Zozobra Festivities in Santa Fe
Photo by Paul
nickname is "the city different," a tag it wears proudly
in its expression of history, arts, culture and its open embracement
of the spiritual, technological, and just plain 'odd.'
a town with a permanent population of about 63,000: it's the second
largest art market in the U.S.; its touted "tri-culturalism"
(Native American, Hispanic and Anglo) is dotted with everything
from Crypto-Jews to refugee Tibetan Buddhists; the religious listings
section in the local newspaper (The New Mexican) is a full page;
and scientists from neighboring Los Alamos insure a steady supply
of cutting-edge techno informational present-ations, many of which
are open to a curious and informed public.
a surfeit of world-renown restaurants (The Coyote Café,
The Old House, Santa Café, Geronimo, The Compound, Casa
Sena, Tomasita's and probably a half-dozen other new places that
have opened between the time I write this and its publication
date), museums (8 major ones), and year-round outdoor activities
(fishing, biking, whitewater rafting, horseback riding, kayaking,
running, skiing, and more golf than you can shake a stick at).
everyone knows Sedona, Arizona as a "new age center,"
to the cognoscenti, Santa Fe is acknowledged as "the bodywork
capital" with therapists, practitioners, at least one space
alien and several massage and acupuncture/Oriental medicine schools.
From Ashtanga Yoga to Zen archery, from African drumming to Zuni
fetish-craft, and taught by devotees to dilettantes; the instructors
are usually not from the ethnicity or culture involved.
isn't already here, comes to visit -many on a regular basis- Maori
healers, "the divine mother" Amaji, Mexican curanderas,
South American shamans, Filipino psychic surgeons
is virtually endless.Both ahead of the curve and behind the times,
Santa Fe is charming, unique, and always a personal experience.
The Travel and the Discovery Health Channels devoted an entire
hour to Vista Clara Ranch as "one of the best
world" and, with its ratio of 3.5 staff members to each guest,
it's easy to see why.
ISPA official guidelines, General Manager Kaye Sandford said,
"We are Santa Fe's only destination spa, " a sentiment
echoed in Outside magazine's assessment of them as "This
as much for the mind and soul as it is for the body."
Embracing indigenous traditions in many of its treatments and
activities, Vista Clara has a sweeping view of the Galisteo Basin,
offers comprehensive packages, and will chauffer you around in
either their Humvee or stretch limousine.
(888) nmexspa www.vistaclara.com
Fountain of Youth
The Longevity Café. Now there's a promise in a name. Cozily
tucked-away in a corner of a downtown shopping complex; teas,
healthy juice potions, and snacks are tasty treats which are solidly-based
in traditional oriental medicine. Between the energy drinks and
high-speed DSL internet connections, you can really get wired
the Plaza Mercado at Water and Galisteo Streets. (505) 986-0403
10,000 Waves began with a laid-back idea and a few hot tubs in
the mountains and has blossomed into an internationally- known
spa experience. They've every-thing from an open air, clothing-optional
communal tub to a Japanese facial that uses nightingale bird-droppings!
(505) 982-5025 www.tenthousandwaves.com
Hippie Café [Currently Closed]
The Café Oasis Restauranté is trip back in time
and spaced, man. A rambling, old house has been converted into
a comfy, psychedelic-looking pad which serves breakfast, lunch
and dinner. And it's open late. Remember the Hog Farm?
526 Galisteo Street (505) 983-9599
Getaway Without Going Anywhere
Initially begun as a retreat, Sunrise Springs is mere minutes
from downtown but feels worlds away. Maybe it's the natural springs
at the heart of the 33-acre complex!? Whatever it is, classes
(yoga to raku pottery), treatments (try the hot healing stones),
or the Blue Heron restaurant; it's an amazing inner adventure.
(800) 955-0028 www.innatsunrisesprings.com
Alternative Approach Health School
Part of the reason that Santa Fe is referred to as "the bodywork
capital" is that many massage, acupuncture, energy and energy
therapy schools call it home.
The Scherer Institute of Natural Healing (505) 982-8398 (www.schererinstitute.com)
in biz since 1979, NM Academy of Healing Arts (505) 982-6271 (firstname.lastname@example.org),
Southwest College (505) 471-5756 (www.swc.edu) offers everything
from and M.A. in Art Therapy to a Certificate in Grief Counseling.
The International Institute of Chinese Medicine's name (and 40
year reputation) speaks for itself (800) 377-4561, and not far
behind in years of prestigious service is the Southwestern Acupuncture
In the biz or just a committed consumer, The Body-worker's Store
lets you stock up directly on oils, pillows, table, and devices.
They boast, "If we don't have it, we'll get it!" and,
as a result, have filled some bizarre requests over the years.(505)
Martial Arts Academy
There's a great selection in this category but the schools that
also feature meditative arts include:
Dragon's Journey School of Tai Chi (505) 455-2066,
The Tae Kwon Do Institute (505) 983-8356, and T'ai Chi Ch'uan
& Qi Gong International Healing Arts (505) 984-2967
Wanna learn real authentic southwest cooking? Try the Santa Fe
School of Cooking (505) 983-4511
For everything else from Italian to Thai, check out Las Cosas
Kitchen Shop in the newly-redone DeVargas Mall (505) 988-3394
Both establishments offer fun and fast, half-day, you-do-it cook
and eat courses with lively celebrity chefs.
Yoga Moves. Rima Miller is an artist, actress, puppeteer, spiritual
tour guide (Yogaventurs), and life-long practitioner/teacher.
Dahn Center (505) 820-2211 Less Indian and more Asian (Ki-Gong,
Ji-Gam, Do-In, etc.). Korea meets Santa Fe.
Bikram Yoga College of India (505) 955-1515 One of 500 locations,
and the only one in the state, works its magic in a heated room
to boost the physical capabilities inherent in the practice.
New Age Newspaper
Crosswinds Weekly lists soul retrieval by phone to specialties
hard-pressed to define. It is only one of several FREE papers
which show an astounding wide variety of niche interests for such
a small town.
Santa Fe Reporter is a long-established alternate weekly that
tourists and locals consult for arts, entertain-ment, and dining
magazine specializes exclusively in the art scene (remember, Santa
Fe is the #2 market in the U.S.)
Eldorado Sun. Although situated in a bedroom community, it's close
enough for cultural overlap and has special theme editions that
are both educational and entertaining.
Personal Service Spa
The Avanyu spa at La Posada is marked by attention to the individual
-in both clientele and personnel. Guests are always guided through
the facility and offered herbal teas and the staff is free to
bring personal commitment to energy work into applied therapies.
"It's not just a job for our technicians," said Chris
Pulito, Spa Director, "and our guests notice."
within walking distance of the historic plaza, the Avanyu treats
with local, organic formulations and is
a little island of pampering serenity.
E. Palace Avenue (800) 727-5276 http://laposada.rockresorts.com/
Here it depends on what you want: gear, atmosphere, or community.
In order of the preceeding: there's all the equipment at the Santa
Fe Spa (505) 984-8727; the mountainside views at El Gancho Fitness,
Swim & Racquet-ball Club (505) 988-5000, and; the family-oriented
Genoveva Chavez Community Center, which even sports an ice rink
This listing is subject to debatable opinion and the season. Summer
and Fall are great for The Randall Davey Audubon Center (an easy
walk), the trails around St. John's College (more challenging),
and Aspen View, up near the Santa Fe Ski Basin which, in Winter,
becomes a cross-country mini-adventure. At almost any time of
year, these and several other paths less traveled offer a good
commune with nature. Many inexpensive guidebooks and some free
maps are readily available.
Although several terrific musea in town offer glimpses into Indian
life of the past (most notably The Wheelwright and The Museum
of Indian Art and Culture) and the present (the very contemporary
Institute of American Indian Art) several nearby pueblos maintain
a traditional schedule of religious festivals with tribal dancing.
The complimentary Santa Fe Guide, which can be mailed to you and
is handed-out at numerous tourist information sites, lists the
you are really into experiential journeying and are persistent
in asking-around, there are a variety of participatory ceremonies
including sweat lodges.
Classic Transcendental Experience
Opera under the stars. The world-renown Santa Fe Opera is not
particularly a hidden, new age discovery but the music of Mozart
in this setting is a transformative revelation. (800) 280-4654
free Shakespeare in the open air at St. John's College ain't bad
Both are summertime events.
The Ark for true believers or the spiritually curious at 133 Romero
Street (505) 988-3709. Downtown Subscription, 376 Garcia Street
(505) 983-3085, to hang with the locals, and Borders in the diverse
Sambusco Center for its Santa Fe spin of presenting regional performing
If you don't want to wait, you prep for Santa Fe in advance by
reading about the city's favorite food in either "The Red
Chile Bible" or "The Green Chile Bible" from Clearlight
Press, a Santa Fe-based publisher also specializing in beautiful
coffee-table photo books. Catalogue available at www.clearlightbooks.com
Walking Canyon Road of a Friday eve is a summer-time ritual. 200
galleries stay open late and, on opening nights, offer refreshments
too. Meet the artists and you never know who else.
the biggest ethnic arts events in this very art-oriented city
remain Indian Market (August 17-18, when collectors nearly treble
the population so, if you plan to visit at that time, make your
reservations early) and Spanish Market (July 27-26).
The Native American artwork vendors lined-up daily in front of
the Palace of the Governors are legendary.
Chile Ristras, those colorful hanging clusters or wreathes of
peppers are hand-made, part of history, affordable, and help support
the local economy. AND you can actually pull off individual chiles
and cook with them!
there are omnipresent ristra-buying opportunities in the state,
a good place to purchase them -and a number of other delectable
local delights as well- is the Farmer's Market held in the railyard
during the summer months on Tuesday and Saturday mornings.
At any hour of the day or night the Aztec Street Café is
chockfull of artists, performers, posers, skateboarders, drifters,
the unidentifiable and the just plain weird. Good coffee, great
sideshow. 317 Aztec Street (505) 983-9464 ..but, if that's too
weird, still artistic but shifting more toward normal is Tribes
139 W. San Francisco St. (505) 982-7948
The Monastery of Christ in the Desert is remote, beautiful, and
a real monastery which invites guests to stay and participate
in the austere religious lifestyle -though the modern monks have
progressed from making illuminated manuscripts to designing websites.
Sublimely serene, the chanting is sublime. (warning: Wintertime
driving often necessitates a 4-wheel drive vehicle.) www.christdesert.org
And you are in the heart of Georgia O'Keeffe "country"
-tours are available of her home and the surrounding vistas are
a testament that her particular vision was more realistic than
nearby is the oldest (and, some say, fun-kiest) spa: Ojo Caliente.
Five different waters come from the earth in one place and its
eclective clientel insure that you're as likely to encounter a
ski-sore, jaded Eurotrash jet-setter as you are a local Hispanic
farmer trying to combat a hangover. (800) 222-9162 www.ojocalientespa.com
The Bishop's Lodge was the actual residence of ("Death Comes
for the Arch...") Bishop Lamy and is the city's brand new
full-service resort spa destination that's as popular with families
as it is with selective convention-eers. You can go for a morning
horseback ride then enjoy the Lodge's famous Sunday brunch. (800)
Old New Mexico
El Rancho de las Golondrinas is not the perfection of colonial
Williamsburg but it's no tourist-trap either. It is a loving and
faithful recreation of early Spanish ranching days in the southwest
with different events happening almost every weekend (Mountain
Man Days, a Wine and Chile Fiesta, cooking lessons, hands-on arts
and crafts demos, etc.). Educational and fun for the whole family,
it's relaxed and contemplative as well. (505) 471-5623
Well, there's really only one ..but it's a doozy, with everything
from authentic African trinkets hawked by Nigerians to custom-made
clothing and furniture. The tales of bargains are urban folklore.
Open weekends from late spring to early Fall just north of town
near the opera.
New Bar Experience
Swig - young, 'coastal,' and either exemplary of a new trend in
Santa Fe or totally misplaced. Chic, minimalist mod décor
(sometimes too cool for anyone's good-- the pool tables have lighting
better-suited to wartime blackout conditions), pricey drinks ($12
martini glass margarita), music, lively crowd. Corner of Grant
and Palace (505)
For dancing, there are the various music styles presented nightly
at the Paramount [Currently Closed] (505) 982-8999 or, for you CW line-dancing fans,
mosey on to Rodeo Nights 473-4138
Hey, I've got to live in Santa Fe, I'm not getting into this discussion!
There are 2 full yellow pages listing therapists, masseuses and
masseurs. If YOU don't want to get caught up in a debate, don't
in town but closeby
Coming into New Mexico by plane, train and many highways, most
will approach through Albuquerque. Although New Mexico's largest
city (@600,000) has gotten a bad rap, there are interesting things
to experience on your way approximately an hour drive north to
October, the International Balloon Fiesta fills the sky with colorful
Just on I-25, the Coronado State Monument is small but worth the
side-trip as it provides one of the few opportunities to venture
into a recreated, fully-painted kiva (Pueblo Indian underground
of the newest and biggest full-service spas in New Mexico is the
Tamaya, a joint venture between the massive Hyatt Resort corporation
and a local tribe. 867-1234
(1 hour north) has art, history, a colorful pueblo, a breath-taking
gorge and river canyon beauty. Its skiing is world-famous. On
the way, there's Chimayo with its legendary church which is often
referred to as the "Lourdes of America" (While you're
there, be sure to try Leona's tortillas in flavors which range
from pesto to chocolate and banana.) there's also the Bandelier
National Monument where you can clamber up into ancient Anasazi
cliff dwellings and, if you dare, a 2-story ladder to a sacred
and to the east of Santa Fe is Pecos with its mountainous beauty
and historic import (there are small but impressive ruins and
it was the site of the western-most battle of the Civil War which
is recreated yearly). There's also the preserved town of Las Vegas
with its tree-shaded streets filled with stately Victorian homes.
information - www.santafechamber.com
(Santa Fe Chamber of Commerce, a good, branching website.) www.santafe.org
(Santa Fe Convention & Visitors' Bureau) www.festivalsantafe.org
(800 - 877-22-3022 for performance arts schedules and information)