Fragrant piñon pines and vibrant yellow chamisal bushes rustle in the breeze on the slopes of the Little Tesuque Valley. Horses trot by, scaling both gentle and rugged territory. Bishop's Lodge Ranch Resort & Spa builds on a history stretching back to the early 1900s, when a French bishop erected the site's first lodge and planted its first fruit trees. Now the resort stretches out over 15 lodge buildings filled with deluxe and standard suites and those accessible to guests with disabilities. Many of the suites are named for local flora and freshwater marshes vital to the local ecosystem. The central lodge still shows its origins as an adobe carriage house, and the north and south lodges blend Southwestern and Midwestern with some rooms bedecked in crown molding and others with exposed ceiling beams. The resort's views and architecture even made it an appropriate setting for the film Crazy Heart.
Each day guests can take advantage of guided morning, afternoon, and sunset horseback rides along trails through the Sangre de Cristo mountains and lessons in Western riding style. Children of various ages also explore the outdoors in summer adventure camps. Therapists in an onsite spa slough off wilderness stressors, and a partnership with the Santa Fe Opera lets guests watch and listen as classical singers croon before lavish sets in an outdoor amphitheater. Onsite restaurants contribute to the hotel's environmentally friendly mission as culinary crews prepare their dishes using ranch-grown fruits and vegetables, practice water conservation, and let spatulas roam free-range.
The Teahouse Santa Fe lovingly serves a menu of light sandwiches and salads alongside a selection of more than 150 teas. Owner Dionne Christian has honed her taste for tea on past trips to China, Malaysia, Indonesia, and South Africa, and invites customers to relax on couches and cushioned benches or retire to the library for a high stakes game of book-alphabetizing with a cup of house-blended Coyote chocolate chai or Whitesage mint chai ($3.50 each). Coffeehouse classics, including lattes and cappuccinos ($2.75 for a small; $3.50 for a large) and the locally inspired chili-infused Border mocha ($3.00 for a small; $3.75 for a large) are also available. Lounging guests pair sips with organic eats, such as the garden burger ($10.75) or the Teahouse Mega salad's healthy feast of greens, carrots, beets, tofu and steamed spinach ($12.75). For lighter accompaniment, snag a hot bowl of oatmeal with black sticky rice ($5.75), which Christian cites as her most famous dish.
Nestled among the four cultural museums of Santa Fe's renowned Museum Hill, Museum Hill Café allows spectacular views of surrounding wildlife and mountain ranges—a vista that Examiner reporter Billie Frank lauds as one of the best in Santa Fe. Owner Weldon Fulton spearheaded the cafe after operating several restaurants in Southern California, adopting the mission of serving fresh, delicious food to both visitors and Santa Fe natives. Within the restaurant's sunlit and WiFi-saturated dining room, tabletops and bar stools linger beneath soft olive-green walls. Little plates of smoked duck flautas with mango puree and Asian shrimp tacos pair with wine and beer, and specialty coffee drinks couple with freshly baked chocolate French silk pie. In lieu of lackluster animatronic juggling seals, the restaurant entertains guests with the musical stylings of pianist Faith Page on Sundays during winter months, and hosts a variety of live performers on the outdoor patio on Fridays during the summer.:m]
Anna and Sancho Soeiro operate their Canyon Road café five days a week, serving organic fare largely sourced from local farmers’ markets. Dish n' Spoon Cafe's menu spans soups, salads, and sandwiches (made with chicken-curry salad, for example, or roast beef and horseradish), and caters to the noncarnivorous with veggie burgers and veggie lasagna. The café itself is housed in what was a one-room grocery store for 70 years; after moving in, the Soeiros decided to reflect the welcoming environment and community loyalty it represented in the repurposed space.
Cubbies of knickknacks, sculptures, and other gewgaws and gifts line the walls, creating an atmosphere of cozy, quaint chaos. The faces of frequent customers smile from a Star Wall of pictures, and kids chomp organic PB&J or grilled-cheese sandwiches before running off to play in the restaurant’s special kids’ corner. A Santa Fe Reporter write-up notes some of the café's Santa Fean charms—"quirkily mismatched" plates and silverware, and a patio where patrons can sprinkle sunshine and shredded clouds on their meals.
New Mexican correspondent Rob De Walt describes how, in 2009, Mayor David Coss declared August 14 Dish n’ Spoon Day in honor of the Soeiros’ consistent dedication to volunteer work and community service—they've been involved in historic preservation, the Buckaroo Ball, and a court-appointed advocate program for survivors of juvenile abuse or neglect. Every Monday, Dish n’ Spoon runs on a pay-what-you-can price structure, allowing patrons to live within their means or finally use that stash of leprechaun gold that banks refuse to convert to U.S. dollars.
In his kitchen, chef Charles Thompson grasps a chimayo, a small heirloom chili found throughout the region yet rarely in restaurant cooking. Hotel Chimayo commissioned a local grower to supply the freshest chimayo chilies for Tia’s Cocina in order to add an authentic, robust flavor to the homestyle recipes. The recipes themselves are about as authentically New Mexican and homey as you can get—most of them were donated by the local families in Chimayo.
A Santa Fe landmark, the Inn and Spa at Loretto is steeped in an atmosphere that befits a place where the coyotes don bandanas, the tumbleweeds wear turquoise, and the sunset has been stuck on "stunning" since 927 BC. The Loretto is an architectural recreation of the Taos pueblo, right down to the haute restaurant, galleries, gardens, and wooden ladders in place of stairs. Georgia O'Keeffe famously painted the hotel in 1932, accurately depicting the enormous cow skull that perpetually hovers above the roof as well as the huge pink lily whose delicate, puffy folds form the hotel's entrance.