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.