“Without new experiences something inside us sleep. The sleeper must awaken.”

Our first trip of 2018 was this past weekend. We finally left our little valley for some fun in the sun. Our destination… Santa Fe, New Mexico.

As with most trips taken before June in the Rockies, there is a high probability you will be driving through a blizzard. Sure enough, after a quick stop for dinner in Leadville, CO (my new fav Mexican Restaurant – Casa Sanchez), we walked out of the restaurant and it’s snowing. I mean hard snow, as it’s coming down fast. Still, we drove to our hotel, some 25 miles south, with little to no visibility. We were thankful for a dude in a pick-up truck that drove in front for the first 10 miles or so.

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The next morning, the Collegiate Peaks looked like they were dusted with powder sugar.

After a 3-hour drive, our home away from home, was the Buffalo Thunder Resort. We’ve stayed here before and enjoyed both the golf and the casino. It’s a nice Hilton Hotel with a southwest motif. They have a few dining options. Our favorite is Red Sage. Great food and with exceptional service. But, the main reason we like to stay here is because we love to have the golf steps away. This time we played the Pinon and Boulder’s nine; our 1st golf of the 2018 season. I didn’t suck as much as I normally do. Yay, me.

Our first night on the town, we had reservations at El Farol; hailed as Santa Fe’s most historic and iconic restaurant and bar. On our previous trip we had gone to El Meson, but their flamenco night didn’t coincide with our stay this time around, so we decided to try El Farol, which has the flamenco show every Saturday night. I’ll start with the staff. Everyone at El Farol were very nice; service was excellent. Our waiter Brian was wonderful. The food was good. We enjoyed Paella as our main dish with a few appetizers (gambas and calamari).  Everything was done well, but I have to say the paella at El Meson was better. This of course can be just a personal preference. Don’t take me wrong, all the food was good. I think I like it better when they serve the paella on the dish they cooked it in, versus transfering to another dish to serve. But on another note, their “limon” tart was divine.

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The flamenco show was wonderful. The singer, Vicente Griego, had a beautiful voice. We really enjoyed the show. The performers are part of the National Institute of Flamenco. Bravo!

We were hoping to do some hiking while in Santa Fe. While searching on the web, came across the  Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument , which I never had heard about before. The cone-shaped rock formations looked very interesting. I wanted to go! I didn’t read the fine print on the BLM site. When we arrived, around 11 a.m., we had to wait about 30 minutes before we were able to enter the monument. They were only allowing people to drive in after others left the park. I’m glad we didn’t turn around like some did. It was well worth the wait.

 

The Canyon Trail, one of two trails, is a 1.5-mile, one-way trek into a narrow canyon with a steep (630-ft) climb to the mesa top; about 2 hour hike round trip. Once you reach the top, you have excellent views of the Sangre de Cristo, Jemez, Sandia mountains and the Rio Grande valley. I personally wouldn’t recommend this trail for small children (under 8 yrs. old or if you aren’t an adult in shape, but that didn’t stop half of the people on the trail). While the length of the trail isn’t much, the terrain is uneven, rocky and difficult at times. With my short legs, it was hard to climb up to some of the boulders on the trail; a hiking partner is recommended, tall preferably. If you are in the area, take the detour. Worth it!! Beautiful scenery.

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I’m a huge fan of Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives. I had seen the Santa Fe episode a year or so ago and decided we needed to try a couple of the places on the list. While traveling we normally avoid chain-type restaurants and love to try the local places instead. For breakfast we went to the Tune-Up Cafe and for dinner we tried Casa Chimayo. Will save some of the others for our next trip.

Tune-Up Cafe was a great locals-breakfast place. Food was good. You order at the counter and they bring your food to the table. Small house with an outside patio and two areas inside for diners. It’s basic-meets-homey!

Casa Chimayo did not disappoint. Homemade chips, great margaritas and the carne adovada (pork) was so good; you could taste the red chili marinade. Worth the stop in. Just a few blocks away from the main square on Water St.

 

A trip to Santa Fe is never complete without a stop by the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi and a stroll through the plaza.

On the way out, before check-out, I tested my luck, one last time, on the slot machines. Managed to turn $10 into $43; I have super powers!!

For now we say Adios to Santa Fe. Until we meet again, and we will meet again.

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