“We leave something of ourselves behind when we leave a place, we stay there, even though we go away. And there are things in us that we can find again only by going back there.” -Pascal Mercier
Santa Fe is one of my favorite cities in the world. So much to do, see, eat, drink, and explore in one small area. When we lived in Texas, Santa Fe was a frequent weekend getaway for us. Being less than 5 hours away, it made for an easy trip. We’d set out Friday evening, have dinner when we got in, spend all day Saturday at some of our favorite spots and try some new ones, and then head home Sunday afternoon. Our favorite time of year to visit was Christmas. Every December we would spend a weekend in Santa Fe to celebrate my birthday and the Christmas season just the two of us before heading out to see family. The snow mixed with the lit luminarias everywhere made the city extra magical. Now living in Utah, Santa Fe is harder to get to. The distance has doubled and we haven’t been able to visit the city we love in over a year and a half.
So this weekend was pretty special. With the longer holiday weekend, we decided to head south and make the drive to Santa Fe. To say I was excited would be an understatement. Santa Fe holds many precious memories for me and I couldn’t wait to visit some of my favorite spots. Not only were we going to visit Santa Fe, but we were able to meet two friends from Texas that we hadn’t seen in awhile.
We left Friday and made it to Pagosa Springs before stopping for the night. We car camped and tested out a folding bed Derek made for the back of our car for another upcoming extended road trip. We brought our dog, Wallace, along for the weekend fun. Car camping was definitely a new experience for everyone.
We made it to Santa Fe fairly early on Saturday and headed straight for Whoo’s Donuts. We picked a selection of southwestern inspired creations (green chile apple fritter for one) and took our breakfast to a nearby park to wait for our friends and allow Wallace to stretch his legs. We stopped at local nursery to pick up some chile seed packets for Derek to attempt to grow back in Utah.
Our friends, Jodi and Tyler, arrived a bit later and met us at the local farmer’s and art market. We walked through the various vendors selling local produce, soap, crafts, etc. Tyler and Derek headed out on there own while Jodi and I did a wine tasting at the Vivac booth in the market. We met the guys at our hotel and then made our way to Santa Fe Brewing. We caught up over pints and flights of local brews and ate tacos from a street cart out front. Wallace relaxed on the patio at our feet.
That evening we went down to the plaza and ate dinner at the iconic The Shed. We had tacos, enchiladas, rice, and beans all smothered in traditional New Mexican red, green, or Christmas (mixed) chile. We walked around the plaza, enjoying the cool evening and checking out some of the shops. We made our way to Blue Corn Cafe for drinks and dessert and then made one more stop at Duel Brewing before turning in for the night.
On Sunday, we went back down to the plaza for crepes at The French Pastry Shop in the La Fonda hotel. We walked around the plaza a little more and browsed through an art market. We then drove out to Shidoni in Tesque. Shidoni is a sculpture garden with a glass blowing gallery and bronze foundry on site. We walked among the sculptures and watched some of the artists working on pieces in the glass gallery. We headed back into town for an early lunch at Horseman’s Haven. Another amazing New Mexican meal smothered in delicious chile. Derek tried their #2 chile which the waiter said they were not allowed to smother anything in because it was too hot! We all tried a little and it was definitely spicy. Derek managed to eat the whole thing! We returned to the hotel to recover from our food coma for a bit, a condition that occurs on the regular in Santa Fe. That afternoon we got ice cream and took a scenic drive through the Santa Fe National Forest. The breeze and the smell of the New Mexican mountain air were wonderful. After making it back into town, we walked along Canyon Road for awhile and then tried a new brewery in town, Chili Line Brewing, before finishing the night off with drinks at the Draft Station and pizza from Rooftop, all enjoyed on a balcony overlooking the plaza.
Monday began the 10 hour trip home, which turned into 12 hours due to the holiday traffic back into the city. Saying goodbye to friends and to Santa Fe once again was hard, but I am grateful for another trip to a special place with many more memories in the books.