We spent two weeks in Santa Fe and I completely forgot to blog about it. FAIL.
Santa Fe was downright lovely. We stayed at Santa Fe Skies RV Park about 20 minutes south of town. This is definitely one of the best RV parks we’ve been to since Beaver Dam in Maine and Berwick, Vermont. 360-degree views of the sky do not disappoint here. We shared our site with two bunnies who came around quite often because the neighbors put out lettuce and grapes for them every other day.
Love this late afternoon light.
Our rig basks in the glow of the late afternoon sun. If Maxfield Parrish painted RVs…
A dusting of early morning snow!
The park itself was scattered with some sculpture art and the main office/facilities were great: big kitchen and common area, credit-card operated laundry, solid WiFi, and a front desk that is always stocked with M&Ms.
Santa Fe reminded me a lot of Boulder, Colorado: a smallish size town situated at the base of the mountains with bitchin’ sunsets. But given the local hispanic and Native American populations, Santa Fe has Boulder beat in terms of diversity. The artistic community I’d heard so much about before coming here is indeed alive and well. More on that later.
Here’s a blow-by-blow of everything we did in Santa Fe.
We had several friends tell us about this immersive art experience before getting here so it was high on our list of things to do, and it did not disappoint. If you’ve been to Sleep No More in New York, it’s reminiscent of that but far more self-directed as there’s no live-action cast members.
The entire exhibit follows a story arc that you can learn as much or as little about as you want. We were told there are 200+ hours of reading material inside. We definitely wanted to piece together the story as much as we could and all told we spent about 4 hours exploring (and reading) this rabbit-hole style exhibit. It’s nothing short of a feast for the eyes and you should definitely go if you’re ever in Santa Fe (or Denver or Las Vegas, where they also have/are opening installations).
A mastodon bone xylophone (duh).
So. Much. Eye. Candy.
Trippy AND beautiful.
Afterward we stuffed face at Mariscos Costa Azul and it was amazing. You should definitely eat here and NOT Tortilla Flats if you do the Meow Wolf thing.
Ten Thousand Waves
As some of you may or may not know, I personally live for hot springs, saunas, steam rooms, and so forth, especially when they are set into natural backdrops. As it was dipping into freezing temps nearly every night we were here, I had to find hot tubs to sit in, somewhere. Lucky for me, this Japanese-style spa was my personal version of heaven on earth. I loved it so much I went twice. No photos allowed, though (and who brings their phone/camera into a hot tub anyway? Except everyone at Spa Castle in Queens, that is).
The first time I was so excited that I drove all 40 minutes away to get there and showed up with my bathing suit but without my wallet. Fortunately they let me pay by giving them my credit card number. There are co-ed, private, and women’s only tubs. The cost of admission for the co-ed or women’s only tubs is $26, which includes towels, sandals, a robe, unlimited soak time, and all the hot tea you want. I spent about 3 hours doing what I like to call “The Circuit”: hot tub, sauna, cold plunge, repeat. The. Best.
Farmer’s Market & Canyon Road
Saturday morning we hit up the Farmer’s Market and the Railyard Artisan Market. We left with bellies full of garlic pesto bread and chocolate donuts, a bag full of eggs and micro greens, and almost came home with a puppy. It WAS the cutest puppy you’ve ever seen and I’m a moron for not taking a photo.
We also walked around the historic downtown area, which feels a lot like a southwestern version of Aspen — lots of high end boutiques, pedestrians, and plenty of restaurants, art galleries, coffee shops, and outdoor spaces.
Nearby Canyon Road is where most of the art galleries are. Walking along this road made me dream of being an art buyer and getting to nose out amazing works of art…on someone else’s dime. 😛
One of my favorite spaces was The Longworth Gallery. We discovered imaginary realist Robert Bissell, whose paintings of bears and butterflies are languid and dreamy, while Michael Parkes’ winged sculptures embodied art nouveau style badassery (plus, they were done in lost wax which blows my mind).
Vladimir Kush also had some very surreal and brain-stimulating pieces. My favorite was this one. It’s far less surreal than most of his work and the online version doesn’t do it justice because the colors are so perfect in person. No photography allowed inside the gallery though, so you’ll have to click the links to check it out!
Bronze otter sculpture.
I also enjoyed drooling over the designs at Rockaway Opals. Someday, I will learn the lapidary skillz!
While we weren’t exactly the buying market for this part of town, we loved seeing the wide variety of sculpture, painting, and handmade items this part of town has on display.
The Pink Adobe/Dragon Room
This place gets a 10 out of 10 for atmosphere. Right across from the San Miguel Mission, this restaurant is, of course, an adobe building with a cozy, historical ambience. After a long day of walking we popped into the Dragon Room Bar next door (part of the same establishment) for happy hour margaritas and some snacks.
We figured we’d pop into the restaurant at opening time, sans reservation, but turns out it was restaurant week, so no soup for us. It didn’t actually matter though, because all of the menus were available at the bar, so we triumphed after all. And maybe ate our weight in enchiladas.
The San Miguel Mission is considered the oldest known church in the continental U.S.
Perfect place to post up for happy hour margs.
Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument
The Tent Rocks hike was recommended to me by a local that I met while soaking at Ten Thousand Waves. While not quite as grand as Bandelier National Monument, it was less of a time commitment and a shorter drive. “Kasha-Katuwe” means “white cliffs,” in the Keresan language of the pueblo. It became a national monument in 2001 and consists of a bunch of cone-shaped rock formations.
Well snap, they DO look like tents.
These formations are the result of volcanos that erupted 6 to 7 million years ago that “left pumice, ash and tuff deposits over 1,000 feet thick. Tremendous explosions from the Jemez volcanic field spewed pyroclasts (rock fragments), while searing hot gases blasted down sloped in an incandescent avalanche called a ‘pyroclastic flow.'” There are boulder caps on top of some of the “tapering hoodoos” (ATTENTION all band members looking for a band name, look no further) that protect the softer rock material below, creating a seemingly precarious balancing act.
The hike starts through a slot canyon that winds its way back until you start ascending to the top of the plateau. At the top you can find tons of bits of obsidian (aka Apache Tears) scattered all over the ground. You’re not meant to take it but it’s really cool to see it baked into the dirt!
The slot canyon at the start of the hike. Each layer of color represents a different era of time/volcanic activity!
Narrow and steep.
There’s also a shorter “Cave Loop” trail where you can see a man-made cave carved into the rock with remnants of fire smoke on the roof.
The cavate (man-made cave).
And because Ten Thousand Waves wasn’t nearly enough hot spring action for me, I also went to Ojo Caliente about an hour away to scope out their medicinal waters. This natural hot spring area is more rustic than Ten Thousand Waves, with a much larger footprint.
Ready, Set, RELAXATION STATION. The entrance to the spa.
With a small sauna, steam room, and about 7 different pools to soak in ranging from 80 to 106ish degrees, this place is essentially built alongside a hill over a subterranean volcanic aquifer.
The various pools contain different minerals (arsenic, soda, iron, lithia), said to be beneficial for various ailments like arthritis, digestion, etc. There’s also a mud pool that you can wallow in and bake onto yourself but I got there after the sun had descended past the hillside so no mud bath for me.
The soda pool is a silent meditation pool, but wouldn’t you know both times I went in, people were talking? I mean what part about silent doesn’t make sense? Fortunately it was easy enough to find silence in other pools, too. I was able to float in a pool by myself as the stars came out and the moon came up so I consider Ojo Caliente officially unlocked. I would definitely go back for that mud bath, though.
Thanks for being awesome, Santa Fe. Onto Carlsbad Caverns…again!