Sunday, June 28, 2009
Santa Fe My Way, Favorite Things to Do
I have loved visiting Santa Fe since the 1970's and probably should have moved there in the 70's.
Well, I didn't. If I had moved there I would probably be a real estate tycoon and have more cash in my checking account. But, alas I feel like a very rich woman in so many other ways. And, I probably would not have gone to graduate school and would have a very different kind of education. I say I am from Santa Fe, I have just never lived there. It still could happen.
So, on my limited budget, I have figured out ways to go there and have a wonderful time and sometimes I think I would like to get some friends together for a mini-tour and show them my favorite ways to spend time in SF. This is my way to have a budget trip to Santa Fe so we can stay longer.
Where to stay? I always look at those gorgeous on the square hotels on the corner and I think, One night or four nights? Four of course. That means I don't stay at La Fonda or any other fabulous places. It would take so much of my cash I would not want to leave the room and what fun would that be? And, I don't like plastic hotels either. I don't like to smell the lingering plastic smells from chain hotels on my PJs at the next spot. So what is left? The Silver Saddle.
It is an old hotel, next to Jackalope, and it was recommended by a friend several years ago.
Silver Saddle is a funky 60's type hotel. Penny owns it, having recently re-acquired it from Jackalope, the giant shopping spot next door to the hotel. It was a little worn a few years ago and then just kept slipping every time we visited until now. Penny and her daughter are back and the charm has returned with their tender loving care. I am not talking luxury. It is old fashioned, clean, safe with the basics. No luxury linens, no room service. They have an assortment of rooms based on themes. I am not disclosing my favorite room because I want there to be a chance it could be available on my next trip! There is the route 66 room, the Roy Rogers room and mini apts. We are usually there in pleasant weather so we can take a bottle of wine, delicious treats from Whole Foods Market down the street and sit outside for a happy hour at night. When we left, Penny, her daughter Dawn and friends were planting and painting and doing so many things to fix it up again. They had thrown out the riff-raff that was making us uncomfortable on our last trip. It is a fun place to be again.
We have also stayed the KOA cabins about 10 minutes out of town which is a very different experience. Sleeping out of town with a sage and sand experience can be fun too with a few good books, a cooler and fewer trips back and forth.
The Sage Inn is newly redecorated, costs more and has smaller rooms. Sometimes their rates drop considerably off season and you might get a discount if you have a workshop at Santa Fe Clay. Usually, I choose staying longer at the Silver Saddle. The Sage does have a big breakfast but Santa Fe is a food fest anyway so why start the day with a big breakfast?
None of these places are for the four/five star hotel type person. Remember I ride my bike to work and work in clay all day and never order room service.
Whenever we visit anywhere we look for bookstores, coffee shops and brewpubs. And Santa Fe also has a great TeaHouse on Canyon Road and a zillion great galleries as well. We always hit the Garcia Street Bookstore with a coffee shop next to it.
And, Cowgirl Restaurant has the great beer and the best squash casserole I have ever tasted. Second Street Brewery is another hot spot for us. We sit out on the patio with a lot of locals and drink an interesting beer or two and try to resist the fish and chips. They have good salads as well and and delicious food and friendly service. That is usually where we go first, sit and recoup and read the local papers to get info on what is happening while we are there.
There are usually interesting art opening, lectures and more and you can search the web before you travel or check out there local publications, THE, Santa Fe Reporter, and few more you can find in Whole Foods lobby or by the door at many shops and restaurants. The Santa Fe Photographic Workshps always have great lectures through the week when in session.
And of course, you must go the Farmer's Market if you are there in season. Where else can you see great local produce, goat cheese products, soap, raku firings, straw hats and baskets and more. One visit we even lucked into Alice Water's from San Francisco signing her cookbooks.
The Flea Market is worth driving to but used to be better, before the road construction happened and the rules for vendors changed. It is a lot smaller but still better than most.
The thrift store are fun too with better than usual stuff. My favorites are the Hospice thrift store on Cerrilious Road and Second Time Around, next to Cowgirls Restaurant.
You must have time to walk Canyon Road with all the galleries, and poke around the 5 and dime on the square. If you want to go "up town" and you have saved some cash for a few more expensive places, I recommend Geronimos (had a great meal there when they still did lunch, for my anniversary) and O'Keefe Cafe, lovely dining outside with elegant food, and of course Coyote Cafe. Tamasita's is good with traditional New Mexican style foods and way too much food for me. We split everything when we dine and we both left stuffed after splitting a main course and an appetizer.
And, if you like to collect art but cannot afford original painting you might try the poster store owned by Steven Fox, a local and very real character.. He and his two dogs will show you around his studio stuffed with posters, signed and unsigned. He has a great variety of collectable expensive and not so expensive posters.
A trip for me always includes an evening in the hot springs an hour away at Ojo Calliente. And, I will eventually go to Ghost Ranch as well. So far, we have only had time to drive by. Taos is always a treat and I could not drive to Santa Fe from Tulsa without stopping at the Blue Hole in Santa Rosa.
Next trip will probably be during the Folk Art Festival and may also include a trip to the Gruett Winery.
There is always more to do and we try to remember to relax a bit as well. Maybe it is a good thing that it is 11 hours from Tulsa so we have a little down time as well.