Eat+Stay+Play: Santa Fe and Taos


Eat+Stay+Play Travel Guides, Travel / Thursday, June 7th, 2018

The Land of Enchantment was good to us. A spiritual vibe floats along desert winds, dancing through cottonwood trees and blanketing the mesas. I’ve only ever seen New Mexico from the window of an airplane and the snow-covered slopes of Taos ski valley, so I was ready to feel the warm early summer sun and the rough adobe that dots the landscape.

I spent 4 solid days mostly in Santa Fe, with a day trip to Taos, with my mom. We do this kind of thing every year. Last year we visited northern California so this year’s trip was completely different. I think choosing a destination and then planning the trip is half the fun, don’t you?

I chronicled parts of our adventure on Instagram, but I also wanted to provide a more in-depth itinerary and travel diary for you. You can do a lot in a short amount of time, actually. This is our day-to-day schedule and is by no means all inclusive. There is so much to see! We just wanted this to be as relaxing as possible.

As usual, we didn’t stay in a traditional hotel. We found a casita on VRBO that was quaintly situated on a working farm. The biggest draw for us was the ability to spend time with the owners’ animals, which consisted of three very friendly donkeys, two goats, and a whole bunch of chickens and ducks. Our favorite part of the day was returning to the casita, opening a bottle of rosé, and taking sliced apples and carrots out to the donkeys and goats. The donkeys were gentle giants that bonded with us very quickly. Chickens are pretty social creatures, too. Every morning the sun would rise over the Sangre de Cristo mountains and the rooster would alert us that it was time to get up. It was like our own little oasis in the desert.

Santa Fe Travel Diary | What to do in Santa Fe | New Mexico Travel Guide | Cathedrals and Cafes Blog

Southwestern Casual Outfit | Black tank top | White Jeans | Long Cardigan | Espadrille Wedges | Cottonwood trees | Cathedrals and Cafes Blog

Santa Fe Travel Diary | What to do in Santa Fe | New Mexico Travel Guide | Cathedrals and Cafes Blog

Day 1

Eat: Trader Joe’s

Stay: VRBO casita

Play: Commune with the animals

Fly into Albuquerque and rent a car to drive to Santa Fe. It’s about an hour and a half and we thought the drive was really pretty. I mean, we’re from Texas so any amount of topography is a welcome sight! We always stock up at Trader Joe’s! Wine, cheese, easy dinners like chicken and salad, snacks, more wine…you get the picture. We checked into our casita, unpacked, and enjoyed mountain views and getting to know our animal friends.

Santa Fe Travel Diary | What to do in Santa Fe | New Mexico Travel Guide | Cathedrals and Cafes Blog

Day 2

Eat: Modern General and The Bell Tower

Play: Canyon Road, Santa Fe Plaza, Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi

Spend the day exploring Santa Fe, especially Canyon Road if you’re really into art. I am not an art expert but it was really inspiring seeing so many artists showcasing their work in their own galleries. Plus there are many outdoor art installations and plenty of photo opportunities. We arrived in the morning when the weather was still slightly cool.

A local recommended lunch at Modern General, which I highly recommend as well. They specialize in “modcakes,” a type of johnny cake that they make sweet or savory. The Red Pepper Sonoracakes with Scottish lox were amazing! The interior is gorgeous, too!

Drive over to the plaza and spend some time walking around and visiting shops. We popped into the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi and marveled at the gorgeous ceiling and stained glass. There’s also the Loretto Chapel with its miracle staircase. Both are worth a pop in.

I always manage to find the local independent bookstore wherever I go. The Collected Works bookstore has a great spot inside for a caffeine fix called Iconik Coffee. The black and blue scones are really good.

To finish our day, we had rosé and pork carnitas at the Bell Tower in the La Fonda hotel. There are some incredible views from this place and the breeze makes it a very comfortable location even in the early afternoon.

Santa Fe Travel Diary | What to do in Santa Fe | New Mexico Travel Guide | Cathedrals and Cafes Blog

Santa Fe Travel Diary | What to do in Santa Fe | New Mexico Travel Guide | Cathedrals and Cafes Blog

Santa Fe Travel Diary | What to do in Santa Fe | New Mexico Travel Guide | Cathedrals and Cafes Blog

Santa Fe Travel Diary | What to do in Santa Fe | New Mexico Travel Guide | Cathedrals and Cafes Blog

Day 3

Eat: Culinary Tour with Wander New Mexico

Play: The Railyard District

Wander New Mexico does a fabulous culinary walking tour. It’s a mix of food, wine, and history in an immersive experience with chefs and distillers. I highly recommend giving this company a try. We started at the Railyard district and walked our way through some off-the-beaten-path streets and enjoyed New Mexico through our stomachs. We started at La Choza and had posole two ways – Mexican and New Mexican – with a margarita to wash it down. Next was State Capital Kitchen for a delicious bowl of gnudi and Argentinian wine followed by Santa Fe Spirits for a whiskey flight. Joseph’s Culinary Pub was next with creamy carrot soup, polenta, and more wine. After the tour concluded back at the Railyard, my mom and I stopped into Second Street Brewery to sample some local craft beers. By the end of your tour, you’ll be tired but in a good way.

Santa Fe Travel Diary | What to do in Santa Fe | New Mexico Travel Guide | Cathedrals and Cafes Blog

Day 4

Eat: Historic Taos Inn

Drink: Black Mesa Winery

Play: Taos shops and Rio Grande Gorge Bridge

The drive to Taos from Santa Fe is definitely worth it. Make sure to take the High Road for incredible views and an easy winding road. We started the day with brunch at the Historic Taos Inn. They have a really cozy “living room” type interior but we enjoyed the patio under an umbrella. The chai tea and New Mexican eggs benedict with red chile hollandaise were excellent.

Make time to explore the Taos shops. I found the prices to be much more friendly than Santa Fe. I purchased a woven wall hanging and learned the meaning of the spirit animals woven into the colorful pattern.

Drive out to the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge, but you might not want to look down. I’m kidding. But seriously, if you’re afraid of heights you may not be able to walk along the bridge. It’s a very deep gorge but it’s incredibly beautiful. It really puts the gorge in gorgeous! Travel tips and bad jokes, folks. That’s what you get here. It’s free to go see and there’s plenty of space to get great photos.

Take the low road that runs along the Rio Grande to get back to Santa Fe. You’ll see kayakers and white water rafters in the river. Definitely stop at Black Mesa Winery. The staff here is so friendly and the wines are really good. Everything is 100% New Mexican grown and produced, too. We loved it so much we bought some bottles to ship home. They also have a shaded outdoor area and gazebo that is laid back and comfortable. Light charcuterie snacks are available for purchase, too.

Santa Fe Travel Diary | What to do in Santa Fe | New Mexico Travel Guide | Cathedrals and Cafes Blog

Taos Travel Diary | What to do in Taos | Rio Grande Gorge Bridge | New Mexico Travel Guide | Cathedrals and Cafes Blog

Taos Travel Diary | What to do in Taos | Rio Grande Gorge Bridge | New Mexico Travel Guide | Cathedrals and Cafes Blog

Taos Travel Diary | What to do in Taos | Rio Grande Gorge Bridge | New Mexico Travel Guide | Cathedrals and Cafes Blog

Santa Fe Travel Diary | What to do in Santa Fe | New Mexico Travel Guide | Cathedrals and Cafes Blog

Day 5

Eat: Sopaipilla Factory

Sometimes you just need a day to rest on your vacation. We slept in and had a lazy breakfast of cage-free eggs from the farm, coffee and toast. We had a nice little porch to enjoy our meals and watch the animals. Lunch was at a local place called Sopaipilla Factory. Get the stuff sopaipilla. It’s one of their specialties and is a great alternative to just a taco or enchiladas. A huge thunderstorm rolled through on this day and was the first day of rain for Santa Fe all year. We spent the afternoon watching the mountains around us become eclipsed by rain and clouds. I couldn’t plan a more a perfect ending to our trip. It wasn’t the most glamorous of days, but it was just what we needed before flying home the next day.

Santa Fe Travel Diary | What to do in Santa Fe | New Mexico Travel Guide | Cathedrals and Cafes Blog

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xo – Erin

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