Holiday Tastes & Traditions
There's no place like Santa Fe for the holidays. This magical, merry season brings wonder and joy with the warm glow of farolitos, the fragrant scent of burning piñon logs and the spellbinding beauty of softly falling snow. Take in a rollicking Christmas parade and a hallowed candlelit walk on Christmas Eve. Get outdoors and ski the Rockies then relax in a high-mountain hot tub. Toast the season with artisanal sake and sublime small plates or margaritas and New Mexico cuisine. However you celebrate the holidays in this winter wonderland, you will be utterly enchanted.
Fall Colors in Santa Fe County
From the golden hues of aspen leaves to the brilliant colors of hot air balloons aloft in turquoise skies, fall is a glorious time to visit Santa Fe County. The sun-drenched days are warm and inviting while the evening temperatures dip down into sweater weather. It's the perfect time of year to hike the backcountry of historic mining towns along the Turquoise Trail and shop unique boutiques, antique stores, galleries and other one-of-a-kind shops. Celebrate all things autumnal at the annual Harvest Festival, hosted by the living history museum El Rancho de las Golondrinas and when you've worked up a hearty appetite, feast on delectable fall flavors at the Chef's Garden Table at the Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado.
Fiestas of Cultural Celebrations
This summer, immerse yourself in the rich and unique cultural diversity of Santa Fe County. Blending native traditions and those brought here over the past four centuries from Old World Spain, Mexico and Europe, northern New Mexico has developed its own distinctive heritage. The area is a remarkable reflection of the people who’ve settled here and made it their home.
Celebrate some of these traditions at two fun-filled festivals you won’t find anywhere else. Then, venture out into the country on horseback, the way the caballeros and cowboys once did, to explore a stunning landscape of majestic mountains. These are the ingredients for a trip you’ll always treasure and a summer full of culture in Santa Fe.
Classic Volkswagens & World-Class Operas
Santa Fe County offers an exhilarating blend of art and culture all year long, and the summer season brings a feast of world-class opera and a fiesta devoted to classic Volkswagen vehicles, both set against a regal backdrop of rolling hills, majestic mountains and brilliant turquoise skies.
The inaugural New Mexico VW Fiesta pulls into the historic Madrid ballpark June 1-3, showcasing some of the world’s most beloved vintage vehicles. Then, the renowned Santa Fe Opera celebrates its 62nd season June 29-August 25, with an exciting schedule of open-air performances rivaled only by the venue’s dramatic sunset views. No other place but Santa Fe pairs the thrilling theatrics of opera with the joys of some of the most iconic vehicles in America.
Santa Fe Getaways for Adventure Seekers
Spring is here, a perfect time of year to get outdoors and enjoy an unparalleled adventure in Santa Fe County. With endless turquoise skies and stunning scenery that unfolds for miles, this high mountain country will reward you with lasting memories of your visit. Whether you’re seeking to experience the inspiring beauty of majestic mountains and pristine wilderness or a stirring journey into the region’s ancient Pueblo past, your spring getaway in Santa Fe County will take your breath away.
For an unforgettable off-road adventure, head out on a rugged jeep tour into the wild places of Santa Fe County. A four-wheel drive expedition with Santa Fe Jeep Tours through striking canyon terrain and alpine forests will reveal some of the area’s most majestic sites, and they’re often not easy to get to on your own.
A Two-Wheel Adventure Awaits: Biking Santa Fe County
Hikers and skiers have long known the joys of exploring the majestic Sangre de Cristo Mountains and Santa Fe’s other scenic surroundings. But in recent years, Santa Fe County’s reputation as a mecca for mountain bikers has taken off. The area now draws cyclists from around the country in search of thrilling high mountain trails and breath-taking views. Road cyclists also roll in from near and far. They tour our scenic byways and take in an annual century ride. Biking is big in Santa Fe County. So big that USA Today ranked the area as one of America’s Top Mountain Bike Towns.
Are you a serious biker out to conquer a mountain? Are you searching for family fun riding the trails together? If so, you’ll find a range of terrain for every level. If you can’t bring your own wheels, plenty of bike shops rent mountain and road bikes for all ages and sizes.
Pecos National Historical Park:
Where the Remarkable Past Persists
Just 25 miles southeast of Santa Fe, among serene woodlands of juniper, piñon and ponderosa, lies one of the region’s remarkable treasures, Pecos National Historical Park. This 7,000-acre gem contains a unique and captivating history stretching back 7,000 years.
To start, explore the enchanting ruins of one of the Southwest’s largest pueblos. The ruins are more than a thousand years old, and include the remnants of an 18th century Spanish mission church. View ruts from the Santa Fe Trail, which passed through the park, as did the original alignment of Route 66. Visit the famed Forked Lightning Ranch, where 20th century luminaries such as Will Rogers and Charles Lindbergh were guests before it became the summer residence of Oscar-winning actress Greer Garson and her husband, Texas oil magnate Buddy Fogelson, starting in 1949.
Savor the Flavor: Four Must Stop Food Spots in Santa Fe County
Winter in Santa Fe offers the perfect time to tantalize your taste buds in one of the world’s culinary capitals. After a day of outdoor adventure, spa-going, shopping and more, relax over celebrated cuisine in revered restaurants. You’ll savor unique northern New Mexican fare as well as creative contemporary cuisine and ethnic foods from far-flung places. Here are four must stop food spot recommendations to whet your appetite.
Unwind at Izanami, perched high in the mountains with stunning valley views. Situated four miles north of the Santa Fe Plaza, this casual Japanese gastropub is part of Ten Thousand Waves, a Japanese-style spa resort. Izanami focuses on seasonal small plates emphasizing organic, sustainable, local and fresh ingredients as well as some 80 varieties of artisanal sake.
Body, Mind and Spirit:
On the Slopes and at the Spas in Northern New Mexico
This time of year, with the holidays in high gear, there’s no better place to be than in Santa Fe. Renowned as a snow lover’s paradise, the mountains offer sunlit slopes and perfect powdery conditions. The region has also drawn people for centuries who seek well-being and inspiration, whether they visit ancient sacred sites, majestic mountains or natural hot springs with healing properties. Spend a day skiing some of the most prized slopes in the Southwest, then relax in one of Santa Fe’s world-class spas, and you’re guaranteed to leave feeling refreshed, recharged and ready to ring in the New Year.
Get started at Ski Santa Fe, one of the premier Southwest ski destinations. Located just 16 miles from the Santa Fe Plaza, Ski Santa Fe offers 38 trails appealing to beginner, intermediate and expert skiers and snowboarders. The scenic ride to the top is rivaled only by the stunning mountain views that greet you as you exit the chairlift. If you’re new to snowboarding, plan to visit during the annual Burton Learn to Ride Weekend, held December 16-17, 2017, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Instructors will teach the nuts and bolts of boarding, from carving a turn to safely using a chairlift, on the easy-to-use Burton Learn to Ride equipment.
On the Trail of the Ancient Ones
November is a great time for a trek to Bandelier National Monument and its nearby Tsankawi ruins, where you’ll hike a trail blazed by Ancestral Puebloan people. It is also the perfect time to visit Pecos National Historical Park—the site of what was once the Southwest’s largest pueblo to explore and learn about the history of the Pecos Valley.
Tsankawi was home to the Ancestral Pueblo people in the 1400s. In the Tewa language of its former residents, Tsankawi means “village between two canyons at the clump of sharp, round cacti.” Here, ancient Pueblo residents built a settlement atop a mesa and made their homes next to a cliff base, carving caves into soft tuff stone. The ancient ones used paths—now centuries old and worn deeply into the rock—to travel from the mesa top to the canyons below and also to nearby villages.
Fall into the Best Season in Santa Fe
Fall in New Mexico is a spirited season, with golden aspens, crisp days and nights and a full calendar of events for everyone. Take in a world-class independent film festival or a groundbreaking art exhibit from a MacArthur “genius” award recipient. Meet the ghosts of New Mexico’s past during a spooky Halloween festival on historic grounds. However, you spend autumn in Santa Fe, you’ll be bewitched by the beauty of the season.
Start by raising a glass to toast the season with New Mexico-brewed Oktoberfest ale. This classic German lager from the Santa Fe Brewing Company is full of Munich maltiness and notes of Bavarian hops. You can savor the seasonal Oktoberfest at the Santa Fe Brewing Company’s Brewery Tasting Room in Santa Fe and its Eldorado taphouse, too. Both spots are popular with locals and visitors alike.
The Flavors of Fall at Farm -to-Table Restaurants
Autumn in New Mexico brings a bounty of fresh, seasonal foods grown by local farmers that are representative of the region, from the Land of Enchantment’s famous green and red chile to the Native American’s “Three Sisters”—beans, corn and squash that, when grown together, nourish and support each other.
You can savor the flavors of fall at acclaimed farm-to-table restaurants across Santa Fe County, where the focus is on fresh, local ingredients that are delicious and full of wholesome goodness, too. Some chefs cook with the foods grown at their on-site restaurant farms. Others shop the Santa Fe Farmers Market—one of America’s top farmers markets with more than 150 farmers and producers in northern New Mexico —as well as the Eldorado Farmers Market, Cerrillos Farmers Market and the Pueblo of Pojoaque Farmers Market and crafts markets. Chefs then blend the freshest of ingredients with imagination and innovation to create mouth-watering fare that keeps diners coming back for more.
Backpacking Nirvana in the Santa Fe National Forest
The Santa Fe National Forest is home to some of the most picturesque alpine scenery in the Southwest. Serious hikers know that the forest is home to some of the finest trails around for miles. The headwaters of the Pecos, Jemez and Gallinas Rivers can all be found here along with an abundance of trickling mountain streams. Within the borders of the forest resides a dormant volcano with a 15-mile wide crater, which has fostered abundant plant and animal life.
Looking for an unforgettable backpacking experience? Look no further than a trek up to Santa Fe Baldy or to Lake Katherine via the Winsor Trail to find serenity, breathe in cool mountain air and reconnect with the great outdoors.
Finding Enchantment in the New Mexico Wine Region
When most people think of award-winning wineries, New Mexico is probably not the first destination that comes to mind, however, the extensive winemaking knowledge that Spanish settlers brought with them created a fiercely proud culture of growers and enthusiasts that has persevered for centuries. The state’s wine industry is rich in history and is home to the oldest wine-growing region in the nation!
New Mexico’s wine history takes us back to 1629 – long before Californians planted their first vines – when the region was under Spanish rule. After colonizing vast territories of Mexico, the Spaniards ventured north in search of gold along with Franciscan monks who followed the settlers with the hope of ministering Christianity to the indigenous people that populated the area.
AN EVENING OF MAGIC: THE SANTA FE OPERA
The Santa Fe Opera is a temple to the romance of music and the magic of performance. The company’s mission since its inception has been to bring together professionalism and accessibility in order to foster an understanding and appreciation of opera among a diverse audience.
Newcomers and opera lovers alike will enjoy an opera performance under the starry skies of Santa Fe. The theatre itself is a spectacularly designed open-air structure with impressive views of the Tesuque Valley, which contrast the rich colors of the famous Santa Fe sunsets over the Jemez Mountains. The theatre is both a technological and architectural marvel. Contemporary design aesthetics and traditional materials come together all while achieving remarkable acoustics.
A Santa Fe Weekend of Biking Bliss, Crawfish, Blues & More
Do you love bike riding? Do you love the blues and crawfish? Then May is your month. Three biking events come to The City Different along with a Blues Fest in the the town of Madrid. Santa Fe is a biking paradise and we suggest you take in the trails during your stay. Enjoy National Bike Month with these Santa Fe must-see events.
Outside Bike & Brew is back in Santa Fe for the third year in a row to prove that beer lovers are anything but couch potatoes. Outside brings together cycling, craft beer and cuisine for the ultimate Santa Fe trifecta! The 2017 festival is a fun filled weekend kicking off on Thursday, May 18th and is loaded with all kinds of ways to saddle up and cruise through Santa Fe County. After a day spent working up a sweat, take your appetite over to the 10th Annual CrawDaddy Blues Fest in Madrid on the 20th and 21st of May. Hosted by the charmingly offbeat Mineshaft Tavern, this festival features fresh, live crawfish flown in from the Gulf Coast.
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El Rancho de las golondrinas:
come for the festivals, stay for the history
History is all too often translated into a collection of stories about people and events that are far removed from our own present lives. Many times, history is seen as something that is read from a dry book or a dull lecture rather than being experienced through active questioning and tangible discovery. The caretakers of El Rancho de las Golondrinas believe that history should be experienced in a different way through hands-on experiences that bring history alive through fun adventure.
El Rancho de las Golondrinas (The Ranch of the Swallows) invites visitors to travel back in time and immerse themselves into the past; 300 years into the past to be exact. The period between 1710 and 1930 are interpreted by costumed docents eager to share their expertise and knowledge with visitors. Visiting the ranch at any time of the season is bound to be a wonderful experience but one of the best times to visit is during one of their ten fun-filled festivals and events throughout the season that suit a wide variety of interests. The ranch is truly a wonderful repository of craftsmanship, history and celebration.
Explore the cultural legacy of chimayó
The allure of a spiritual journey brings the quiet streets of El Potrero to life each Holy Week. Centuries of tradition guide the footsteps and nurture the spirit of pilgrims who trek to the Santuario de Chimayó every year. The sacred journey has a way of tuning you in to the most important things in life.
The streets of the community of El Potrero, located near Chimayó, fill every Holy Week with the footsteps of the faithful making their journey to the Santuario de Chimayó. Drawing as many as 40,000 pilgrims every year, the journey to the Santuario is one of the most important pilgrimages in the world. The Santuario itself is modest yet elegant, as are the people who have made their spiritual journey to it for centuries. The little church is famed around the world for the healing power of the dirt found beneath the chapel.
Discover These Hidden Gems Along The Turquoise Trail
From legendary ghost towns and saloons to charmingly eccentric art galleries and studios, the attractions along the Turquoise Trail will ensure that your visit to Santa Fe and surrounding areas is an authentic one. A journey along the scenic trail is the quintessential Santa Fe day trip; it’s a chance to get in touch with the remarkable history and spirituality of the Native American people, adventurous miners and explorers. The trail extends for about 60 miles along State Highway 14 and passes alongside numerous old Wild West mining towns, who in their glory days, extracted gold, silver, zinc, and coal, not to mention turquoise.
historic cerrillos mining town: the perfect santa fe day trip
Nestled in the hills just south of Santa Fe sits the Village of Cerrillos, an official “ghost town” whose streets welcome day-trippers year-round. Ghost towns exist all over the world but there’s something that makes those in America uniquely enchanting and even romantic. While the majority of abandoned towns across the country were paved over to make way for suburbs, Cerrillos found a second life.
santa fe county: a ski and spa haven
Gorgeous peaks tower over Santa Fe and in the winter, they’re coated in snow. Powder seekers need look no further than Ski Santa Fe, whose high altitude and abundance of sunshine promises ample gorgeous days on the mountain. Snow activities in the area far surpass those on skis or snowboard. If you’re looking for something a bit more slow-paced and scenic, the abundance of well-groomed trails throughout the County welcome snowshoeing, cross country skiing and sledding in the winter months. There’s no shortness of reasons to get outdoors during the winter.
Enjoy The holiday season in the heart of santa fe county
At the core of its being, Santa Fe County is a place of history, culture and ritual. During the holiday season it feels even more like the urgency of modern life quietly fades. A still, reverent ambience settles over Northern New Mexico as Christmas nears, intensifying the unique sights and scents of a culture preserved through centuries. Perhaps there’s no better sign of the holidays drawing close as the smoke of piñon wood rising from the adobe homes and dancing in the clear night sky. It wouldn’t be Christmas in Santa Fe County without chile, whose colors are, quite fittingly, red and green.
FALL DESTINATION: TESUQUE
Saying goodbye to summer is hard, but there’s no better place to take in a deep breath of the crisp fall breeze than the quaint village of Tesuque. Enveloped in towering cottonwood trees that roll out a carpet of blazing orange, red and yellow foliage, the village has a sense of tranquility, making it an idyllic fall getaway. Located just a quick 15 minutes north of the plaza, the village is named after the Tesuque Pueblo it lies adjacent to. Tesuque has been attracting visitors with it’s old-world charm and unparalleled scenery for centuries.
AN INSIDER'S GUIDE TO WALKING ANCIENT PATHS AND ROCK ART
Just beyond the edge of Santa Fe and a short hike through the deep silence of the terrain lies a rocky ledge that seems to whisper to passersby, the dark stone speaking a cryptic language.
Carved into the boulders of the ledge at the La Cieneguilla Petroglyph Site and throughout the Southwest are thousands of petroglyphs thought to originate from the pre-contact time of the Spanish colonial era. Despite a great deal of scholarly study throughout modern history, no one can say for certain what these depictions meant to the people who created them. Not only does their meaning remain shrouded in mystery, but many of the etchings’ depictions are indecipherable, leaving curious visitors to speculate.
4 DON'T MISS TRAILS IN SANTA FE COUNTY
Santa Fe County, with its endless trails, diverse landscapes, and 320 days of sunshine a year, is an outdoor lover’s paradise and has been designated a Silver-Level Ride Center by the International Mountain Bicycling Association. The area is enveloped in wilderness, and whether you’re looking for a quick stroll through the piñon and juniper trees or a weekend backpacking trek through the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, here are some of the best trails in the area for every type of outdoor enthusiast.
Immersive Experiences Await You At El Rancho De Las Golondrinas
El Rancho de las Golondrinas, a living history museum just 15 miles south of downtown Santa Fe, offers immersive experiences in understanding what life was like on the remote frontiers of the Spanish Empire. The caretakers of El Rancho de las Golondrinas – professional historians and connoisseurs alike – provide fun and informative tours.