Oh Hey, Santa Fe

Breezing through New Mexico’s seductive capitol

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  • Written by
    Darren Elms
SANTA FE’S FINEST Top: The lobby at Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado Santa Fe. Above left: Famous resident Georgia O’Keeffe, photographed by her husband, Alfred Stieglitz, in 1918. Above right: Brilliant turquoise at Ortega’s on the Plaza. Below: One of the galleries on artistically-inclined Canyon Road.

What’s not to love? A scenic downtown, skiing, shopping and four seasons all less than a two-hour flight from Los Angeles. My arrival in Santa Fe, “The City Different,” had been long coming. And though well worth the wait, I only wish I had discovered it earlier.



Tucked into hills about 15 minutes from old town, Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado Santa Fe sparkled with blue skies and brilliant yellow Aspen leaves on our crisp fall arrival. Remote and romantic, the intimate resort boasts only 65 rooms, each with an indoor fireplace and private patio, the five-star restaurant Terra and a serene spa to cap off the amenities. Cooler weather means wood burning in fireplaces and the whole resort glowing with a seasonally smoky aroma. The concierge offers regular shuttle service to the downtown area, so don’t worry about the distance … you’ll find the somewhat isolated location to be a beautiful blessing when you’re gazing at a crystal clear night sky. fourseasons.com/santafe



Santa Fe is known for red and green peppers, a staple of most menus around town. Old favorites in and around the Plaza include Tomasita’s, The Shed and La Casa Sena, a restaurant that doubles as a cabaret in the evenings. If you’d like something more upscale, stop at The Rosewood Inn of the Anasazi for terrific ambience and an enlightened menu and wine list.  



Art lovers delight. Studio after studio of art—contemporary to classic and ceramic to canvas—line the streets and small corridors of old town, especially Canyon Road. Commission your own masterpiece or ship a one-of-a-kind wonder to your South Bay abode. canyonroadarts.com

Turquoise. Turquoise. Turquoise. The brilliant blue stone dominates the jewelry market in Santa Fe, from the blankets of Native American artisans around the main square to high-end boutiques. For authen- ticity, locals suggested shopping the Native American wares or some of the more established stores, like Ortega’s on the Plaza. Just a few weeks before we arrived in town, the FBI raided a few stores selling imported stones labeled as New Mexico-mined … a big “no-no” for a proud local commerce. And if you’re rocking the western ware and tribal prints of late, you’ll have your pick of locally made fine leathers and woven wonders.

The Santa Fe Opera is worth the trip alone during its summer season atop the hill surrounded by the Sangre de Cristo and Jemez mountains. santafeopera.org

If you want a taste of New Mexico art history, Santa Fe is also home to New Mexico Museum of Art, Georgia O’Keeffe Museum and many others. nmartmuseum.org, okeeffemuseum.org

If you’re feeling the call of the wild, head to Ten Thousand Waves for the ultimate outdoor spa experience. This Japanese-style day spa invites you to soak away the stress in one of their public or private hot tubs, surrounded by piñons, junipers and a sea of stars. tenthousandwaves.com