Santa Fe is gearing up for the warmer outdoor season. The weather is beautiful; perfect for spending days outside exploring the city and surrounding high desert. Whether you live here or are planning a visit, this week’s Tidbits covers some neat outdoor activities for you to put on your itinerary. Sometimes we know more about places we travel to than we do about where we live. Time to change that!
National Parks Week is coming up. That’s really significant around here as there are many National Parks to explore. From April 16th through 24th, admission to all the parts and monuments is FREE. Take advantage of it. Some our favorite, close parks are:
If you want to go further afield, there are great National Parks throughout New Mexico and our neighboring southwestern states, AZ, CO and UT. Take advantage of the free admission week; our National Parks are some of our greatest treasures and they need our support.
While we’re talking about outside things to do; we were guests of Ghost Ranch last week for their Georgia O’Keeffe Landscape Tour. If you love the artist and want to see where she lived and got a lot of her inspiration, or simply want to see the fabulous high desert colors of the Colorado Plateau, put this on your Santa Fe to-do list. You can take a bus tour as we did, a walking tour or see it from horseback. Combine this with a tour of the Georgia O’Keeffe Home and Studio fourteen miles down the road for the full O’Keeffe experience. On the way back to Santa Fe, stop the White Place, the view O’Keeffe had from her studio window and subject of a number of her paintings. Book these tours early; they’re popular.
It’s also a great time to take a walking tour of historic Santa Fe. It’s always better to have a knowledgeable guide. The New Mexico History Museum begins their seasonal tours on April 18th. The tours (Monday to Saturday at 10:15am) are led by the museum’s docents. They meet at the blue gate on Lincoln Avenue just south of the museum. Tours, about two hours, are $10 for adults (children under 16 free when accompanied by an adult). They don’t offer tours on Saturdays when there are large events in the Plaza.
Historic Walks of Santa Fe also offers scheduled daily tours. If you want a private tour, the Santa Fe Tour Guides Association is a great resource. They have guides specializing in all aspects of Santa Fe and northern New Mexico (and even beyond). We are excited that Steve Collins of Santa Fe Travelers (and The Santa Fe Traveler) is now a member of this group. You can also take a self-guided tour.
The pilot for Reconstruction, a new TV series being filmed by Universal Media Studios for NBC Entertainment is currently filming around New Mexico. The historic Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Rail Road is one of their locations. If you haven’t ridden this vintage, steam-engine driven train over the Cumbres pass, it is a wonderful adventure. Last summer, a fire on one of the trestles made it impossible to ride the entire route from Chama, NM to Antonito, CO. Passengers were bused from Chama to the Cumbres station at the top of the pass. The railroad opens for the season Monday, May 28th; the entire route will be open. In 2008 we took the Cinder Bear Express, a special train for youngsters, when our grandkids were visiting. The views were spectacular. One day we’ll do the entire ride.
There’s a brand new restaurant in town. Opened on April 1st, Raaga has taken over the long-abandoned space at 544 Agua Fria Street. This space was previously home to Mauka and before that Kasa Soba. Every restaurant that occupied this space has offered delicious food; we hope Raaga follows the tradition.
Owner, Pramod ‘Paddy’ Rawal, a native of Mumbai, India, has been in Santa Fe only a few weeks. He came from Michigan where he owned two Indian restaurants. “I am a true believer of ‘Fresh, Simple, Delicious Food’” he writes. “I also believe that I am only as good as the last meal that I serve. This is what I also do as a continuous and ongoing effort.” He mixes the flavors and spices of India with western cooking techniques using the finest, seasonal, local ingredients available. “Raaga offers a symphony of Indian flavors and spices,” he adds.
A last restaurant note: Koi, opened last fall by former Mauka owner, Joel Coleman, is closing April 17th. Rumor has it that Coleman is heading for San Francisco.
Dance and music
When you see Flamenco dancer Juan Siddi’s name, you know summer’s on the way. His troop, Juan Siddi Flamenco Theatre Company, performs summers at The Lodge at Santa Fe. Their third annual gala, to raise funds to keep the group afloat, is Sunday, April 17th from 4pm to 9pm at the Scottish Rite Temple Ballroom. Tickets, available at the Lensic box office or through Tickets Santa Fe, are $25 in advance and $30 at the door (cash or check only). Children 12 and under are free.
Years ago, in another millennium and far, far away, I saw jazz pianist Chick Corea at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center. All these years and many concerts later, this evening stands out in my memory. He will be at the Lensic Performing Arts Center with vibraphonist, Gary Burton on Sunday May 1st at 7pm.
And last but not least, congratulations to the State of New Mexico. The beautiful new turquoise license plate, designed to commemorate the State’s 2012 Centennial, won the America’s Best License Plate Award. This honor from the Automobile License Plate Collectors Association (ALPCA, Inc.) has been awarded annually since 1970. This plate is so special that we bought one ( the first time we’ve ever spent money a plate) and we’re so happy we did. First time I’ve even bonded with our license plate. It deserves this award!
If you have any tidbits to share with us, we’d love to hear them.
Authors’ note: As a former hotel concierges and owners of a travel concierge and trip-planning business in Santa Fe, the writers may have been guests of business or services mentioned in posts on this site. While these experiences have not influenced us in any way, this information is provided in the spirit of full disclosure.