A couple weeks ago, I got to visit one of my bucket list destinations - Santa Fe, New Mexico.
I have a vivid memory as a child, visiting a neighbor's home where I grew up in Upstate New York. Their home was decorated entirely with Southwestern decor: rugs, vases, blankets hanging on the walls, all in shades of pink and turquoise. I'd never seen anything like it, and I was fascinated.
The fascination continued when I learned about Georgia O'Keeffe in high school art and later saw her work on one of my first solo adventures in New York City to the Metropolitan Museum. During my time at Ralph Lauren, my favorite collections were always those centered around Western and Southwestern inspirations.
And so, Andy and I planned the last minute trip to celebrate my birthday. While we were quite late making our travel plans and without much research, we just 'wung' it. And enjoyed every minute.
Here's a quick list of what we loved:
Meow Wolf. [link] I'm pretty lukewarm on the sci-fi/fantasy stuff in general. I'm down with ET (alien, not channel) and I'm mildly into Stranger Things and West World. Meow Wolf is an interactive 'museum' that transports you through a typical suburban home into another galaxy. I'm glad I did it. I wouldn't do it again. I will say it was much more 'legit' than I expected - well organized and well executed. It's a cool trippy experience, and just one of those 'must-do's'. So, now that we have that over with...
Georgia O'Keeffe's Home & Studio in Abiquiu. (pronounced A-bih-kyoo) [link] This was a must for me and the only thing I planned. I purchased tickets for this tour right after buying our flights and way before booking a hotel. Visiting the home that was so loved by and inspiring to O'Keeffe was like peeking into her soul - and the high point of our trip for me. It was emotional and energizing and awe-inspiringly beautiful: all of her belongings and collections, neatly organized just so; everything with a story and sentimental value, from a chair gifted to her by Eames himself, to her collection of colorful, smooth rocks and bones. I highly recommend this visit. Book in advance. About an hour from Santa Fe.
Georgia O'Keeffe Museum. [link] After driving back to Santa Fe, we kept the O'Keeffe momentum going with a visit to her dedicated museum. To see her work in person after feeling her presence in the space in which she created made the experience even more moving. Stay and watch the short film about her. Witty, that one.
Ojo Caliente. [link] We actually didn't get to visit the mud baths and mineral springs at Ojo Caliente, but it came highly recommended. It's an hour outside of Santa Fe, towards Abiquiu (O'Keeffe's home) so I'd suggest trying to do them on the same day, if you're not staying at the resort.
Sunrise Springs Resort. [link] Since we couldn't swing Ojo Caliente, we went to their sister spa at the Sunrise Springs Resort. We did the outdoor private soaking experience and it was a dream. Since we weren't staying there, we were given bathrobes and slippers upon checking in, changed, then were lead to our mineral infused soaking tub, complete with a wood burning fire place. With this reservation, we had access to steam room, sauna, showers, etc. The spa was beautiful, with an organic minimal vibe. At $45 for an hour (for up to 4 people) it was a great value, and overall awesome experience.
Shiprock Santa Fe. [link] Part gallery, part shop, part 'can I please move in'. My mouth dropped when we walked in and stayed that way until I was down the street and around the corner. The collection of exceptionally beautiful vintage textiles, jewelry, artwork is like nothing I've ever seen before. After peeking at a few price tags (there was an 1800s Native American blanket for $34,000 on display), it became clear that we were 'just looking' - but look, we did, and photos, I did take. Worth the visit for the obligatory 'rug wall' shot.
Santa Fe Vintage Outpost. [link] I was on the hunt for a little something (ahem-turquiose) to remember the trip by. I'd seen a few beautiful pieces and experienced more than a few very pushy sales people, and was getting a little burnt out and thinking I might not get anything. We stumbled into Santa Fe Vintage Outpost after lunch, and in a hurry to get to our soak appointment - and I knew I was going to find exactly what I was looking for. This shop is meticulously curated with some of the coolest vintage pieces I've seen: hats, jean jackets, motorcycle jackets, indigo kimonos - did I mention the hats? I fell in love with two sweet vintage silver bangles and my mind was made up. It was meant to be. Still thinking about that Wrangler jean jacket I passed up though...
Izanami at Ten Thousand Waves. [link] We did Omakase at Izanami. About 15 minutes outside of Santa Fe at the Ten Thousand Waves resort, the restaurant is tucked away through a garden path up a hill. The food and service were excellent, although we did expect more sushi than we got - which might have just been something we wrongly assumed. Get the sake flight. ;) Reservations a must.
Radish & Rye. [link] Specializing in whiskey cocktails and a farm to table menu with all the farmhouse vibes, we had a delicious meal at Radish & Rye. I tried the cocktail special which was fruity, light and delicious, despite being made with bourbon. Andy got a Sidecar - classic and perfectly executed. Most memorable dishes were the corn chowder and lamb t-bones, both were amazing. Make a reservation.
La Boca. [link] Probably the most 'scene-y' dining experience we had, this restaurant was loud and crowded - which, to be honest, was refreshing for our last night's dinner, since most of our experiences had been very-y-y mellow. And, let's be honest, you can't go wrong with tapas - give me all the snacks. Yes, recommend - and now that I'm reflecting, this might have been my favorite meal of the trip. Yes, reservations.
Tune Up Cafe. [link] At the recommendation of a few friends, we had to stop for huevos rancheros at this lively rustic diner. We couldn't resist starting with a homemade cinnamon bun 'while we're at it'. Loved this and would definitely go back - for the huevos and the buns.