Friday, December 31, 2010

Powder Days at the Santa Fe Ski Basin!

While Santa Fe did not get a white Christmas this year, abundant snows are here for the new year and the skiing is fabulous!  Guests of Hacienda Nicholas Bed & Breakfast Inn will want to plan a day or two of skiing at the Santa Fe Ski Basin, which has received 17 inches of snow in the past two days and is expecting major snowfall tonight and tomorrow.  As of today, 83% of the mountain is open, with 62 runs in operation.  Santa Fe is a particularly good terrain for families and beginner/intermediate level skiers.  Those who are at the more advanced levels will be happier making the 1 1/2 hour drive to Taos, one of the two most difficult mountains in the United States.

Half day (9am-12:30pm or 12:30-4pm) passes at the Santa Fe Ski Basin are $45, or $60 for a full day.  If you have any children under 46" in height, they ski for free.  In addition, if you are over 72, you get to ski for free!  Multi-day passes are also available, as well as rental equipment and group or private lessons.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

New Year's Eve in Santa Fe!

Santa Fe is not known for its wild nightlife, but there is plenty going on for New Year's Eve to keep you entertained.  Being a foodie town, guests at The Hacienda Nicholas Bed & Breakfast Inn can rest assured that you will have plenty of delicious dining options.  Here are just a few, ranging from a couple of more affordable options to a couple of the pricier choices.  The town is packed to the rafters over the holidays so you will want to make reservations right away.

Should you wish to get a bit wild and crazy after dinner, you may want to hang out at one of Santa Fe's two favorite watering holes.  On upper Canyon Road is El Farol, and just off the Plaza is the newly re-opened Dragon Room.

Ze French Bistro
311 Old Santa Fe Trail

5 courses for just $49
$89 includes wine

Amuses-bouches du chef
Tune & salmon tartar or escargots
Mussels marinieres or Ahi tguna
Seared duck breast or beef tenderloin
Crepes 'flambees" with Grand Marnier or
   Chocolate fondant or Creme Brulee

The Shed
113 1/2 Palace Avenue

Regular menu of Northern New Mexico specialties, all priced very reasonably.
The Shed does an especially good red chile.

Some of my favorites:
Guacamole, Salsa and Tortilla Chips
Southwest Grilled Shrimp
Veggie Quesadilla

Enchilada Plate - Two rolled blue corn tortillas stuffed with cheddar cheese & onions, smothered in red chile.
Blue Corn Burritos - Two blue corn tortillas filled with pinto beans, cheddar cheese and onions and baked in a red chile sauce (vegetarian).
Fish Tacos - Two flour tortillas filled with sauteed fish, cabbage, pico de gallo, onion, jalapeno, ciliantro & lime.
Chicken Enchilada Verde - Roasted chicken, cheddar cheese and onion, rolled in blue corn tortillas and baked with green chile.

Save room for dessert!  Their Hot Fudge Sundae, Apple Pie and Zabaglione are fabulous!

The Compound
653 Canyon Road

This is one of my favorite elegant restaurants in Santa Fe.  You will not find a wild party scene here, but some very fine dining.  A great way, in my opinion, to bring in the new year.

Two Seatings:
6pm - 3 course prix-fixe menu for $105
8pm - 4 course prix-fixe menu for $140
(children's menu $40)

Menu Highlights:
First Course
Crispy Cornmeal Fried Oysters
Tuna Tartare
Wagyu Carpaccio

Second Course
Jumbo Lump Crabmeat Salad

Grilled Beef Tenderloin
Grilled Swordfish
Cast Iron Seared Veal Chop Piccata

Chocolate Blackout Cake
Creme Brulee
Gelato and Sorbets

Restaurant Martin
526 Galisteo Street

Simple and beautiful surroundings along with innovative and refined dishes make Restaurant Martin the new favorite dining establishment of Santa Fe.

Prix-Fixe Menu - $90

Menu Highlights:
Maple Lacquered Semi-Boneless Quail
Pumpkin Risotto
Organic Beet Salad
Elk Osso Bucco

Maine Diver Sea Scallops
Big Eye Tuna
New York Strip Loin
Colorado Lamb Loin

Caramel Golden Gala Apple
Chocolate-Peanut Butter Tart
Toasted Coconut Creme Caramel

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Magical Christmas Farolito Walk in Santa Fe

Christmas in Santa Fe is all the more memorable for those who are fortunate enough to stroll up Canyon Road on Christmas Eve for the annual Farolito Walk.  Every year the residents and businesses of the area make thousands upon thousands of farolitos - small brown bags filled with sand and a votive candles - which line the walkways, roofs and walls of historic Canyon Road and neighboring streets. 

The farolitos are lit by hand at dusk, which signals the beginning of this holiday tradition.  Walkers are encouraged to warm themselves by the many luminarios (small bonfires) while singing Christmas carols and visiting with friends and fellow walkers. Some homes and galleries will also be serving warm drinks to passers-by. 

As there are close to 30,000 visitors who participate in this traditional holiday event, I recommend that our guests at Hacienda Nicholas Bed & Breakfast Inn and The Madeleine Bed & Breakfast choose to stroll in the latter part of the evening, when the crowds have died down.  This is the time when you can enjoy a peaceful hush while walking amongst the flickering farolitos.  It is so very magical, especially when we are blessed with a blanket of snow, making everything that much softer.  It feels like a real fairyland.

Then again, many people actually prefer going at the height of the event, which is a very merry affair.  Should you go at this time of night, be sure to head off the beaten path to some of the smaller streets where the noise will dissipate and you can savor a bit of peace and quiet.  One of our favorite off-the-beaten-track places to go is Plaza Fatima, where you can see a model train set in operation, in amongst the farolitos.

Canyon Road, East Alameda Street, Acequia Madre and all other roads in the area will close to traffic starting at 5:30.  Traffic in the area if very restricted, so you will want to have your car out of the area by 5pm.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Christmas Dinner in Santa Fe

Christmas in Santa Fe is a magical place indeed.   The farolito walk on Canyon Road that occurs on Christmas Eve is a favorite for visitors and locals alike, and this year should be a most enjoyable walk, now that we have just had a big snow and the temperature is not too chilly.  This event, along with the nearby Pueblo dances and the festive lights of the Plaza create a unique holiday experience for guests of the Hacienda Nicholas Bed & Breakfast

Because Santa Fe is exceedingly busy over the Christmas holidays, you will want to book your holiday meals in advance.  Here are some of my picks for delicious holiday meals at some of Santa Fe's best restaurants:

Fuego (at La Posada, just one block from Hacienda Nicholas)
Christmas Eve - 5:30-9pm
Christmas Day - 4-8:30pm
$95/person  (children's menu available)

Menu Highlights:
First Course:
Petite Warm Brie, Cranberry with Pecan Chutney and Arugula
Grilled Rock Lobster with Red Pepper Nage, Creamy Polenta and Snap Peas

Second Course:
Herts of Romaine lettuce, White Anchovies and Rye Crisps, Kalamata Olive Dressing
Roasted Carrot and Cumin Bisque, Sun Dried Tomato Crostinis

Raspberry Sorbet with Chambord Syrup

Third Course:
Colorado Lamb with Pumpkin and Pecan Flan, Brussels Sprouts and Pancetta with Cider Jus
Pan Seared Chilean Sea Bass with Basmati Rice, Baby Bok Choy and Lemongrass Broth
Oven Roasted Prime Rib of Beef, Herbed Potato Souffle with Haricot Verts, Carmelized Onions

German Chocolate Terrine with Coconut Panna Cotta
Pecan Chocolate Tart with Chocolate Creme Chantilly and Hazelnut Creme-Anglaise

The Compound Restaurant (on Canyon Road - the perfect place to be on Christmas Eve)

Christmas Eve - Serving from 4:30pm
Christmas Day - Serving from 5pm

Christmas Eve is a 3 course prix-fixe menu
$125/person (children's menu $40)

Christmas Dinner is an a la carte menu featuring
Compound Classics and Christmas Specials
Restaurant Martin
Christmas Eve - Serving from 5:30pm
Christmas Day - Serving from 3pm
A la carte menu

Menu Highlights:

Roasted Butternut Squash and Apple Bisque with Lobster-Parmesan Flan
Big Eye Tuna and Hamachi Tasting
Organic Beet Salad with Point Reyes Cheese, Grapefruit Brulee, Fennel Sponge, Candy Almonds....

Maine Diver Sea Scallops with Potato-Shallot Puree, Mushroom-Butternut Squash Duxelle...
White Black Sea Bass with Red Pepper Marmalade, Celery Root Puree.....
Prime Beef Tenderloin with Caramelized Onion-Potato Croquettes

Golden Pineapple Caramel Vacherin, Freeze-Dried Coconut Crunch, Almond Sponge....
Warm Chocolate Pudding Cake with Peanut Butter Ice Cream, Caramelized Bananas, Dulce de Leche
Trio of Creme Brulee

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Santa Fe Desert Chorale Delights with Carols and Lullabies

For the 28th year, the illustrious Santa Fe Desert Chorale will be performing their holiday concert, Carols and Lullabies, to anyone fortunate enough to be in the know.  We highly recommend this event to our guests at The Hacienda Nicholas Bed & Breakfast Inn, as well as to locals and visitors at any Santa Fe lodging.  The program includes Renaissance melodies, Baroque motets for double choir and traditional holiday tunes.  Carols range from the well-known American favorites such as "Deck the Halls", "First Noel" and "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" to carols from France, Germany and Scandinavia.  The concert closes with the beautiful "Silent Night". 

The performance can be enjoyed from December 17-21, with ticket prices ranging from $20-$55.  I highly recommend purchasing your tickets in advance, as these shows do tend to sell out.  Tickets may be purchased by calling the Lensic Performing Arts Ticket Office at 505.988.1234 or online.

Concert Locations and Times are as follows:
  • Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis | 213 Cathedral Place, Santa Fe | December 17 (8pm)
  • Immanuel Presbyterian Church | 114 Carlisle Blvd SE, Albuquerque | December 19 (4pm)
  • Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis | 213 Cathedral Place, Santa Fe | December 20 (8pm)
  • Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis | 213 Cathedral Place, Santa Fe | December 21 (8pm)

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

18th Annual Art of Devotion Exhibit at Peyton Wright Gallery

The Peyton Wright Gallery, an easy two-block walk for our guests at The Hacienda Nicholas Bed & Breakfast Inn, has recently opened its 18th Annual Art of Devotion exhibit.  Attendees can marvel at museum-quality sculptures, silver-work, furniture, devotional objects and paintings from the Spanish Colonial period (1520-1820).  This was a time of intense cultural and social conflict, and naturally the stresses of the time influenced the creation of art.  An underlying theme of this spectacular show is the struggle between sophisticated civilizations and traditional belief systems.

This collection of art from the former Spanish and Portuguese colonies (New Mexico, Mexico, Guatamala, Ecuador, Argentine, Brazil, Bolivia, Peru and the Philippines) is perhaps the largest and most significant collection of its kind in the world.   Interest in Historic Art of the Americas is peaking, with institutions, museums, private collections, scholars, and auction houses, paying a great deal of attention to what used to be a neglected body of works.

Make sure to pay a visit to this neighborhood gallery so you too can marvel at these magnificent pieces.

The show opened on December 3 and will be up until April of 2011.
Peyton Wright Gallery
237 East Palace Avenue
Santa Fe, NM

Friday, December 3, 2010

Madrid's 28th Annual Christmas Open House

Guests of the Hacienda Nicholas Bed & Breakfast Inn may want to experience the 28th Annual Madrid Christmas Open House, happening this Saturday, December 4th.  Festivities begin at The Mineshaft Tavern at 2pm with gift giving by Santa to all tots.  This is followed by the Madrid Christmas Parade at 4pm, along with other holiday activities and festive decorations.  The entire town will be decorated with Christmas lights, a tradition that began when Madrid was a flourishing mining town.  From the 1920's through the 1950's, this company town would show off its wealth of electrical power and illuminate the town with 100,000 lights, a very lavish display in that era.   The light show became so famous that airlines even altered their routes so passengers could enjoy the spectacle. 

Madrid became a ghost town once the mines closed in 1954, but people began moving into the ghost town in the 1970's.  These early 'settlers' soon revived the tradition of the Christmas lights of Madrid for visitors to enjoy.

The more than 40 stores and galleries of Madrid will be open late, selling fine art, crafts, jewelry, pottery, clothing and more.  For unique and artistic gifts, this is a perfect opportunity to get in some Christmas shopping.  Many merchants will be welcoming shoppers with hot chocolate, apple cider and holiday cookies.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Santa Fe Holiday Concert

As the holidays approach, we often play holiday chorale music during the breakfast hours at The Hacienda Nicholas Bed & Breakfast Inn.  How much better, though, to hear this same music live!  Here is just such an opportunity for out-of-town guests and locals alike.  The Zia Singers and Santa Fe Men's Camerata will be performing together in a Holiday Concert on December 4 at 8pm and December 5 at 4pm.

Santa Fe Men's Camerata is a group of 33 seasoned vocalists who have been thrilling audiences with its rich sonorities and various moods of passion and play since 1998.

The Zia Singers, a Santa Fe women's choral ensemble is a group of 24 women.  The Zia Singers was founded in 1992 in the living room of singer and voice teacher Marilyn Barnes. 

Come hear these two ensembles as they sing a selection of holiday music, including both familiar songs and more esoteric pieces.  Program highlights from the Zia Singers include The Moon of Wintertime, The Storke and Still, Still, Still.

Highlights from the Men's Camerata are Holy Savior, O Holy Child, Er is een Kindetje and Mary Had a Baby.

The two groups will sing together as well, with such beautiful melodies as Ave maris stella, For He Shall Give His Angels, Deep River, Magnificat in D, O magnum mysterium, Before the Marvel of This Night and The Christmas Story According to St. Luke. 

Holiday Refreshments will be offered at intermission.
Scottish Rite Center, 463 Paseo de Peralta
General Admission Tickets are $20
Singers from other chorale groups get in for $15
Students are given free admission.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Winter Spanish Market in Santa Fe

Santa Fe's Summer Spanish Market attracts huge crowds every year, but equally fabulous is the Winter Spanish Market, now in its 22nd year.  The Market will take place on December 4 and 5 at the Santa Fe Community Convention Center (an easy four-block walk for guests of The Hacienda Nicholas Bed & Breakfast Inn), from 9am-4pm.  The free event, put on by the Spanish Colonial Arts Society, showcases traditional Spanish art, including retablos (religious paintings on wood panels), Santos (carvings of devotional figures), Straw Applique work (intricate crosses and boxes made using hand-cut straw), tinwork, textiles, furniture, jewelry, pottery and ironwork.

The Market gives visitors a chance to actually meet and talk to the artists of this juried show, making for a more meaningful purchase.  In order to be considered for this prestigious event, artists must be of at least one-quarter Hispanic decent, and must hail from either New Mexico or Colorado.

The artist's skills are typically passed from one generation to the next, and the market makes an effort to showcase works done by the younger artists.  In fact, a "Best of Show" prize is awarded  to a young exhibitor, and his or her piece is then used for the Winter Market poster.

Whether you are looking some unique Christmas gifts or to shop for your own personal collection, the Spanish Winter Market is the place to be.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

More Thanksgiving in Santa Fe Dinner Options

This year, guests at the Hacienda Nicholas Bed & Breakfast Inn  have more Santa Fe Thanksgiving Dinner options than ever before. Previous years saw only the big hotel restaurants open and serving this feast, but I see several smaller and more intimate establishments will also be serving turkey with panache this year.

The Compound Restaurant
The Compound is a very elegant landmark restaurant located in an historic adobe building just off Canyon Road.   This Thanksgiving, chef Mark Kiffin will be serving a three-course prix fixe menu, starting at 3pm, for $75/person ($20-25 for a child's plate).   First Course offerings include Autumn Potato Soup, Caramelized Bosc Pear Salad and Duck Confit, among others.  Main Courses range from Roasted Organic Turkey with all the fixings, Grilled Beef Tenderloin, Seared Alaskan Halibut or Wild Mushrooms and Organic Stone Ground Polenta.  Desserts include Chocolate Layer Cake, Southern Pecan Pie, Spiced Pumpkin Tart and Apple Cider Sorbet.  Yum yum!
653 Canyon Road

Another option, within easy walking distance for guests of The Hacienda Nicholas Bed & Breakfast Inn, is:

La Casa Sena
This restaurant is also in an historic adobe so has lots of charm and warmth.  Thanksgiving Dinner will be served from 3 p.m.-8p.m, with a limited Ala Carte Menu in addition to a prix fixe Thanksgiving Menu.   The menu is priced in two ways.  For food only, $63/person.  If you opt to take advantage of the wine pairings, the price is $82/person.  This menu offers some interesting selections indeed, with starters such as a Spiced Quince/Bay Scallop Tarlette and a Mesquite Smoked Pumpkin Soup.  For an entree, choose between a Maple-Chimayo Chile Glazed Free Range Turkey (with all the trimmings) or an Achiote Roasted Pork Loin.  Desserts include Sunken Chocolate Cake or a Caramelized Pear Upside-Down Gingerbread.  Tough choices to make!
125 East Palace Avenue

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Thanksgiving Dinner in Santa Fe

If you are planning to savor a Thanksgiving Feast in Santa Fe, we recommend that you book in advance. Most of the big hotels will be serving throughout the afternoon and early evening, and some of the smaller restaurants will also be open.  A couple of these places are within easy walking for our guests at the Hacienda Nicholas Bed & Breakfast Inn.  My top picks are:

Santa Cafe
(Just about five blocks from Hacienda Nicholas)
From $45-$58, Child's Plate is $25
Seating 2-8:30pm

Menu Highlights:
Lobster Bisque
Crispy Calamari with Lime Dipping Sauce
French Onion Tart with Arugula and Goat Cheese
Roast Organic Turkey with all the Trimmings
Prosciutto-Wrapped Sea Bass  with Sweet Red Pepper Cream
Roasted Butternut Squash with Mascarpone Cheese Ravioli, Truffles, Sauteed Leeks
Pumpkin Pie
Tres Leche Cake
Warm Chocolate Upside Down Cake

Fuego Restaurant
(just one block from Hacienda Nicholas)
$90/person, $70/seniors, $35/children
Seating from 3pm-9pm

Menu Highlights:
Roasted Butternut Bisque
Whole Roasted Turkey & Trimmings - carved at the table!!!
Warm Chocolate Ganache with Raspberry Syrup and Cardamon Ice Cream

Tabla de los Santos
(at the St. Francis Hotel)
Seating from 1pm-7pm

Menu Highlights:
Chile Relleno
Stuffed Sopapillas
Butternut Squash Soup
Roasted Free Range Turkey
Grilled Quail or Salmon
Grilled Filet Mignon
Tres Leches Cake
Dixon Apple Pie

Terra Restaurant
(at Encantado - a 15 minute drive from town)
Seating from 11am-8pm

Menu Highlights:
Butternut Squash Soup
Warm Goat Cheese Salad
Chilled Seafood Plate
Turkey Dinner with all the Trimmings
Foie Gras-roasted Turkey Breast
Prime Rib of Black Angus au Jus
Agave-grilled Tasmanian Salmon
"Three Sister's" Enchiladas
Infinite Dessert Buffet

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Traditional Feast Day Dances at Santa Fe Area Pueblos

Every winter guests at the Hacienda Nicholas Bed & Breakfast enjoy the sacred dancing, drumming and prayers of Feast Day Dances at some of the nearby pueblos.  These dances are not meant as entertainment, but rather religious ceremonies.  Each part of these ceremonial dances is a prayer, for everything from a bountiful harvest or hunt to good weather and good health.  These age-old rituals are performed for the good of all people and the entire planet.  The belief is that the energy of these prayers and ceremonies will have a profound and positive effect on the spirits who dictate weather and conditions on a global scale.

It is important to remember that these traditional Feast Day Dances are religious ceremonies, therefore proper etiquette is required.  Guests are asked to be respectful and act as they would when attending a church service.

Winter Feast Day dances take place from November 12 through February 2, with many choices on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.  Click here for a schedule of dances at various area pueblos.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Santa Fe Symphony Orchestra & Chorus Present Handel's Messiah

Over the years, guests of the Hacienda Nicholas Bed & Breakfast Inn have enjoyed many world-class events at Santa Fe's historic Lensic Performing Arts Center.  Coming up on November 21, at 4pm only,  is an opportunity to hear the renowned Santa Fe Symphony Orchestra's acclaimed annual performance of Handel’s Messiah.  The performance will  feature the full symphony and chorus, with Guest Conductor Tom Hall, Choral Director Linda Raney, and acclaimed guest soloists: Martha Guth, soprano, Katherine Drago, mezzo-soprano, Jorge Prego, tenor, and Stephen Morscheck, bass-baritone.

Ticket prices range from $20-$70  and include a pre-concert lecture at 3pm.  Tickets may be purchased by phone at (505) 988-1234, at the Lensic Theater or online.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Ride the Range with the Broken Saddle Riding Co.

Many a guest of The Hacienda Nicholas Bed & Breakfast has enjoyed a ride with the Broken Saddle Riding Co.  Imagine yourself as a Wild West cowboy as you are treated to spectacular views while riding the beautiful hills and canyons of the Cerrillos Hills Historic Park and amble through abandoned silver and turquoise mines.  Harold and his guides have a stable full of well-trained and smooth-riding Tennessee Walkers and Missouri Fox Trotters.  Groups are never larger than five, and depending on skill level, you can walk, trot, canter or gallop.

I have done these rides on a few occasions. The first time was with my children, at a slower pace, when we had time to really investigate the mines and hear about the history of the area.  The second time was a spectacular sunset ride, when we were able to get going at quite a gallop.  Whew - what a blast!  The third time we had to bundled into dusters, provided by Broken Saddle, as it had begun to rain and was getting pretty chilly.  The dusters kept us warm and dry, and I really got to feeling like a buckaroo, riding rain or shine.

For more information or to make an appointment, call (505)242-7774 or see what they have to offer online.  They are open year 'round, and will make sure you stay happy and comfortable, no matter what the weather.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Kowboyz - A Dream Come True for Lovers of all Things Cowboy

Our Cowboy Innkeeper at Hacienda Nicholas Bed & Breakfast, Greg Uzmann, has quite an impressive collection of vintage boots, hats and shirts.  Almost all have come from a little shop in the Railyard area of Santa Fe called Kowboyz. While Greg is serving up his Southwestern Breakfast Enchilada or Blue Corn Waffles, he will happily tell you the tale behind his newest boots or hat, and give you a special discount coupon for the store so you too can get outfitted in style - while also staying within your budget.

There are plenty of western wear shops in Santa Fe, but many of them are very pricey and don't have anywhere near the inventory of this shop.  Kowboyz professes to have 5000 pair of new and 'happily' used boots for men, women and children.

In some ways it is preferable to get the 'happily' used boots so you don't have to suffer through breaking in a new pair of boots yourself!

They also offer a large selection of vintage cowboy (and cowgirl) shirts for only $10 each.  These are bargain basement prices compared with most anything else you will find in town.

The store, originally located in Hollywood, has outfitted many a star.  They also supplied the wardrobe for the film, 'Crazy Heart', which was filmed in Santa Fe.  Check out Kowboyz, and come out dressed like a star!

The shop is open seven days a week, from 10am-6pm, and is located at 345 W. Manhattan, across from the Santa Fe Train Depot.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Superb Hiking in and Around Santa Fe

 The Hacienda Nicholas Bed & Breakfast Inn attracts many hikers and, more often than not, they avail themselves to our hiking books and maps of the area.   In addition, there are some great outdoors stores nearby, in case you left your hiking attire at home but can't resist the call of the wild.  One of the better local stores is Sangre de Cristo Mountain Works,  located in the railyard area.  Their staff is a font of knowledge on all mountain sports available in the Santa Fe area, from hiking to rock climbing, snow shoeing to skiing.  You will find a number of the more popular day hikes of Santa Fe on their website, and of course they can supply you with all the best hiking boots, outerwear, hats and miscellaneous outdoor gear you may need.

On occasion our guests prefer the services of an experienced guide in order to go places they may not easily find on their own, or to take advantage of the guide's wealth of knowledge.  We have found the services of Outspire to be outstanding.  Karen Dennison and her staff will tailor a hike suitable to any level of physical ability and specific area of interest.  You may call them at (505)606-0394 to schedule a hike to meet your needs - choose from hiking through spectacular volcanic canyons, viewing the aspens, marveling at the unusual Tent Rocks and so much more.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Madrid - a Glimpse of New Mexico Past and Present

When guests of The Hacienda Nicholas Bed & Breakfast Inn are looking for an interesting day-trip, we often suggest a jaunt to the town of Madrid.  The town, situated on the Turquoise Trail just south of Santa Fe, boasts a rich and colorful history.  Coal mining began in the area as early as 1835, and Madrid became a 'company town' for the miners and their families, with a population of 2500.

The mines closed up in the 1950's and Madrid became a ghost town, its old frame buildings, schools and shops falling into disrepair. In the 1960's it became a bit of a hippie haven, and then a mecca for artists fleeing the exorbitantly high prices of Santa Fe.

Today the town is home to only about 300 residents, but has a bustling and funky main street where visitors can shop in over 40 shops for locally-made crafts, jewelry, clothing, pottery, hand-blown glass and art.

A favorite haunt (no pun intended, but the place is said to be haunted!)  is the Mine Shaft Tavern, serving food (delicious green chile burgers), drink and live music to a varied clientele.  It is a favorite pit stop of Harley riders on the weekends, as well as artists, musicians and visitors from all around the world.  This restaurant probably captures the essence of Madrid better than anywhere else.

Also of interest are the Old Coal Mine Museum and the delightful Tinkertown Museum (24 miles further south), where you can see a miniature Old West Town and an animated Three Ring Circus.   

(photos courtesy of Greg Uzmann,  Hacienda Nicholas Innkeeper)

Winter Wonderland in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains

Winter is officially right around the corner in Santa Fe, with night-time temperatures dipping below freezing and the first snow on the Sangre de Cristo Mountains.  Guests at Hacienda Nicholas Bed & Breakfast Inn are enjoying snuggling under thick down comforters and relaxing in front of the fireplaces in their rooms and the inn's welcoming Great Room.

After a warming breakfast at the inn, guests have just a short drive to gain access to winter fun at the Santa Fe Ski Basin, cross country skiing on one of the many trails off the Ski Basin Road, sledding, hiking or simply building snowmen and making angels in the soft, powdery snow.  It is a winter wonderland up there.

After a day in the snow, put your feet up in front of the crackling fire, sip a glass of wine, and get down to the serious task of figuring out where to experience some fine Santa Fe dining. 

(Photos courtesy of Greg Uzmann, Hacienda Nicholas Bed & Breakfast Innkeeper, who says:  "We live in the heart of God. It oozes up from the ground, it blankets us from above, it surrounds us in beauty and light.  These photos were taken from The Cross of the Martyrs, about 100 yards from the Hacienda Nicholas' front door. Does life get any better than this? I never tire of this place - it is constantly changing, consistently beautiful, and it always soothes my restless cowboy soul.)

Monday, October 25, 2010

Aspen Santa Fe Ballet gives a Stunning Performance!

The historic Lensic Theater, just seven blocks from The Hacienda Nicholas Bed & Breakfast Inn, hosted the internationally-renowned Aspen Santa Fe Ballet this past Friday, October 22. The company, now entering its 15th year, has performed in such esteemed settings as the Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival, Kennedy Center, the Joyce Theatre and Wolftrap.

This contemporary ballet company is known for commissioning inventive and intellectually stimulating pieces, and their repertoire runs the gamut from being very sensual to very athletic.  The most spectacular piece performed this past Friday was a piece called "Uneven", choreographed by Cayetano Soto.  Particularly mesmerizing was the dancing by William Cannon, whose long-limbs seemed to fill the entire theatre with graceful strength.  This young company is well worth a trip to Santa Fe!

The company will perform "The Nutcracker" in Santa Fe on December 11 and 12, which is always a crowd-pleaser and a favorite holiday activity for all ages.  Aspen Santa Fe Ballet will be back at the Lensic Theatre on March 11 and 12 to celebrate their 15th Anniversary, with a debut of two new ballets from choreographers Jiri Kylian and Nicolo Fonte, as well as a repeat of the spectacular Uneven. Call the Lensic now to book your tickets at (505)988-1234 or book online.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

The Remarkable Box Canyon at Ghost Ranch

An outing to O'Keeffe country is a favorite day-trip of guests from the Hacienda Nicholas Bed & Breakfast Inn.  Along with a visit to Ghost Ranch, we suggest that you also plan to hike the very accessible Box Canyon Trail (photo on the left taken by innkeeper Greg Uzmann).  This trail was a favorite of Georgia O'Keeffe herself, and spending time in this part of New Mexico will undoubtedly give you a better appreciation for her work.

The Box Canyon hike is about five miles in total, and hiking the whole trail should take about three hours.  Be sure to bring hats, water and sunscreen!

The history of this area is particularly interesting - in the early 19th century rustlers drove stolen cattle into the canyon and kept them there until it was safe to sell them off.  This nefarious business was ratcheted up by the Archuleta brothers in the late 1800's.  They opened a lodging establishment where guests checked in...but never checked out.  Instead, they were murdered, and their horses and other belongings were stolen.  It was said that one could hear the echos of all of these poor murdered souls, and so the area was christened "Ghost Ranch". 

Should you still have time before enjoying your evening Wine & Appetizer at Hacienda Nicholas, take a quick tour of the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum while the images of the day are still fresh in your mind.  The museum is just a few blocks from the inn.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Tent Rocks has Re-Opened

After closing for the greater part of this past summer and fall for roadwork, the Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument is once again open to visitors.  Our guests at both Hacienda Nicholas Bed & Breakfast Inn and The Madeleine Bed & Breakfast Inn have been enjoying some rewarding day-trips to visit this incredible geogolic phenomena, just 40 miles southwest of Santa Fe.

This is a spectacular geologic phenomenon formed by layers of volcanic ash and rock which have eroded over time to create a series of tent-shaped formations and canyons.  This is a fairly easy hike, allowing you to go through a slot canyon and up onto the mesa, offering stunning views of the Sangre de Cristo and Jemez mountains.  This image was shot by Hacienda Nicholas innkeeper, Greg Uzmann.  This place is a hiker's and photographer's paradise! 

Monday, October 18, 2010

Experience the Serenity and Majesty of the Valles Caldera

For those of you captivated by the thought of heading off to Jemez Springs after a hearty breakfast at the Hacienda Nicholas Bed & Breakfast, you may want to include a visit to the spectacular Valles Caldera National Preserve, located just a stone's throw away.

The 89,000 acre property is situated inside a collapsed volcanic crater and offers an incredible sense of peace and solitude, as well as the opportunity to see a range of wildlife, from adorable little prairie dogs to coyote, deer and elk herds.  Once a private ranch, the property became a National Preserve in 2000 and allows only a limited number of visitors, ensuring a magical and almost private experience in this remarkable part of New Mexico.

There are a myriad of activities possible in this area, from hunting to hiking, sleigh rides to skiing, as well as horseback riding, fishing and great photo opportunities.  The photo above was taken by the Hacienda Nicholas innkeeper, Greg Uzmann, who has become very knowledgeable about Santa Fe and the surrounding area over the past several years.  Greg will be happy to discuss a day-trip to the Valles Caldera in greater detail as you munch away on your Stuffed Blueberry French Toast or other delicious breakfast served at The Hacienda Nicholas.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Enchanting Jemez Springs

Because so many of our guests are repeat visitors to both Hacienda Nicholas Bed & Breakfast and our sister property, The Madeleine Inn, we are always on the lookout for new adventures for our guests.  Greg, the 'cowboy' innkeeper at Hacienda Nicholas, spends most weekends scouting in and around Santa Fe for new sights to recommend.  He recently spent a day in Jemez Springs, a little piece of heaven on earth just an hour's drive from Santa Fe, and returned with spectacular photos, including this image on the left, along with a greater appreciation for New Mexico's scenic beauty and history.

The Jemez Mountain Trail offers incredible vistas and photo opportunities, from breath-taking red rock mesas to the hot springs bubbling up throughout the Valley.   The area is also rich in history and culture.  Make sure you visit the remains of a Spanish Mission built in 1621, and as well as the ruins of the Jemez Pueblo.

 After a day of touring, you can choose to soak au natural in any of the four hot springs administered by the US Forest Service (call 575.829.3535 for current conditions and accessibility) or relax in a charming facilities of the Giggling Springs , the oldest bath house in the area.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Santa Fe Farmer's Market

A highlight for guests of Hacienda Nicholas this fall is a visit to the Santa Fe Farmer's Market.  Ted and I went this past weekend and delighted in the aroma of fresh-roasting green chile and some of the most gorgeous dahlias ever seen.  This is such an enjoyable venue for locals and visitors alike.  We found the ideal ingredients for a tasty picnic to enjoy in the mountains, among the aspens:  juicy red tomatoes, flavorful basil, scrumptious fresh mozzarella, crunchy baguettes, crunchy tart apples and tasty pies.  Enjoy music provided by local classical, jazz or blues artists. 

If you are lucky, the New Mexico Rail Runner will pull in while you are there - a treat for all ages!
Santa Fe Farmer's Market:  1607 Paseo de Peralta
Tuesday and Saturday:  7am-noon
Thursday  3pm-7pm

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Aspen Santa Fe Ballet to Perform at the Lensic

Guests from The Hacienda Nicholas Bed & Breakfast Inn and The Madeleine Bed & Breakfast Inn will be able to stroll down to the historic Lensic Theater for what promises to be a stellar performance by the Aspen Santa Fe Ballet.

Because their August performance was a sold-out event, this highly-acclaimed troupe is returning to Santa Fe for encore performances of Cayetanos Soto's "Uneven", as well as Nicolo Fonte's exciting "In Hidden Seconds" and the choreography of Jorma Elo in "Red Sweet".
Don't miss this vibrant young company performing in the landmark Lensic Theatre on Friday, October 22, 2010, at 7:30pm.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Santa Fe Lensic Showcases Talent just blocks from Bed and Breakfast Inns

The Hacienda Nicholas and Madeleine Inn are only a couple of blocks from the Lensic Theatre in Santa Fe. October is a showcase month at this classic theatre which hosts an array of entertainment every year.  Originally built in 1931 as a Vaudeville Stage and Movie House the restored Historic theatre hosts everything from Film to Music, Dance and Lectures.  An entertainment showcase on San Francisco Street this beautiful Performing Arts Center ties cultural events together all through winter and spring for locals and tourists.  Guests of the Bed and Breakfasts enjoy wonderful entertainment as the leaves turn and the snow begins to fall.  Please plan your travels to Santa Fe early and be sure to review the Arts Calendar at the Lensic for shows like Martin Sexton, Joan Osborne, Santa Fe Chamber in October and American Ballet, Santa Fe Symphony and Chorus - Performing Handels Messiah and Circus Luminous in November.  December is of course a fabulous time to visit Santa Fe as the Holiday Festivities offer memorable beauty to last a lifetime!  Come to see what everyone is talking about in Santa Fe.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Southwest Flavor, Fun and Fall!

The Hacienda Nicholas B & B in Santa Fe is just a stones throw from the Santa Fe Plaza!  Uniquely set at in a quiet corner of town with easy access to Fort Marcy Park, Shopping on the Plaza, World Class Restaurants and Theatre this charming little Bed and Breakfast Inn has it all!  Enjoy the feel of an authentic Southwest Adobe Home with charming indoor and outdoor lounging, fireplaces and gardens.  Traditional Santa Fe Decor, history and hospitality abound once you step within the walls of this quaint New Mexican compound. 

The Inn is just steps away from it's sister inn - The Madeleine Inn and Absolute Nirvana Spa.  Guests have a plethora of Lodging choices at the Hacienda Nicholas including 4 authentic B & B rooms within the main house, 3 Large Suites with private entrances and 4 Private Casitas which offer nightly, weekly and monthly accommodations just a short walk from the main Hacienda.  Enjoy the taste, scents and seasons of Santa Fe this Fall at Hacienda Nicholas!