Santa Fe, New Mexico is just a quick four hour drive from Amarillo, but once you arrive, you'll feel like you've been transported to another world. The rich southwestern charm is just what the doctor ordered for a quick and easy getaway. Here is the Funspired scoop on one of our favorite nearby destinations:
Where to STAY: So many choices, and you really can't go wrong... If you want to be in the middle of the action, stay at La Fonda, a historic gem and Santa Fe institution. If you like to be waited on hand and foot (who doesn't?) try The Hacienda at Hotel Santa Fe - you'll have your own personal butler to meet your every need (plus rooftop cocktails, breakfast with a view and a purple London cab to drive you around town). For the romantics, we'd suggest The Inn of the Five Graces, the ultimate in luxury and southwestern ambiance. For a great location without the price to match, chose the Old Santa Fe Inn with it's cozy rooms, breakfast burrito bar and friendly staff. For the family, we'd recommend renting a house so everyone can have their own space - lots of options available through Kokopelli Properties or vrbo.com. Other favorites include: Inn of the Anasazi, Inn and Spa at Loretto, and Encantado Resort (an upscale modern resort 10 minutes from the plaza - very cool!)
Where to EAT: If you want delicious food creatively prepared with only the highest quality fresh ingredients, you'll be in heaven at Aqua Santa, a cozy, but elegant spot tucked away by the Santa Fe River. For families, we'd recommend Maria's if you want classic New Mexican fare and margaritas galore or Il Vicino for quick and tasty wood-fired pizza. If you're a Food Network junkie (or if you're just in the mood for something different and delicious), try the oh-so-good Tune-Up Cafe - one of Guy Fieri's stops on his famous show Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives (this one is a "dive"). For the foodie, we suggest Trattoria Nostrani whose award-winning northern Italian fare will blow your mind (they have a "no perfume" policy in order to keep the food as the olfactory star). For a laid-back local vibe, try the Second Street Brewery- great micro-brews, yummy fish 'n chips, and live music while you dine. For breakfast, Cafe Pasqual's is the classic, but Tecolote Cafe and Guadalupe Cafe are also de-lish - try some huevos with New Mexican chili "Christmas-style" (both red and green) or maybe some blue corn and pinon pancakes? yum! And finally, if want to get out of town, check out the Tesuque Village Market for breakfast, lunch or dinner - think upscale trading-post with surprisingly good food!
Where to DRINK: Two great options for a sunset cocktail with a view: in town, the Bell Tower Bar at La Fonda is a must, or if you're willing to drive, try the Sunset Terrace at Bishop's Lodge (2.5 miles from the plaza). If you're looking for something unusual, try the Secreto Bar & Loggia at the St. Francis Hotel where mixologist Chris Milligan will whip you up one of his famous "garden to glass" cocktail concoctions (check out his blog). For the beer aficionado, head upstairs to the Marble Tap Room and have a red ale on their patio overlooking the plaza. For a cozy drink by an outdoor kiva fireplace, we like the patio at Luminaria (in the Inn at Loretto). How about live music and dancing? Some of your best bets are: Cowgirl, La Cantina at La Casa Sena (show tunes nightly), and Evangelo's. And for an amazing Mexican hot chocolate the next morning, you won't go wrong at The Burrito Company on Washington.
What to DO: Santa Fe is famous for it's ART scene, so be sure to explore the plenitude of museums and galleries. Some of our favorites: Waxlander, Brad Smith (watch the artist paint), Evoke Contemporary (we are loving the current Louisa McElwain show) and the Georgia O'Keefe Museum. We also love these HISTORIC churches: Loretto Chapel, St. Francis Cathedral and El Santuario de Chimayo. For the KIDS, check out the Santa Fe Children's Museum and the Puye Cliffs. Need some R&R? These fabulous SPAS will do the trick: Ten Thousand Waves and Body. Take in a SHOW at the Santa Fe Opera - a gorgeous open air venue with opera productions in the summer and other concerts throughout the year. Or just SHOP 'til you drop: Saturday mornings, the Santa Fe Farmer's Market in the Railyard district is lots of fun. For the girls, a few cute boutiques: Dust in the Wind, Mira, and Bodhi Bazaar. For the kiddos, we like Gypsy Baby and On Your Little Feet. And, our new favorite Santa Fe store is Oleaceae in the basement of La Fonda - oils, vinegars and salts like you've never imagined - we loved the Sicilian lemon white balsamic and the black truffle salt, but you'll need to taste for yourself.
When to GO: Santa Fe is wonderful year-round, but each season has it's draws. This fall, some great festivals: September 21-25 is the Santa Fe Wine & Chile Festival and October 20-23 is the Santa Fe Film Festival. In the winter, hit the slopes at Ski Santa Fe - a great family mountain only 16 miles from plaza. In February, the annual ARTFeast event will stimulate all your senses. And the summer is always nice because of the plethora of nearby outdoor activities: hiking, mountain biking, white-water rafting, horseback riding and fly fishing. A city of all seasons, that's for sure!
Whew! We've given you a lot of choices, but don't worry if you can't fit it all in one trip... just keep going back! If you know of any great spots we've missed, we'd love to hear from you in our comments section.
Your fun friends,
Susan and Farrar