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Easter Brunch in Santa Fe

Santa Fe is famous for its culinary offerings, with an array of restaurants offering Northern New Mexican, East Indian, Native American, French, Italian and Japanese, to name just a few. Easter Dinner tends to be of a more traditional nature, though one can certainly indulge in the more esoteric selections as well.

For a traditional Easter meal, I would recommend making reservations at any one of the following fabulous restaurants.

The Compound Restaurant is a favorite of locals and visitors alike, who love the elegant dining found in this historic adobe building located just off Canyon Road. Award-winning Chef Mark Kiffen, known for his innovative and memorable cuisine, will be serving an a la carte Easter Brunch from 11:30am-3pm. Call 505.982.4353 for reservations.

Another Easter Brunch option is La Casa Sena, with one of the loveliest garden patios in Santa Fe. Located at 125 E. Palace Avenue, La Casa Sena has put together an extensive spring menu for just $27/person. Choose from Flapjacks, Pasta Primavera, Prime Rib, Poblano Chile Rellenos and so much more, followed by a heavenly dessert. When you call for reservations (505.988.9232) be sure to ask for a table on the patio, weather permitting. Easter Brunch will be served from 11am-3pm.

La Posada's Easter Brunch includes a selection of appetizers, desserts and Bloody Marys plus your choice of entrees including Prime Rib, Pollo con Arroz, Stuffed Dover Sole and more. Families will enjoy the Easter egg hunts and baskets filled with toys and candies for the children. La Posada is on Palace Avenue, just a short walk from your vacation rental. For reservations call 505.986.0000.

Spotlight on Gustave Baumann

Gustave Baumann, a one-time resident of Santa Fe, is beloved for his woodblock prints of Southwestern landscapes. His work has been shown at the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art as well as the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC.

Now through December 30, 2014 the New Mexico Museum of Art is showcasing an exhibit of original Baumann prints, drawings, painting, studies, and furniture. Also of interest in this exhibit is a group of whimsical hand-carved marionettes made by the artist to entertain Santa Feans over the holidays, beginning in the 1930's. While these originals have been fully restored, they are too fragile for continued use. Nonetheless, the holiday puppet show tradition continues with two Christmas shows each year featuring replicas of these wonderful puppets.

Restaurant Week in Santa Fe

Be sure to take advantage of Santa Fe's Restaurant Week, running now through March 2, 2014. Many of Santa Fe's finest chefs will be showcasing their unique culinary styles at unbeatable prices. With almost 60 restaurants to choose from, most of which will offer three course prix fixe menus, you are sure to find the perfect meal for your tastes.

Participating restaurants range from Spanish (La Boca/Taberna and El Farol) to Caribbean (Jambo - one of my absolute favorites!), French (Ristra & L'Olivier) to Italian (Pranzo and Il Piatto), as well as sushi (Shoko) and total health (Body), to name just a few.

You may want to view the list of participating restaurants and their menus by going to santafe.nmrestaurantweek.com/restaurants. One restaurants that particularly attracted my interest is Geronimo's, Santa Fe's only Four Star & Four Diamond Restaurant. They are offering a four course dinner menu for $40/person, which is an incredible deal.

You will want to make your reservations ahead of time, as these restaurants tend to get very busy during Restaurant Week. Bon Apetit!

ArtFeast in Santa Fe - Art, Food, Wine & Fashion!

During the upcoming 16th annual ARTfeast, from February 21-23, 2014, enjoy a weekend of delicious food and wine, fashion and fantastic art, all for a good cause. Since its inception in 1998, this veritable feast for the senses has raised over $1,000,000 to help fund art classes and projects in Santa Fe's public schools.

The Edible Art Tour, perhaps the most popular event of the weekend, brings together over 35 Canyon Road and downtown galleries with Santa Fe's top restaurants and vintners, each showcasing their best talents. This evening of superb food and art takes place on Friday, February 21, from 5-8pm. Tickets are $35.

New this year is Fashion Feast, also on Friday night, from 8pm-midnight. Project Runway star Mondo Guerra will be presenting designs from his 2014 collection, paired with shoes from the local Goler Fine Imported Shoes. After the runway show stick around for Dance Beat - Denver DJ Rose will be spinning beats so you can boogie until midnight while also enjoying heavy hors d'oevures, a cash bar and an exciting live auction. Have a fabulous time while supporting art programs in the Santa Fe schools. Tickets for this event are $40. Attend both events and save - just $70 for both tickets.

For more information and to buy tickets, go to the ArtFeast/ArtSmart website: artfeast.org.

Celebrate Valentine's Day in Santa Fe!

Should you find yourselves in Santa Fe this Valentine's Weekend, looking for a particularly romantic way to celebrate the occasion, you will want to reserve ahead of time. Here are a few of my top picks for such a celebration.

Joseph's Culinary Pub has perhaps the most intimate and romantic atmosphere of Santa Fe's top restaurants. Decorated with softly draped fabrics and murals, this small space a truly most magical environment. Joseph's is known for its innovative menu using local ingredients whenever possible. They do not have a special Valentine's menu, but you are sure to find delicious options for the most discerning of palates. Book ahead by calling 505.982.1272, as this place is very popular with locals and visitors alike.

Another of my favorite restaurants is The Compound, an elegant and historic landmark restaurant located on Canyon Road. Chef/owner Mark Kiffin is a recognized leader in Southwestern cuisine: his menu is a melding of Spanish and Mediterranean influences, resulting in what he calls "Contemporary American". The Compound will be a more quiet environment than Joseph's Culinary Pub, though again, due to its popularity among locals, you will want to reserve in advance by calling 505.982.4353.

The Anasazi Restaurant, just a short walk from the inn, has created a "Romance by Candlelight" Valentine's Dinner. For you diehard romantics, this might be the perfect choice. They are offering a three-course prix fixe menu at $75/person on both the 14th and 15th of February. Celebrate your romance in the high-end version of Southwestern rustic decor and choose from a menu filled with gourmet American/New Mexican cuisine. For reservations call them at 505.988.3030.

To make this an especially memorable Valentine's Day, consider a luxurious couples treatment at our own Absolute Nirvana Spa. Start with one hour full body massage, as our Master-Level therapists drench you in warm oils and work out all the stress from head to toe. Then slip into a hand-carved granite tub filled the petals of two dozen red roses as you nibble on tropical fruits & handmade truffles and sip Javanese ginger tea, a fire burning at your feet. Wow!

New Exhibit at the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum

As many of you know, the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum changes its exhibit twice a year. On February 7th a new and very exciting exhibit will open featuring artwork created in Hawaii by both Georgia O'Keeffe and Ansel Adams. Displayed for the first time ever are paintings by O'Keeffe and photographs by Adams revealing how deeply moved they were by the islands' beauty, flora and fauna. These are not your stereotypical Hawaii vacation photos: rather, the works show how these two artists sought to explore well past the beaches and convey the intimate connections they formed with the land and spirit of Hawaii.

Georgia O'Keeffe and Ansel Adams: The Hawai'i Pictures, will be on display from February 7, 2014 through September 14, 2014. The museum is just a short walk from the inn - let one of our innkeepers highlight the museum location on your walking map.

Remarkable Goya Exhibit at the New Mexico Museum of Art

Thanks to New Mexico Museum Director Mary Kershaw, Santa Fe was selected as the only stop in the U.S. for an international exhibition of drawings by Spanish artist Francisco de Goya. The show, "Renaissance to Goya: Prints and Drawings from Spain", is showing at the New Mexico Museum of Art now through March 9, 2014.

The show's contents were selected by Mark McDonald, a curator at the British Museum. This museum, famous for its tremendous collection of prints and drawings, has such a vast collection that many of these pieces were pulled from the vaults and have never before been on display. McDonald and Kershaw felt that New Mexico, with its Spanish heritage, was the ideal US locale to showcase this remarkable exhibit.

The exhibit includes more than 130 sketches and prints from the mid 16th to the early 19th century, reflecting over 200 years of Spanish religion, social commentary and changing society. Along with Goya are works from such well-known Spanish artists as Diego Velazquez, Vicente Carducho, Bartolome Esteban Murillo, Francisco de Zurbaran, Juan Ribalta and Jose de Ribera.

These drawings are actually quite rare, as they were not considered works of value, and thus were not deemed as collectable at the time. Most of the drawings are torn and soiled, indicating they were used over and over by the artists as they worked out the compositions for their paintings, or recorded finished work before sending it out of the studio.

This remarkable exhibit is a 'must-see' for anyone visiting Santa Fe.

Shopping Discounts in Santa Fe

Santa Fe is famous for its plethora of shops, with everything from museum quality Native American artwork (The Morningstar Gallery and Joshua Baer & Co) and jewelry (Ortega's, Things Finer, The Golden Eye) to hand-tooled boots (Lucchese Boots and Back at the Ranch) and custom made hats (O'Farrell and Montecristi).

The city is also a favorite haunt for women looking for unique apparel, and January is an excellent time to take advantage of great sales. Bodhi Bazaar currently has all their Fall Holiday Fashions on sale, along with boots, for 25-50% off. For those looking for a selection of globally-sourced fashions, check out Origins, with its selection of tribal jewelry and ethnic clothing from around the world. Here you will find one-of-a-kind items, now at 40-70% off!

Two other well-known Santa Fe stores specializing in home decor are also having sales this month. Design Warehouse, featuring contemporary furniture and household items, is currently discounting every item in the store. ACC (formerly known as American Country Collection) is a beautiful and very high end furniture store, with a selection of luxurious Scandia Linens now for sale at 20% off.

Of course there are plenty of other stores throughout the downtown area that are also offering great prices. Happy shopping!

New Year's Eve Celebrations in Santa Fe

There is plenty going on in Santa Fe to celebrate the New Year, running the gamut from the spiritual to the spirited.

If you are inclined towards a more quiet and contemplative marking of the day, there are two organized meditations happening early on December 31. The Santa Fe Center for Spiritual LIving is holding a World Peace Meditation Service from 4:45am-6am, or you can attend the Everyday Center for Spiritual Living's World Healing Meditation from 5am-6am.

Another spiritually based option is the 23rd annual "Light up a Life" event on the Santa Fe Plaza. Hundreds of farolitos are set out to commemorate the lives of loved ones, both living and deceased. You may purchase your own farolito at the event, and it is suggested that you put a photo of your loved one on the farolito. The $20 donation goes to provide hospice services for those in need. You will want to arrive no later than 5pm to purchase your farolito so as to be present for the ceremony scheduled from 5:30-6pm.

Should you be wishing to bring in the New Year with a grand meal, many of Santa Fe's top restaurants offer incredibly decadent and tantalizing feasts. Some top choices would be The Inn of the Anasazi, serving a festive three course dinner from 4-9:30pm. Prices range from $95-$125, depending on the time of your reservation. The Compound does a fabulous New Year's Eve dinner in their beautiful historic setting, as does Luminaria, which is serving a four course prix fixe meal from 5-9pm for $95. There is also a new restaurant in town, The Thunderbird, located right on the Plaza in the old Ore House location. I have heard great reviews of this new place, and they have a mouth-watering New Year's Eve menu. Their four course meal will be served from 5pm-12am (a bargain at $75) with live music from 9pm-12:30am.

For those of you wishing to celebrate to the max, get your tickets now ($375 each, though $250 is tax deductible) for the New Year's Masked Ball, an annual black tie dinner and dance which takes place at La Posada. The evening starts at 5pm with a concert by the SFCA Orchestra at The Lensic Performing Arts Center (tickets are separate). Continue the evening at La Posada with complimentary wine & champagne, a sit down dinner, and then dancing to the band Soulstice. La Posada is just a few blocks from the vacation rentals, making it a good choice for a full night of celebration. Call 505-984-8759 for tickets to this event.

Many guests enjoy attending the Taos Pueblo Turtle Dances, which take place on January 1 at sunrise. The dances begin officially at 8am and go until 1pm. If you plan on getting there for the beginning of this ceremony, you will want to be dressed for bitter cold, but it is well worth it. If you can manage to get there early, you will truly experience the magical mysticism of this dance. No cameras are allowed, giving you the opportunity to fully engage with the ceremonial rattles, drumming, dancing and chanting. What a memorable way to begin the New Year!

Frolicking in the Santa Fe Snow

sleigh
Santa Fe has been getting some great early winter snowfall this year, and there are plenty of options for enjoying the powder. The Santa Fe Ski Basin and Taos Ski Valley are both open, with beginner to expert runs available. Santa Fe is the ideal spot for beginner to intermediate skiers, while expert level skiers and boarders will appreciate the steeps of Taos.

If downhill motion is not your thing, consider snowshoeing the many miles of trails at the Valles Caldera (vallescaldera.gov). If you don't have your own equipment, you may rent gear at REI for a reasonable fee.

For a more leisurely expedition, how about a Horse-Drawn Sleight Ride? Picture yourself snuggled up with your loved one as you fly across the brilliant snow-covered fields of the Valles Caldera, sleigh bells ringing, followed by hot cocoa, or a hot toddy, in front of a roaring fire. For more information, check out bearcreekadventures.com.

Winter at the Santa Fe Farmer's Market

Guests of the Alexander's Inn Vacation Rentals absolutely love visiting the famous Santa Fe Farmer's Market, known for its abundant produce and lively atmosphere, but did you know you could make it a holiday shopping destination too? The Farmer's Market shops are open everyday through December 24th, giving you an opportunity to shop local and find unique gifts for everyone on your list. Choose from a tantalizing selection of wines, teas, coffees, chocolates, garden items, as well as a variety of locally and internationally crafted gifts.

The shops are open Monday through Friday from noon to 6pm, Saturdays from 8am-4pm and Sundays from 10am-4pm. The Market Shops entrance is in Railyard Plaza, at 1607 Paseo de Peralta. Forget the mall and support the community of Santa Fe.

In addition, while many of us patronize the market throughout the spring, summer and fall, it is easy to forget that the market is open on Saturday mornings from 8am-1pm throughout the winter months. Stop in for fresh locally grown fruits, vegetables, honey, eggs, cheese, grassfed meats, delicious baked goods, body care products and herbal products.

Another fun day to visit the Farmer's Market Pavilion is Sundays, when the Railyard Artists Market takes place from 10am-4pm. Listen to live music and peruse the booths of over 40 local artists selling fiber art, paintings, hand blown glass, herbal products, sculpture, photography, jewelry and so much more. Yet another venue for some extraordinary holiday shopping!

Santa Fe's Winter Indian Market

The Alexander's Inn Vacation Rentals get booked up to five years in advance for Santa Fe's Annual August Indian Market, but many people don't realize there is also a Winter Indian Market. This year the Winter Indian Market will take place on November 30 and December 1, from 9am-5pm, at the Santa Fe Community Convention Center. Now in its 8th year, the Winter Market is a much smaller and more intimate affair than the crazy Summer Market, though the calibre of the artists remains high.

On exhibit will be pottery, weavings, drums, bead work and more from over 200 Native artists from the US and Canada. A special treat are six open studio artists demonstrations by award-winning artists, as well as Native American music, dance and food. A highlight of this winter's market is a performance of "The Immersion" by world champion hoop dancer and Cirque de Soleil star Nakotah LaRance, accompanied by Brian Frejo playing the Native flute, hand drum and a mix of hip hop beats. This performance will take place at 1:30pm on both Saturday and Sunday.

Admission to the Winter Indian Market is $10/day or $15 for the weekend, with members and children admitted free of charge. Stay away from the crowds at the mall and take advantage of this cultural event - a great place to buy some memorable and unique gifts.

Thanksgiving Dinner in Santa Fe

Thanksgiving is busy time of year in Santa Fe, so you will want to make reservations now for a Thanksgiving Dinner. Many of the town's fine dining establishments go the extra mile on this holiday, serving up sumptuous feasts with all the traditional trimmings.

My top pick this year is Fuego at La Posada: located just a short walk from the Alexander's Inn Vacation Rentals, La Posada has put together an amazing five course dinner comprised of the traditional holiday favorites. Start with Roasted Butternut Squash Soup, followed by Mulled Pear with Spinach and Arugula Salad with Blue Cheese and Spicy Pecans. Then comes an Herb Roasted Turkey with Mashed Potatoes and Herbed Cornbread Stuffing, Green Beats and Carrots with Cranberry Orange Compote. End your meal with Pumpkin, Pecan or Apple Pie. The five course dinner is a reasonable $69 per person, with seatings as early as 3pm and as late as 7:30pm. The reason I recommend Fuego above the others is because they are donating a turkey to the Santa Fe Food Depot for each reservation of four or more. Executive Chef Carmen Rodriguez, named "New Mexico's Chef of the Year" in 2012, deserves kudos for this generous initiative to help those in need.

There are plenty of other great options as well. The award-winning Compound Restaurant, located on Canyon Road, is serving a 3 course Prix Fixe Thanksgiving Dinner featuring Compound Classics and Seasonal Specialties. The dinner menu, served from 3-7pm, features a mouth-watering array of choices. Start with traditional Butternut Squash Soup or try something a bit more unusual like Rock Shrimp & Grits or a Duck Confit. You may choose the traditional Thanksgiving meal, including Organic Turkey and all the trimmings, or perhaps a Braised Veal Osso Bucco, Wild Alaskan Halibut or Wild Mushrooms and Organic Stone Ground Polenta. Save room for dessert! On the menu are a Dark Chocolate Walnut Tart, Pumpkin Bread Pudding, Maple Pecan Pie and Pear Sorbet. This 3 course menu is priced at $75/person, with a $25 option for children. Call them at 505.982.4353 for reservations.

Another top pick for Thanksgiving Dinner in Santa Fe is the Inn of the Anasazi, serving both a Thanksgiving Brunch (11am-2:30pm, 3 course menu at $45/adult and $28/child) and a Thanksgiving Dinner (4-9pm, 3 course menu at $85/adult and $45/child). For reservations call 505.988.3236.

42nd Annual Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta

All week long our guests have been heading off to Albquerque, whether at the crack of dawn or later in the afternoon, to experience the 40th Annual Albquerque Balloon Fiesta. If you have never seen this event, a Kodak moment if there ever was one, be sure to make it part of your New Mexico itinerary. The Albquerque Balloon Fiesta is the largest of its kind in the world, and they are always on the cutting edge of hot air ballooning. In fact it was in Albquerque, in 1979, where the idea of balloon glows originated.

My favorite part of the Balloon Fiesta is the night glow, when the burners of each balloon is fired up at the same time, creating a spectacular sight of glowing balloons of all shapes and sizes. This is followed by a memorable fireworks display.

Another highlight of the Balloon Fiesta is the Dawn Patrol. Balloonists prepare their balloons at 5:45am, taking off while it is still dark, and fly until there is enough light to find a safe landing spot. While there are no mass ascension days left during this year's Festival, you can still see dawn ascensions this weekend.

The Harvest Festival at Rancho de las Goldrinas

What could be more fun than spending a day at the annual Harvest Festival taking place at Rancho de las Golondrinas on October 5 & 6, 2013? The full day events run from 10am-4pm and are the most popular of their weekend events - certainly my personal favorite of the Golondrinas festivals. Watch as grapes are crushed by foot for wine, chiles are strung for ristras, burros crush sorghum in the making of molasses, and apple cider and tortillas are made (and consumed). Also demonstrated are milling, blacksmithing, bread making, dying of wool and tanning of hides. Join in the fun by making your own corn husk doll or participating in the tin stamping workshop, trying out your archery skills, enjoying storytelling with Paulette Atencio or going on a wagon ride. There is also music, flamenco dancing, and delicious food and drink available throughout the day.

Ticket prices are $8 for adults, $5 for seniors and teens, with children 12 and under admitted for free.

Santa Fe's 23rd Annual Wine & Chile Fiesta

Santa Fe has its share of fiestas and notable events throughout the year, most within walking distance of the Alexander's Inn Vacation Rentals. One of the most enjoyable and highly-anticipated is the Wine & Chile Fiesta, where walking distance might well be a very welcome attribute. The five day celebration of food and wine runs from September 25-29, 2013. Due to its increasing popularity, I highly recommend purchasing your tickets online as soon as possible: as of today only 200 of the 2500 tickets for the Grand Tasting!

The annual event brings 75 of Santa Fe's most notable restaurants (La Boca, The Compound, Santacafe and Restaurant Martin are some of my favorites) together with 100 national and international wineries. In addition to food and wine tastings on both a large and small scale (a tour of Georgia O'Keeffe's home in Abique followed by lunch at Tomme is a top pick), are demonstrations by some of the country's top chefs (Chef John Rivera Sedler - named "Chef of the Year 2011" by Equire Magazine, among other national food celebrities), food-oriented walking tours, and a selection of wine seminars.

The highlight of this extravaganza is the Grand Tasting, taking place on September 28th at the Santa Fe Opera, which includes all participants of the fiesta under huge white tents. Imagine sampling the best food of Santa Fe together with wines from New Mexico to Mexico, Chile to France, while enjoying the opera's stunning views of New Mexico landscapes. The cost of the event is $150 per person, and worth every dollar.

The weekend culminates with the 20th Annual Gruet Golf Classic at the Towa Golf Course, just 15 minutes from town, on September 29th. Every third hole features one of the Gruet Winery's delicious sparkling wines paired with food from a different Santa Fe restaurant. Golf never tasted so fine!

Station to Station Stops in Santa Fe

Not far from the Alexander's Inn Vacation Rentals is the Santa Fe stop of Station to Station, a 3-week train journey from New York to San Francisco connecting "leading figures and underground creators from the worlds of art, music, food, literature, and film for a series of cultural interventions and site-specific happenings." This innovative multi-media nomadic happening is the brainchild of artist Doug Aitken, with backing from the Levi's brand. The train itself has been refurbished to become a moving piece kinetic light sculpture and stage, which will make stops at nine train stations across the country.

The Santa Fe event, taking place at the Santa Fe Farmer's Market Pavilion from 6-10:30pm on September 18th, has been sold out for some time now. You might want to head down to the Railyard to see if anyone has tickets for sale, but otherwise, the art installations are open to the public in the Railyard Plaza.

Aitken seeks to explore the age-old questions of "Who are we? Where are we going? How can we express ourselves?" Check out this monumental event wherever you can, and see what sorts of answers you yourself come up with after seeing this gathering of many of the country's ground-breaking contemporary artists.

Santa Fe's Annual Pet Parade

The Alexander's Inn Vacation Rentals are just a few blocks from the route of Santa Fe's beloved Pet Parade, so eat an early breakfast and be sure to be on the corner of Marcy and Paseo de Peralta by 9am to see the full parade.

Along with the famous burning of Zozobra, the Pet Parade is one of the highlights of the annual Santa Fe Fiesta celebration. The parade will take place Saturday, September 7th from 9-11am, and consists of over 1000 children and their pets, all dressed up in a variety of costumes. The event, which got its start in 1920, gives children a chance to show off a range of family pets: from dogs, cats and rabbits to the more unusual lamas, chickens, goats, turtles and more. The creativity of the costumes is astounding. You might see anything from mini Zozobras to zebra-painted kittens, guinea pig pirates to ghoulish ghosts. Some of the get-ups are incredibly elaborate, and it is definitely not just for children. The Pet Parade is truly a delight for viewers of all ages.

Fiestas de Santa Fe

The Alexander's Inn Vacation Rentals are ideally situated for guests to enjoy the upcoming events of Santa Fe's Annual Fiesta. This three day cultural and religious celebration began in 1712 to commemorate the returning of the Spanish colonists to Santa Fe. This year the Fiesta kicks off with a Fiesta Arts & Crafts Market on the Plaza and a Mariachi Extravaganza at the Santa Fe Opera on September 1. Throughout the week will be more festivities on the Plaza, such as Mariachi Music, dancing, foods, and parades, along with special masses.

One of the highlights of Fiesta is the Burning of Zozobra, now in its 89th year, which will occur on Thursday, September 5, 2013 at Fort Marcy Park. Gates open at 3pm, with entertainment beginning at 7pm. The event consists of the burning of a 50 foot tall effigy known as "Old Man Gloom", a huge puppet representing all the year's hardships and disappointments. At dusk small fires are lit on the stage just in front of Zozobra and the Fire Dancers begin their dance, jumping and cavorting around in an attempt to frighten away the bad spirits. The crowd grows increasingly animated, yelling out a chorus of "Burn him! Burn him! Burn him!". Once it is fully dark, the fire dancers light the base of the giant marionette, and as he catches fire he begins to moan and groan, waving his arms in the air, his enormous eyes glowing and rolling around. It is a rather horrid yet spellbinding event. As Zozobra burns, all the past year's 'doom and gloom' one has experienced burns away with him. The finale comes with a burst a fireworks as flames engulf Zozobra's head, with the crowd going wild.

Following the burning, many people proceed to the Plaza where there is music, food and dancing. Because of the popularity of this event, which draws about 50,000 viewers each year, I highly recommend leaving your car in the lot and walking to wherever you wish to go. One can choose to participate with a close-up view of the burning by purchasing tickets (buy in advance online for just $10 each at burnzozobra.com/buy-my-tickets-now) and being part of the scene in Ft. Marcy. In this case, go early and bring a picnic supper. Bear in the mind that the closer you sit to the stage, the wilder it will get as the evening progresses. For those wishing to avoid the big crowds, walk on over to the Cross of the Martyrs, just a few blocks away. You will have a great view and far less jostling about as you burn your doom and gloom.

For those choosing to avoid this event altogether, please know that many restaurants in the downtown area will be closed, so you will want to check into this ahead of time. Best to leave your car in the lot as traffic is insane on Zozobra night.

Exceptional Dance at The Lensic This Weekend

Guests of the Alexander's Inn Vacation Rentals are in for a real treat this weekend, with the return of Daniel Ulbricht and his dance company, Stars of American Ballet. Having wowed Santa Fe audiences for the past two summers, the company is back for another weekend of performances at the historic Lensic Theatre. Stars of American Ballet is comprised of principals and soloist dancers from two of America's top ballet companies: New York City Ballet and American Ballet Theatre.

They will be performing on Friday, August 23 and Saturday, August 24th, with different programs each evening featuring both classical and contemporary pieces. Classical pieces include the pas de deux from Giselle as well as the Rubies pas de deux and Stars and Stripes pas de deux, both choreographed by George Balanchine. Contemporary pieces consist of Liturgy and Carousel, both choreographed by Christopher Wheeldon, dances to the music of Ray Charles and Aretha Franklin, and finishing each night's program is Jerome Robbins' beloved Fancy Free.

Performances begin at 7:30, with a talk by Daniel Ulbricht one hour before the Saturday evening program for those wanting to learn more about dance and this particular company of stars.

Ticket prices range from $20-$75 and may be purchased online at ticketssantafe.org or by phoning 505.988.1234.

Lensic Performing Arts Center
211 West San Francisco Street
Santa Fe, NM

Santa Fe's 92nd Indian Market

The Santa Fe Indian Market, now in its 92nd year, is the most prestigious market and showcase for Native American artwork in the world. Santa Fe and the surrounding towns are packed to the rafters with visitors from around the globe. Because of its proximity to the Plaza, where the market takes place, guests of the Alexander's Inn Vacation Rentals often book five years in advance for this popular event.

This year's market, taking place on August 17 and 18, will feature the Native American arts of pottery, painting, sculpture, jewelry, carving, textiles, bead work, baskets, drums and more of over 1,000 Native American artists from across the U.S. and Canada. The work of this juried show ranges from museum-quality to collectible-quality to souvenir-type art, and all pieces are guaranteed to adhere to authentic and traditional methods of production.

In addition to the market itself, visitors are treated to traditional Native American music, dance and foods, as well as film, fashion and literature that reflect traditional and contemporary Native American culture.

Due to the popularity of this event (over 100,000 visitors each year) you will want to reserve your lodging and restaurant meals as soon as possible. Collectors often gather in front of the booths of their favorite artist in the wee hours of the morning to snatch up the best pieces, but for the less serious collector, there are plenty of great pieces to be had all weekend long.

Packards, the Jewel of the Plaza, to Close After 75 Years

The historic Santa Fe Plaza, just a short walk from the Alexander's Inn Vacation Rentals, has been home to Packards for the past 75 years. Sadly, Packards has just announced the closing of their store, long known for its museum quality antique Native American weavings, Zuni fetishes, kachinas made by master Hopi carvers, southwestern pottery and exquisite silver and turquoise jewelry. The store has long been a mecca for collectors of authentic American Indian art, and visiting the store has always been like touring a museum where the pieces are actually for sale.

In addition to their fine collection of historic pieces, they also showcase contemporary pieces from more current generations of artisans.

With an inventory of this calibre, it is not surprising that the prices would be higher than most other stores around Santa Fe. However, with the closing of the store, all pieces have been marked down, making this a good time to head on down and find something precious and dear that you will treasure for a lifetime. This is truly a loss for the locals and visitors of Santa Fe.

Packards
61 Old Santa Fe Trail
Santa Fe, NM
505.983.9241
Open 9:30 am - 6pm daily

The Incredible Santa Fe Opera

Travelers come to Santa Fe around the world to enjoy the incredible Santa Fe Opera for its roster of fabulous singers and unique mountain setting. The 2013 season, running now through August 24, 2013, features five operas: from classics such as La Traviata and The Marriage of Figaro to the world premier of Oscar.

This opera house is a remarkable adobe structure nestled in the mountains just north of Santa Fe, with majestic views of New Mexico landscape providing a dramatic and memorable setting. The world's most talented young singers, conductors, directors and designers are invited to participate in what is considered one of the most prestigious opera festivals around.

I recommend arriving early for two reasons. First of all, the scenery is not to be missed, and many people choose to tailgate (some make this a formal affair, with fine china, crystal, candles and very elaborate cuisine) so as to enjoy the surroundings by daylight. Enhance your opera experience by attending one of the Prelude Talks, given twice before most performances. These informative talks are free for ticket-holders and are given both two hours before the performance and one hour prior. Consider attending the earlier of the two Prelude Talks, then having your tailgate dinner, and then off to your night at the opera.

My parking tip is to park close to the exit, if you are able to walk the distance with ease. Otherwise you are stuck in a very long line of traffic easing its way back onto the highway.

Tickets may be purchased by calling 505.986.5900 or 800.280.4654 or online at santafeopera.org. There is a wealth of information online, including schedule, pricing and seating. The best seats of the house are pretty pricey, at $934, but some seats are as low as $84.

2013 SANTA FE OPERA SEASON

The Grand Duchess of Gerolstein
June 28, July 3, 6, 12, 19 - 8:30pm
July 30, August 7, 15, 21, 24 8pm

The Marriage of Figaro
June 29, July 5, 10 8:30pm
August 3, 8, 13, 20, 23 8pm

La Donna del Lago
July 13, 17, 26 8:30pm
August 1, 6, 14 8pm

La Traviata
July 20, 24 8:30pm
July 29, August 2, 5, 10, 16, 22 8pm

Oscar
July 27 8:30pm
July 31, August 9, 12, 17 8pm

Santa Fe Desert Chorale

The Alexander's Inn Vacation Rentals are full of guests throughout the summer who come to Santa Fe for the rich musical offerings of the season. The Santa Fe Opera brings fans from around the world who come to enjoy their favorite classical operas, or world premieres, at the fantastically beautiful Santa Fe Opera House. The Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival brings chamber music devotees every year as well, and is now enjoying its 41st season.

Collaborating once again with the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival is the Santa Fe Desert Chorale, now in its 31st season, who give concerts throughout the year. This summer's season runs from July 11 through August 29, 2013, and features a variety of styles in five different programs, from Romance to Requiem with Susan Graham to a Grand Gala evening of cabaret with Sylvia McNair.

The Santa Fe Desert Chorale is one of the premier choral ensembles in the country, consisting of top singers from the southwest and throughout the United States. Their programs consist of traditional choral music along with new compositions commissioned by the ensemble from composers around the world.

Tickets may be purchased by phoning 505.988.2282 or online at desertchorale.org.

Herb & Lavender Fair at Rancho de las Golondrinas

The lavender is just now beginning to bloom in the gardens of Santa Fe, and lavender lovers will want to head out to Rancho de las Golondrinas this weekend for the annual Herb and Lavender Fair. The event takes place on June 22 and 23, 2013, from 10am-4pm.

Stroll the bucolic setting of Rancho de las Golondrinas, a 200-acre Spanish colonial rancho and living history museum, while learning about the uses of lavender, buying herb and lavender products, and sipping on lavender lemonade while touring the ranch's herb gardens. You may also choose to consult with a "curandera", a traditional herbalist and healer, make a lavender wand, and shake your booty to the live marimba music from Kumusha.

Admission is just $8 for adults, $5 for Seniors and Teens, and free for children 12 and under. The ranch is south of Santa Fe: Take 1-25 South, then Exit 276 and follow the signs for Las Golondrinas.
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Alexander's Inn • info@alexanders-inn.com • 505-986-1431 or 1-888-321-5123 • 529 East Palace Avenue, Santa Fe New Mexico 87501