One of my favorite places in the world is Santa Fe, New Mexico. My guy grew up in Albuquerque (great old bar trick if you can spell it out loud) and we fell in love in New Mexico. A good part of that effort was accomplished in Santa Fe, where I first learned to ski (hah, I still suck at it) and where I learned to love green chili, roasted chili peppers, and the breath-taking cold of dry desert air.
We stayed at an inn that was new to us – the El Paradero Inn – and I have to say, I highly recommend it. Now, be warned that this is more of a bed and breakfast than an inn in my opinion. I typically shy away from B&B world because I don’t usually enjoy the forced togetherness that scene seems to require. If you’re a Gilmore Girls fan, you’ll remember the Cheshire Cat B&B that Lorelei and Rory stayed at on their way to tour Harvard? I agree with their sentiments exactly.
That being said, while there was some of the typical B&B togetherness, my guy and I were able to go our own way just fine. Plus, the breakfast was fantastic – healthy and light and delicious!
The night we arrived, we wandered around the square Santa Fe and took pictures in the dark. I have a painting of this church – the St. Francis Cathedral – in the center of Santa Fe:
… in my bedroom (the image isn’t great, but the painting itself is lovely):
We bought this painting years ago from a street vendor and if I can read his signature correctly now, his name is Spencer Wilati (my apologies if that is incorrect). I still remember him. We bought a number of his paintings that day, and they are still all over our house.
In Santa Fe, the people burn mesquite wood in their fireplaces and no matter what time of year I visit, that smoky smell tells me without a doubt that I’m in Santa Fe. I regularly buy the incense that adds that unforgettable scent to my house, but in Santa Fe it’s the ubiquitous flavor of the air you breathe. I just love the Mexican influence in the architecture — adobe walls are everywhere!
At the El Paradero Inn, we stayed in room 12 and it is now officially on my list of favorite rooms because it is large and has a seating area and a big bathroom. It also had this lovely little balcony, which we didn’t get to enjoy because of the cold, but it would be a lovely place for coffee or tea and knitting in a warmer month.
The inn is a historically recognized building and so there are limited things the owners are allowed to do with the property, but what they have done – both inside and out – is simply lovely.
Although all of the flowers were dying off in the November cold, you can get a good idea what this place looks like in a typical summer.
On the way south and on our way back north, we always stop at a truck stop on I-25 just outside Raton where there are a number of American iconic treasures like restored cars and cardboard cutouts.
The rest of the weekend was visiting family and I didn’t take any pictures as we were too busy chatting and catching up. It was a great visit, however, and we have more planned visits to come!