Our New Mexico adventure continues! If you missed Part 1, click here.
For the lunch on our third day, we enjoyed an outdoor meal at one of Santa Fe's historic eateries, Cowgirl Hall of Fame BBQ, where girls dressed in cut-offs, boots and hats served us chunky veggie chili with cactus-shaped cornbread, fajitas and an incredibly decadent beer-encrusted goat cheese stuffed chili pepper - as amazing as it sounds. We loved the relaxed and friendly vibe here.
While exploring the quaint and winding streets of downtown, it's impossible not to fall in love with the city's Pueblo-Spanish-cowboy culture, adobe architecture, turquoise doors, Native American jewelry, drying chile pepper ristras, artisan pottery, and the scents of piñon pine and juniper.
We stopped by Santa Fe Spirits for some pre-dinner drinks, the city's premiere artisan distillery. My mom sampled their award-winning whiskeys, gin, vodka and apple brandy, while I sipped a surprise-ingredient mocktail whipped up by the bartender just for me and baby.
The next day, we set off on a road trip to experience New Mexico's vast and scenic countryside. But not without a stop at Santa Fe's big Saturday morning Farmer's Market held at the Railyard, where we admired their flowers, local produce and colorful craft booths.
Our first stop outside the city was El Santuariò de Chimayó, a little adobe church 30 minutes north, for some holy dirt! Locals have been known to walk for miles to worship there, carrying heavy crosses, seeking a cure for their afflictions. Inside is a small prayer room with a hole in the ground filled with sacred reddish soil. People have been known to rub it on their bodies, sprinkle it over their food or brew it in tea for healing purposes. Legends say the hole is miraculously replenished by divine intervention - but we later learned that priests refill it with dirt from the surrounding mountains and even store-bought dirt - wah wah.
Holy or not - we love a good story and couldn't resist filling up a plastic baggie of our own to take home. And I have to say, pregnancy aches and pains were non-existent on the flight home! ;)
We planned on spending the entire afternoon in Taos, but we were underwhelmed with the town and left early to experience some relaxation at Ojo Caliente mineral springs resort, nestled in a valley west of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains.
Arriving just in time for dinner, we dined at their restaurant, The Artesian, known for its farm to table menu, using organic fruits, veggies and herbs grown on-site. Chef Paul Novak wowed us with a mouth-watering grilled artichoke with garlic lemon aoili, the prettiest apple-piñon-feta salad (that matched my purple prickly-pear lemonade), enchiladas with handmade corn tortillas and a roasted vegetable chile relleno with quinoa piñon tamales.
Guess how well we slept after that exquisite meal + an evening spa massage?
We spent our final day lazing around, napping in hammocks and soaking in Ojo's natural hot springs - all deemed sacred by local Native American tribes. Each of the 4 types of sulfur-free mineral waters are healing in different ways:
- Lithia - relieves depression
- Iron - benefits the immune system
- Soda - aids digestion
- Arsenic - helps with arthritis, stomach issues and skin conditions
We left Ojo feeling relaxed, rejuvenated and ready for the long flight home.
It was beyond special being able to spend this quality time with my mom before baby arrives. Especially in the Land of Enchantment. New Mexico, you've captured our hearts.... all three of them.
This post is sponsored by Tourism Santa Fe and the above establishments. The content and opinions are all my own. Thank you for supporting the sponsors that keep Happiness Is running!