You are planning a trip, let’s say, and you want to organize it around a fantastic outdoor event. You are the outdoorsy type, but also sophisticated. Perhaps you are intrigued by the idea of really getting to know a place with your body, by moving through that space with intense physical activity and the adrenaline rush that comes from crossing the finish line. Maybe you are like me and excitement comes from the anticipation of dressing up and seeing something truly beautiful, such as art, inspired by love and passion. The renaissance traveler is back and most people are looking for a little of both elements when exploring a new destination.
Santa Fe, New Mexico has the perfect combination of elegance and cool, sport and drink. When deciding where to go next, check out these four fun and exhilarating outdoor options that satisfy both the art lover and athlete.
1. Indian Market. This is my personal favorite and a must for any art collector. A destination for over 90 years, this gathering of Native American art and artists is “unrivaled in size and prestige”. Music, paintings, sculpture, costumes, dance and jewelry fill the plaza with their beauty and stories. Don’t panic like I did and miss out on purchasing that impeccable piece. Pull the trigger when you see art you love, you won’t be disappointed I promise.
Where to Stay: Rosewood Inn of the Anasazi. You will be steps from the market for easy access and ability to drop off that large hand-painted drum that was just purchased. The interior design matches the sophistication of the art you experience at the market and the luxury rooms and rustic chic library are the perfect refuge after a hot day of art collecting.
2. Outside Bike and Brew Festival. The name says it all. Group rides, cruiser tours, a bike poker run, Tour de Brewer rides led by a pro rider and of course lots of beer. Craft beer from New Mexico and Colorado (hey how did you get in here?) will be featured, plus five days of beer-infused events. Grab your bike and join the 8,500 people who have already experienced this one year-old festival.
Where to Stay: Hotel Chimayo. It’s large rooms and open walkways are perfect for bikes. The fireplaces and wrought-iron decor match the tough urban-hipster vibe you feel after talking micro-brew with fellow bikers. For even more “cool” grab a drink at the Low-n-Slow Lowrider Bar in the hotel to talk to people who like a different sort of ride.
3. The Santa Fe Opera. This is the ultimate outdoor experience in Santa Fe. Many people who attend forget the story line of the opera but they never forget the view and the blood orange sunset over the red hills. Beams and cables hold up the roof but the sides are open so the attendees feel the sweet New Mexican breeze while listening to the latest diva. This is a magical experience. Everyone should have the pleasure of seeing an opera here at least once. For the optimum evening, begin the night with either a tailgate (they run the gamut from food out of a cooler to candelabra-decorated tables), or the buffet dinner ticket replete with pre-show talks.
Where to Stay: Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado. The class of the opera deserves the refined style of the Four Seasons. Adobe inspired yet ultra-modern this luxury resort has everything you need to feel like a star. The dining option is as incredible as the view of the surrounding desert. Terra’s chef Andrew Cooper brings organic, locally-sourced ingredients to his cuisine. Guests can even take a cooking class right in the kitchen with him and take a tour of his garden. I highly recommend ordering the “Culinary Journey” off the menu and enjoying Chef Cooper’s expert tasting choices.
4. Santa Fe Thunder Half Marathon. This non-profit event was started to empower youth through the love and participation in sports. Running is an integral part of native culture and this race takes runners past the Santa Fe Opera, through the Tesuque Pueblo on the way to Pojoaque, a route that Native American ancestors ran and walked throughout history. There is also a shorter challenge, a 5K run and a 1 mile fitness walk, and all races have live music to inspire runners along the way.
Where to Stay: The Bishop’s Lodge Ranch Resort and Spa. This family-friendly resort has a fantastic array of activities for guests of all ages. Horseback riding, camps for kids, croquet, art clubs, mountain biking, tennis, a large pool, the award-winning Sha’Nah Spa, bird watching and savoring hearty New Mexican cuisine on the patio are just a few of the ways to enjoy this beautiful setting. Bishop’s Lodge carries with it a lot of history, much like the Thunder Half Marathon, being built in the Little Tesuque Valley surrounding Bishop Lamy’s historic chapel.
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