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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.

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.
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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