Monday, February 13, 2017

48 Hours in New Mexico: Day 1 | Santa Fe

This trip was the exact refreshment I needed. January was a pretty boring month and it was difficult to get back into work mode after a leisurely winter break. I was looking forward to warmer weather, endless sunshine, desert landscape, and getting back to nature.

It was a fantastic long weekend getaway and I highly recommend a visit to this region of the country. It's quiet, beautiful, and understated.
I left work midday on Friday so I could catch a train into the city and meet up with D. Then we hopped on the subway to we could grab the Airtran to JFK.

Here's what I packed:
72 hours in new mexico & texas
Our flight landed in Albuquerque shortly before midnight.
HOTEL CASCADA
We checked into our hotel and fell asleep pretty quickly. To be honest, we thought the photographs of the hotel we'd perused prior to our arrival were a bit misleading. And actually, looking at my own photos now, I think the rooms photograph much prettier than they are in real life. In actuality, the hotel felt a little drab and in need of a facelift. However, the bed was comfortable and it was a really affordable rate so it was a decent place to rest our head for the night.
Early in the morning, we hit the road so we could get a hike in before we headed to Santa Fe.
KASHA-KATUWE TENT ROCKS NATIONAL MONUMENT
There are a few different routes you can take to get from Albuquerque to Santa Fe. We decided to take a slightly meandering route so we could stop by and see Tent Rocks first.
There are a couple of short hikes here and they're beautiful so if you have a chance to go, I highly recommend it. We loved the slot canyon; it really reminded us of Antelope Canyon except we didn't have to book a tour. Plus, it was just a $5 entry and that's per car, which means that it just gets cheaper if you go with more people.
I have to admit that the air felt v. thin (EL +6000) especially considering I'm a sea level gal.
After our hike, we headed to Santa Fe. It was too early to check in just yet so we parked our car and went for a stroll around town.
SANTA FE PLAZA
I'm sure this little square is much prettier in the spring but we enjoyed sitting here and people watching.
PALACE OF THE GOVERNORS
We didn't end up going inside, but we were pretty fascinated by the hoards of people sitting outside with their crafts and wares for sale.
THE SHED
For lunch, we headed to The Shed, which was just off of the plaza.
I got the chicken enchiladas with both red and green chile. It was cheesy, delicious, and humongous.
D went for the carne adovada. She let me have a taste and it was super flavorful and spiced deliciously.
I'm not going to lie though, I was head over heels for the buttery garlic toast. It was exceptional.
CATHEDRAL BASILICA ST. FRANCIS OF ASSISI
After lunch, we swing by the cathedral for a quick look. It's a v. beautiful church and I loved the brown brick, which I think is limestone, but the color complements the surrounding adobe.
MELLOW VELO
We had read that biking was a great way to experience Santa Fe so we rented a couple of city cruisers from Mellow Velo. We were given the cutest little bikes. The staff here are really helpful and kind and they'll get you set up with anything you need.
GEORGIA O'KEEFFE MUSEUM
Before we really hit the town, we locked up our bikes so we could visit the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum.
The museum is the perfect size, at least by my standards. It's small enough that you can do a full loop in about an hour, but there are a plethora of pieces including photographs taken throughout Georgia O'Keeffe's life, memento boxes from her travels, and even a time-lapse video taken from her ranch.
EL CAMINO REAL
We weren't particularly keen on driving on the roads with bikes, so at Mellow Velo's suggestion, we hit up the El Camino Real paved trail. It was a lovely ride, just a couple miles round trip, and we got to enjoy the gorgeous blue skies and awesome scenery while gliding along.
After our first ride, we stopped back in town so we could do a little window shopping.
Shortly after, we were back on our bikes.
SANTA FE HOTEL HACIENDA & SPA
By late afternoon, we were pretty tired and ready to take it easy. We returned our bikes and then walked back to our hotel and checked in.
We loved this hotel. It was beautifully decorated and charming and the staff were so nice. And even though there was a resort fee, which we found annoying at first, it turns out that this also covers a free shuttle to any location within a mile of the hotel (which is basically anywhere in town) which came in rather handy.
FIRE & HOPS
For dinner, we decided to go to Fire & Hops, which is an Asian fusion spot. We ordered some local beers on tap and then a handful of items off of the 'small plates' menu.
The pork belly tacos totally hit the spot. They had a similar flavor to Korean spicy marinated pork belly.
The ribs were seasoned with a gochujang-based barbecue sauce. The pile of pea shoots on top were fresh and crisp and a great sharp accompaniment to the sweet, sticky, fatty ribs.
The chicken wings were delicious but nothing to write home about. I enjoyed them but I would've preferred crisp, fried wings.
We also got the poutine with green chile. I loved this dish a lot. The spice from the green chile was a really nice punch to cut down on the greasy feel of the fries and gooey cheese. And of course, crumbled crispy bacon on top of anything is always a winner.
After dinner, we headed back to our hotel for some drinks. I got a prickly pear margarita while D got a tom collins. The drinks were so good but the combination of the loads of exercise we'd gotten that day from hiking and biking, the altitude (EL +7000), and the alcohol really took a toll on me. I ended up basically losing control of my muscles as we walked back to our room and basically fainted. We both had a tough night's sleep - everything made us dizzy - but I can't say we didn't enjoy our day because we did. It was pretty awesome. And it's not like this little incident ruined anything; the rest of our trip was just as great.
Here's my map:

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