Monday, September 4, 2023

Santa Fe Weekend

Trip date: April 2023

I had never been to New Mexico so I asked my friend Gail if she wanted to do a weekend in Santa Fe. We used one of my Alaska $99 Companion Fare certificates and flew in Premium class after work on a Thursday. Unfortunately our flight ended up being 1 ½ hours late; fortunately we both have access to the Amex Centurion Lounge at SeaTac. 

We flew into Albuquerque and while joking with the car rental agent at Alamo about getting an upgrade, their manager offered us a brand new Chevy convertible for the same price as our basic car. Nice!

It was about a 1 hour drive to the Marriott La Posada de Santa Fe. Gail had stayed here before and was excited about returning but when we checked into our room we were in a very old room with 2 Queens and a tiny bathroom. We had been upgraded to a room with a patio but the only place for my suitcase was in front of the patio door so we didn't use it. It was really too bad as the rest of the property looked pretty nice and many of the rooms had wood fireplaces! We were both disappointed.

Because of our flight delay, it was too late for dinner but we had a couple of nightcaps in the bar, which also had fireplaces burning the local piñon wood which smells incredible. 

The next morning we had a great breakfast at the hotel. New Mexico is known for their Christmas sauce, which is both red and green chili sauce on your enchilada's. It is absolutely delicious, and much spicier than I expected! Especially at breakfast!

On the agenda was a visit to Ten Thousand Waves spa. It's about 30 minutes outside of the city, situated up in the hills. We chose to park in the lower parking lot and walk up the 90 steps to the reception. 

Modeled after a traditional onsen, they offer public or private baths, and also a foot bath. There are also meditation rooms, a sauna, and a great gift shop. We soaked in the foot bath and then the public bath before each having a massage. The masseuses each had their own little rooms they worked out of. It was incredibly relaxing and we both loved our visit here!

Back in town we hit up Coyote Cafe for a late lunch of nachos and margaritas. So good!
Afterwards we walked around the corner to Gruet's tasting room. We had reservations, and it was a good thing as it filled up right after we arrived! The tasting room is beautiful and their sparkling wines are delicious. What a fun afternoon!

On our walk back to the hotel we stopped at Joe's Tequila Bar which is inside the Inn at the Alameda. I was quite impressed with their selection and their service. It was the first time I had tequila served with orange and cinnamon and I liked it!

On Saturday we started our day at The Teahouse where I had a huge breakfast burrito. Then we made the hour drive to Bandelier National Monument. Wow! What an incredible area this is! 

We took the Pueblo Loop Trail, which is very easy and takes you past the remains of an indigenous village that had about 400 people living in and near around it about 500 years ago. Walking through the ruins was awesome but you could really see the layout once you walked up into the hills a bit.

In these surrounding hills are over a thousand caves that were dug into the soft rock and used as dwellings. Many of them are accessible by ladder, all of them are super tiny inside!

As we continued along the trail there were areas with ancient petroglyphs. You barely had to search for them they were so obvious!

When we got to the Alcove trail we headed toward the large cave which is located 140 feet above the floor of Frijoles Canyon. It is believed that around 25 Ancestral Pueblo people lived here between 1250 and 1600 AD.

We decided to climb up. Eek! There are a series of 4 wooden ladders as well as some stone stairs. I'm not the best with heights (fear of falling!) and there were a lot of people but Gail was a great coach!

It was much harder coming down, for me anyway. My arms definitely got shaky and I had a little vertigo, but once you are up there, there isn't any other choice but to also climb down. I've never been in anything like it before and I was super glad we did it!

It was a stunning drive back to Santa Fe, cold and sunny, we had the top down and the heat cranked up!

Back in town we had another late lunch, this time outside at the Plaza Cafe. Afterwards we did some shopping at a few of the pottery galleries.

We decided to do a little happy hour cocktail crawl starting at Secreto which is inside the Hotel St. Francis.

Drinks were good and it's quite a fun vibe; they have a nice little patio also but it was full when we were there. We walked over to La Fonda and for another margarita before heading back to our hotel for some tacos. La Fonda is known for the bar up in their bell tower but it wasn't open for the season yet.

Sunday was Easter and we hadn't made any big brunch plans so we headed back to Plaza Cafe for a last enchiladas with Christmas sauce outside in the sun with mimosas.

We spent the rest of our day touring through some of the art galleries, shopping for chili powder, and checking out the Loretto Chapel and its mysterious staircase. Spoiler alert... it's a spiral staircase that reportedly was built by a mysterious carpenter, without anyone witnessing him. 

I was much more interested in going inside the Cathedral but as it was Easter weekend it was open for mass only. 

Before heading to the airport for our evening flight home, we drove to Happy Accidents cocktail bar in Albuquerque for one round. It's super fun, has a huge selection of tap cocktails, and a wonderfully nice staff. I highly recommend a stop if you are in the area!

It's an 8 minute drive to the airport from there. Easy peasy!

All New Mexico photos here

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