Sunday, December 9, 2012

Christmas Eve Magic in Santa Fe

The Hacienda Nicholas Bed & Breakfast Inn is perfectly situated in the midst of Santa Fe's historic east side, allowing guests to easily walk to the Plaza and Canyon Road.  This location is particularly ideal on Christmas Eve, when Canyon road and the surrounding residential neighborhood are transformed into a magical fairyland during the annual Farolito Walk.  Adobe walls and rooftops are lined with actual farolitos - small brown paper bags illuminated from within by a small candle - as opposed to the pervasive plastic "bagolitos" that appear right around Thanksgiving!  On every block you will also see luminarias, small bonfires where people gather to chat and sing Christmas carols while warming up.

I personally prefer doing the walk at about 10:30-11pm, when the crowds have dispersed and one can walk along quiet streets illuminated by the soft glow of thousands of flickering candles.  I also recommend venturing off Canyon Road itself, and exploring some of the little alleys and side streets of the neighborhood.  Being in a less-traveled area lends to the mystical nature of the evening even during the height of the walk.

Lastly, if you are heading out for dinner from Hacienda Nicholas, you will want to choose a place within walking distance.  Traffic is exceedingly heavy in the neighborhood on Christmas Eve, as the farolito walk is attracts locals and visitors alike who drive into town from miles around.  Check out Mucho Gusto, La Boca, Il Piatto or The Shed, and make your reservations early!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Christmas Music in Santa Fe

The Hacienda Nicholas Bed & Breakfast Inn is decorated for the Christmas holidays, as is much of the rest of Santa Fe.  Adobe walls are lined with farolitos, and the Plaza is festooned with garlands and magical lights.  Adding to the holiday spirit are a number of concerts presented by the renowned Santa Fe Desert Chorale, running from December 14 through December 31, 2012.

The Desert Chorale, famous for its glorious and inspiring voices, is a favorite of both locals and returning visitors.  My favorite is the "Carols and Lullabies" concert in the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis.  The cathedral itself if beautifully decorated for the Christmas holidays, and the program features traditional and more contemporary carols from around the world, from Ave Maria to Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, and closing with Silent Night.  These concerts are scheduled for December 14, 18, 20, 21 and 22 at 8pm.  Tickets run from $15-$65.

For those of you who like to sing along, the Desert Chorale offers "The Big Holiday Sing", which combines the voices of the Desert Chorale with the New Mexico Concern Choir and the Rio Grande Youth Chorale.  This program, perfect for the whole family, focuses on favorite carols and popular music of the season.  This performance, surely the largest choral gathering in New Mexico, takes places on December 15 at 2pm at Santa Fe's Cristo Rey Church.  Tickets are $20 and $25, and Free for children five and under.

The Desert Chorale will also welcome the New Year with their "Toast to the New Year" on December 28, 29, 30 and 31 at the famous Loretto Chapel.  This concert, beginning at 8pm, will feature colonial hymns, Sephardic folk songs, and French melodies.  The evening ends with the Chorale's beautiful rendition of Auld Lang Syne.  Ticket prices range from $30-$45.

Tickets for these magnificent concerts may be purchased at