(Pictures by Kyle Wagner, The Denver Post, and Santafe.org rafting photo offered by John Fullbright)The pull of certain destinations can be sturdy, a travel muscle memory driving the wish to return &mdash especially to these locations that present a higher...

Northern New Mexico: Visit for romance, family, food and adventure

(Pictures by Kyle Wagner, The Denver Post, and Santafe.org rafting photo offered by John Fullbright)The pull of certain destinations can be sturdy, a travel muscle memory driving the wish to return &mdash especially to these locations that present a higher...

Northern New Mexico: Visit for romance, family, food and adventure
(Pictures by Kyle Wagner, The Denver Post, and Santafe.org rafting photo offered by John Fullbright)

The pull of certain destinations can be sturdy, a travel muscle memory driving the wish to return &mdash especially to these locations that present a higher ratio of pleasure to work.

Northern New Mexico is a single such locale for numerous Coloradans. It's so true for my loved ones that I wasn't at all shocked at the following current exchange amongst my older daughter and me when we found that her spring break from CU-Boulder would be the week just before her younger sister's break from Denver Public Schools.

Me: "So, exactly where are you going for spring break?"

Her: "Taos and Santa Fe, with a side trip to Ojo Caliente hot springs. How about you guys?"

Me: "Taos and Santa Fe, with a side trip to Ojo Caliente hot springs."

A family bike ride on the trails around Santa Fe. (Offered by Santafe.org)

We passed every other mid-day on an unseasonably warm Friday, like a real-life math issue. If 1 group leaves Denver at noon heading south at 65 mph, and yet another group leaves Taos at 11:30 a.m. heading north at a speed limit the mother does not want to know, exactly where will they cross paths for hugs, fuel and coffee? Answer: Pueblo!

On this trip, we have been all headed to the location for some R&R and to check out new eateries and revisit old preferred foodie haunts, do some yoga and soak in the mineral springs. On previous visits, the aim has been a romantic getaway, or to run a river or mountain bike. This quickly accessible component of the Land of Enchantment truly does have something to provide everybody.

Here are our 4 favorite experiences that capture Northern New Mexico's magnetic allure.


It's tempting to reduce New Mexican cuisine to "red or green?" &mdash while there are normally lots of each sorts of chile to be had in their various incarnations &mdash but the tougher choices involve which dining establishment to try subsequent. Fantastic luck.

Everywhere you turn as you wander along the walkways and corridors about the plaza in Santa Fe, the colors and trappings of Southwestern style can be found. (Kyle Wagner, The Denver Post)

It is good to know that the old standbys are nevertheless holding up. In Santa Fe, splurge on the sophisticated Santacafé (231 Washington Ave., 505-984-1788, santacafe.com) for lamb chops with ancho chile pesto or the ever-inventive Geronimo (724 Canyon Road, 505-982-1500, geronimorestaurant.com), which tends to make a genuinely transcendent green miso sea bass with ramen noodles.

A Rio Grande rafting trip can be appropriate for any age -- just ask Frank Samora, in the center with a cane, who took his 1st rafting trip on the Rio at the age of 98. (John Fullbright, The Denver Post)

For a lot more casual dining about town, the newer, casual and friendly Jambo Café (2010 Cerrillos Road, 505-473-1269, jambocafe.net) is an unexpected treat, serving African meals such as jerk chicken and goat stew, intensely spiced and in substantial portions. The plaintains, either plain or in the crab cakes, are astounding. And for breakfast, Chris' Café (3568 Cerrillos Road, 505-424-3566) makes a flavorful green chile with the excellent amount of heat, nice on a burrito. One more preferred longtime breakfast joint, Sage Bakehouse (535 Cerrillos Road, 505-820-7243), has expanded over the years, placing in communal tables that encourage lingering a bit more than the croissants and other luscious pastries and effectively-crafted coffee drinks.

Chocolate lovers might require to show restraint at the Kakawa Chocolate Residence (1050 E. Paseo de Paralta, 505-982-0388, kakawachocolates.com), an inviting shop that puts chiles, nuts and herbs in its drinks, truffles and other addictive offerings &mdash and samples are encouraged.

Longing to find out how to make a thing Southwestern-style in your personal kitchen? Head to the Santa Fe College of Cooking (125 N. Guadalupe St. 505-983-4511, santafeschoolofcooking.com), which schedules typical green- and red-chile workshops, as effectively as classes on fundamentals &mdash tamale-creating, knife skills &mdash and far more complex expertise, such as American Indian cooking (classes start at $75).

The Santa Fe Plaza is usually terrific for men and women- (and car or truck-) watching, dining or shopping for American Indian jewelry and other Indian creations displayed about the plaza. (Craig F. Walker, The Denver Post)

Taos foodies should not miss the welcoming El Meze (1017 Paseo del Pueblo Norte, 575-751-3337, elmeze.com), where a best meal is a choice of the "share" plates &mdash crispy herb frites flecked with thyme and lavender chiles rajas topped with chevre Andalusian-style chicharrones and tender buffalo brief ribs adovada &mdash followed by two orders of the dark chocolate soufflé cake. Locals, of course, can usually be identified at Doc Martin's in the historic Taos Inn (125 Paseo del Pueblo Norte, 888-518-8267, taosinn.com), which nonetheless makes some of the most effective chiles rellenos anyplace &mdash the goat cheese cream tends to make the difference &mdash or the tiny La Cueva (135 Paseo del Pueblo Sur, 575-758-7001, lacuevacafe.com), which tends to make Mexican and New Mexican food, like a mole sauce that tends to make the chicken enchiladas a favourite.

Keep: The Inn and Spa at Loretto (211 Old Santa Fe Trail, 866-582-1646, innatloretto.com) could not have a far more handy location in Santa Fe, 1 block off the plaza and within uncomplicated walking distance to Canyon Road. Prior to heading out for the evening, cease in at the aptly named on-internet site Living Room for delighted hour, and be certain to verify out the adjoining chapel and its Miraculous Staircase, purportedly built by Saint Joseph. Rates start out at $244.


Last year, Santa Fe was ranked in the leading three for cleanest air in America by the American Lung Association, so spending time outside in the location can be especially good for you.

Around Santa Fe, the Dale Ball Trail system (sfct.org/dale-ball-trails) delivers 22 miles of loop trails for mountain biking or hiking in the foothills of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. Hunting for something significantly less involved? At the edge of town with a connection to a single of the Dale Ball segments, the Randall Davey Audubon Center (nm.audubon.org/randall-davey-audubon-center-sanctuary) is a beautiful sanctuary with a 1.five-mile loop stroll.

Mountain biking in Taos goes from simple &mdash Amole Canyon is a 7.two-mile smooth dirt trail ride in Ranchos de Taos that's so sweet kids can do it &mdash to the specialist-level singletrack at Ojitos Canyon, a ten.five-mile technical ride from Forest Road 164 with killer views of the valley. And a half- hour east of Taos, the Angel Fire Bike Park (angelfirebikepark.com) characteristics much more than 60 miles of lift-accessed trails.

Rafting the Rio Grande or the Rio Chama, both designated Wild and Scenic, can be performed from Taos or Santa Fe. With whitewater rated Class II-V, there's some thing for every skill level, with half-day to multiday possibilities, as properly. (Cost: half-day trips start at $54 for adults, $44 for youngsters beneath 12. Find outfitters at blm.gov/nm/st/en/prog/recreation/taos/industrial_private.html)

Yoga is popular in each towns and a superior choice for an indoor activity. The Vinyasa with Music class with Josh Shrei at Body of Santa Fe is invigorating and extended sufficient to really feel like a real workout afterward, stop in at the top rated-notch café for an equally invigorating vegan or raw meal (333 W. Cordova Road, 505-986-0362, bodyofsantafe.com). Attempt to catch one of founder LeLa Becker's classes at LeLa Yoga in Taos (1021 Salazar Road, 575-737-8781, lelayogataos.com) the studio provides a assortment of styles and levels, such as kundalini, and Becker's gentle, inviting manner makes beginners feel welcome.

Georgia" title="Georgia" class="klink">Georgia O'Keeffe fans can tour her ranch in Abiquiú on horseback (it sits a small more than an hour west of Taos and two hours northwest of Santa Fe) with Robb Carter, who leads trail rides in the location. Initially, check out the painter's adobe dwelling and works, then meander previous the landscapes and flora and fauna that inspired her as Carter narrates. (Expense: $85 per individual, ghostranch.org/robb-carter)

Dine: KTAOS Solar Bar in Taos (9 New Mexico 150, 575-758-5826, ktao.com) is a functioning solar-powered radio station with stunning views from the backyard patio, salty snacks and filling burgers and just the correct laidback atmosphere for a post-adventure hangout. In Santa Fe, the Tune-Up Café (1115 Hickox St., 505-983-7060, tuneupsantafe.com) does 3 meals every day, with a concentrate on healthy and some El Salvadoran treats such as pupusas. Finest Bloody Mary in town.

Keep: El Ray Inn in Santa Fe (1862 Cerrillos Road, 800-521-1349, elreyinnsantafe.com) is sparse, retro and cheap &mdash - just appropriate for parking a bike or other gear. Rates start off at $89.


Northern New Mexico has a meandering feel, echoed in the town plazas that encourage wandering and the continual rotation of markets and festivals devoted to neighborhood artisanship that invite visiting. Add a contemplative vibe and relaxed atmosphere, and the area just seems to have been designed for courtship.

Contemplate a day trip to Arroyo Seco, 7 miles from Taos, with its welcoming tiny shops, or a trek to Ojo Caliente (see story on cover), even if just for the day &mdash maybe a couples massage, also?

Taos has a vibrant musical nightlife &mdash begin with the gorgeous view for sunset and reside music at Taos Mesa Brewing (20 ABC Mesa Road, 575-758-1900, taosmesabrewing.com). This groovy solar greenhouse space sits just outside of town and presents cost-free swing-dance lessons on Wednesday nights, as effectively as about a dozen beers on tap and a juicy, make-your-own burger. It really is close to the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge, a nice spot to quit for contemplation and intense partnership discussions.

For the two-stepping and tango crowd, Old Martina's Hall (4140 New Mexico 68, 575-758-3003, oldmartinashall.com) in Taos is the hotspot. The restaurant serves three meals everyday, but it is the new oak floor that packs 'em in.

In Santa Fe, possibly start with a perusal of the iconic art collections, say, at the Georgia" title="Georgia" class="klink">Georgia O'- Keeffe Museum (217 Johnson St., 505-946-1000, okeeffemuseum.org) &mdash by means of September, the museum is exhibiting a memorable series by O'Keeffe and Ansel Adams from their respective visits to Hawaii &mdash and then swing by Santa Fe Spirits, either at the tasting area (308 Read St.) or the distillery itself (7505 Mallard Way) for a tour and a tasting either way ( santafespirits.com).

The romantic spot for sunset right here is the Cross of the Martyrs, which sits on the prime of the hill on Paseo de la Loma (there are stairs). Next quit: If you've normally longed to sing that specific song on Karaoke night to your loved one, head to Tiny's Restaurant & Lounge (1005 S. St. Francis Drive, 505-983-9817, tinyssantafe.com) on a Saturday night &mdash but initial have two or 3, or even so a lot of you will need, of their potent margaritas, and be prepared to dance.

Dine: It really is hard to go incorrect with a name like The Appreciate Apple (803 Paseo del Pueblo Norte, 575-751-0050, theloveapple.net) in Taos it refers to la pomme d'amour, the phrase the French gave the tomato. This sweet eatery serves creatively prepared, locally sourced foods &mdash wild quail in walnut sauce, chicken confit tacos &mdash and has some nicely priced, enjoyable French wines to go with them. In Santa Fe, La Casa Sena (125 E. Palace Ave., 505-988-9232, lacasasena.com) has extended been a go-to for romance a bit tucked away in Sena Plaza, the warmly decorated restaurant serves exquisite, Spanish-inspired cuisine and has a lot more than 15,000 bottles of wine in its inventory &mdash the wine shop of the same name just yards away is element of its program.

Remain: Lush fabrics and intricate mosaic tiles in all of the elaborately decorated rooms (sitting regions in all, plus soaking tubs, and some have fireplaces) make Santa Fe's Inn of the 5 Graces (150 E. DeVargas St., 866-992-0957, fivegraces.com) a one of a kind and romantic choice champagne and neighborhood snacks are offered upon arrival, a delectable breakfast is included, and whilst some rooms have mountain views, they're certainly visible from magnificent grounds. Rates start off at $500.

Household time

Santa Fe and Taos have been packed with households throughout spring break several of the exact same activities that appeal to adults &mdash such as hiking, biking and other outside pursuits, consuming good food and wandering about the markets &mdash are a draw for little ones, as well.

The plazas in both towns are entertaining for their kitschy souvenir shops and unusual wares &mdash we all tried on the moose hats, contemplated the staggering assortment of shot glasses, and in Santa Fe, ate Frito pie at the 5 & Dime Basic Retailer (58 E. San Francisco St., 505-992-1800, fiveanddimegs.com).

The Santa Fe Children's Museum (1050 Old Pecos Trail, 505-989-8359, santafechildrensmuseum.org) has interactive exhibits and a climbing wall. Older kids will enjoy some of the exciting shops along Canyon Road we spent fairly a bit of time relaxing on the stone chairs captivated by the mesmerizing wind sculptures in the sculpture garden at the Wiford Gallery (403 Canyon Road, 505-982-2403, wifordgallery.com).

The opportunity to see Taos Pueblo, a World Heritage web page and household to the American Indian neighborhood for far more than 1,000 years, is invaluable, but get in touch with to be certain it is open, as hours differ (120 Veterans Highway, 575-758-1028, taospueblo.com). Expense: $16 ($14 student, beneath ten free).

Off the plaza in Taos, the toy retailer Twirl has a free play space for children that's open from 10 a.m. to five p.m. The store provides crafts and activities, as effectively as a soft-sided climbing space and sand pit. Inside, youngsters can play upstairs with toys and games, as well as musical instruments. It is a terrific place to cease if everyone just needs to blow off some steam (225 Camino de la Placita, 575-751-1402, twirlhouse.com).

Dine: In Santa Fe, a speedy, light breakfast can be had at The French Pastry Shop on the ground floor of La Fonda Hotel (100 E. San Francisco St., 505-983-6697, thefrenchpastryshop.com) if you just pop in to grab a couple of cinnamon rolls and coffee. If you have far more time, sit down for 1 of their delectable crêpes, savory or sweet. For dinner, the casual setting in the quite a few colorful rooms of The Shed (113 ½ E. Palace Ave., 505-982-9030, sfshed.com) can not be beat it gets crowded, but kids can goof around in the courtyard while you wait, and if an individual in the group does not like properly-made New Mexican favorites like blue corn burritos and pollo adobo, there's generally a standard burger.

In Taos, Michael's Kitchen (304 Paseo Del Pueblo Norte, 575-758-4178, michaelskitchen.com) bakes its personal cinnamon rolls the size of a dinner plate and does 3 meals diner-style each day &mdash its easygoing atmosphere and costs are excellent for households. The Farmhouse Café and Bakery sits 3 miles north of town (1405 Paseo Del Pueblo Norte, 575-758-5683, farmhousecafeandbakery.com) and cooks breakfast and lunch correct from its garden dishes involve shepherd's pie and lasagna.

Remain: The cowboy-themed Silver Saddle Motel in Santa Fe (2810 Cerrillos Road, 505-471-7663, silversaddlemotel.com) is pet-friendly and tidy, and a continental, buffet breakfast is included. Rates get started at $67. The Taos Inn (125 Paseo del Pueblo Norte, 575-758-2233, taosinn.com), with its spacious courtyards and place on the primary drag within walking distance of the plaza, is a reasonably priced choice for Taos. Rates begin at $75.

Kyle Wagner: 303-954-1599, travel@denverpost.com or twitter.com/kylewagnerworld

Get there

Taos is 290 miles from Denver by means of Interstate 25 south, U.S. 160, New Mexico 522 and U.S. 64.

To get to Santa Fe, you can fly into Santa Fe Municipal Airport American Airlines and United will get you there for about $512 round-trip. Or you can fly most of the main airlines into Albuquerque International Sunport, 49 miles away, beginning at about $245 nonstop, and then rent a auto or take a shuttle, beginning at $48 per individual round-trip (about 90 minutes each and every way try sandiashuttle.com). Or, you can make the six-hour (each and every way) drive, which doesn't take significantly longer than an airport ordeal these days. Hop on Interstate 25 and adhere to it south 383 miles to exit 284 (Old Pecos Trail/New Mexico 466) and adhere to signs for the Old Santa Fe Trail, which will lead you into downtown Santa Fe.

There is a nonstop shuttle service from Santa Fe ($ten round-trip) from the New Mexico Rail Runner Express stations Thursday- Sunday (taosexpress.com). The Rail Runner route goes from Santa Fe to Belen, N.M., with Albuquerque and the Albuquerque International Sunport among its stops (riometro.org).

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