The best way to get to know a place is by talking to the locals. Check out these Santa Fe favorites!
Billie Frank is a travel blogger, freelance writer and owner of a travel and tourism business who has lived in Santa Fe, New Mexico for nine years. Find out about her Santa Fe favorites!
Outdoor activity: Hiking at Tent Rocks (Kasha Katawe) These unusual geological formations, caused by volcanic activity 6 or 7 million years ago. Walking through the narrow slot canyon and getting to the top with its 360 degree views is a very special experience. http://www.blm.gov/nm/st/en/prog/recreation/rio_puerco/kasha_katuwe_tent_rocks.html
Cultural or historical venue: I love the Girard Gallery at the Museum of International Folk Art. This colorful gallery, filled with folk art from around the world, always brings a smile to my face.
Event or festival: ¡VIVA MEXICO! at El Rancho del Las Golindrinas every July. This festive celebration brings the unique cultural resources from Mexico to Santa Fe. I’ve seen Los Voladores de Papantlas do their Danza de los Voladores, where they climb and ‘fly” off a 60 foot high pole. It’s an amazing experience. Last year they had the Guelaguetza dancers from Oaxaca. Can’t wait to see what this summer will bring.
Day trip site for nearby location: O’Keeffe Country. I love seeing the landscapes that inspired iconic artist Georgia O’Keeffe.
Place for romance or nightlife: The private soaking pools at Ojo Caliente. It’s pretty romantic taking an outdoor soak under the stars with a wood fire burning in the kiva fireplace.
Shopping: Always wanted a concho belt or squash blossom or a fabulout silver and turquoise bracelet or earrings? Santa Fe is one of the best places In the world to fing authentic Native American silver and turquoise jewelry. While not inexpensive, the quality here can be superb. Shop carefully, there are lots of repros out there. While we’re on the subject of shopping, there are some incredible cowboy boots here. Take home a pair. They last for years!
- Visit in early May. The weather tends to be warm and sunny, hotels are still on their off-season rates and the city is not yet crowded with visitors.
- We’re at high altitude (7,000 feet). Drink lots of water. It’s both high and dry here and important to hydrate. Also, one alcoholic drink can affect you like two at sea level. And don’t forget the sunscreen- we’re a lot closer to the sun and the air is thinner. You’ll burn quicker.
- Hike with a guide. Not only will you not get lost, you’ll have an expert to tell you about the area’s history and the flora and fauna.
- The pace here is very mañana. Both the Hispanic and Pueblo Indian cultures that are part of the mix here have a very relaxed attitude toward time. You really have to go with the flow or you’ll be very frustrated.
- Try our local Northern New Mexican cuisine. When they ask, “Red or green,” they are talking about the chile. If you want to try both- ask for “Christmas,” and you’ll sound like a local. Caveat: The chile is spicy. Ask to taste it before you get your food smothered in it, they won’t take the food back because it’s too hot for you and many menus will tell you that.
Anecdote about your city/area: I was walking into Whole Foods one day. This tall woman was wearing a fabulous sweater. I just had to know where it came from. “Excuse me, where did you get that sweater? I love it!” She turns around and I’m face to face with Ali McGraw. I swear I wasn’t stalking her.
Billie, thanks for sharing your Santa Fe favorites and insights!
Photo courtesy of Billie Frank, Santa Fe Travelers
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