The Land of Chiles
Trip Start Mar 20, 2010
41Trip End Aug 25, 2010
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Where I stayed
On our first day we walked around the center of town and plaza. Our friends Rene and Zinia are in town with their son Thomas until Saturday, so we caught up with them for a bit. The are staying at the Anasazi Inn - this place rocks. We later caught up with Chris back in his home and jumped into his restored VW van for a personalized tour of the area, beautiful homes on the hill tops and stunning sunsets
The next morning we attempted to kick off our stay in Santa Fe with an overdue run, but forgetting we are at 7000 feet above sea level, the altitude crushed us! After this defeat we set off to enjoy the splendors of Santa Fe and we met Rene, Zinia and Thomas for lunch and did a bit of shopping. There are so many beautiful things, the boutiques and museums are endless.
Knowing we are going go be here for a while we thought it best to log the key highlights of our stay. Here we go.....
During our first weekend we hung out with Chris. We took a ride up to the near by ski resort (Ski Santa Fe), only 20 minutes from his home. You can see the mountain from his patio - the mountain top is still sprinkled with snow. From his home it is about 12 miles straight up the mountain to reach the ski lodge - as we rode up there were numerous bikers looking to complete the challenge and make it to the top. The ski resort is less known by non-locals, but it should be known, the mountain is no joke
In Santa Fe there there are numerous galleries, even a road dedicated to them called Canyon Road, we hit a few here and there, its impossible to see everything
Taos and Northern New Mexico
We went to Taos with Rene and Zinia the Friday before they left, taking the High Road up there. The drive was beautiful, as we made our way through small towns such as Truchas and the Carson's National Forest. Along the way we up we stopped at Santuario de Chimayo. Chimayo is a small community known for it's sanctuary which is a lovely little antiquated chapel, on top of a hill, surrounded by a stream and mountain vies. Inside the sanctuary is the El Posito, what this chapel is known for - El Posito is a hole in the floor found in a side room of a chapel that filled with healing earth (dirt). Pilgrims come here to take a bit of the earth and pray for healing. We each took a scoopful and placed it in small containers purchased at the gift store...this is only after we rubbed it allover our bodies when no one was looking. Once we got to Taos proper we walked around and had lunch. Our impression of Taos is that the locals are bit more earthy and the town itself is a little more low key then Santa Fe. After lunch we made our way to Taos Pueblo. Taos Pueblo, still an active pueblo, meaning people still live here and its an active community
On our last day in Santa Fe, we decided to take a ride up again towards Taos and check out what is considered the Enchanted Circle. The game plan was to see Eagles Nest, then if we had it in us, maybe make our way up to Red River, then end back into Taos for lunch at Orlandos, which came highly recommended by Chris
Bandelier State Park, Los Alamos
Chris's friend suggested we check out Bandelier State Park, in Los Alamos, NM, about 30 minutes west of Santa Fe. This place is super amazing it is home to the Frijoles Canyons and offers numerous hiking trails (70 miles of trails) and historic points of interest to uncover (ancestral pueblos and petroglyphs). When we arrived we did what is called the Main Loop to the Alcove House. This trail led us to historic pueblo dwellings and cliff dwellings, there were points of time when we had to walk up ladders to see the cliff dwellings. To see the historic Alcove House cliff dwelling, we had to climb 4 different ladders along a cliff - going up wasn't too bad, but coming down was a bit freaky. It was super windy that day so you had to hold on tight!. Later that morning we did one more trail called the Falls Trail, we didn't think much of the trail as we were walking until it looped around and next thing you know we are walking along a cliff, overlooking deep multicolored canyons, it was absolutely breath taking. While you needed to hug the cliff as you walked along, it was definitely worth it, but, the winds were so strong, rocks were falling from above, and one missed Brian's head by a few inches
Ojo Caliente Spa & Hot Springs
Christina's cousin Elke recommended we check out Ojo Caliente, NM and we are so glad she mentioned this to us!. After our morning in Bandelier State Park, we were ready for a little R&R. This place was very cool, and something everyone should try. Since Brian's birthday was on the 12th, it was the perfect excuse to splurge a little bit. We set our selves up with a cliff side room with private hot tub, and scheduled massages for us. The resort has about 7 different natural spring/mineral pools/tubs, each very hot, some much hotter than others, that supposedly offer different forms of healing (Iron, Soda, Arsenic and Lithia springs). The Lithia Spring fountain sits in the center of it all from which you can drink - the waters supposedly increase energy levels and help heal from the inside, skin, digestion, etc. We drank it, at times forcing down..Brian said it tasted like crap, but drank it anyway. It was so cool to get up in the morning, soak in the different springs, then lay out in the sun to warm up. Though the air was cool, the sun was warm, and your muscles and body was so warm from spring, it didn't matter that the air was cool. Once it got too cool, you would just do it all over again. We loved it
Ghost Ranch, Abiquiu
As mentioned, Georgia O'Keefe is the grandmother of NM, and when speaking of her, Ghost Ranch, in Abiquiu, NM, usually is mentioned within the same sentence. In short, Georgia fell in love with the colors of New Mexico, she started spending summers in NM, and when her husband died she moved here permanently from NYC. Her claim to fame is that she purchased a guest house located on Ghost Ranch in Abiquiu, NM (about 45 min north of SF). It was this ranch and the surrounding land and mountains that served as her inspiration for a majority of her work. We visited Ghost Ranch on our return from Ojo Caliente, and walked the grounds - the landscapes are endless with expansive colors and layers of texture - pictures just don't do it justice. We did one of the hikes offered, up to Chimney Rock. Ghost Ranch is now a facility that can house conferences, host team building events or just to go an relax and meditate. -Its quite big.
This is a old small historic mining town about 30 minutes south of Santa Fe
The night prior to our brunch in Madrid, we went to a local party on a ranch in Madrid, it was a hippie party to the extreme, The theme of the party was both a music and film fest. People brought tents and trailers to crash in and the guests, aside from us and Chris's friends, looked like (and smelled like) they hadn't showered in months. There was a stage where locals would go up and sing, an empty built in pool that served as a super size play pen where the children hung out, and a bunch of dogs running around (known as "hippie dogs"). As dusk came upon us, the owners had to keep a watchful eye on their dogs as coyotes are known to come out and take them during this time of day
During the party we met a handful of people, and the funny thing is that the next day when we walked around Madrid, we met up with a few of them..many were artists or gallery owners in Madrid, we started to feel like a local.... - we ended up buying some pieces from one of them.kind of neat.
Crazy Bike Drummer/Rider - After coming back from Dinner with Rene and Zinia, while outside their hotel we here these drums playing and got a glimpse of a man on a bike playing drums. Unfortunately we weren't fast enough to get a photo of him, but, later, as we approached our car we heard the drums again, and saw the biker making circles around Santa Fe plaza. We raced to our car in hopes of getting a better look and taking a pix. We ran through a few stop signs and met up with him at the last one, so he was literally next to the passenger seat
Places we've eaten worth mentioning.
La Casa Sena - beautiful outside joint, great food, under shade of trees in Santa Fe center. We had lunch here with Rene, Zinia and Thomas
Marias - little outside of town, excellent Mexican food!, and about 250 margaritas to choose from, we celebrated Cinco De Mayo here with Chris and Seren
Graham Grille - in Taos, We had lunch here with Rene and Zinia, ..Rene was the brave one to order their specialty..a mean Frito Pie (Fritos covered with all he makings of a taco)
Milagro - also good, in town, we just went there for a quick Fri Nt drink and apps. However since on a Friday night we got a good taste of the "local crowd"...many silver foxes out there.
Geranimos - on Canyon Road, more high end and expensive, but worth it. We treated ourself for a nice dinner with Rene and Zinia.
The Cow Girl- Good scene, good food, good margaritas, definitely worth stopping in an listening to some music, etc.
Fact: Chiles are the main ingredient in any New Mexican dish. The locals put chiles in everything!. There are red and green chiles, when you go to a restaurant you need to ask which is the hottest, usually it is the green chiles. However, if you can't make up your mind, then the solution is to ask for them "Christmas Style", and the server will know to mix the red and green chiles together!
We absolutely loved Santa Fe and Northern New Mexico. We feel like we did a lot, but there is still so much to do that we couldn't get to, but, gives us reason to come back, which we are already planning to do. We need to drive through the Enchanted Circle and see Red River, and try Eagles Nest again, ski Taos and Santa Fe, and hike more canyons and soak in more hot springs such as Chaco National Park/Canyons, White Sands Nat'l park, Jemez Springs and Silver Springs.,,and much much more.
May 5 - May 15