Santa Fe: A Celebration Different
This time of year, no matter how you celebrate, it’s important that each of us find our own unique ways to warm and brighten the cold days and dark nights with a little cheer. You probably are visiting, or have moved here, because the spirit moved you, and have stayed, or keep returning, because this place continues to feed your soul. So let’s celebrate life in the City of Holy Faith with some of these terrific life enhancers!
MAKE THAT MIND-BODY CONNECTION
One of the best things about living in Northern New Mexico is the place itself. Celebrate our gorgeous blue skies, mountains, and astonishing landscapes by going outside!
Everybody—and their wreath-adorned dog—does the Canyon Road Farolito Walk on Christmas Eve. It’s a fun crowd, and a great excuse to meet up with old friends and show new ones around. For those uninitiated with farolitos, or those who want to pretend they are in Santa Fe for the holidays, here is an excellent ‘How To’ article.
How many people can say they’ve experienced the mysterious Matachines dance, dating back to 15th-century Moorish Spain, at one of New Mexico’s Northern Pueblos? Quietly stirring, Native feast days and dances are ancient religious observances that are integral to understanding our unique cultural heritage. The Pueblos at Jemez, Taos, Picuris, Okay Owingeh, Tesuque and Pojoaque hold various dances from early December through the winter months. Find a dance and all pertinent info HERE. The public is welcome, but do observe Pueblo etiquette.
Head up to one of our surrounding ski destinations or state parks for time in the sparkling snow. You can rent everything from boots to a helmet, and the skis or snowshoes to go on your feet. You may easily find yourself a good 12,000 feet or so above sea level (way higher than Denver), and you’re bound to come home happily tired and exhilarated. Just make sure to dress in layers and drink lots of water. See this article for a list of holiday happenings in our State Parks.
Make the easy and beautiful drive to the Santa Fe-mous Japanese-inspired Ten Thousand Waves Spa and soak your bones to contentment. Indulge in one of their “nose to toes” specials, and fall blissfully into bed at their Houses of the Moon lodging, with accommodations that range from a breakfast of organic fruit, granola, and coffee to Buddha chocolates on your pillow at night. Treat yourself to dinner at Izanami, with its upscale izakaya-style dining and flights of sake. Just be sure to book way ahead; The Waves are a well-known secret among locals and savvy visitors alike.
Follow Georgia O’Keeffe’s example and go a bit further afield to Abiquiú, where you can stay at the retreat complex, Ghost Ranch. O’Keeffe had a private home here, and you can tour the red and yellow hills she painted. After arriving at Ghost Ranch in the ’30s, the artist spent summers in the rustic setting there for most of the rest of her life. Now an educational and retreat center, they offer an exceptional array of outdoor, spiritual, and educational adventure, or you can enjoy private lodging and make your own kind of retreat.
Drop into High Desert Angler, the city’s oldest fly-fishing emporium, and check out equipment, guides, and the latest stream reports. Standing in an icy mountain stream mid-winter (properly attired) is soul-stirring and pure heaven. Drop by for Thirsty Thursdays and talk fishing with the crew while enjoying a cold adult beverage.
LET’S TALK ART
Get in on the trendiest of trendy, and family friendly, enterprising art collective in the City Different. Meow Wolf has been creating art installations and blowing minds for years now. With generous assistance from fantasy-fiction author George R. R. Martin (of Game of Thrones fame), the art powerhouse Meow Wolf is breathing new life into Santa Fe’s old Silva Bowling Lanes, where they are building the enchanted House of Eternal Return, an art-entertainment production slated to open to the public in 2016. The House is a Victorian mansion that somehow contains, in 20,000 square feet, a wormhole in time, space, and imagination. The Meow Wolf art complex also features an arts learning center, a gift shop, a coffee shop, and two changing gallery spaces. Go to their website and see what they have to offer now, before they open!
Get a pass to the state Museum of New Mexico Foundation and you and your family and guests can visit the crown jewels of the country’s largest state museum organization outside of the Smithsonian Institution. The Museums of International Folk Art and Indian Arts and Culture are located on scenic Museum Hill away from downtown, while the Museum of Art and the Museum of History are right off the Santa Fe Plaza. Truly a gift that gives all year around, it’s always a satisfying surprise to visit one of these museums and rediscover all they have to offer.
ONLY IN SANTA FE
Treat yourself to a subscription to THE magazine, the area’s only publication dedicated to contemporary art and culture. The free monthly has been on the scene for a couple of decades now, under the helm of photographer Guy Cross. He says his publication is geared toward “upscale, active, intelligent, culturally oriented, and lifestyle-minded people: artists, educators, art-related business persons, merchants, professionals, foodies, students, musicians, and folks with a penchant for the finer things in life.” Sound familiar? One gallery owner recalls walking into the august offices of Art in America in New York and seeing THE on an advertising director’s desk.
Or subscribe to El Palacio, the oldest museum magazine in the nation. First published in 1913 when the state’s Museum of Art was being founded, this excellent publication “reflects the work of New Mexico’s four state museums in Santa Fe; its eight New Mexico Historic Sites; and its singular Office of Archaeological Studies.”
Speaking of reading, snuggle in and lose yourself in accounts that depict the unique cultures of Northern New Mexico. Visit our local bookstore, Collected Works, and look for such classic reads as Mabel Dodge Luhan’s memoirs—try the volume titled Edge of Taos Desert. The House at Otowi Bridge: The Story of Edith Warner and Los Alamos is an understated tale of one woman’s seemingly unremarkable impact on history. A gallows-humor page-turner, The Milagro Beanfield War was turned into a feature film by Robert Redford. Willa Cather wrote her Death Comes for the Archbishop here in the early 20th century, inspired by the historic figure of Jean-Baptiste Lamy, the impetus behind our Romanesque Cathedral. The Man Who Killed the Deer, by Frank Waters, is pure bibliophilic pleasure, and tells the story of a Native man torn between his people’s tradition and mid-century modernization.
Walk your pooch at Frank Ortiz Park, our amazing dog park on the north end of town. Don’t have a dog? Go anyway—the million-dollar views are free! Any way you cut it, Santa Fe is a winter delight. Snow storms usually leave a few inches of pure white delight that sparkles on adobe walls against impossibly blue skies.