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Santa Fe, New Mexico – January 2015

January 26, 2015

New Mexicosanta fe

For a few years now my wife and I have had this fantasy that we would retire to New Mexico – yet we had never been there.  Well we finally visited for a long weekend.  Specifically we visited Santa Fe.  We had an image of New Mexico, Santa Fe in particular, as a hip place to live – we assumed it had better weather than Minnesota and would be sunny most of the time.  Our assumptions were mostly on the spot (January is winter in Santa Fe, better than Minnesota, but still winter).  January is about as off-season as you can get in Santa Fe, but it worked into our schedule so we went anyway.  The short answer is it is definitely somewhere we could imagine living – we liked the vibe and we will be back.

Highlights:

Sage Inn

Accommodations – Sage Inn: We stayed at the Sage Inn because it was reasonably priced, a good location and it had decent reviews.  I have to admit that when we drove up to hotel it was less than impressive.  But we will definitely stay there again.  The rooms were clean, nicely decorated, it had a better than average hotel fitness room, free breakfast, the location is great (a quick free shuttle ride to the Plaza and within easy walking distance of the Santa Fe Railyard) and a great value.  We hate spending a fortune on a hotel when we are sight-seeing – we just need an inexpensive and decent place to lay our heads – the Sage Inn met and exceeded our expectations.

SF Brew

Event – WinterBrew: – My wife had the good sense to Google what was happening the weekend we visited Santa Fe and bought tickets to New Mexico Brewers Guild WinterBrew.  The event had 16 New Mexico breweries gathered for a cozy winter evening inside the Santa Fe Farmers Market hall.  Great beers, great conversations with some locals and frankly it felt like home.

DoubleWhite_6099_21-e1410382881145

Best Local Brewery and Beer – Marble Double White – Ronnie (who by the way was the best Santa Fe ambassador/sever we experienced in Santa Fe) at the Blue Corn Cafe gave me a mini beer festival on night number one of our visit to Santa Fe.  The hands down winner was Marble Brewery‘s Double White which is the Belgian White Blue Moon wishes it was – fantastic flavor.  It was the best beer I tasted at the WinterBrew festival too.  Every Marble I tried was great.

Vinaigrette

Best Eats – Vinaigrette – By day 3 I had bloated myself on tacos, chips and beer and I needed a change-up – Vinaigrette was just what my stomach ordered.  Focused on salads – I had the Spinach-Mushroom Salad with scallops and it may have been the best salad I have ever had. My wife had a daily special that was kale based and it was just a spectacular. We finished off with their flowerless chocolate tort, which, to my simplistic taste buds, was the best brownie I have ever had.

 

nuart

Best Gallery – NüART Gallery: My wife and I are not visual art people – we go to a museum about once a year and collect rock and roll posters (and only for shows we have witnessed) and some posters by local Minneapolis artist Adam Turman.   But when in Rome… I knew Santa Fe was an art gallery town – but honestly I had no idea that there would be so many galleries (Santa Fe boast that they are the only city in the world with more than 200 world-class art galleries in two square miles).  It turns out the Santa Fe gallery scene is world-renowned.  It was beyond my comprehension how they could all stay in business.  We probably visited about 25 galleries.  I was struck by the art, but also by the galleries themselves which were amazing spaces.  My favorite – not necessarily for the space – which was great – but the collection and the very friendly and informative gallery employee – was NüART Gallery. I really liked the work of Michael Bergt who had powerful images of human body that had a Aztec feel.  I also like the work of John Tarahteef which appeared to me as whimsical realism.

 

guygroove

Best Record Store – The Guy In The Groove: As great as the art galleries are in Santa Fe the record stores are pretty underwhelming (especially by my Twin Cities and Chicago standards).  I found two: The Guy In The Groove and The Good Stuff.  Both had very small inventories, but The Guy In The Groove had a much more interesting inventory.  The Good Stuff had the better hangout ambiance.  But in the end it is about the inventory and The Guy In the Groove was small but mighty (see me digging above).  I picked up a very nice copy of Herbie Mann’s Right Now (1962 in mono to boot!) for $5 and a couple other jazz titles.  He had some other cool stuff, but given the price (not unfair mind you) I would have wanted to sample first.   Given I was from out-of-town I would be in no position to return it (the shop has a very fair return policy).   Based on the three titles I picked up the store stocks clean wax.  The inventory had some pleasant surprises – where on earth did a vinyl copy of Neil Young’s Mirror Ball come from?  If there is enough turnover in the inventory, this could be a regular dig for me (I will definitely give it second taste the next time I am in town).

 

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Surprise – El Museo Winter Market: After spending some time at the Saturday Farmer’s Market (which was inside – yet another great Santa Fe interior) my wife spotted an unassuming sign across the tracks.  “Lets go see what that is” she suggested and so we went over and poked our heads in.  WOW – this was part art fair, craft show and upscale flea market.  Totally cool.

In summary: I have never been to the high desert and you can see why it captured the imagination of Georgia O’Keeffe.  It is an exotic beauty – especially for an arctic-cat like me.  Given it was off-season we kind of had the place to ourselves – which was kind of cool and creepy at the same time. The architecture is not that interesting from the outside, but the interiors of the various buildings were amazing.  How a place with such a great outdoors has such cool insides is beyond me.  Most of all this was a long overdue getaway for my wife and I.  Love you Pea – thanks for making it happen!

low road

 

 

 

 

 

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