Santa Fe, Day 3

Santa Fe, Day 3

Another early morning for our last day in Santa Fe. We packed up our bags so they were ready to throw in the car for our noon checkout, walked the puppy, and headed to breakfast at Cafe Pasqual’s across the street.

Cafe Pasqual's in Santa Fe, New Mexico

The Cafe has a stellar reputation in Santa Fe and was recommended over and over for a breakfast-must and we immediately saw why when the folks next to us at our communal table received their food. It was all so delicious and fresh. Everything at Cafe Pasqual’s is made in-house and, for the most part, is organic and naturally raised. We made 10 new friends at the communal table from all over the States and filled up interesting conversation and on the below:

  • Breakfast Quesadilla – Whole wheat tortilla, melted jack, guacamole, scrambled eggs, house-made chorizo and green chile salsa
  • Durango Omelette – three organic eggs, Fra Mani rosemary ham, jack cheese, scallions, guacamole, sautéed field mushrooms, green chile, and house-made toast

After our huge breakfast, we were ready to walk! We hopped in the car and drove over to Canyon Road, home to over 100 art galleries, to walk and see all of the art. The galleries were just opening as we arrived and the art spanned all styles. Each gallery had its own vibe and greeting party upon arrival – my favorite were the dog greeter – always a treat! It is truly awesome how Santa Fe loves and welcomes man’s best friend as much as we do.

IMG_1470 Galleries on Canyon Road Santa Fe, New Mexico

We ended up walking into the McLarry Modern gallery which housed art that completely complemented our tastes. We stumbled upon a room in the back full of colorful art that, upon further inspection, reflected certain infamous people in American culture. Figuring out who was portrayed by the colors and symbols in each painting became a game for us as we traveled through each canvas. We discovered that we unintentionally completely fell in love with Poteet Victory’s Abbreviated Portraits series.

We came to Canyon Road with every intention of just window shopping our way through the afternoon, but once we learned the story behind the series, were entranced by his wife, and taken up to the studio where the works come to life, and meeting Poteet himself, we decided to make Mrln Mnro our first original piece of art (the red and white piece featured above). Such an exciting and surprising day!

After we finalized our purchase, we walked through a few other galleries, learning about the artists, styles, and stories behind the various pieces. All of the art curators at each place were friendly and so knowledgeable and willing to impart that knowledge on us. I don’t think we could have had a better experience.

We had to head back to the hotel and checkout at noon, so we grabbed our bags and our excited dog, and started to long drive back to Dallas. Thankfully, we downloaded some really interesting podcast series, my favorite being Criminal, and took in the Texas views on the way home. We must have passed thousands of windmills along the way. We also passed a donkey that escaped a fence and was being chased by a lone police officer who was trying to corral the donkey while keeping the other horses within the fence boundaries. It was pretty funny!

Road trip to Texas

Road trip to Texas

Ten hours, and a stop or three later, we made it back to Dallas with some great memories and the constant urge to travel again!

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Santa Fe, Day 2

Santa Fe, Day 2

The perks of going to bed at 9:30 PM definitely start with waking up early and refreshed the next morning. After a quick walk with the puppy, we hopped in the car, grabbed our Starbucks breakfast, and headed back to the slopes.

We were determined to attempt the blue runs at the very top of the mountain today, since those we did in the middle section of the mountain the day before were not too bad. After a few warm up green runs, we took the lift up to the top of the mountain! The view was out of this world. We started down the blue run and were a little intimidated by how it appeared as the slope totally dropped of into a super steep run! Upon getting closer to the edge though, the slop was wide, do-able, and absolutely exhilarating! Not to mention the view down the entire route was stellar!

Ski Santa Fe, New Mexico

One of the best things about Ski Santa Fe is the length of the runs. You can spend 20 minutes going down if you know the right routes which totally makes up for the long lift ride up! We spent the better part of the morning exploring the blue runs streaming down the top of the mountain and had an absolute blast. The mountain was basically empty to so no lines and having the runs to yourself cant be beat!

IMG_0793

We started our ski day right as the lifts opened and went down run after run until about 1 PM when we needed a food break. Instead of going to the little grill, we went back to the Prius, opened up the hatch back, and ate our Central Market snacks for lunch while taking in the view. Between the breeze, healthy food, the view, and the company – it was absolutely perfect. Reenergized and ready to go, we skied until about 3 PM before out legs started to give out and we needed to call it quits. We checked all of our gear and it started to snow! What a cool way to end the ski day!

The drive down the mountain is so serine and filled with hiking trails which we definitely need to explore in warmer weather on our next New Mexico visit. If I could, I would have had Ryan stop every 5 minutes for photos at the next amazing view, but we decided to just take it all in instead. While I would love to have more pictures of it, sometimes you have to put down your camera and soak it all in.

We got back to the room and Ryan needed a nap. I decided to do a little shopping and took off on foot around the Santa Fe square. It started to snow absolutely giant flakes and turned into a mini blizzard! I caught a few flakes on my tongue and couldn’t get enough of the snow fall and sat on our hotel’s porch watching it fall until Ryan was up and ready to go. We were going to walk down to the art galleries on Canyon road, but due to the snow, we went to the hotel’s highly acclaimed cocktail bar, the Secreto Lounge, for some amazing drinks before the 10 foot walk to our dinner destination – Tabla de Los Santos. After having so much Spanish food over the past few days, we wanted something more modern, and the menu at Tabla de Los Santos made our mouths water. Our celebratory dinner consisted of:

  • Crispy Quail – Buttermilk brined, green chile powder dusted & tempura fried, served over braised organic kale and bacon, local honey drizzle, green chile lemon aioli
  • Warm Goat Cheese Salad – Organic Farmer’s Market greens, toasted pinõn, grapefruit segments, grilled crostini’s, maple balsamic
    vinaigrette
  • Cassis Seared Maple Leaf Farms Duck Breast – Butternut squash ravioli, fresh sage & pinõn cream sauce, oven dried tomatoes, sautéed
    baby spinach (This is what I had – I could eat it every day for years! Sooo yum!)
  • Lamb Chops – Orange & wild local honey, garlic mashed potatoes, strudel with spinach, mushroom, feta & oven dried tomato,lamb demi-glace,minted chimichurri.

After that dinner and a bottle of wine, we retired upstairs to relax and get ready for our last day in Santa Fe!

 

Santa Fe

Santa Fe

Ski Santa Fe, New Mexico

6:30 AM wake up due to a combination of a loud garbage truck, excitement, and a attention needing puppy dog. We started the day with a quick puppy walk to the little park up the street and with some free coffee in the hotel. We put Dakota back in the room with a big raw hide to keep her occupied, ran to the Starbucks up the street for a quick breakfast, and then took off to Ski Santa Fe! Reading online, time estimates to get from Santa Fe to the mountain for skiing are all over the place, so to set the record, it takes about 35 minutes. The path is winding up various mountain sides and all signal is lost almost immediately. The drive is very scenic and packed with look out points and trail heads for hiking.

Hotel St. Francis Santa Fe, New Mexico

We arrived at the ski center around 8 AM and got a primo parking spot right out front. The gear rental process was very streamlined and easy and the rentals ($32 per day) / lift tickets ($74 per day) are very reasonable. We got ready and headed to the slopes. There was no line for any of the lifts at all during our entire two days on the mountain. The runs are wide and really long so going from top to bottom took a nice amount of time. Being somewhat beginner skiers, we stuck to the green runs for the first hour but the blues were not intimidating looking at all so we adventured to them on the second half of the day. The skiing was just amazing and, even though the snow was a little icy and slushy, we had a blast.

 

There is also a little “Adventure Land” adventure park off one of the slopes in Ski Santa Fe. You ski into the forest a little way and there is a little “bear cave” made out of boulders, a tunnel to ski through, a teepee, and a few jumps which I was able to land! Really cool and good for both beginners and intermediates.

The bear cave in Adventure Land at Ski Santa Fe

About halfway down the mountain, there is a “spiked” coffee shop and grill where you can have a customized coffee or hot coco with some Bailey’s and lunch. I had a ham and cheese Quiche and Ryan had a burrito – both seemed to be made by Chef Mic (aka the microwave). I brought a Quest bar and opted for that instead.

We skied for a little bit longer before the exhaustion of the late night drive / early morning kicked in. We skied back down to the Prius and took a hydration and 15 minute nap break in the back of the car. I have to say, I love the Pruis. SO comfortable and gas efficient! We hung out in the car for about 30 minutes enjoying the breeze and the view before putting the skis in the back and driving down the mountain to our hotel for a shower and a nap.

Relaxing in the Prius at Ski Santa Fe, New Mexico

I woke up a little before Ryan so I harnessed up Dakota and we took off on a walk around town. She just happens to be a super cute dog and so we had to stop about every 5 paces for someone else to pet her! We walked up to the main square where lots of locals set out their goods for purchase. There was also a band playing by the fountain in the middle of the square and the 60 degree, sunny weather was just the icing on the perfect-walk cake! We made our way back to the hotel and I swapped out Dakota for Ryan as my exploring buddy. We went into some of the shops around the square, a few galleries, and grabbed a delicious latte at the Haagen-Dazs store before making the 7 block walk to our highly recommended local dinner spot.

Santa Fe is known for its green and red chilies which they mostly use on top of Mexican styled dishes. We opted to try them out at Tomasita’s restaurant which is supposed to be where all the locals go. It did not disappoint! The place was packed and so we busied ourselves drinking some absolutely delicious margaritas and making friends at the bar during our 45 minute wait. I do have to say, the people in Santa Fe are so friendly and fun!
We were sat at a table in the back and didn’t have to salivate long over the menu before ordering a tamale and enchilada plate that incorporated both styles of chilies. Our dinner also came with puffy sopapillas and honey butter which were delicious. Needless to say, we were stuffed by the end of our dining experience, and headed straight back to the hotel with our food babies to hit the sheets.

Road Trip to Santa Fe, New Mexico

Road Trip to Santa Fe, New Mexico

There are so many options around Texas for three-day weekend trips from wine in Fredericksburg, art in Marfa, music in Austin, to the River Walk in San Antonio – all within a few hours and full of great food, culture, and good times. The one thing Texas doesn’t have though is skiing and, ever since our trip to Snowbird, Utah, we have been hooked on the slopes. With all of that said, when we were trying to plan a quick get away for our 2 year anniversary and realized that Santa Fe’s highly recommended slopes were just a 9.5 hour drive away, we just couldn’t stay in Texas.

Road trip to Santa Fe, New Mexico

Hotels in Santa Fe are so authentically “Santa Fe”. They are all decorated in the local adobe style and have so much personality. Additionally, most have special rates throughout the year so you can find buy 2 nights, get the third free deals, and much more if you do your research. We found a charming place in the middle of town called the Hotel St. Francis, and were totally sold when we found out the hotel was dog friendly. We were planning on road tripping so why not bring our best friend Dakota?! We bought the HosPETality package which waved the pet-fee and had a doggie bag full of treats ready for us upon arrival. With that taken care of, Dakota was all ready to go for her first big family vacation:

Road trip to Santa Fe, New Mexico

After packing for our trip (See my Ski Trip packing list here), we took off on our adventure after work on a Thursday night, right before rush hour. Unfortunately, the road to Santa Fe took every heavy rush hour route all the way through Dallas, but we were lucky that we were at least constantly moving. Our ETA to the hotel was roughly 1:30 AM on Friday morning so we packed lots of high energy drinks, snacks, and adrenaline. Pro-tip, we went to the bulk section at Central Market for snacks which was not only cheap but relatively healthy and definitely delicious. See my upcoming Road Trip Tips post for additional details!

Road Trip Snacks

Our trip was pretty uneventful.. until I took the wheel. It was around 12:30AM in the middle-of-no-where New Mexico where I accidentally hit a piece of tire that was laying in the road and then all hell broke loose noise wise from the passenger seat tire area. We had to pull over in the pitch black on the side of the freeway and use our iPhones as lights to fix the damage. The tire piece hit the wheel well and ripped off a lot of the plastic. We had to drive with some horrible sound effects for about 15 miles to the nearest gas station to buy duct tape and a pocket knife to rip the piece out. It’s never a dull moment, huh? Thankfully, my mister-fix-it boyfriend was able to jimmy the car back together and we didn’t have any issues before arriving at the hotel.

Tired and ready for bed, we walked into the hotel at 2 AM and were greeted by Kevin, the long gray-haired, incredibly nice and puppy obsessed front-desk guy. He was all about Dakota and she was trying to rip her doggie treat bag out of my hands as soon as he gave it to us. The hotel itself was clean, charming and candle lit. We went up to our second floor deluxe king suite and Dakota immediately tested out the bed with its 30 pillows. The whole place was just very comfortable and relaxing overall.

Snowbird, Utah – New Years Day

Snowbird, Utah – New Years Day

7:45 AM wake up! I was happy and ready to go until I put my feet on the floor and the soreness of skiing the previous day resonated throughout my legs! Ouch! Pushing through the pain, we got ready for the -8 degree ski day ahead of us. We had another yummy bagel breakfast at The Atrium before heading to our locker full of gear. I can’t reiterate enough how amazing a ski-in / ski-out hotel is. We popped our skis on and were immediately on the slopes!

The Chickadee slope goes right down to the mouth of the Creek Road green run which goes the length of the mountain and passes all of the lifts. We skied down the run, taking our time and soaking up every second, to the Mid-Gad lift. The Mid-Gad lift has two stops, one half-way up the mountain which has more green runs and an adventure park, and the second which reaches the top of the mountain’s advanced runs. As we are relatively new skiers, we stuck to the green slopes, our favorite being Second South. Second South leads both back to Mid-Gad and another lift called Baby Thunder. We went between both lifts throughout the morning, getting better and more confident throughout the morning.

Snowbird Mountain Trail Map

We need a snack break around 11. Thankfully, we had Quest bars in our jackets for extra fuel, however, mine froze because I had it in an outside pocket of my jacket! Pro tip: keep chapstick, liquids, lotion, and snacks in the inside of your jacket to prevent freezing!

A few more runs later, we skied to the base of the Mid-Gad lift to the Creekside Grill. Besides hot chocolate, there is nothing better than some warm, yummy, chili on a cold day! It totally hit the spot and some time off of our feet helped us gain our energy back for a few more afternoon runs.

Snowbird, Utah

There were a lot of little ski school groups on the slopes with kids from 4-8 years old! These kids would fly by us on 1.5 foot skis with no poles, in their super puffy ski suits, and I couldn’t get over how cute they were! Since there were more kids than instructors in each group, the kids needed “lift buddies” to help them on and off the lift. We were more than happy to help and I had some adorable conversations with some of these little pros. On the way up the Mid-Gad lift, I helped a 4-year-old girl up to the adventure park so she could go off of the jumps! We were talking about how long she had been skiing and I asked her where she was from. She said “Well, I don’t know where I am from but I DO know what planet we are on. EARTH!”. I totally melted – so cute!

It took us about three runs to get back to the hotel and my legs were skiing like jello when I took my skis off in the locker room! We decided to jump into one of the three hot tubs located right next to the Chickadee slope at the Cliff Lodge. It felt so great on our legs and we were not even 5 feet away from watching the skiers on the slopes. We hung in the hot tub, making new friends from all over the States, for about an hour before heading to the room for a pre-dinner nap.

At the Cliff Lodge in Snowbird, Utah

We opted to go to the Cliff Lodge’s Mexican restaurant, El Chanate, for dinner. We were a little skeptical of how the food would be considering we are used to awesome Mexican food in Texas, but we were pleasantly surprised! We started with some margaritas (of course), chips, & a delicious salsa. I also had some yummy pork tacos and Ryan tried the Pollo En Rajas con Crema (chicken in a spicy cream sauce) which I probably ate 1/3 of. Apparently, the chef, originally from Chihuahua, Mexico, has been working at theEl Chanate for over 10 years and makes very authentic Mexican cuisine (not Tex-Mex).

Throughout dinner, we got into an interesting conversation with our waiter; a fellow traveler from the North East. He decided to uproot his life with one of his friends and bike / rock climb their way through the USA. They made it all the way to Utah before running out of money, so he decided to stay behind in Utah and work until summer. Apparently, the mountains in Utah are top-notch for rock climbing and hiking in the summer – who knew?

Looking back at this post, I realize that some of my favorite memories of this day were garnered by meeting new people and talking to them about their experiences. You never know what funny thing they are going to say, what travel tips they will have, or how amazing their life has been until you start that conversation. Meeting new people and making new friends is definitely one of my favorite things about traveling.