I traveled to Santa Fe for the three-day weekend. It was the first trip in the heart of winter. I have visited Santa Fe many times but always in warmer weather. However, the day time temperatures were spring-like with highs in the mid-fifties.
There were some differences. Fewer tourists translated into some restaurants closed for a week or so. Some of the stores had shorter hours. The number of sellers at the Indian market on the plaza also seemed diminished. A perfect time to visit from my point of view.
Inn of the Governors
The last few visits to Santa Fe I have used the Inn of The Governors as my base. This independently owned hotel prides itself on service. The owner applies the Total Quality Management Theory of Dr. Edward Deming and it shows. In addition to great service, the hotel is centrally located with easy access both to the Plaza, Canyon Road, and my favorite shopping spots.
I fell in love with the Inn of the Governors back in 2010 when I was staying at another hotel just a few blocks away. Each morning I ran an 8 mile circuit since I was training for a marathon. The Inn of the Governors has boxes of flowers hanging from the balconies. Each time I reached those flowers I had less than a mile left. As you can see in the pictures, the hotel uses dried flowers in the wintertime to achieve this same welcoming look.
Even though some restaurants take a few weeks off in January, there were great places to eat. One of my favorite Italian restaurants is in Santa Fe. Osteria D’Assisi is about six blocks from where we stay. It was too cold to eat on their outdoor patio this visit but we enjoyed a wonderful meal listening to live piano music. I love eating here.
Just a block away from the hotel is Café Pasqual’s. Reservations will be needed if you want to eat at this restaurant featuring organic ingredients and community tables. I chose a traditional chicken mole enchiladas while my travelling companion enjoyed salmon that tasted like it was just caught. The space is small and inviting with great service.
Another busy spot is Del Charro, which happens to be connected with Inn of the Governors. This popular watering hole and restaurant is always packed. Movie crews often use Del Charro in their filming. The prices are very reasonable with set daily specials. I loved my chicken fajita but saw quite a few hamburgers being served. This is a great place if you feel compelled to watch a game on TV as Del Charro has multiple TV’s throughout their rooms.
In addition to great food, Santa Fe is known for its art. In addition to a plethora of museums, travelers on a tight budget can appreciate the many artists by strolling through galleries. Canyon Road can be overcrowded in the warmer months, but was very accessible on my wintertime trip. This road lined with art galleries winds uphill towards the mountain. However, the hill could be slick if a snowstorm hits.
The best part about art in Santa Fe is the multitude of mediums. Paintings can be found in oils, acrylics, watercolors and mixed. Furthermore, Santa Fe takes art to the next level. Water fountains, metal sculptures, bells from recycled material, furniture, traditional bronzes and many other art forms are present. At one museum I even watched video art for the first time.
Seret and Sons
My main goal this trip was to find a decorative gate to use with the exterior wall that will be built this spring. So my first stop was at Seret and Sons, just one street over from The Inn of the Governors. The Seret family specializes in unique furniture, but they also have a yard of ornamental doors. I found a pair of teak doors that will serve as the gate to my side yard. Again, the service was fantastic.
Since my goal was accomplished so early in the trip, the rest of the time was spent soaking up the glorious weather and wandering in and out of shops, galleries and a wonderful bookstore. Needless to say books were purchased and reviews will take place in the future. Just across from the bookstore is a neat shop called Sequoia.
Sequoia is named for the owner, a designer/artist working with iron, natural woods and stones to create beautiful furniture and artwork for the home. I loved many items in the store and one came home with me. Sequoia, the artist, another master of customer service, is someone I hope to do much business with in the future.
Santa Fe in the wintertime can be great for the serious shopper. The crowds are much smaller than at their peak. Fortunately for me the weather cooperated. Sunny skies and temperate days gave way to nights just chilly enough to use the fireplace in our hotel room. If you haven’t been to Santa Fe, consider a visit. This historical city tops the list of my favorite weekend escapes.