Magical Santa Fe
Growing up we went to Santa Fe, NM all the time. It was something about the food, the culture, the atmosphere – we as a family, have always loved it. My mom lived there during her childhood for a bit and ever since then, it’s been a special place. We brought my Great Grandma there for one of her birthdays, we’ve bought endless pieces of jewelry and art from the Native Americans, and we’ve called to brag at what restaurant we were eating at to whoever wasn’t there.
It’s a short drive from Colorado and filled with hotels and bed and breakfasts that will leave you feeling completely tranquil. As an escape this year, we went for a week. It was definitely a different experience going during covid then any other time we’ve been. Plus, my mom broke her heel a few months ago and is still on crutches so we rented a wheelchair to take her around town.
What was different during Covid –
The biggest difference was the Native Americans that normally line the streets of the plaza selling their jewelry and artwork weren’t out. Totally makes sense, this wasn’t an expectation we were having. There’s just no way to keep that a safe experience with the pandemic. We realized that having them there is definitely the heart of the experience and we missed them a lot. We’ll be back.
Restaurants and hotels were open but are being very strict about CDC guidelines which we really appreciated. Our hotel required masks on at all times in the common areas, hallways, restaurant etc and had hand sanitizer stations throughout. Restaurants had markers for people to stay 6 ft apart and were only filling up a fraction of the normal capacity. Also, as a note, New Mexico as a state is requiring a mask to be worn in public at all times. They are enforcing with a fine. Again, we appreciated this. We were apprehensive to travel during covid but this made us feel totally safe to do so.
While we’ve stayed at many bed and breakfast, this time we stayed at the Inn and Spa at Loretto
First of all, it is GORGEOUS and second of all, it’s location is everything. Its classic New Mexico exterior is what South West dreams are made of. We stayed on the front of the hotel. Many reviews say to request a room on the “mountain side” but honestly, the balconies are better on the front and the sun sets on that side so you don’t get woken up by the sun and you end the day with a killer sunset.
Let’s talk location. It’s not right on the plaza which I appreciate. I like that it’s away from it but it’s only two blocks away. Turn a couple corners and you’re back. The great thing about the plaza and surrounding area is it’s all very walkable. I will say however if you’re in a wheelchair, this is the oldest capital in the United States. Meaning the roads/sidewalks are up and down and a little rockier than some. My mom who broke her heel earlier this year was in a wheelchair for this trip and while doable, also not the smoothest.
Another note on the location: it’s right next to the famous Loretto chapel (where it gets it’s name from). I mean it is right next door. You can hear the church bell which is pretty charming if you ask me.
One of the MAIN reason we go to New Mexico and Santa Fe specifically is for the food. It is so dang good. At every restaurant. If you like Mexican, TexMex, and New Mexican food. Go. RUN. What are you waiting for? It’s to die for. Here are our favorites:
113½ East Palace Avenue
Santa Fe, NM 87501
OPEN MONDAY-SATURDAY | CLOSED SUNDAYS
Lunch: 11:00 AM – 2:30 PM
Dinner: 5:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Right on the top of the list. We’ve been going to this restaurant my whole life. We used to call my grandparents when we were there to brag and vice versa on the trips we didn’t take with each other. It’s that good. Warning: their hot sauce and salsas are hot. When they say spicy, they mean business. The strawberry margarita is fab and you can never go wrong with literally anything you try. We like to start with the Trio – a starter with guacamole, salsa, and queso. We went there twice while we stayed for the week and both times I got the Southwest Grilled Shrimp. OMG worthy. Their posole is *chefs kiss*. I could go on and on honestly. It’s colorful, the floors are uneasy, the staff is incredible. The waitress we had for the first time was working the second time we came back and she came to the hostess stand to request us for her section. It could be because we’ve been going there forever but honestly, this place has magic. It’s also surrounded by shops so you can take a peek while waiting for your table.
406 Old Santa Fe Trail
Santa Fe, NM 87501
OPEN TUESDAY – SUNDAY | CLOSED MONDAYS
Dinner 5:30 PM – 9:00 PM Dragon Room Bar 4:00PM – CLOSE
Happy Hour 4:00PM – 7:00PM
The Pink Adobe does recommend reservations. Also, just a note that this is a little bit pricier of a place. But it has all the South West charm, a heated patio, and delish food. We ordered another trio with the same options as above…such a good way to start any meal IMO. I also ordered the salmon and it was the mix of all the right flavors. It’s amazing what they can do with seafood and Mexican spices. So good! We try to come here each time but because of the price, it’s definitely more of a treat. Once again, they were being really safe with Covid measures and the staff was so lovely.
Grab and Go Breakfast – Thurs and Fri: 7:30am – 10:30am
Dinner – Thurs – Sat: 6pm – 9pm
Brunch – Sat and Sun: 8am – 2pm
Yes, this is the restaurant at our hotel! It’s open to the public as well as guests and we had breakfast there a couple mornings. It’s such a beautiful little courtyard and the food was really good. The menu is a little bit limiting but I loved the Morning Parfait and the Luminaria Benedict without the ham. Really good and so convenient to be able to just pop downstairs before exploring.
121 Don Gaspar
Santa Fe, NM 87501
Breakfast 8am-3pm Daily
Lunch 11am-3pm Daily
Dinner every evening from 5pm-8pm
Reservations for dinner only
Because of the way we were traveling with our dogs and my mom in a wheelchair this time, visiting Pasqual’s just wasn’t very feasible. Which is unfortunate because it is SO GOOD. Breakfast is my favorite there but you honestly can’t go wrong. They have vegetarian options and right on their website it says, “Our farmers, ranchers, vintners and fisheries use sustainability and organics as their guiding star.” Give it a try, you won’t regret it.
Those are just a few of the highlights but honestly with the food there, you can’t not find something delicious everywhere you go. As Cafe Pasqual’s says, “Panza llena, corazon contento!
(full stomach, happy heart!)”
100 Old Santa Fe Trail
Santa Fe, NM 87501
Obviously with covid, things are limited in what you can do as it is everywhere you go right now. Normally, the plaza is the place to be. The Native Americans sit along the sidewalks with art, crafts, food, etc that they’ve made and are now selling. Any jewelry we’ve ever gotten from Santa Fe has always been from them. It does attract large crowds though and is just impossible to keep customers and the artist’s safe. It was so weird to be there and not have the hustle and bustle all around but it makes perfect sense. Post covid, this is a MUST. We honestly skip the stores and go straight to them for the most authentic pieces and experiences.
120 Veterans Highway
Taos, NM 87571
Monday – Saturday 8:00AM – 4:00PM
Sunday – 8:30AM – 4:00PM
Adults: $16 per person
Groups (8 or more Adults): $14 per person
Seniors: $14 per person
Students: $14 per person
Children 10 and under: Free
From Santa Fe, you can drive to Taos which isn’t too far and you can visit the Taos Pueblo of the Red Willow people. It is an incredible experience. Again, they have goods that they sell but they also give tours and have events that you can attend. In my opinion, it is the best way to become immersed in the culture. One of my most memorable traveling experiences is visiting the Pueblo and attending a festival they were having. Plus, we met a musicians dad that we had just seen play at one of the restaurants a previous night. The community is what makes Santa Fe and Taos so beautiful. So if you are visiting post covid and they have opened back up, highly HIGHLY recommend.
This is probably the safest way to do a tour with the current circumstances. A couple of them are food related so duh. But click the title above to go to a few suggested ones.
207 Old Santa Fe Trail
Santa Fe, NM 87501
Monday – Thursday 9:30am – 4:30pm
Friday – Saturday 9:30am – 5:00pm
Sunday 10:30am – 5:00pm
Open 364 days a year (closed on Christmas)
The Loretto Chapel is such a beautiful little church. It’s the one I mentioned is right next to where we stayed! It has what is called the Miraculous Staircase. It is a spiral, wooden staircase that is shrouded in mystery and was seemingly built with no nails, only wooden pegs. You can read more about it here. I’ve been to the chapel many times and am always in awe of how beautiful it is. They are still doing tours but they are more evenly spaced out with less people. My family is a huge history family so sights such as these are right up our alley.
Since. we were there during Covid, we did go into some shops, we walked around the plaza, got a massage at the spa at the hotel, and went to the River Walk across from our hotel with our dogs, and we really appreciated the dining experiences complete with adobe fireplaces and string lights. I think at this point, it’s just so so nice to get out of the same routine we’ve been in for the last few months and get to experience somewhere already close to our hearts.
Dog Friendliness –
We brought three small dogs with us. Originally, we were only going to bring Scout but before we were set to leave town, our little Yorkie Max became really sick and needed medication and more attention so we decided to bring all three with us. As always, traveling with dogs does bring an extra layer of complicated even if they are really well behaved which ours are. Our hotel was 100% dog friendly. I believe we paid a deposit for damages and that was it. It was such a nice hotel so for them to allow dogs was so nice. All of the restaurants had outside seating except for Pasqual’s which is why we skipped it this time around. They do however have carryout.
Across from the hotel was a river walk so we would just take the dogs over there for a walk and to go to the bathroom. They even have little receptacles with baggies for pet waste. Now if we had been able to go on the reservation and other activities, we probably would have had more issues having the dogs with us. I do have a travel backpack for Scout so I was also able to put him or our other dogs in there if we were going into stores and such. But the stores were also really nice about us having dogs, letting us bring them inside after they got a drink from the water bowl they all had set out for them. We did wait or ask if we could bring our dogs in before doing so just out of common courtesy.
If you’re just looking to get away, relax, and eat some wicked good food, it’s definitely still a great place to visit during covid but even more magical when we’re not in this situation. I hope you get a chance to experience Santa Fe and the rich American culture it comes with.
What to Pack
Check out this reel to see what I packed!
“Being Indian is an attitude, a state of mind, a way of being in harmony with all things and all beings. It is allowing the heart to be the distributor of energy on this planet; to allow feelings and sensitivities to determine where energy goes; bringing aliveness up from the Earth and from the Sky, putting it in and giving it out from the heart.” – Brooke Medicine Eagle
Happy Travels, love
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