Santa Fe, New Mexico

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I drove to Santa Fe, NM through the city of Albuquerque. Surrounded by beautiful mountains, Albuquerque reminded me a lot of Salt Lake City, UT. As I approached closer to Santa Fe, however, I began to see the vast difference in architecture.

I saw these beautiful, earthy, adobe structures decorating the hills. Its rich historical roots make for an eye-catching display of clay-colored past and present.

I decided to stay at a hotel that caught my eye on social media: El Rey Court.

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They just so happen to have mid-week deals, so I snagged two nights at a discount. The location of the hotel was not what I expected. However, immediately when walking into the lobby I was captivated by the southwestern style and intentional beauty. The art on the walls bore earthy brown tones, the lounge was stunning and contained a round wood burning fireplace, and my room was like an apartment (huge perk when you are driving for over a week across country). This was definitely a place that made me feel rested and loved.

Exploring the grounds I uncovered coves and gardens filled with roses and vines. The contrast of green to the white stucco was brilliant. I was so intrigued by the landscaping and architecture of this facility. I decided to use the work out room to expel some energy from driving, and then take a dip in the outdoor hot tub.

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In the morning, I used the breakfast vouchers provided by the hotel to eat at a local restaurant. I knew I wanted to explore the city that day. I decided to share my location on social media to see if anyone had suggestions. I received a tip about visiting a nearby natural landmark called Tent Rocks. I decided very last minute to take a trip just 45 minutes from the city to one of the most beautiful places I have ever been to ( See post on the Tent Rocks).

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When I came back to the city, I realized I did not want to drive my trailered car downtown just yet. I needed a transportation plan, so I walked a mile or so to a nearby coffee shop, and surveyed my next move. It was there that I remembered I'm a city girl who used to ride the bus to work. The bus system seemed cheap and easy to use. I was able to purchase an “unlimited rides” ticket for the day (just $2.00) and headed downtown.

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Downtown Santa Fe is so full of life! The large square is filled with Native American culture and many Native American individuals selling handmade work. I enjoyed chatting with the makers and seeing photos of some of their processes- they cut, weld, and set all of their pieces, and some from large blocks of raw material. There are plenty of shops accessible in the area. The prices were pretty high but so was the quality of the work. Many of these stores host bundles of handmade materials by local Native American artists.

After purchasing some one-of-a-kind gifts, and a personal bucket list item (Turkish rug), I grabbed my phone to choose where to eat. After reading some blog posts I settled on a very highly rated restaurant- Cafe Pasqual's. This cafe has been featured in the NY Times and the LA Times. It was very quaint and because of my timing, I was able to get a seat without waiting in the usual long lines that develop for this spot! The food was delicious!

After eating dinner, I headed back to the hotel to end my night with much-needed rest. My time allotted for exploration during this long journey home came to a close and the next two days included driving.... and driving.

I am so grateful I chose to make a stop in Santa Fe and it will be added to my list of cities to return to.

#insightsfromash