Adam and I are thoroughly in the “Why spend money on Stuff, when you can go on Vacation instead?” camp. We just celebrated our 5 year wedding anniversary and buying presents gives my dear husband major anxiety, so I thought I’d spare his pain and suggest a road trip instead. Of course he jumped at the idea, because we are soul mates and agree that making memories is waaaay better than filling our house with junk! We soon settled on a long weekend in Santa Fe seeing as Colorado and Wyoming can be a bit more bipolar weather-wise at this time of year. As it so happens, we could not have asked for a more perfect weekend in New Mexico!
So, I will start with our digs for our stay!
We are avid fans of Airbnb, VRBO and the likes. We haven’t stayed in a hotel in years, and this trip was no exception. This time, I selected Anita’s Casita and couldn’t have been happier with the place. The casita consists of a main bedroom, bathroom and huge outdoor space complete with firepit- the perfect space for a couple and their dog for a long weekend. We were so grateful it was dog friendly and had 24 hour check in, which makes that long drive a lot less stressful! We will 100% book this place again if we are back in the area.
Santa Fe is well known for its food scene and whilst I won’t list everywhere we ate, we do have a few favorites that deserve honorable mentions!
Maria’s of Santa Fe
If you’re wanting to get stuck into that famous New Mexican cuisine, Maria’s is the place for you! Unassuming from the outside, and not in the center of town, you must get here somehow during your stay! Everything we ate here was phenomenal. The posole and green chile stew alone would have me coming back for more, but the complementary Sopaipillas are to die for! We also tried the Carne Adovada and Galisteo Chicken which were also fantastic picks- Adam was making the yummy noises he usually only reserves for my cooking; I normally would have been jealous but holy crap, that food was amazing! I am sad we live so far away, because I’m sure we’d be regulars if we lived there!
Kakawa Chocolate House
Our sweet little casita was a 2 minute walk from this place, and so was completely dangerous! Kakawa serves a vast array of delicacies that I doubt you could find anywhere else. Blueberry and Basil truffle? Yes please! Goats Cheese and Sage chocolate? Well now I’m curious! The stars of the show however, are their famous Chocolate Elixirs, which will be the most intense Hot Chocolate experience of your life. They have two boards to choose from- the original Mesoamerican recipes based on Mayan and Aztec concoctions, or historical European recipes from 1600-1800’s. I personally went for The Jeffersonian containing a little vanilla and nutmeg and enjoyed it immensely.
We are generally not city people, so seeing all the hiking and sights around Santa Fe was very appealing to us. We did not manage to see all there was to do in just 2 short days, but I think we got a nice taster of the area for when we come back.
Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument
This hike may not be the most challenging we’ve ever done, but it is most certainly up there with the most beautiful!
Pro-tip for this hike. Go Early. Like, go for opening time early. We got there at 8am and enjoyed a relatively private and peaceful walk up the Slot Canyon, but by the time we were ready to come back, the parking lots were already full and it was pretty tricky trying to get past all the people coming the other direction in certain spots.
That being said, if you have limited time and can only do one hike your whole trip, Tent Rocks will not disappoint, especially if you have never been to this area like us. The canyon and the rock formations are so wonderfully unique and bizarre, you sort of feel like you’re in a Star Wars ambush scene! We did not encounter any Jawas on our trip, but the views were spectacular!
Atalaya Mountain Hike
So, we did bring our dog with us. If we hadn’t we probably would have gone to do some other non dog-friendly activities such as Bandelier National Monument, but we felt we owed Dave a good hike as he couldn’t go to the Tent Rocks the day before. I hopped on Alltrails and found the Atalaya trail from St John’s College, about 5 minutes away from our digs.
The Atalaya Hike was a lot more challenging than Tent Rocks- 6 miles out and back up to the Atalaya summit, offering views of Santa Fe and the surrounding mountains. The view from the summit is lovely and probably offers a great escape from the heat in the summer- we definitely appreciated the breeze up there after such a challenging ascent. At one point the trail splits into a “Steep Route” and “Easier route”. The steep route is great if you want to push yourself physically but the Easier route (which we took on the way down) is a lot more picturesque as it scales the side of the incline, rather than just ploughing straight up.
As for being dog-friendly, the trail does start off in the brush for the first half-mile or so, but afterwards there is plenty of tree cover to keep even our heat-sensitive pup cool. Dave gives his doggy seal of approval too!
Santa Fe Proper
Other than our hikes we spent a lot of time just wandering Santa Fe itself. We ate tamales in the Plaza and checked out a few of the hundreds of Art Galleries throughout the city. Whilst very touristy in places, Santa Fe has held onto it’s Old World charm which we appreciated.
We had a wonderful anniversary weekend away and didn’t put a dent in all the things this area of New Mexico has to offer. We look forward to exploring some more some day!