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Tip of the Week

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ACC Store Closing Sale

Just a few blocks from The Alexander's Inn Vacation Rentals is the Plaza location of ACC (American Country Collection), one of Santa Fe's most highly acclaimed home furnishings stores. Their large inventory of elegant and stylish furniture, linens, home decor, rugs and art is always of the highest quality, making ACC a favorite destination for both new and established Santa Fe homeowners. Their selection ranges from traditional to contemporary, from Santa Fe style to European.

ACC recently announced plans to close the Plaza showroom location at 53 Old Santa Fe Trail, and are offering 50% of ALL merchandise in the store from June 14 through June 18. This will be their last weekend of being open on the Plaza before all remaining inventory is brought to the store's primary showroom at 620 Cerrillos Road.

Now is a great opportunity to find some incredible deals at the store voted "Best Showroom in the Southwest and Midwest" by the ARTS awards. Should you find yourself feeling overwhelmed by the thought of redecorating your home with all the great deals you get at ACC this weekend, the store offers complimentary home decorating assistance.

Long-Awaited Museum Hill Gardens to Open in July

Make plans to attend the grand opening of the Santa Fe Museum Hill Garden, scheduled for the weekend of July 19-21, 2013. The garden, a project undertaken by the Santa Fe Botanical Garden, consists of 1.7 acres of impressive native landscaping and stonework.

Those wishing to be the first to view the Meadow Garden will want to attend the Gala Opening Night Reception on July 19 from 6-8pm. Stroll the beautiful gardens and view one of the famous Santa Fe sunsets while enjoying mariachi music, local libations of margaritas and sangria, and munching on a selection of delicious tapas. Gala tickets are $125/person and may be purchased online.

Saturday, July 20 is reserved for members of the Santa Fe Botanical Garden and their friends, with the official Public Opening scheduled for Sunday, July 21, from 9am-5pm. The day will feature entertainment, activities and performances by local artists, dancers and musicians, as well as food and drink. The day promises to be a great celebration of community and sustainable local gardening.

Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell Coming to Santa Fe

A rarely used venue (other than for the famous Santa Fe Flea Market), the old horse racetrack at The Downs, will be hosting Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell on Saturday, June 15, 2013. Emmylou Harris is one of America's most recognized singer-songwriters and musicians, having won 12 Grammys for her blend of country, folk and rock music. Crowell, himself a Grammy Award-winning musician, is a well-known country singer and songwriter who crosses over from mainstream to alternative country. While Crowell joined Emmylou Harris' Hot Band in 1975 as guitarist and harmony singer, the two have just released their first official collaboration, an album called Old Yellow Moon. The album features four songs written by Crowell, along with traditional country songs by Hank DeVito ('Hanging up My Heart'), Roger Miller ('Invitation to the Blues') and more. Songs from this album will be front and center on June 15.

The concert is scheduled to run from 7-10pm, with doors open at 6pm. The General Admission tickets are $70 for the Front Lawn, $40 for the Rear Lawn, and $10 for children 14 and under. Tickets may be purchased by calling 505.988.1234 or online at TicketsSantaFe.org.

Native American Weaving at The Wheelwright Museum

A noteworthy new exhibit has just opened at The Wheelwright - The Durango Collection: Native American Weaving in the Southwest, 1860-1880. This exhibit will run through April 13, 2014. The complete Durango Collection is held by the Center of Southwest Studies at Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado, and features 800 years of weaving in the Southwest. The Wheelwright has chosen to showcase a small portion of this vast collection, allowing you to feast your eyes on some truly exceptional one-of-a-kind textiles, rugs, shawls and mantas woven by Pueblo, Navajo and Hispanic weavers.

The Wheelwright is open seven days a week and admission is free. You can support their endeavors by patronizing their wonderful gift shop, The Case Trading Post. Here you will find a carefully chosen selection of hand-made Native American art, books on the subject, and assorted souvenirs. I would recommend going to the museum and Trading Post on Saturday mornings to take advantage of their free lecture series: "Looking at Indian Art." Deepen your understanding of Native American art while enjoying complimentary coffee and doughnuts.

Wheelwright Museum
704 Camino Lejo
Santa Fe, NM 87505
505.982.4636

Santa Fe Mother's Day Brunch Ideas

The Alexander's Inn Vacation Rentals are full this weekend, with many people taking advantage of our Mother's Day Spa & Lodging Special. Of course Mother's Day is often made complete with a Sunday Brunch, and a number of Santa Fe's top restaurants are featuring special menus for the occasion.

One of my top picks for brunch anytime of year is Santacafe, as they have a beautiful courtyard and a fantastic a la carte brunch menu. Some of their standouts include starters such as Crispy Calamari with 4 Lime Dipping Sauce, Shitake & Cactus Spring Rolls or their Shrimp & Spinach Dumplings. Choose from their extensive selection of main dish offerings, from a Southwestern version of Eggs Benedict to Mascarpone Stuffed French Toast with Fresh Strawberries to Green Chile Burgers with Rosemary Potato Chips and so much more! Weather permitting, you will want to reserve a table on the patio by calling 505.984.1788. They will be serving brunch from 10am-2:30pm.

Another favorite brunch spot is La Casa Sena, with one of the more beautiful garden patios in town. They will be serving Mother's Day Brunch from 11am-3pm, with a prix fixe, three-course menu priced at $28 per person or $12 for children under age 12. Start with a basket of fresh-baked breads, and then choose from entrees such as a Blue Crab Spinach Salad, Chorizo Omelette or Ranchero Eggs, a Pobalano Chile Relleno or Red Chile Crusted Pork Loin, among many other options. Leave room for dessert, which includes mouth-watering Blackberry Cake, Chocolate-Strawbery Pavlova or a Trio of Sorbets. Reservations are recommended - call them at 505.988.9232.

Both restaurants are located just a few blocks from the inn, making for an easy stroll.

Big Sale at Jackalope!

On April 26, 27 and 28 Jackalope is offering 30% off all their pots, just in time for summer planting. Jackalope is the place to go in Santa Fe for pottery. At any given time of year they sell thousands of pots of all shapes and sizes, from tiny indoor pots to enormous outdoor pots. The sale extends to their greenhouse plants (15% off), with 10% off everything else in the store. Since Jackalope has limited options for plants, you may want to fill your new pots at Payne's Nurseries or Newman's Nursery. Alas, the beloved Santa Fe Greenhouses went under last year, after 29 years in business.

Jackalope is a Santa Fe institution: The store was founded in 1976 by Darby McQuade, selling Mexican pottery on the Plaza from the back of his pick-up. Since then the store has expanded tremendously. Jackalope now consists of three large warehouses on several acres of land, selling goods from Mexico, India, Bali, China, Egypt, Thailand and Africa. One warehouse is set up like a market, with folk art, Christmas ornaments, jewelry, clothes, masks and more being sold in little side-by-side stalls. Another warehouse is primarily dedicated to hand-made furniture, while the newest is devoted to such items as rugs, housewares, DVD's, candles and tableware.

One of my favorite things to do at Jackalope is to spend some time hanging out at the Praire Dog Village. Bring a bag of baby carrots to feed these adorable little critters, and you can easily pass an hour watching their interactions as they eat.

Shopping at Jackalope is an experience in and of itself. One can spend half a day just seeing all the merchandise, touring the extensive grounds, checking out the animal barn and prairie dog village, and getting a refreshment at their cafe. Please note that Jackalope can ship whatever you buy!

Jackalope
2820 Cerrillos Road
Santa Fe, NM 87507
505.471.8539

Trey McIntyre Project Returns to Santa Fe

Should you be in Santa Fe on May 2 or 3, be sure to consider attending the Trey McIntyre Project. Their 2011 Santa Fe performance was so popular they were invited back for two performances at the historic Lensic Performing Arts Center. Trey McIntyre Project, a contemporary dance company based in Boise, Idaho, began as a summer touring company in 2005. After receiving accolades at some the country's most prestigious summer dance festivals, including The Vail International Dance Festival, the company launched as a full-time company in 2008. Known for their ground-breaking and innovative choreography, they are currently one of the day's most highly sought-after contemporary dance companies, having performed throughout the world in such well known venues as Carnegie Hall, Jacob's Pillow and Zellerbach Hall.

Tickets are a real bargain, at $20-$45, and may be purchased by calling the Lensic Box Office at 505.988.1234 or going online to TicketsSantaFe.org.

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

Good Bye Skiing, Hello Whitewater Rafting

Fear not dear outdoor enthusiasts of Alexander's Inn! While the season has ended at the Santa Fe Ski Basin, now is the time to take advantage of the snow run-off and experience the thrill of whitewater rafting. My favorite river rafting company in the area is New Wave Rafting, which has been operating river tours since 1980. Located on the Rio Grande River between Santa Fe and Taos, they offer trips from the most mild to the most wild. Whether you are looking for a family outing with young children in tow, a peaceful trip down the river to take in the area's spectacular scenic beauty, or a thrilling ride of the Taos Box with lots of action, New Wave can accommodate.

Trips are offered every day of the week from March 28, 2013 through September 2, 2013, though the wilder rides generally end by July when much of the season's snowpack has melted away. New Wave has actually lowered their prices this year: you can book a two hour float for as little as $22, or a three day camping trip down the Chama for $448. Trips tend to run about $50 for a half day and up to $100 for a full day, and most include a delicious riverside picnic lunch.

You will definitely want to have hats and shoes that fasten securely, along with sunscreen and a water bottle, but New Wave provides all the rest. With so many options to choose from, you will surely find a trip that meets your needs and desires. Call New Wave directly at 800.984.1444 to make your reservations.

Tax Time Humor in Santa Fe

Tax time can be very stressful and devoid of humor, so I highly recommend guests plan to attend the Lensic Theater's production of Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo on April 15, 2013. Whether you are a lover of ballet or not, watching as this all-male drag dance company performs classical ballet's most beloved pieces in full traditional costume, complete with tiaras and pointe shoes, is guaranteed to provide a night of hilarity for all. The company's was founded 35 years ago with the mission to parody the conventions and cliches of classical ballet, which truly lend themselves to this sort of humor. The company's repertoire includes traditional ballets such as Swan Lake, Les Sylphides, Paquita, Balanchine's Stars & Stripes, the Nutcracker and more. The company's remarkable technique, brilliant acting skills and slapstick humor will have you laughing so hard you'll forget all about Uncle Sam's taxes.

Be sure to reserve your seats ahead of time, as this performance, brought to you by the Aspen Santa Fe Ballet, will inevitably sell out. Tickets may be booked online at TicketsSantaFe.org or by calling 505.988.1234. Ticket prices range from $25-$72.

Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo
Lensic Performing Arts Center
211 West San Francisco Street
Santa Fe, NM 87501
April 15, 2013 7:30pm

Easter Brunch in Santa Fe

Here are my top two recommendations for those in search of a big Easter Brunch.

The Compound is one of my favorite Santa Fe restaurants. Aside from serving consistently tasty meals, I love that it is located in an historic adobe compound on Canyon Road. This year they are serving an a la carte Easter Brunch from 11:30am-3pm. Begin with a Made to Order Spring Pea Soup, Crepes Suzette or perhaps Cracker Crusted Crab Cakes. Main Course selections include Chicken Schnitzel (incredibly tasty, if not so healthy), Jumbo Crab and Lobster Salad, Forever Braised Short Rib Benedict and more. Finish off your meal with Strawberry Shortcake, Chocolate Mousse or a Lemon Tart. Call the Compound at 505.982.4353 or book on their own website to make reservations.

My other top choice for an Easter Sunday feast would be Luminaria, situated in the Inn at Loretto. They have an extensive brunch menu with starters such as Smoked Salmon, Grilled Anchiote Shrimp and a Warm Spinach Salad, followed by entree choices including Eggs Benedict, Buckwheat Pancakes, Glazed Ham and Tuna au Poivre. These brunch items are served with Family Style Platters of Breakfast Breads and Pasteries. Save room for the mouthwatering assortment of pies and cakes on their dessert menu. The three course meal is $43 for adults and $21 for children ages 4-12. Children 3 and under eat for free. Reservations would be highly recommended here as well, and may be made online on OpenTable.com by calling 505.984.7915.

Happy Easter!

Beads, Beads, Beads....and More Beads!

Beaders will soon be gathering enthusiastically for the annual Santa Fe Bead Fest to buy from over 150 vendors, selling beads of every imaginable type and origin (including exotic beads from Africa and Asia), along with gems, tools and other jewelry making supplies. In addition is a wide array of workshops and beading demonstrations, catering to hobbyists, professional jewelers, and even absolute novices.

The workshops, all of which require advance registration, are suitable for all skill levels. Beginners can learn the basics of metalsmithing, for example, learning how to saw, file, and solder, all is one day. Another featured workshop appropriate for all levels is on the process of Keumboo, a technique for adding gold to jewelry designs. Other workshops teach everything from silversmithing to how to make tribal earrings, Dremel drilling techniques to making hinged treasure boxes. There is an impressive array of workshops - something for absolutely everyone.

The event runs from March 13 through March 17, 2013, and takes place primarily at the Santa Fe Convention Center, with workshops and demonstrations also taking place at the Santa Fe Hilton and The First Presbyterian Church. The booths are open from March 14-17, with Thursday's opening taking place from 5pm-9pm, Friday & Saturday hours from 10am-6pm, and Sunday's hours from 11am-5pm. One can purchase tickets online for just $12, which are good for all four days of the expo. The 4-day pass may be purchased at the door for $15, though there is also a link on the website for a $3 coupon to use at the door. Whether you are a professional jeweler or simply have a budding interest in the craft of beading, this festival has something for everyone.

Aspen Santa Fe Ballet Returns to the Lensic

Guests fortunate enough to be in town on March 29 and 30, 2013 will want to purchase advance tickets for the renowned Aspen Santa Fe Ballet. This small troupe of dancers perform not only in Santa Fe and Aspen, but have toured both nationally and internationally, going as far afield as Guatemala, Brazil, France, Germany, Italy and Israel. They are currently performing for the first time in Russia, where their innovative blend of classical ballet technique with modern dance is being very well received.

Aspen Santa Fe Ballet will be performing three pieces by contemporary American choreographers on March 29 and 30 at the Lensic Performing Arts Center. These include Jiri Kylian's Return to a Strange Land; Alejandro Cerrudo's Last; and Trey McIntyre's Like a Samba. These three pieces showcase the broad range of this talented and innovative company, from breathtakingly seductive to powerful and bold moves.

Tickets may be purchased online at TicketsSantaFe.org or by phoning 505.988.1234. Ticket prices range from $25-$72.

Aspen Santa Fe Ballet
March 29, 30, 2013 - 7:30pm
Lensic Performing Arts Center
211 West San Francisco Street
Santa Fe, NM

4th Annual Santa Fe Restaurant Week

Santa Fe also boasts a wide array of highly-acclaimed restaurants: From Native American Indian to east Indian, French to New Mexican, African to Italian, Santa Fe has something for every palate. A great time of year to try out these fine restaurants is during the 4th Annual Santa Fe Restaurant Week, taking place from February 24-March 3, 2013.

All 49 participating restaurants will be offering specially-priced dinners (many also offer special lunch menus as well), some as low as $25 for a couple, and on up to $40/person for a serious culinary feast. My personal favorites of the high-end restaurants are The Compound (Contemporary American) and La Boca (Spanish Tapas), each offering a $40/person menu of delectable choices. Among the more ethnic and exotic options, my top picks are Jambo Cafe (African) and Shoko Cafe (Japanese).

In addition to the special dining deals, you can also take advantage of a plethora of cooking classes, demonstrations and tours. Learn to make "Gnocchi Like an Italian Grandmother" or "How to Make Fresh Pasta" from Chef Andrew Cooper of the Four Seasons Rancho Encantado. Sign up for the "Tour & Taste of New World Cuisine" offered at the Museum Hill Cafe in conjunction with the Santa Fe International Folk Art Museum. For those preferring a class centered on libations, check out "The History of Beer" being held at the Cowgirl BBQ.

Due to the popularity of this culinary event, advance reservations are highly recommended - they can be made by calling each participating restaurant directly, or finding them on Open Table. This the ideal time to dine at your favorite tried-and-true establishments, or to branch out and try something new and different.

Santa Fe's Annual ARTfeast

Guests of The Alexander's Inn Vacation Rentals flock to Santa Fe for a myriad of reasons, with art and cuisine being particularly alluring. During the upcoming ARTfeast, running from February 22-24, 2013, you will be immersed in a weekend of fabulous food, beautiful art by renowned Santa Fe artists, house tours, golfing and high fashion - adding to the fun is the knowledge that all the proceeds from this weekend extravaganza are donated to fund a great cause.

It may hard to believe that Santa Fe, a city with such a solid foundation in the arts, experiences a profound lack of funding for arts in its schools, yet such is the case. ARTfeast began in 1998 as an attempt to address this shortfall when a few galleries began asking for donations during their Friday night openings. Since then the program has grown tremendously and has raised over one million dollars to help fund art classes in Santa Fe's public schools.

The highlight of the weekend is the Edible Art tour, a collaboration of forty top Canyon Road galleries with over forty of Santa Fe's best restaurants and caterers, each showcasing their most noteworthy talents. This presentation of fine food and art will take place on Friday, February 22, from 5-8pm. Tickets are $35 each if purchased in advance, and $40 if purchased on the day of the event.

Other events include Friday's Art of Fashion: Runway Show & Luncheon ($100/ticket), the Free Art of Home Tour offered on Saturday and Sunday, and Sunday's Artist's Champagne Brunch and Auction taking place at Hotel Santa Fe for $75/person.

ARTfeast Santa Fe
February 22-24, 2013

Romantic Valentine's Day in Santa Fe

The Alexander's Inn Vacation Rentals are a wonderful choice for a romantic getaway in Santa Fe, whether for Valentine's Day or any time of year. Our private and quiet southwestern casitas, featuring kiva fireplaces and traditional Santa Fe charm, are ideal spots to rekindle romance.

Many of our guests also treat themselves to a Romance Package, which include a couples massage and luxurious rose petal bath at our Absolute Nirvana Spa. Imagine you and your sweetheart receiving side-by-side massages in a candlelit room, followed by a luxuriating bath in a hand-carved granite tub filled with the petals of 2 dozen red roses, a fire burning at your feet, as you sip Javanese ginger tea and nibble on tropical fruits with homemade chocolate truffles.

Be sure to make your Valentine's Day dinner reservations ahead of time, as restaurants tend to be very busy on this day. A number of Santa Fe restaurants are offering special Valentine's Day Menus this year. Among these, my top picks for a romantic dinner this Valetine's are 315 Restaurant & Wine Bar, Luminaria at Inn of Loretto and the Old House at The Eldorado.

315 Restaurant & Wine Bar is a top choice for Francophiles who will appreciate its classic French bistro menu and intimate setting. This Valentine's they are offering a three course dinner for $55/person, served from 5-9pm. Appetizers include choices such as French Onion Soup Gratinee, Seared Fois Gras and Coquilles Saint Jacques. Entrees includes Seared Duck Breast "Coq au Vin", Bouillabaisse and Osso Bucco, among others. Save room for one of their fabulous homemade desserts - flourless chocolate cake, profiteroles or creme brūlée! Call them at 505.986.9190 for reservations.

Luminaria, located at Inn of Loretto, is offering a four course selection, with each course paired with a carefully chosen wine. While they offer no options in their set menu, the idea of starting with the "Introduction" (Seared Scallops), then "The Courting" (Portabella Ravioli), followed by "The Engagement" (Grilled Filet of Beef) and ending with "Happily Ever After" (Tangerine Bavarian with Blood Orange Pudding) is quite clever. This menu is priced at $75/person, including the wine pairings. Reservations may be made by calling them at 505.984.7915.

The Eldorado Hotel's Old House Restaurant has put together an "Aphrodisiac Menu", priced at $119/couple, or $149/couple with wine pairings. The menu begins with a Seafood Sampler to share with your beloved, including oysters on the half shell, crispy fried oysters and seared raw tuna. This is followed by a choice of Asparagus Soup or a Sweetheart Salad of baby spinach, arugula, avocado, figs and pine nuts. Main course selections include a Petite Filet & Lobster Tail or Pan Seared Scallops or a Chile Rubbed New York Steak. Finish your meal of love with Passion Fruit Creme Brūlée, Warm Bittersweet Chocolate Cake or a Strawberry Mascarpone Tart. Call them at 505.995.4530 for reservations.

Santa Fe Opera 2013 Season

Every summer The Alexander's Inn Vacation Rentals fill up with opera lovers from across the country, many of whom have been staying with us for 15 years or more. The 2013 Santa Fe Opera summer season schedule is now posted, so you will want to plan your trip soon: the preferred seats and the best hotel rooms tend to sell fast.

This summer brings revivals of two very popular operas: Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro and Verdi's La Traviata. A real treat will be the world premiere of Oscar, by Theodore Morrison, based on the life of Oscar Wilde. This opera was co-commissioned and co-produced by The Santa Fe Opera and Opera Company of Philadelphia, and features David Daniels as Oscar Wilde. For operatic hilarity, plan to attend Offenbach's The Grand Duchess of Gerolstein, which has not been performed since 1979. This newly staged production will be performed on opening night, June 28, and features Susan Graham in the title role. Last but not least is Rossini's romantic La Donna del Lago, starring acclaimed mezzo soprano Joyce DiDonato as the mysterious lady of the lake.

Winter is hardly the time of year to be thinking of outdoor picnics, but you will want to plan a tailgate supper so as to take advantage of the spectacular sunset and mountain views available from the opera's parking lot. Stop by Whole Foods and choose from their extensive deli array, choose take-out from one of Santa Fe's many fine dining restaurants, or order a box meal directly from the Santa Fe Opera.

Tickets range from $30 (standing room only) to a whopping $943 for top tier orchestra seats. Serious opera devotees will want to plan their stays so as to enjoy all five operas back-to-back. This option is available from July 30-Augst 3, August 6-10 or August 13-17.

Tickets may be purchased online or by calling 800.280.4654.

Santa Fe Real Estate Market

As was the case in much of the country, our real estate market dropped in value by about 30%, though that tide has now turned. Inventory has dropped significantly from a year ago, and the median sales price for a Santa Fe home in the final quarter of 2012 was $266,184 - an increase of close to 30% - though there were fewer sales overall in that final quarter.

In addition, "Business Insider" anticipates Santa Fe's annualized expected growth in the real estate sector to be 8.9%, making it one of the fifteen best housing markets in the U.S. over the next five years. From the sounds of it, now is the time to buy in Santa Fe, before things heat up even more. The best values tend to be on the outskirts of town, and particularly in Eldorado, though the South Capitol is a good option for people wanting to be close to the Plaza area.

Santa Fe boasts a plethora of realtors, from large national agencies such as Sotheby's (call Katherine Blagden) and Coldwell Banker (ask fro Valerie Hasson) to highly reputed local agencies such as Barker Realty (go with John Hancock and Rebecca Holland), Prudential (Lisa Knouse) or Santa Fe Properties.

This is also a great time to furnish that new home in Santa Fe, as American Country Collection is offering every item in their showroom at 25% off. Located at 620 Cerrillos Road, the store features unique home furnishings, antiques, rugs and a wide assortment of upholstery and curtain fabrics.

Flamenco to Warm up a Cold Winter's Night

Santa Fe has been experiencing some colder than normal temperatures this January, but just a few blocks from the Alexander's Inn Vacation Rentals, the Flamenco en Fuego evening will warm up the coldest of nights. Come in out of the cold for this Latin Dance Performance and three course dinner being offered up at Fuego, the high end dining establishment at La Posada Resort & Spa. Performing this evening will be Ballet en Fuego, one of the Southwest's top dance troupes, known for their proficiency in Mexican, Spanish and Latin dance, as well as their vibrant costumes.

Executive Chef Carmen Rodriguez, voted the New Mexico Chef of the Year in 2012, will be serving up a three course dinner as the dancer's perform. Selections from the first course include a choice of Ensalada Nido de Pajaro or Thai Coconut Horchata Soup. The second course offerings include Salmon en Papa with Red Chile Honey Braised Chard and Green Chile Hollandaise or Enchilada Madre Santa or Puerco con Hongo. Finish up your meal with Nana's Chocolate Mousse.

The price is $48 per person. with two seatings available: 5:30pm and 7:30pm.
For reservations call 505.954.9670 or reserve online at OpenTable.com.

La Posada
330 East Palace Avenue (just one block from the inn)
Santa Fe, NM

Sales Galore in Santa Fe

Besides touring Santa Fe's galleries, archeological sites and outdoor wonders, guests of The Alexander's Inn Vacation Rentals love to explore the city's wide array of unique shops. January is a particularly fortuitous time for such exploration, as many of our finest stores are offering exceptional sales.

Origins, a boutique at 135 San Francisco Street, features gorgeous jewelry, exotic clothing, textiles, decor and furnishings from around the world. Going into Origins is like visiting a museum where everything is for sale, and with every item in the store on sale, this is a great time to visit.

My favorite shoe store, Sanbusco Center's On Your Feet, has an assortment of winter shoes and boots on sale, at 20-40% off. The store is known for its focus on stylish yet comfortable footwear - you will not find any stilettos at On Your Feet! They stock lines such as Dansko and Merrell, ideal for navigating Santa Fe's famously uneven sidewalks.

Be sure to include a stop at Design Warehouse in your shopping expedition. This spacious store, located at 101 West Marcy Street, is full of contemporary home decor and furniture for those wishing to decorate with a sense of adventure and playfulness.

These are just a few of the many shops offering special pricing during the month of January. There are deals to be had at most every establishment, as this is a particularly show time of year in Santa Fe, and room must be made for incoming merchandise. Happy shopping!

Celebrating the Holidays with Asian Flair

Our stockings are hung on the mantlepieces of The Alexander's Inn Vacation Rentals, wreaths hang from every door, in preparation for a full house of guests this Christmas. The Plaza twinkles with thousands of colored lights on every tree, and Santa Fe residents are busy making truckloads of farolitos to line their walkways and rooftops on Christmas Eve. Along with the beautiful holiday decorations are a variety of holiday concerts given by the Santa Fe Desert Chorale, Santa Fe Pro Musica and the Santa Fe Symphony.

For those of you looking for an out of the ordinary activity during the holiday season, check out The Golden Dragon Acrobats at the Lensic Performing Arts Center. Their production of "Cirque Ziva" is having its premiere performance in Santa Fe, and will continue on for another six months of touring. The troupe continues a tradition going back 25 centuries, and combines acrobatic feats, traditional Asian dance, and stunning costumes with both ancient and contemporary music. The Golden Dragon Acrobats are considered to be the top Chinese acrobat touring company of the day, and will leave you spellbound with their fast-paced and technologically thrilling spectacle - an exciting show for the whole family to enjoy.

Performances are scheduled for December 20, 21 and 22 from 7-9pm, with a matinee performance on December 22 at 1pm. Ticket price range from $20-$35 and may be purchased online or by phone at 505.988.1234.

Santa Fe's Magical Christmas Eve Farolito Walk

The Alexander's Inn Vacation Rentals are perfectly situated in the midst of Santa Fe's historic east side, allowing guests to easily walk to the Plaza and Canyon Road. This location is particularly ideal on Christmas Eve, when Canyon road and the surrounding residential neighborhood are transformed into a magical fairyland during the annual Farolito Walk. Adobe walls and rooftops are lined with actual farolitos - small brown paper bags illuminated from within by a small candle - as opposed to the pervasive plastic "bagolitos" that appear right around Thanksgiving! On every block you will also see luminarias, small bonfires where people gather to chat and sing Christmas carols while warming up.

I personally prefer doing the walk at about 10:30-11pm, when the crowds have dispersed and one can walk along quiet streets illuminated by the soft glow of thousands of flickering candles. I also recommend venturing off Canyon Road itself, and exploring some of the little alleys and side streets of the neighborhood. Being in a less-traveled area lends to the mystical nature of the evening even during the height of the walk.

Lastly, if you are heading out for dinner from your vacation rental, you will want to choose a place within walking distance. Traffic is exceedingly heavy in the neighborhood on Christmas Eve, as the farolito walk is attracts locals and visitors alike who drive into town from miles around. Check out Mucho Gusto, La Boca, Il Piatto or The Shed, and make your reservations early!

Fantastic Night of Flamenco in Santa Fe!

Along with visiting the museums, galleries and archeological sights of Santa Fe, guests of The Alexander's Inn Vacation Rentals are taking advantage of the city's many unique shops to buy some memorable Christmas gifts. Make Christmas shopping an even more wonderful event by combining it with an evening of flamenco dancing and fantastic Spanish cuisine.

On Sunday, December 9th, the Juan Siddi Flamenco Theatre Company is hosting its 4th annual Gala Event, hosted by Ali Macgraw, and featuring world-class flamenco dance, DJ Oona spinning salsa music, as well as paella and tapas by Santa Fe's top Spanish Restaurant, La Boca. A great opportunity to purchase some Christmas gifts at great prices is the silent auction; bid on original works of art and crafts from the city's many talented artists.

The event will take place from 4-8pm at the St. Francis Auditorium. Tickets are $30 and may be purchased at the Lensic Box Office or by phoning 505.988.1234. Proceeds for this fabulous event go to the Heart Gallery Foundation which supports Santa Fe's Foster Youth, as well as to the NM Dance Coalition and the Juan Siddi Flamenco Theatre Company.

Christmas/New Year's Music in Santa Fe

The Alexander's Inn Vacation Rentals are decorated for the Christmas holidays, as is much of the rest of Santa Fe. Adobe walls are lined with farolitos, and the Plaza is festooned with garlands and magical lights. Adding to the holiday spirit are a number of concerts presented by the renowned Santa Fe Desert Chorale, running from December 14 through December 31, 2012.

The Desert Chorale, famous for its glorious and inspiring voices, is a favorite of both locals and returning visitors. My favorite is the "Carols and Lullabies" concert in the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis. The cathedral itself if beautifully decorated for the Christmas holidays, and the program features traditional and more contemporary carols from around the world, from Ave Maria to Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, and closing with Silent Night. These concerts are scheduled for December 14, 18, 20, 21 and 22 at 8pm. Tickets run from $15-$65.

For those of you who like to sing along, the Desert Chorale offers "The Big Holiday Sing", which combines the voices of the Desert Chorale with the New Mexico Concern Choir and the Rio Grande Youth Chorale. This program, perfect for the whole family, focuses on favorite carols and popular music of the season. This performance, surely the largest choral gathering in New Mexico, takes places on December 15 at 2pm at Santa Fe's Cristo Rey Church. Tickets are $20 and $25, and Free for children five and under.

The Desert Chorale will also welcome the New Year with their "Toast to the New Year" on December 28, 29, 30 and 31 at the famous Loretto Chapel. This concert, beginning at 8pm, will feature colonial hymns, Sephardic folk songs, and French melodies. The evening ends with the Chorale's beautiful rendition of Auld Lang Syne. Ticket prices range from $30-$45.

Tickets for these magnificent concerts may be purchased at www.ticketssantafe.org.

Thanksgiving Dinner in Santa Fe

Guests of the Alexander's Inn Vacation Rentals this Thanksgiving will be pleased to know there are many choices among Santa Fe's restaurants for a traditional turkey dinner or a more esoteric meal.

A short walk from any of the casitas is Fuego Restaurant at La Posada, with seatings from 3-4pm and again from 5:30-7:30pm. Their five course menu, with selections of appetizers, soups, salads, a traditional turkey dinner entree and delicious dessert choices is $65/person. Fuego is doing something wonderful this year: with every reservation of four or more, they will donate a turkey to The New Mexico Food Depot. For reservations call 505.954.9670.

Another of my favorite restaurants, The Compound, is serving Thanksgiving from their historic adobe on Canyon Road. Along with the beautiful and tranquil setting, they are offering a prix fixe menu including starters such as Sea Scallops, Shrimp and Grits and Carmelized Pear Salad, followed by main course choices of Roasted Organic Turkey with all the trimmings, Natural Shetland Scottish Salmon or Wild Mushrooms and Organic Stone Ground Polenta. Dessert Choices include Bittersweet Chocolate Torte, Maple Pecan Pie and more. The price is $75/person, and $25 for a child's entree plus dessert. To reserve your dinner at The Compound please call 505.982.4353.

My third recommendation is Restaurant Martin, a family run business featuring deliciously prepared food in an atmosphere of understated elegance. Their a la carte Thanksgiving menu begins with appetizers such as Leaves of Ahi Tuna, Lobster Bisque and a Semi Boneless Quail, followed by such entree selections as an Organic Turkey platter with Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes, Stuffing and Gravy, a Duo of Black Angus Beef or a Vegetarian Tasting Plate. End your meal at Restaurant Martin with one of the following Dessert offerings: Carmelized Pumpkin Tart, Textures of Apple (an assortment of apple-based desserts) or a Frozen Chocolate Ganache. Call to reserve at 505.820.0919.

Thanksgiving in Santa Fe

Treat yourself to a leisurely Thanksgiving in Santa Fe this year while taking advantage of our 25% off lodging special. Enjoy glorious blue sky and sun by day, then cool mountain air as night falls and finds you relaxing in front of a blazing fire, or snuggled in your cozy bed of feather and down.

In honor of the season, our Absolute Nirvana Spa has a selection of decadent Pumpkin Spa Specials designed to exfoliate and nourish dry winter skin while you savor the heavenly aromas of the holiday. Indulge in a relaxing massage followed by a pumpkin body mask and scrub - restore your skin's natural healthy glow with an exfoliating scrub of brown sugar and cinnamon, followed by a nourishing mask of warm pumpkin puree, buttermilk, honey and cloves. This one and a half hour Pumpkin Delight is just $165.

Another option is the Delicious Pumpkin Facial, using Naturopathica's Pumpkin Enzyme Peel to increase collagen production, leaving the skin firm and radiant, with increased elasticity. The one hour treatment is priced at $105, but if you choose to combine both of these yummy treatments, you will get 2.5 hours of Pumpkin Bliss for just $250.

Make it a memorable Thanksgiving this year, and start the holiday season feeling relaxed and rejuvenated.
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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