Hello from Santa Fe!
Cocofloss travels to Santa Fe!
In the cooler months, Santa Fe is a rich feast for the senses. Aspen trees set the surrounding mountainsides ablaze in gold and orange leaves until the winter snow blankets everything white. In town, sidewalks and adobe rooftops glow with farolitos, the area’s famous paper-bag lanterns. The aroma of piñon and cedar permeates the air, and red and green chilies heat up spicy bowls of pozole and green chili stew.
Along with its stunningly blue skies and pink and purple sunsets, it’s no wonder why the area has inspired artists since prehistoric times. Below are a few of our other favorite picks from the city’s vibrant palette.
Best known for her large-scale studies of desert blooms, Georgia O’Keeffe was undeniably influenced by the dramatic colors of northern New Mexico. The artist first fell in love with the area on a trip in the summer of 1929, and from 1949 until her death in 1986, she lived near or in Santa Fe. At the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, explore some 3,000 pieces by the artist, including 140 oil paintings and nearly 700 drawings.
Did you know? In 2014, her painting, “Jimson Weed/White Flower No. 1,” fetched $44.4 million, making it the most expensive piece by a female artist to sell at auction.
Shop till you drop
No trip to Santa Fe would be complete without a little shopping. Browse handmade jewelry and pottery in front of the historic Palace of the Governors. Native American artisans have been selling their wares here for more than six decades. Head to Santa Fe Vintage for its well-curated selection of cowboy boots, vintage denim, and other Western wear and stop by Keshi for exquisite woven textiles, Zuni fetishes (small, carved stone animals and figures), and sterling silver and turquoise jewelry. Art lovers will find an abundant selection in the hundred-some galleries along the mile-long stretch of Canyon Road and in the Railyard District’s edgier exhibits.
Did you know? Built in 1610, the Palace of the Governors is the oldest continuously occupied public building in the United States.
Soak away your day at Sunrise Springs Spa Resort. Thanks to the area’s natural spring waters, this desert oasis has attracted weary travelers and locals alike for millennia. Starting in the early 1600s, it became a popular paraje, or resting spot, along the El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro, a 1,600-mile-long trade route between Mexico City and San Juan Pueblo, New Mexico.
No longer an Old West outpost, visitors today can book pampering spa treatments, experience a Native American sweat lodge ceremony, and relax under the stars in a mineral-infused bath or private pool. One of the resort’s most unique and popular activities allows guests to cuddle with puppies and super soft Silkie chickens, adding a little “awww” to all the spa’s soothing “ahhhs.”
Did you know? Spending time with furry and feathered friends boosts oxytocin and lowers cortisol levels, heart rate, and blood pressure.
For a sci-fi spin on the traditional haunted house, head to the “House of Eternal Return.” Created by the local art collective Meow Wolf, this 20,000-square-foot immersive installation invites visitors to “investigate the mystery of the Selig family, who disappeared one night after conducting a forbidden experiment” inside their home. Search for clues in their two-story Victorian house and then wander through portals to surreal dimensions, including a Star Trek-like spaceship, a neon forest, and an ice cave. No gore here, just a monster of a mystery.
Did you know? “The House of Eternal Return” is housed in a converted bowling alley owned by George R.R. Martin, creator of Game of Thrones and Santa Fe resident.
Cocoa fit for a Queen!
Sip a bit of history at Kakawa Chocolate House. Based on recipes dating back to 1,000 B.C., the shop’s 17 “elixirs” include blends from Mesoamerica, Old Europe, and Colonial America, including Thomas Jefferson’s favorite mix. Combinations range from the spicy Mayan and Aztec blends of chilies and 100% dark chocolate to the fragrant Marie Antoinette elixir, made with orange blossom water — just as the French queen preferred.
Did you know? Throughout Mesoamerica, chocolate was primarily mixed with water and made into a highly spiced and unsweetened drink. Considered sacred, it became a favorite drink among rulers and warriors.
1. Georgia O’Keeffe’s painting “Jimson Weed/White Flower No. 1” once hung in former president ________ dining room.
2. In some Native American tribes, women exfoliate with blue ________.
3. Famed Santa Fe resident ________ purportedly attends game nights on Wednesdays at the Jean Cocteau Cinema (which he also owns).
4. Due in part to Santa Fe’s high altitude and mild climate, many elite ________ from Kenya now live and train here.
5. Founded in 1610 — 10 years before the pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock — Santa Fe is the oldest ________ city in the U.S.
6. There are more ________ than people in New Mexico.
7. William H. Bonney, aka ________ lived in Santa Fe in the early 1870s. He washed dishes at La Fonda Hotel, which is still on the Plaza.
8. It is illegal to dance while wearing a ________ in New Mexico.
9. By the late 19th century, New Mexico was the premier ________-growing region in the nation, producing over a million gallons annually.
10. The Georgia O’Keeffe Museum was the first museum in the U.S. dedicated to a ________ artist.
11. Some of the earliest snowshoes were more than ________ feet long.
Play answers: 1. George W. Bush’s 2. cornmeal 3. George R.R. Martin 4. runners, or marathoners 5. capital 6. cows 7. Billy the Kid 8. sombrero 9. wine 10. female 11. seven
The Best “Little Biscuit”
Christmas is cookie season, and in New Mexico that means it’s time for biscochitos. Biscochito is the diminutive form of bizcocho, which loosely translates to “biscuit” in Spanish. Invented in New Mexico when it was still a Spanish colony, today these anise- and cinnamon-flavored treats are the official state cookie. Come December, you’ll find plates stacked high with the iconic cookies at every social gathering — and you’ll probably also hear people debating which family recipe is the best. Satiate your seasonal sweet tooth with the following version.
- 1 1/4 cups sugar
- 2 cups lard
- 2 tsp anise seed
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 6 cups flour
- 3 fresh eggs
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- 1/4 – 1/2 cup brandy (can be substituted with rum or orange juice)
- 1/4 tsp salt cinnamon and extra sugar for dusting
Recipe courtesy of Saveur
- Simmer berries, sugar, and 3 cups water in a 4-qt. saucepan over medium heat.
- Cook until berries begin to break down, about 25 minutes. Strain syrup through a cheesecloth-lined sieve; discard berries or save for another use.
- Return syrup to pan; bring to a boil.
- Whisk cornstarch and ½ cup water in a bowl until combined, and whisk into syrup; cook, whisking constantly, until a thick pudding forms, 8–10 minutes.
- Transfer pudding to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap, pressing it directly on the surface of the pudding; chill 1 hour.
- Divide into serving dishes; garnish with whipped cream.
When the peaks turn white, many people’s minds turn to skiing and snowboarding. But there’s another winter sport that deserves some love. Snowshoeing provides a great workout and a wonderful way to see well-trod summer landscapes in a whole new light.
Santa Fe has a number of spectacular snowshoeing spots, and the Valles Caldera National Preserve is one of the best. The preserve sits atop an ancient supervolcano that erupted 1.25 million years ago, creating a 13-mile wide circular depression. Luckily, things have calmed down a bit since then. Today, visitors can rent snowshoes for $10–$15 and head out on groomed trails, where they might see eagle, deer, coyote, and elk. On the nights the preserve stays open late, you can wander on glittering snow as the stars twinkle above.
Of course, you don’t need a nearby supervolcano to snowshoe. It can be done in cities and in forests — anywhere there’s snow on the ground. Not sure if snowshoes are the right fit for you? We’ve gathered some useful facts to help you warm up to the idea of a web-footed winter adventure.
- Never snowshoed before? No worries! If you can walk, you can snowshoe.
- Snowshoeing requires minimal equipment — and no lift passes — making it the least expensive winter sport.
- It’s an amazing fat-burner. According to research, snowshoers can burn 420–1,000 calories an hour, depending on speed and terrain. That’s more calories than you’d burn walking, running, or cross-country skiing at the same pace.
- Along with being a super cardio workout, snowshoeing builds strength, agility, and balance.
- Since you lift your legs much higher than when you’re walking, and snow is less stable than pavement, snowshoeing engages stabilizing muscles around your hips and core.
- It’s low impact and easy on the knees. The cushiony snow and your snowshoes both absorb shocks and bumps.
Did you know? Snowshoes were likely invented in Central Asia around 4000 B.C. However, Native Americans were the first to develop the now-familiar webbed design. Different tribes created different styles, which varied in shape and size.
As the air grows crisp, teeth can become increasingly sensitive. Temperature changes can cause the tooth’s structure to contract, leading to hairline fractures and pain. But cold weather doesn’t have to have a chilling effect on your grin. Follow these winter tips, and let your snow-white smile sparkle.
- Call in reinforcements. Help your bite buck up for incoming cold fronts by using a desensitizing toothpaste made with potassium or calcium and rinse with a fluoride mouthwash twice a day.
- Shut your mouth. Well, at least on the inhale. Breathing in through your nose protects your teeth from the frigid air while exhaling through your mouth allows air from your lungs to warm them up.
- Take a sip. It may sound obvious, but keeping your teeth comfy can be as simple as drinking a warm beverage. Has there ever been a better excuse for a hot chocolate? (Of course, mint tea would be a healthier choice, but hey, it’s the holidays!)
- Bundle up. We all know scarves keep our necks cozy and brighten our winter wardrobes. But they also help trap warm air around our mouths, keeping our teeth happy and snug, too.