Well, New Mexico felt like heaven from the moment we crossed the border. We drove for hours across gorgeous desert painted my favorite palette of mustard yellow, avocado green, dusty clay, and dark hunter green, and pressed against a sky of the clearest blue. The sparse expanse around us gave way in the far-off distance to mountain formations gently lining the horizon. A chill was creeping into the air as the sun still warmed us fiercely. We were absolutely compelled to stop frequently to stretch, breath, and of course- take a bunch of pictures.
We rolled into Santa Fe at dusk and quickly stopped for dinner at the first place we saw. Having seen the city in dim lighting for just a few minutes, we were already completely smitten. The adobe, the chile ristras hanging, the cactus, the culture, the art everywhere, the smell, the chill in the air as the sun set, the prayer flags, and as we would find out in mere moments- the New Mexican food. Wow. We were lucky that the first restaurant we saw was Casa Chimayo- it was delicious. We learned quickly the official state question: "red or green?" This question refers to what color chile you would like on top of your burger, enchiladas, eggs, or absolutely any other food. In New Mexico, it can all be made better by red or green chilies. At Casa Chimayo we tried their famous enchiladas that were actually featured on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. The food was wonderful (and filling!) and the vibe of the place had me absolutely giddy.
We found a great campsite, which was recommended to us by an Instagram friend- Rancheros de Santa Fe. It was about 20 minutes from town but had a great vibe, a playground, a little hiking, and a sky-full of stars. It also had this little photo-op:
We were told that the Aspens were not to be missed to we trekked out to Hyde Park for some hiking the next day. We grabbed a picnic lunch at Sprouts and headed out into the gorgeousness.
Over the next two days we spent more time exploring the city of Santa Fe. We visited:
- The downtown square- touristy, yes, but still a must-see.
- Canyon Road- glorious art galleries and an antique store that blew every other one I've ever been too out of the water: Santa Killim. In fact I'm not sure they would consider themselves an antique store but perhaps more of a curated collection of global curiosities. This road also held a peaceful little treasure in the Quakers of Santa Fe compound- they caught us peering down the corridor into their beautiful garden and invited us in and said to spend as much time as we liked in the peaceful setting.
- Kakawa Chocolate house- Amazing ancient chocolate elixers, which was new to me, but one of the best things I've ever tried!
- Cowgirl restaurant and nearby shopping (both excellent)
- A guided tour of the whole city, thanks to Magnolia's desire to ride on the trolley-type tour car. This actually ended up being a great idea, as I learned way more about the town than I would have.