Happy Anniversary in Santa Fe
Who says you can’t celebrate your upcoming anniversary several months early? We did just that this past October in anticipation of our ten year anniversary on January 3rd, 2019! Big sigh for these babies in that photo, frolicking on the beaches of Cabo. We had no idea what the next ten years would hold: two chronic illnesses/autoimmune disorders, two beautiful baby girls and lots of opportunities to support each other “in sickness and in health”.
We decided on a road trip to Santa Fe, New Mexico, which was a blast mixed in with what we think was viral meningitis. Whoops. That made for an interesting trip at times, but we were able to stay and do all of the activities and head home to get help from my docs.
Let’s dive in to Santa Fe: where we stayed, what we ate and what activities we did. We’ll definitely be visiting Santa Fe again. The time of year we went (October) was beautiful!
Hotel in Santa Fe
I feel like I need a disclaimer here: this decision of where we stayed was pretty much a Scott decision. I’m not complaining because it was a really fun and beautiful place to stay. One of the things I love about him is that he’s so dedicated to finding the best experience for the best price - you know, bang for your buck.
We got to stay in our own little casita at the Four Seasons Rancho Encantado. It was downright magical. We’d been there one night before but with our kiddos and just on a stop through on our way home from Colorado.
The walk to our room, and the view from our patio was incredibly peaceful and beautiful. I wore my “tourist hat” loud and proud as we walked around and I “ooo-ed and ahhh-ed” over the bright yellow and sunny orange leaves. We don’t see that kind of stuff in south Texas! The staff and service was great!
We only lit the wood-burning fire for two nights because we both woke up the next mornings with headaches and stuffy noses. Coziness was nice but not worth a sinus infection - ha! We’ll definitely be back here - kids or no kids. They took excellent care of us and provided a wonderful home base for our anniversary adventure.
One more thing to note about Rancho Encantado if you’re interested in staying there - it’s not directly IN Santa Fe. It sits on the outskirts, and since we drove there we had to car to take us to town! It was about a 1-15 minute drive to the middle of Santa Fe. We also made stops at Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s for snacks back at the casita. We loved staying out a little further and visiting the hustle and bustle when we wanted a change of pace.
Food in Santa Fe
We’re a little high maintenance when it comes to food. No, we aren’t “foodies” - actually, we might be the opposite. Both of us try to avoid red meat, processed foods, and extra sugars when eating out. Scott typically has to stay away from dark green leafy items as well as most green veg in general. It seems so backwards, but it’s taken him years to figure out what foods make him feel the best and what foods make him feel the worst. All that to say, we did’t necessarily branch out into the top-rated, fancy and popular restaurants in Santa Fe. I know those are there, but we kept it pretty simple.
This is a really fun rooftop bar and cantina on top of a fancier sister of the restaurant (Coyote Cafe). The music was loud, the fire was blazing and the Caesar salad was ridiculously good! It’s made with roasted corn, Pecorino romano cheese and polenta croutons - best.salad.ever! They had amazing looking drinks, but we both steer clear of alcohol, so Topo Chico it is.
I’m not even sure how to describe this place, but it’s super unique. I searched “acai bowls Santa Fe” and this popped up first. People can get oxygen treatments if they’re struggling with altitude adjustments, or if you’re like me, I ordered avocado toast. It was a full gluten-free menu with smoothies, soups, salads, teas, and the list goes on and on.The GF toast was so amazing - we’d go back again next time.
This is another Santa Fe standard - it’s so well loved and you may have to wait to try it if you don’t get there early enough. Pasqual’s menu focuses on carefully selected organic ingredients. We had a dinner and a breakfast there - both were very tasty. I had the french toast on GF seed bread - best GF french toast I’ve ever had. We preferred this experience for breakfast.
Terra is the restaurant at our hotel, so it was close to us, not overly crowded and provided room service. Lots of wins all the way around! The food was good, but we probably just ate their too many times. It was also pricey for what it was.
Modern General is an actual modern general store. They sell tools, cookbooks, kitchen supplies - lots of general store goodies. It’s the prettiest, lightest place we went, too - best atmosphere, hands down. I had an acai bowl, a turmeric shot and coffee. I would definitely visit this place again.
We tried to get into The Shed, a well-known favorite, but even at 5:00 it was already a long, long wait. We were hungry so decided to go back to the hotel restaurant. We were also told to try Clafoutis, known for its breakfast and pastries - sad news, they were closed the day we tried to go, and we left town early the next morning.
Activities in (and around) Santa Fe
What an experience this was! I only have one photo from this activity in Santa Fe - Scott carrying my bag on the long trek UP to the spa - lots and lots of stairs. This Japanese inspired spa reminds me of a bath house - the locker rooms aren’t fancy or schmancy - it’s all very simple and down to earth. My favorite part was the private hot tub cove that also included a cold plunge pool! It was the best feeling to plunge into cold, cold water.
The massage services were great, but we were most intrigued by the pools. People come and stay there for hours. Surprisingly, lots of their business comes in at night for a night swim. They have a restaurant and lodging facilities, too. We’d do it again but skip the massages and hang out in the private pools.
Can I just tell you…I was SO nervous about this and felt like I might not make it down, but we did it! A van drove us way up the mountain, and our guide led us down the bottom through beautiful trees and questionably graveled paths that almost made me wipe out. I’m glad Scott suggested this because I never would have picked this activity on my own.
Our hotel offered an Adventure Center and took care of arranging this for us. They made it a wonderful experience, and I rode down a mountain!
Scott was pumped about fly fishing, and I was, too, until we had to get in the water. My.Goodness. It was so cold even through my 3 layers of pants and big waders. It was a very long morning of fishing, particularly because I’d never done anything close to this kind of fishing before.
I caught several fish, didn’t die hiking in water logged boots, survived frigid temps and did not fall in the water. Woo! I call this a victory for me. Scott had fun, too. The scenery was beautiful and the guide was so nice - we had Aaron with Land of Enchantment Guides.
Our fishing guide gave us one of the best pieces of advice: go to Ghost Ranch. It wasn’t a super long drive, and we timed it almost perfectly with the sunset. It’s now a retreat and education center, but it’s located on a stunningly beautiful property. My pictures don’t do it justice.
The famous artist, Georgia O”Keefe, known for her beautiful flowers and rolling hills, spent a good amount of her time at Ghost Ranch. You can read the entire story here. This piece of land was breathtaking, and I’m so thankful we saw it at sunset.
I had visited this chapel before, a couple of years prior. The story behind the spiral staircase built to reach the choir chambers upstairs is so interesting. The story is in its entirety here. The carpenter who appeared to answer the prayers of the church built the staircase and disappeared without payment for his work. It’s eery and also very cool to be inside and see the craftsmanship.
The Historical Plaza
There are about a million and one places to shop in the downtown historical Santa Fe Plaza. We searched for what felt like hours to find sweet turquoise charms to take home to our girls. Some of the shops are super fancy and charge quite a high price for their diamonds and turquoise. Other shops are somewhere in the middle, and there are artisans who set up blankets and towels around one of the buildings to sell their jewelry. I may or may not have walked away with an anniversary pair of turquoise earrings.
We came on the wrong day to this place, but it was really neat. It’s a blend of art galleries, a coffee shop, stores restaurants and they host little markets. It was beautiful outside, so walking around was pleasant. We were too early on a Sunday - most of the galleries and shops were closed.
This was a fun surprise but also disappointing in some ways. Canyon Road is a half mile featuring over one hundred galleries, boutiques and restaurants. We didn’t hit the jackpot weather-wise this day - drizzly and gross, but we made the best of it.
Scott was super interested in finding a painting to take home, and let me just tell you….not one item was in our budget. (insert big laugh here) We had a great walk, saw some….interesting pieces of art and made a day of it. No paintings in hand, but it was fun pretending we knew how to “look at art” in the galleries.
Okay, buckle up people, this is my “MUST DO IN SANTA FE RECOMMENDATION”. See? I’m very serious about this one.
This was our last big activity - we went home the next day. I had been looking forward to this since we planned our trip. I love rock formations, hiking and seeing cool spots in the U.S. I’ve never seen before.
Tent rocks did NOT disappoint. We lucked out with a gorgeous day. FYI: I was pretty much sick the majority of our trip and while we climbed these rocks I knew something was actually wrong with me because I could barley make it up to the top. Despite my sickly self, the views were fabulous and the whole peaceful atmosphere at the top was so worth the huffing and puffing.
Take a snack, take a camera and bring your tennis shoes. This is a beautiful piece of landscape that you don’t want to miss!
We love you, Santa Fe!
We’ll be back, don’t you worry! We had a fantastic time and can’t to come visit again. If you’re looking for a place to go with kids or a place to celebrate an anniversary, Santa Fe has something for everyone. Happy travels, my friends!