Anytime of the year is the right time to visit Santa Fe, New Mexico, and especially now while it is celebrating its 400th Anniversary.
Besides special festival and events, some anytime favorites are the newly opened New Mexico History Museum on the Plaza where an overview of the state is on exhibit, featuring some intriguing artifacts. The intimate Georgia O’Keefe Art Museum and its accompanying café are a must nostalgic stop where elegant food and iconic art satisfies your senses. A night of concert magic at the historic Lensic Theatre can be a treat. With as many decades as I have visited Santa Fe, this recent visit to the Lensic was a pleasant discovery.
Santa Fe is always new yet with a conscious nod to the past in architecture, art and handicrafts. Canyon Road is always there, always different and always a meandering experience. Many galleries are hosts to a plethora of artists and styles, and one of my favorites is the Gallery 822 (www.gallery822.com) near the top of the road, which is home to bronze phenom, Joshua Tobey. His whimsical and charming interpretations of wildlife along with two dimensional works, makes this intimate and very Santa Fean gallery unique.
Where to eat and where to sleep in Santa Fe is always a pleasurable dilemma. On previous visits I have stayed at several Santa Fe hotels. The Inn of the Governors, (www.innofthegovernors.com) was my choice this time, since it being located near the Plaza was a convenient and comfortable oasis. The rooms are accommodating, and only surpassed by the very accommodating hotel staff who can answer many of your Santa Fe questions and are happy to make dinner reservations ensuring a delightful dining experience. The hotel’s included breakfast is filling and efficient. In the evenings they feature a complementary refreshment hour and upon occasion you can find local artisans displaying their handicrafts right in the lobby. I would be pleased to stay there on my next visit, and isn’t that the best compliment one can give?
If you want to escape to the countryside, there is no better place than Bishop’s Lodge Ranch Resort and Spa, a short 3 mile drive out of town through the Tesuque Valley. (www.bishopslodge.com) Under new and inventive management the Lodge is now coming into its own with expanded activities and property renovations. The old hill top chapel with its modest historic pastor’s room is a reminder of a simpler and perhaps more laborious past.
Today under the expertise of Executive Chef Carmen Rodriguez, the heritage grape vines, fruit trees and herbs have been re-cultivated to produce exquisite fine dining offerings at Las Fuentes Restaurant and bar. The southwestern décor features beamed ceilings and authentic Navaho rugs and commissioned murals by early Santa Fe artist W.E. Rollins.
Our Bishop’s Lodge treat was a sampling dinner where we were presented with several appetizers and entrées for our enjoyment. I only wished I had two or three stomachs! It was a verification that any of Chef Rodriguez’s creations would make an over the top dining experience. Chef says “We look forward to bringing you the flavor, texture and quality of our Heirloom produce as we continue Archbishop Lamy’s legacy of bringing fresh ingredients to the table.”
The flavor of Old Santa Fe awaits your exploration or your return to fulfill a heart’s longing for the crisp mountain air, Sangre de Cristo mountain vistas, red chili ristras, dried iconic skulls, the aroma of pinion wood, traditional or inventive art, all along with the charm of the Hispanic Southwest and its cuisine. Visit: http://www.santafe.org often.
For detailed listing of events check out: http://www.santafe400th.com.