Sunday, September 29, 2013

No rest for the road weary.

Rented vintage china - each place setting different - and the most gorgeous flowers I've ever seen.
We arrived home from our 10-day vacation on Friday afternoon around 2. At 5, we welcomed house guests for the weekend - college friends in town for a mutual friend's daughter's wedding.  While they ran off to the rehearsal dinner (which included out-of-towners), we rushed to unpack, do laundry, put fresh sheets on beds and dig out the "good towels." Yesterday, the girls had a spa morning followed by lunch at the brewery downtown with the boys and the 4:30 wedding which lasted until 10 and was, without a doubt, one of the loveliest we've ever attended. Afterward, we stayed up talking until midnight. This morning, I made crabmeat, cream cheese and chive omelets for everyone. Then, our friends packed up and left for home. Tomorrow, I will welcome ho-hum routine back into my life with open arms. Today, however, is a day of rest. And, of course, "Breaking Bad."

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Oklahoma City looks mighty pretty

We've stayed in some plush places on this trip, but no lodging feature has been more sight-for-sore-eyes-worthy than the whirlpool tub in Hampton Inn and Suites Room 602.  I was incredibly stiff - sore, even! - from sitting all day on the journey from Santa Fe to OKC.  (This is a new development I'm attributing to age.) A twenty-minute soak (and a little scotch) loosened me up for a night on Bricktown before the four-hour drive home tomorrow.
Whirlpool for two next to the wet bar. Winning combination.
The corner room is ultra-comfortable and the view from our window makes me want to cry, "Plaaaaay ballllll!"
Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark. I could catch a good fly ball from here.
Next up, a walking tour of Bricktown then Tapwerks Ale House and Cafe and Earl's Rib Place where I will not be having tequila or anything containing chiles. Tomorrow, my own bed.  Ahhhh......

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

The windows of La Plazuela

The restaurant at La Fonda Santa Fe might be my favorite room in the whole world. I went a little overboard taking photos last night, thinking I may want to replicate some of them on the two little windows of our master bath. Project!

Ten Thousand Waves of Wonderful

The entrance to 10K Waves spa. 91 steps up to heaven.
 At the insistence of two trusted, in-the-know friends, we ventured up the mountain last evening to Ten Thousand Waves spa where we had booked the Waterfall Tub for an hour or so.  This you do well in advance because of its enormous popularity.  You can see why.....
Looking down from the locked door, and we had the key!
 Although it can easily hold 12 people, we booked the space for just two and took advantage of the dry sauna, hot tub (with fabulous jets) and cold plunge in this incredible Japanese setting under the pines.
I actually took this from the water. Thank God my phone lives to tell the tale.

They even had a closet for our standard-issue kimonos.
85 minutes in the tub cost $100 for both of us. The overall experience and emotional bliss well worth the cost.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Farmers' Market and Folk Art

We're going to end our day in the most leisurely and luxurious way, so we got busy this morning and took in the Santa Fe Farmers' Market.....
Roasting peppers over the flame
The Tuesday market at the Santa Fe Railyard

Lots of chiles to choose from

Door hangers for fall
and followed up with a visit to our favorite museum anywhere, the International Folk Art Museum
From the permanent collection. This is but one 3-dimensional scene featuring hundreds of dolls.
We had already visited in 2008, but returned to see the Japanese kite exhibit which was nothing short of amazing...
This kite was huge - probably 16' by 10'

Note number of strings required to get these babies to take wing.
My favorites.
Color me inspired.

Passamentrie, Bell Tower Bar, El Farol, La Fiesta Lounge

Watching the sunset from the Bell Tower Bar at La Fonda is a must-do on everyone's Santa Fe list. It was chilly last night, but the staff had Mexican blankets (and margaritas) and I had my new fab jacket purchased at Passamentrie, my favorite shop in Santa Fe which is - for better or worse - located downstairs in the hotel.
Even those huge Foster Grants couldn't stop me from squinting into the sun.
As sunset nears, the crowd grows and anticipation builds. Cameras come out, photographers stake out their spot. 
When the sun finally falls behind the mountain, everyone applauds then quickly dashes off to their restaurant of choice.  (For the record, I have to say that despite the Rocky Mountains looming in the distance, sunsets here can't hold a candle to sunsets in Kansas.)


mussels steamed in sherry-mustard cream with carrots and scallions
We chose El Farol on Canyon Road, the oldest restaurant and cantina in Santa Fe, famous for their tapas.
Then, it was back to the hotel where we enjoyed a nightcap in the La Fiesta Lounge with a dozen of our new best friends and listened to the Wise Guys....
...who were so good, the hubs actually danced with me ALONE on the wide open dance floor. (The nightcap didn't hurt in that regard, either.)  Here's a sample of the Guys.  We're going back to hear them tonight.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Monday in Santa Fe

A storm was moving in last night as we dined at a place called The Palace Saloon, described by a local magazine as 'nice and a little naughty.'  It was literally too dark to take any photos, but I ordered a "Dona's Damiana margarita" that was so memorable, we went to a local liquor store and bought a bottle of the mysterious herbal liqueur with legendary aphrodisiac qualities to take home. Okay, we bought two.
The hubs was drawn to the bottle, oddly enough.
This morning, we were treated to a delicious breakfast in La Plazuela, the gorgeous restaurant here at La Fonda (more photos coming later.)
...and given the grand tour by Ed, the sales director for the hotel.  It turns out, our room (which has windows on two sides) served as the model/prototype room during the renovation.  We have the only clawfoot tub/shower (which really isn't very user-friendly) in the hotel.
Loving that raised sitting area by the window. And, I really want to steal the rug.
The hotel boasts the most impressive collection of art - we're talking millions of dollars worth- I've ever seen, and there are impeccable nooks and crannies everywhere. Gorgeous.
A cozy nook in the lobby.
After breakfast and the tour, we headed to the Loretto Chapel to see the famous floating staircase...
How does it stay up? It's a mystery.
then on to the newly opened Museum for Contemporary Native American art for more inspiring sights. 
Gorgeous beadwork

Dreamcatcher bra and racoon jockstrap. (They wouldn't let us buy them.)
I couldn't get this woman to stop pouring sand on my head.
Did I mention it's sunny, 63 degrees and 30% humidity?  I love this town.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Ooh la La Fonda!

Our Deluxe King Room
The La Fonda Santa Fe, located right on the historic Plaza, has undergone a multi-million dollar renovation (completed just this month) since we visited in 2008.  I am getting the official tour tomorrow morning but, so far, I am muy impressed.
Each room features an individually hand-painted headboard, done by local artists.
The rooms are gorgeous and thoughtfully appointed. (There's even a Keurig coffee maker!)
I've always wanted to try one of these!

Bathroom. Note how the door slides on wrought iron tracks.
Clawfoot tub with shower.
Best of all, the management sent over a delicious bottle of Chardonnay (yes, I've already had a glass) and a killer fruit and cheese basket to welcome us.
The perks of travel writing are many, my friends.  Cheers! More later....

On the high road to Santa Fe

We said 'goodbye' to Taos this morning and took the high road through Chimayo on our way to Santa Fe. Chimayo is home to Santuario de Chimayo which is said to have healing powers, thus attracting thousands of visitors each year.

They did not permit photos inside the church but you can see some stunning images and read all about it here.

Boomer Girl Review: Ultimate Oriole Feeder

I've still got a way to go before I'm feeding pigeons on the steps of St. Paul's (which I never thought was a bad thing to do ...