I love Santa Fe. Always have. My love affair with that city began when I was fourteen years old and I attended an annual school trip arranged by the history teacher. He had us apply to be part of the program which included research, respect for the cultures and knowledge of the area. I remember being so proud of my binder of New Mexico history. We hiked at the sand dunes in Colorado, checked out Bandelier National Monument Park, Santa Fe and Taos. I loved Santa Fe immediately. The Plaza, the history, the culture. I even interrupted a funeral in one of the churches downtown since I thought it was the Loretto Chapel. At the time, I didn't know the name of the chapel and was turned around by directions. I entered the church with a few other classmates and snapped a few photos before turning red faced at my embarrassment. Eventually, I did find the Loretto Chapel.
A month after this school trip, I returned with my dad and sisters to basically do the exact same trip. Bandelier, Santa Fe and Taos as a family trip. We included rafting the Rio Grande on the family vacay and a departure to ABQ. My dad insisted on checking out that city. I was fine with the Capitol. The history, food, hiking and silver jewelry. I have always had respect for the artisanship found here.
As a young adult, I chose to move to Phoenix when I completed college. I had the opportunity to drive through Santa Fe on my way down. Again, I loved the city and dreamed of living there. Fast forward and I am living in Denver (my true home) and I started making annual trips to the city different. I befriended a massage therapist in 2004 who is now one of my closest and dearest friends. Ironically, her name is Melody. I should pull up all of the photos I have amassed from trips and eventually of living there. I absolutely adore visiting and have many friends that live there. Every few months, I head south to get my Ojo fix and green chile. Of course, multiple silver coins are involved in the trip. Which reminds me, I am due for a trip south soon.
The food factor is pretty insane. From casual local driven spots to higher end, trendy gourmet, foodie driven experiences. I had the opportunity to dine at a renowned spot one 4th of July with Melody. We smuggled a bottle of Isosceles in from one of her clients. Melody didn't know how much I love Isosceles until a dinner we had at Geronimo in 2006 with that particular bottle of wine. What a treat to drink this bottle from 95. It was perfection. And the food was delicious, too. We were able to enjoy the wine and food since I was working there at the time. Gorgeous patio dining and the food is always decadent.
Next up the silver coin factor. When I arrive in town the first thing I do is head to La Choza to eat chips and salsa and kick start my adventure with a silver coin or two. I will dine solo at the bar or a friend will meet me. I have also brought other friends from Denver to join me at this local spot. Sara Jo, Maghan, Jan (from Phoenix) and hopefully the Goddess in the next year. The food never disappoints and I feel very welcomed here. And in the past year, if I visit for three days, I end up dining here twice. It is consistently fantastic. Doesn't this drink look amazing? And inviting???
And then there is Ojo Caliente. A rejuvenating, relaxing must do while visiting the city different. It took me ten years to find it which is comical considering it is now an essential part of my Santa Fe trip. I had an ex-boyfriend that initially brought it up. He had a house in Taos and was shocked that I had never visited Ojo. He understood that I had visited Ten Thousand Waves on a couple occasions. Lovely massages and much closer to Santa Fe. I suppose I never visited Ojo Caliente since it is about an hour from Santa Fe. Finally, I asked Melody if she ever went there to soak and she said--yes!!! I asked her if we could go on my next trip up. I was living in Phoenix at the time and making frequent trips to Santa Fe. In all honesty, I was looking for a way back to Denver but not yet ready to commit. I believed I could live in Santa Fe and thrive. In many respects, I did thrive and love it. However, it is an oasis for me to visit and living there didn't quite live up to the dream for me. I embrace the anonymity of living in a large city. In Santa Fe, I found it to be too small. At any rate, I still visit it often and love it. I continue to look for new restaurants, breweries and things to do. I love Ojo Caliente.
I'll leave you with this image. The simplicity of this fantastic day spa and soak venture. Clear blue inviting skies, serenity, tranquility, amazing. I absolutely adore it. This image inspires me to think about when I can visit again. On a solo trip or with my girlfriends. I love hosting people and showing them my idea of the perfect New Mexico getaway. I could go on and on about the beauty of the city, yoga that is available, the farmer's market that is open year round and delicious. Not to mention restaurants, local spots and green chile. It really is remarkable how many things you can find to do if you are open to experiencing different parts of the city. Did you notice that I didn't even mention the gallery factor? They have those, too. I met many, many artists while living there. And you can venture south to Madrid to experience that artist driven mecca or check out Meow Wolf or the burgeoning Railyard District. There is so many things that are evolving in Santa Fe. Do yourself a favor--go check it out! I know that I will be visiting soon. Cheers and salud~