Travel+Leisure magazine gave Santa Fe, New Mexico its prestigious 2008 World's Best Cities Award, Outside Magazine called it a "Best Town" on their 2007 list, while American Style named Santa Fe in their Top 25 Art Destinations for 2008.
Better yet for my Pinewood neighbors,
Called the "City Different" for a reason,
Santa Fe's favorite artist Georgia O'Keeffe said about New Mexico: "It's something that is in the air; it's different. The sky is different. The land is different. The air is different." We left lazy Pinewood one Friday at 6:30AM to check out the "City Different."
With road tunes cranked, we passed the fiberglass dinosaurs guarding
We opted for the Native-American owned, Hotel Santa Fe with a short, ten-minute stroll to the Plaza. They offer a generous shuttle service with friendly and prompt drivers. The feel is intimate and friendly and you'll enjoy exploring the grounds while photographing the inspiring sculpture gardens. Special touches include live native flute performances on scheduled evenings and colorful tribal dancing during the summer months.
One of the splendors of
The professional wait staff is friendly and polite as I ask for names of ingredients that I can't quite wrap my brain (tongue?) around. It's chipotle in the pumpkin seed biscotti. And, of course, blue corn in the tasty, moist muffins. The Jicama in the crispy slaw is a stumper, but I can sure taste the cucumber in the sorbet topping the raw oyster appetizer.
The scallops and Spanish chorizo on a bed of lemon spaetzle, wilted arugula and sweet corn sauce is to die for! But if this sounds too frou-frous for you, cowboy rib eye steak, buffalo NY strip and filet mignon, too, are on the menu.
We took a stroll through the delightful Luminaria's patio -- which has an incredible nighttime view of the illuminated Loretto Chapel -- before we walk off the strawberry-rhubarb claufois and vanilla ice cream strolling back to Hotel Santa Fe.
For an easy way to get to know any city during a short stay, I always recommend a walking tour. So on Saturday morning we meet our friendly guide in the lobby of La Fonda. (I like to practice what I preach.) Knowledgeable Joel packs into two hours much more that I could ever read in a history book. He sifts it all out and makes
After the tour you could head to La Boca, one of
Gallery hopping and shopping was the rule for the remainder of the day. That evening we relax listening to native flute music with quite a crowd at the Hotel Santa Fe's lobby/lounge. Then off for margs at a local's haunt, The Shed.
"You've been to
Any 45-minute wait at a locals' restaurant is a promise of good food, but my source had said, "Some of the best New Mexican food in the state. I have been eating there for twenty years." Blue corn chicken enchiladas smothered in green sauce with hearty beans and posole on the side. No food fusion here: 100% Northern New Mexican cuisine! My source was spot-on!
On Sunday morning you have time for a horseback ride before you mosey back to Munds. There is no better way to experience the desert Southwest than from the back of a horse. At Bishop's Lodge Ranch Resort & Spa, our horses were well-trained and the views of the Sangre de Christo (Blood of Christ) Mountains were breath-taking. Disclosure of height, weight, age, and level of riding experience are required upon making a reservation, but the wrinkled wranglers promised not to share my personal information with anyone else. As a special Sunday treat, the resort's restaurant, Las Fuentes offers a fabulous champagne brunch. The Bishop's Lodge is a nice hideaway and makes for a memorable launching pad for your trip back home.
Vagabonding Lulu's Hot Travel Tips:
For a limited time, book two nights and get 15% off the Best Available Rate at the
Don't miss any of the
Fill your tank and coffee cups at Winslow's Flying J (gas typically ten cents less per gallon than in
Directions: Simply grab I-17 north to
Reprinted from The Pinewood News, May 20, 2009
Vagabonding Lulu Travel Column
Flagstaff, Munds Park, Pinewood, Arizona
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