!

Daniella
Give her the starring role at a holiday party with an outfit from Daniella.

Signature Jewelry Adds Sparkle All Year Long

I have yet to meet a woman who doesn’t spend just as much time and effort on her jewelry selection as she does on her clothing. And a statement piece is definitely the one thing that can turn the elegant simplicity of a holiday outfit from stark to stunning. While Santa Fe boutiques can satisfy a jewelry yen, for something special I suggest taking the time to peruse the cases at a Patina Gallery on West Palace Avenue to add the wow factor to your gift. With over 75 jewelry designers in owners Allison and Ivan Barnett’s gallery roster, you’ll be hard-pressed not to find something that she or you (because face it, shopping = temptation) can’t live without.

An LBD  (little black dress) is the perfect backdrop for a red enamel necklace by Jasmin Winter, who shows at Patina Gallery.
An LBD (little black dress) is the perfect backdrop for a red enamel necklace by Jasmin Winter, who shows at Patina Gallery.

Covering Heads and Hands Warms the Heart

By the time our holiday lights are shining, winter winds are blowing too, and that means outer accessories are a welcome option to any wardrobe. Wool, and in particular the alpaca wool from Bolivia and Peru, is such a friendly fabric. It’s soft and warm, and ever so agreeable to any number of hues. Hats, scarves, and gloves make an appearance on the annual holiday gift list precisely because they are so well-used that replacement occurs yearly. And alpaca is a no-kill product, which makes for an extra-warm feeling. Chapare, Chris Meyer’s Montezuma Street shop, has your holiday shopping needs and your lady’s extremities covered with finely-woven accessories to ward away winter’s chill. Keep her feeling cozy as she admires the ancient traditions of a Pueblo holiday dance or toasts her toes by a bonfire on the Christmas Eve farolito walk.

Warm alpaca wool comes in wonderful colors at Chapare …
Warm alpaca wool comes in wonderful colors at Chapare …
… and the teddy bears are alpaca too!
… and the teddy bears are alpaca too!

Cook Up a Holiday Surprise

Maybe you’ve learned from experience that your gal pal is the type who prefers to shop for herself. Not a problem, since experience is the operative word when you give a gift certificate for a class at the Santa Fe School of Cooking. Much of what makes Santa Fe so special comes in the form of memorable food experiences, and bringing those recipes home means the memory can be renewed annually at a holiday dinner. The New Mexico holiday foods classes at the School are always a hit, but if her winter holiday always takes place at home, she can schedule a class at any time of year from the School’s huge roster since classes run year-round. A gift certificate applies at the Market’s online store too. So many tasty and fun options for her to choose from: traditional New Mexican classes, chile workshops, Native American dinners, a salsa series, and of course, the holiday tamale class.

The gift of a Santa Fe School of Cooking experience creates a savory surprise.
The gift of a Santa Fe School of Cooking experience creates a savory surprise.

One-stop Shopping Is One-of-a-Kind

Festival shopping puts everything in one location, so if you have the good fortune to be here November 30-December 1 on the weekend after Thanksgiving, you’d best mosey over to the SWAIA Winter Indian Market at the Santa Fe Community Convention Center. From turquoise jewelry, to hand-woven Navajo rugs, and handspun wools, to beautiful beadwork and handmade ornaments, this is shopping at its best — and it’s easiest, because it’s all in one place. Since November 30 is Small Biz Saturday, this is an ideal opportunity to buy from the artisans who support their families though talent and dedication. Two days give you plenty of time to browse, but since many of the pieces by 200+ Native American artists are truly one-offs, don’t take a second chance for granted on the go-around.

A Cochiti Pueblo pottery storyteller tells your recipient that this gift is truly New Mexican.
A Cochiti Pueblo pottery storyteller tells your recipient that this gift is truly New Mexican.

Should Auld Acquaintance Be Forgot, T’will be Renewed as Art

And the SWAIA Market is not the only holiday happening offering the unique, since the Recycle Santa Fe Art Festival returns for its 15th appearance at the Convention Center November 15-17. When unique meets sustainable, you can rest assured that your gift will tickle the fancy of a conservation-minded coed. I have seen cool lamps created from old tin signs that would fit perfectly in a hallway alcove. And there’s no mistaking the fact that jewelry repurposed from vintage beads is literally hand-crafted.

Artistry like this makes you feel great about patronizing those who dreamed it up out of the leftovers of our day-to-day life — that’s multi-dimensional gift giving!

Sharon Haugh puts the heart into her art at the 2012 Santa Fe Recycle Art Festival (photo from Santa Fe Recycle Art Festival archives)
Sharon Haugh puts the heart into her art at the 2012 Santa Fe Recycle Art Festival (photo from Santa Fe Recycle Art Festival archives)

Make Her Holidays Happy While You Enjoy the Shopping Experience

Are you feeling tempted to zip on over to our legendary trading center to make your holiday gift-giving a singular experience? Many local hotels offer great last-minute deals and holiday packages, so when you add the charm of holiday lights and the taste of our renowned cuisine, it’s a winning proposition for you too. Holiday shopping should be just as rewarding as seeing the smiles when you give the gift. And Santa Fe makes that holiday wish come true.

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.