Sunday, September 29, 2013

Once in a Decade Museum Shop Sale!

It is not unusual for guests to compare museum experiences over breakfast each morning at The Hacienda Nicholas Bed  & Breakfast Inn.  Perhaps the most popular museum on Santa Fe's Museum Hill is the International Folk Art Museum, with hundreds of pieces of folk art from around the world.  Also popular is the newer Museum of Spanish Colonial Art and the two museums featuring antique Native American art:  The Wheelwright and the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture.

All of these museums have terrific shops, with an array of fabulous items at reasonable prices. On October 5th, however, is a golden opportunity to shop til you drop at the New Mexico Museum Tent Sale, when all merchandise from each museum shop will be sold at 25-90% off!  Peruse the 10,000 items, which include jewelry, crafts, textiles, books, cards, stationery and prints and you will surely find treasures for yourself and to give as gifts.  This sale only happens about once a decade, so you won't want to miss out on all the fabulous deals.


Sunday, September 22, 2013

Santa Fe's 23rd Annual Wine & Chile Fiesta


Santa Fe has its share of fiestas and notable events throughout the year, most within walking distance of the Hacienda Nicholas Bed & Breakfast.   One of the most enjoyable and highly-anticipated is the Wine & Chile Fiesta, where walking distance might well be a very welcome attribute.  The five day celebration of food and wine runs from September 25-29, 2013.  Due to its increasing popularity, I highly recommend purchasing your tickets online as soon as possible:  as of today only 200 of the 2500 tickets for the Grand Tasting!

The annual event brings 75 of Santa Fe's most notable restaurants (La BocaThe CompoundSantacafe and Restaurant Martin are some of my favorites) together with 100 national and international wineries.  In addition to food and wine tastings on both a large and small scale (a tour of Georgia O'Keeffe's home in Abique followed by lunch at Tomme is a top pick), are demonstrations by some of the country's top chefs (Chef John Rivera Sedler - named "Chef of the Year 2011" by Equire Magazine, among other national food celebrities), food-oriented walking tours, and a selection of wine seminars.

The highlight of this extravaganza is the Grand Tasting, taking place on September 28th at the Santa Fe Opera, which includes all participants of the fiesta under huge white tents.  Imagine sampling the best food of Santa Fe together with wines from New Mexico to Mexico, Chile to France, while enjoying the opera's stunning views of New Mexico landscapes.  The cost of the event is $150 per person, and worth every dollar.

The weekend culminates with the 20th Annual Gruet Golf Classic at the Towa Golf Course, just 15 minutes from town, on September 29th.  Every third hole features one of the Gruet Winery's delicious sparkling wines paired with food from a different Santa Fe restaurant.  Golf never tasted so fine!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Station to Station Stops Off in Santa Fe

Not far from the Hacienda Nicholas Bed & Breakfast Inn is the Santa Fe stop of Station to Station, a 3-week train journey from New York to San Francisco connecting "leading figures and underground creators from the worlds of art, music, food, literature, and film for a series of cultural interventions and site-specific happenings."  This innovative multi-media nomadic happening is the brainchild of artist Doug Aitken, with backing from the Levi's brand.  The train itself has been refurbished to become a moving piece kinetic light sculpture and stage, which will make stops at nine train stations across the country.

The Santa Fe event, taking place at the Santa Fe Farmer's Market Pavilion from 6-10:30pm on September 18th, has been sold out for some time now.   You might want to head down to the Railyard to see if anyone has tickets for sale, but otherwise, the art installations are open to the public in the Railyard Plaza.

Aitken seeks to explore the age-old questions of "Who are we?  Where are we going?  How can we express ourselves?"  Check out this monumental event wherever you can, and see what sorts of answers you yourself come up with after seeing this gathering of many of the country's ground-breaking contemporary artists.


Friday, September 6, 2013

Santa Fe's Beloved Pet Parade

The Hacienda Nicholas Bed & Breakfast Inn is just one block from the route of Santa Fe's beloved Pet Parade, so eat an early breakfast (tomorrow's dish is a yummy Southwestern Frittata) and be sure to be on the corner of Marcy and Paseo de Peralta by 9am to see the full parade.

Along with the famous burning of Zozobra, the Pet Parade is one of the highlights of the annual Santa Fe Fiesta celebration.  The parade will take place Saturday, September 7th from 9-11am, and consists of over 1000 children and their pets, all dressed up in a variety of costumes.  The event, which got its start in 1920, gives children a chance to show off a range of family pets: from dogs, cats and rabbits to the more unusual lamas, chickens, goats, turtles and more.  The creativity of the costumes is astounding.  You might see anything from mini Zozobras to zebra-painted kittens, guinea pig pirates to ghoulish ghosts.  Some of the get-ups are incredibly elaborate, and it is definitely not just for children.  The Pet Parade is truly a delight for viewers of all ages.


Sunday, September 1, 2013

The Annual Burning of Zozobra


The Hacienda Nicholas Bed & Breakfast Inn is ideally situated for guests to enjoy the upcoming events of Santa Fe's Annual Fiesta.  This three day cultural and religious celebration began in 1712 to commemorate the returning of the Spanish colonists to Santa Fe.  This year the Fiesta kicks off with a Fiesta Arts & Crafts Market on the Plaza and a Mariachi Extravaganza at the Santa Fe Opera on September 1.  Throughout the week will be more festivities on the Plaza, such as Mariachi Music, dancing, foods, and parades, along with special masses.

One of the highlights of Fiesta is the Burning of Zozobra, now in its 89th year, which will occur on Thursday, September 5, 2013 at Fort Marcy Park.  Gates open at 3pm, with entertainment beginning at 7pm.  The event consists of the burning of a 50 foot tall effigy known as "Old Man Gloom", a huge puppet representing all the year's hardships and disappointments.  At dusk small fires are lit on the stage just in front of Zozobra and the Fire Dancers begin their dance, jumping and cavorting around in an attempt to frighten away the bad spirits.  The crowd grows increasingly animated, yelling out a chorus of "Burn him!  Burn him! Burn him!".  Once it is fully dark, the fire dancers light the base of the giant marionette, and as he catches fire he begins to moan and groan, waving his arms in the air, his enormous eyes glowing and rolling around.  It is a rather horrid yet spellbinding event.  As Zozobra burns, all the past year's 'doom and gloom' one has experienced burns away with him.  The finale comes with a burst a fireworks as flames engulf Zozobra's head, with the crowd going wild.

Following the burning, many people proceed to the Plaza where there is music, food and dancing.  Because of the popularity of this event, which draws about 50,000 viewers each year, I highly recommend leaving your car in the lot and walking to wherever you wish to go.  One can choose to participate with a close-up view of the burning by purchasing tickets (buy in advance online for just $10 each at http://burnzozobra.com/buy-my-tickets-now) and being part of the scene in Ft. Marcy.  In this case, go early and bring a picnic supper.  Bear in the mind that the closer you sit to the stage, the wilder it will get as the evening progresses.  For those wishing to avoid the big crowds, walk two blocks from the inn and head up to the Cross of the Martyrs.  You will have a great view and far less jostling about as you burn your doom and gloom.

For those choosing to avoid this event altogether, please know that many restaurants in the downtown area will be closed, so you will want to check into this ahead of time.  Best to leave your car in the lot as traffic is insane on Zozobra night.