Santa Fe: A Winter Adventure

sante-fe-img_2460After long, hot, humid Florida summers, and even seemingly warm winters, snow and cooler weather can provide the perfect respite. A delightful, easy place to find it during the holiday season is Santa Fe, New Mexico. Nestled at the base of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, the dry, cool mountain air is luscious and exhilarating. Santa Fe is a relaxing place to be, surrounded by the ever-present culture of Pueblo Indians and centuries of Spanish influence, pink adobes, lush mountains, vast landscapes, and the iconic imagery of Georgia O’Keeffe’s art.
During the weeks encompassing Christmas and the New Year, farolitos (the candles in paper bags that we call luminarias here) line the rooftops of homes, hotels, churches, restaurants and more. The streets are covered with snow and the scent of piñon fires wafts through the cool, crisp air.
There are so many wonderful things to do and see in and around Santa Fe — endless hiking sante-fe-img_2324trails and caves, intimate spas and soothing outdoor mud baths, skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, mountain biking and horseback riding, not to mention the exquisite museums, churches, chic art galleries, and boundless culinary adventures.
There are plenty of small bed and breakfasts and old traditional hotels to stay in, but personally I enjoy the Eldorado Hotel & Spa. It is conveniently located a block from the plaza, is an easy walk to some of the best places in Santa Fe, and is also right next to the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum. The Eldorado recently underwent a massive remodel, adding a luxury spa and a ultra cozy lounge area with an oversized wood-burning fireplace and big lounging couches. Ahhh … spend your first day snuggled up and settle in.
But first, treat yourself to Maria’s New Mexican Kitchen for Old Santa Fe home cooking, including some of the best fajitas and red chili sauce I’ve ever had. It is a super-casual, rustic spot. Their real claim to fame is their extensive selection of tequilas and more than one hundred varieties of margaritas. Rumored to be one of Robert Redford’s favorite places to hang out when in Santa Fe, Maria’s has always been a “must-stop” place for me. Many years ago I stood next to Val Kilmer waiting in line for the bathroom. It turned out that the birthday party in the room next to us was for a relative of Julia Roberts. No, I didn’t see her; I was too busy enjoying my margaritas!
Santa Fe is as much synonymous with Georgia O’Keeffe as it is with its Pueblo style sante-fe-img_2454architecture and mountains. O’Keeffe’s indelible legacy is everlasting and always present in Santa Fe. She is the iconic symbol of the place, akin to Andy Warhol and New York City. The people of Santa Fe clearly still love her and honor her every day. She is on just about every magazine cover you see, and the museums honor her legacy by gracing their walls, room after room, with her work.
Seeing O’Keeffe’s work up close and personal will change any preconceptions you may have about her. Her work is just as mysterious as her person, possessing a strong beauty. It is colorful and powerful, yet subtle and soft. She loved the outdoors and spent most of her time sante-fe-img_2423-falone at her Ghost Ranch in Abiquiu, just ninety minutes from Santa Fe.
Horseback rides are offered at the Ghost Ranch, and are led and narrated by a real cowboy. Riding around Ghost Ranch gives you the rare opportunity to see and feel what O’Keeffe presents in her paintings. The tour includes narrative that relates what you are seeing and riding through to particular O’Keeffe paintings. It is an ethereal experience.

Read MoreArticle written by Cinda Sherman

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