(Travel) A Secret Sixth Anniversary Trip: Santa Fe, New Mexico

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♫: My Country – tune-yards

When you get married in a place like Hawaii, it can be a slightly arduous task to find things to do every year after that will rival such an experience. Not that every single anniversary needs to be an expensive blowout-party, mind you, but to at least do something noteworthy to mark the day whether by special trip, a dinner out, or a series of super secret hi-fives, knuckle-bumps, and chants. Whatever makes you and your partner happy, I mean–of course.

My own partner-in-crime had been planning a secret trip for our sixth wedding anniversary since late last year, dropping a series of hints and puzzle pieces along the way as he went. I honestly had no clue what was up his sleeves until last Friday night rolled around and we piled our luggage into the car; even as he pointed the car south I still couldn’t quite figure out where we were going. Colorado Springs? Telluride? Texas? New Mexico? Arizona? Canada via Mapquest directions circa 2001 and a lot of oddly unnecessary u-turns?

We got sleepy as we drove late Friday, so we decided to spend the night at a Quality Inn in Raton, New Mexico–the only hotel with any vacancy in town. Who knew that Raton is such a hot and happening place?

It is also a little quirky and I will just leave it at that.

clarification.

 

As we left Raton early Saturday morning and continued our trip further south,  Husband finally told me where we were headed: Santa Fe, New Mexico. It was a place both of us had never been (but had always wanted to see), and therefore an excellent choice for an anniversary trip.

the open road of northern new mexico

 

If you have never been to Santa Fe, you are missing out–it is a neat and terrifically artsy little town. It’s a lot smaller than I thought it would be (population: 75,000) and sits nestled near the Sangre de Cristo mountains at an elevation of 7,200 feet (Denver, by comparison, has an elevation of 5,280). Most of the town is made up of museums, old churches, art galleries, fun restaurants, and eccentric boutiques.

We spent the first night at the El Dorado Hotel & Spa, which is located only a block from the famed Plaza area. It is a pretty standard hotel: a little older but recently remodeled, with maybe the coziest beds ever. I mean it–our bed was like a fluffy cloud of fluffy-soft cloudness, and I could have slept in it forever.

The hotel itself had some interesting decor as well, which made me happy that I had lugged along my heavy camera for a little bit of play-time.

Once we settled into our room we grabbed some drinks at Agave lounge (Cinco de Mayo, after all), had a tasty late dinner at La Plazuela (located in La Fonda on the Plaza), and then bumped around the city to take it all in.

The next morning we lazily perused some of the numerous galleries and shops (again in the Plaza area):

the lensic performing arts center

 

And after all of that, we set out for the last part of the surprise trip: a two-night stay at a Hacienda Del Cerezo, which you can see on the very top of the hill below (and at the end of a long, bumpy dirt road).

hacienda del cerezo on a hill

Hacienda del Cerezo is a pretty little place, a 336-acre “hideaway” ranch that is quiet, reclusive, and serene. It is the dream-worthy vision of the two owners, a married couple; the wife originally from Europe and the husband from NYC.

The ranch is all-inclusive and can only house up to 10 couples at a time. There is an infinity pool that drops off to a view of the Jemez Mountains, four Arabian horses at the ranch for riding (we are both irrationally scared of allergic to horses so they uh, looked nice from a comfortable distance) and a private chef that cooks fully-loaded breakfasts, lunches, and five-course dinners. Many of our meals contained creative dishes made using ingredients from around the ranch as well, and my favorite dish was probably the asparagus flan: a dinner starter that was topped with mandarin oranges and puff pastry that somehow, inspite of being made of asparagus, tasted incredibly, deliciously good.

It was an absolutely amazing experience, through and through and through.

 

Going to Santa Fe? Here’s What We Loved…

Pranzo Italian Grill: We grabbed a quick lunch at this 25-year old establishment and really enjoyed it. The service was great, the food had flavor, and they play Learn Italian tapes in the bathroom so I walked away both with a full belly and the knowledge to say, “This is good food, but my old girlfriend wants a different dataport in a new hotel room, you are not welcome.” Italy, watch out.

Agave Lounge: A nice, chill place tucked into the corner of the El Dorado Resort & Spa. Comfy seating, good drinks, no formal dress required.

El Dorado Resort & Spa: Great location! Super comfy beds make up for the disappointing rooftop pool (it’s teeny-tiny!) and its equally-miniature-sized hot tub. Even though the hotel lobby itself has had some recent renovations, it’s hard to tell if they included the hotel rooms in it or not–they are not offensive, but a little well-worn and could stand to have some newer touches.

Wild Hog BBQ: Good bbq with six house sauces to choose from, but a bit bland on the inside for decor and aesthetic. Great for a quick lunch, nothing more.

Cielo Home: Great collection of unique candles, gifts, coffee table books, and decor. It’s a bit pricey (aka: you might accidentally fall in love with a $400 throw pillow and it’s a horrible, horrible feeling), but fun to peruse. Located next to Wild Hog BBQ.

Nuart Gallery: Located in the famed Canyon Road area, this carefully curated gallery of mostly mid-career artists like the awesome Erin Cone.

Monroe Gallery: Full of classic black & white photography with an emphasis on humanist and photojournalist imagery. Includes artists like Stephen Wilkes, Ormond Gigli, several famed LIFE Magazine photographers, and lots more (not to mention this hilarious shot of Sophia Loren + Jayne Mansfield). I could have spent hours here.

Canyon Road: Tucked further into town, this is a great area if you are looking for art galleries that provide a unique (but more secluded) experience.

Hacienda del Cerezo: Pricey and a little idiosyncratic, but worth it if you’re looking for a ranch-adventure, a fabulous meal, a romantic get-a-way, or simply to try something new.

Local people randomly walking up to us to give directions/tips on what to see and do: I think Santa Fe is probably the nicest town I have ever visited.


 

So that’s it! It was an amazing trip and since I know Husband often reads this–thank you, you are the best, I loved it, and I love you so much. Hasta luego, Santa Fe…until we meet again.

  • http://www.thedapperbun.com/ Mary Ann

    Looks like a wonderful trip, Chloe! Definitely jealous – I’ve wanted to travel around the midwest but I’ve only been in and out of Salt Lake City a couple of times, haha. ;-)

  • http://twitter.com/PPFGirl PennyPincherFashion

    WOW – this looks amazing!  Thank you for sharing all your pictures with us – I want to go now!! :)

  • Beautygirl24

    What beautiful pictures! Aside from the gorgeous scenery, I personally loved the one of you carrying your handbags. I definitely smiled when I saw that! Sweet of your hunny to surprise you.

  • http://respecttheshoes.blogspot.com respect_the_shoes

    Glad you guys enjoyed NM – I lived in ABQ for several years and had always enjoyed going up to Santa Fe, then further north for some skiing (well, everyone else went skiing, I just kind of fell down the slopes).

  • http://www.daintyanddecadent.com/ Maria

    What beautiful photos!  It sounds like you both had a great time!  I’ll have to add that to my list of places I want to visit :-)

    Maria

    http://www.daintyanddecadent.com

  • ppp

    Santa Fe!! My home town! This post made me homesick. Glad you had fun – it truly is a magical city! 

  • http://www.thestylishhousewife.com/ the stylish housewife

    this seriously looks AMAZING. my husband and i would absolutely LOVE this trip! i can not wait to show this to him!!! thank you for sharing!!!

    xoxo, jenn
    the stylish housewife

  • http://twitter.com/worthystyle Whitney Worthington

    Wow! Seems like a beautiful trip! I honestly had no idea that Santa Fe was so small and at such a high elevation. Crazy.

  • Houseofhemingway

    Look at you putting that nice little Canon to use! Great photos, and it looks like a fabulous time too. Congratulations on your 6th anniversary, may it multiple at least 10 fold!

    xx-Luce
    http://www.houseofhemingway.com

  • Jennifer Vancura

    Love the pics!

  • curlijuli77

    Great pictures! looks like you had a lot of fun! and the architecture is beautiful and so romantic!
    http://curlijuli.blogspot.com/

  • Stevie Shea

    Pretty pictures!

  • Andi

    Gorgeous, gorgeous! That Hacienda looks like an oasis-seriously beautiful. So glad you guys had such a great anniversary trip-congrats! 

  • http://glassoffancy.com/ Annabelle

    Wow, that looks like a great trip.  You got a lot of beautiful shots, too.  I’ve heard nice things about Santa Fe; I’ll have to check it out someday!

  • TheKimmieChronicles

    It looks like you had an amazing time! The first image of this post reminds me of when the Hubby and I drove through NM on our move west, except greener. We’ve thought about going back someday, so I will tuck this post away for later reference. :) Thanks for sharing your anniversary and your recommendations! Beautiful photographs, too!

  • ThefashionableESQ

    Your pictures are so inviting, they make me want to travel there. I love the jewelry shot and I the pictures of the marketplace – all those chotchkies! LOL
    xxThe Fashionable ESQ
    http://www.thefashionableesq.blogspot.com/ 

Chloe, Colorful Colorado.
5'2" on a good day. 32 years old. Professional Headless Model on Ebay. Likes fun fashion, good music, anything cinnamon flavored, & pretty, pretty shoes. Loves her two chihuahuas, tickle fights with her husband, digging around on the internet and in brick & mortar stores for fun finds, being old enough to know better, Colorado, and always lugging around a camera or two...(more)

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