Southwestern Lodge Overlooking Sangre de Cristo Mountains
Archaeologists refer to the ancient Pueblo peoples of the American Southwest as Anasazi, whose presence in the region dates back to the 12th century BC. The guest rooms at The Lodge at Santa Fe pay homage to these early inhabitants with design elements inspired by the intricate diamond patterns and clay-colored palette of traditional Navajo blankets. From the lodge, you’re just 1.5 miles from historic Santa Fe Plaza, known as the heart of the city; the lodge offers a complimentary shuttle to the plaza, as well as a guided tour (seasonal; call ahead for more information).
New Mexican style pervades the lodge. Walls bear original artwork and photography reflecting the cultural DNA of Santa Fe, a blend of traditions derived from Native American groups and colonial Spain. The hotel’s Gardñuo’s of Mexico Restaurant serves traditional Mexican cuisine along with signature margaritas and housemade guacamole. You can grab a cocktail, beer, or wine at the Hilltop Bar, which has an outdoor balcony overlooking the Sangre de Cristo Mountains.
Santa Fe, New Mexico: Old West Architecture and Fiery Southwestern Cuisine
Santa Fe’s vibrant mosaic of cultural influences includes pieces of Native American, Latino, and western traditions. You can get an idea of the city’s varied background by visiting Santa Fe Plaza, which has served as the city center for more than 400 years. On a walk through, you’ll see old buildings made of adobe, the red brick-like material that defines much of Santa Fe’s architecture. Centuries of colorful southwestern artwork are also on display in the New Mexico Museum of Art, which is located in the Plaza.
Fiery chili is the signature flavor at many restaurants in Santa Fe, which earned a place on TripAdvisor’s Top 10 Food & Wine Destinations in the United States in 2011. It’s worth it to sign up for a walking food tour of the area, which has sprung up with popular eateries, each offering its own spin on zesty southwestern cuisine.
For more than 300 days a year, Santa Fe soaks in sunshine. Such consistently great weather, paired with New Mexico’s varied terrain, makes the region ideal for hiking and biking. The Sangre de Cristo Mountains have peaks that stand over 13,000 feet high, and they’re traced with trails that wind past picturesque meadows filled with Indian paintbrush, purple lupine, and undomesticated landscape painters. From late fall to early spring, up to 300 inches of snow falls on the slopes of the mountains, which offer miles of downhill-skiing and snowboarding trails.