This week long itinerary (The Beatles' version of "Eight Days a Week" that is) of things to do in Santa Fe and the area was put together by both Carolyn Lee, the owner, and Anna Tenaglia, the innkeeper at Hacienda Nicholas for the past seven years. Anna's many years of living in the Santa Fe area and her extensive innkeeping experience have been invaluable in putting this information together for you. Activities include touring Santa Fe museums and galleries, day trips to Taos, visits to ancient Anasazi Indian ruins, as well as pampering and relaxing treatments at our award-winning Absolute Nirvana Spa
These activities need not be done in any particular order, so feel free to pick and choose to suit your needs and desires. The itinerary is by no means comprehensive - we could keep you busy for an entire month! We invite you to peruse these options and then to speak further with your innkeeper to tailor the trip that is perfect for you. A great source for specific upcoming events is this Santa Fe Calendar
. You may also want to check out the menu book to get more ideas for restaurants. Santa Fe is chock full of fabulous dining possibilities. Please know that we are always available to help with ideas, directions and reservations.
Plaza Area and Downtown Museums
First day, explore the plaza! Start with a stroll down Palace Avenue to the Plaza and walk by the Native Americans selling their crafts under the portal at the Palace of the Governors. Don't know how to find the best quality for the price? Slip into Ortega's and Packards jewelry stores to do some comparison shopping. Ask to see a couple of pieces and feel the weight, heft and color of the silver. This should give you a good idea for comparing with the jewelry under the portal. Also remember the Indians under the portal make their own pieces, thereby cutting out the middleman, so prices should be a good deal lower for the same quality. All pieces are made by the seller or their family, and you can feel confident you are getting quality work. There are hundreds more shops in downtown Santa Fe featuring clothing, jewelry, art and an assortment of souvenirs of Santa Fe.
After a morning of shopping, head for lunch at The Shed
, a long-time favorite among visitors and locals for authentic New Mexican cuisine. "What makes it New Mexican?" you may ask - I'll tell you in just two words- red or green! Chile makes life worth living for many Santa Feans. Not only is it packed with flavor and vitamin C, it also gives a great endorphin boost. The heat from the chile causes the body to believe it is under attack and results in the production of endorphins. Because there is no injury to the body, the endorphins are free to circulate the body, making you feel euphoric after a New Mexican meal. Green chiles are grown primarily in the southern portion of the state, and arguments abound as to what region grows the best chile. Most of the hottest (and tastiest) come from Hatch, but fine varieties grow in Socorro. Many, however, would argue that the best red chile comes from Chimayo. The Shed offers chile perfection in a beautiful old adobe casa. Try the enchiladas with Christmas, which means you get both red and green chile. If you want to choose one over the other, go for red at The Shed. I prefer green when I eat at Tomasita's, another great spot featuring NM fare.
After lunch, you might enjoy a visit to the Palace of the Governors
, right on the Plaza. Originally built in the early 17th century as Spain's seat of government, it now houses two museums. One ticket allows access to both the original museum and the newly opened (August '09) New Mexico History Museum
, said to be one of the best history museums in the country.
Another small downtown museum is the New Mexico Museum of Art
. It features great works by many New Mexican artists, including woodcuts by Gustav Baumann. You may remember seeing several of these in prints hanging in the Hacienda Nicholas.
Now that you are culturally saturated and ready for a libation, head over to the historic La Fonda Hotel. Situated on the corner of the Plaza, this has been the site of hostelries since Spanish colonial times and is an integral part of Santa Fe's history. Many a public hanging occurred here, and the place is said to be haunted. Check out the beautiful lobby as you head for the bar. During warmer months, enjoy a margarita at the upstairs outdoor bar, with its memorable views of the entire downtown. Now, for dinner, walk 1 block west on San Francisco Street to Don Gaspar, turn left and walk down Water Street to Pasqual's
. This is one of my very favorite Santa Fe restaurants. The food is great, the atmosphere cozy, and the walls are adorned with lively Mexican murals. Reservations are definitely recommended during the high season. Even in the low season, Pasqual's stays packed with locals. Consider sitting at the community table to engage in interesting conversations with regulars. Try the poblano chile stuffed with goat cheese and covered with a tantalizing sauce. Yummers! Also noteworthy is the Thai style fish with coconut milk, or Oaxacan inspired mole (Mexican chicken with chocolate, chile and spices. Fab-u-lous!! Not always on the menu, but if it is order the homemade vanilla ice cream with reduced balsamic vinegar swirl. The combination of sweet and sour will knock your socks off! The mood here is casual and comfortable, but great attention to detail sets this Santa Fe institution in a class by itself.
Loretto Chapel, Absolute Nirvana Spa, Canyon Road
After breakfast ask your innkeeper to help you make a reservation at Absolute Nirvana
, our on-site Balinese style spa. I recommend the two hour Brown Sugar & Papaya treatment, though there are several others to choose from - including one with chocolate! You get a full body massage, exfoliation, mask & private steam, after which you'll step into a hand-carved granite soaking tub, surrounded by hundreds of red rose pedals. This is just what the doctor ordered after all that exercise yesterday! Be sure to make your appointment for the afternoon, because you have one "must see" outing to do this morning. Put on your walking shoes and make the 5 block hike downtown to the Loretto Chapel
. Built in 1878, this historic building includes the famous "miracle staircase".
Legend has it that after the church was built, the nuns found there was no way to get to the second level. They prayed a novena to St. Joseph for nine days, and on the last day of their prayers, a carpenter appeared and built the staircase on his own. When finished, he disappeared without pay or thanks. The staircase has two 360 degree turns, no visible means of support, and was all finished without nails or glue - a true miracle! Was it St. Joseph himself who built this staircase?
Now return to the inn and your "Absolute Nirvana" indulgence. This is what makes life worth living! Other options include the hot stone or deep tissue massage, both ideal for soothing aching muscles. Regardless of which treatment you select, know that the master-level therapists of Absolute Nirvana (all with 17-23 years of experience) will melt your stress and tension away, leaving you feeling relaxed and rejuvenated.
Afterward head for Canyon Road
- `the art and soul of Santa Fe'. You will notice Spanish colonial, Pueblo and American Territorial architecture as you stroll the ¾ of a mile length of the street, with over 5 dozen galleries displaying paintings, sculpture, jewelry, photography, clothing and antiques. Canyon Road made the map beginning in 1920 with the presence of Los Cinco Pintores (the Five Painters, otherwise known as the "five nuts in mud huts"), Fremont Ellis, Will Shuster, Willard Nash, Jozef Bakos and Wladyslaw Mruk. The area became a mecca for other artists, drawn to Santa Fe by the light, landscape and culture of New Mexico. These poor artists settled in among the old adobes of Canyon Road, living in the back rooms, using the front for studio space, and displaying their art on the sidewalks. This tradition of displaying artwork outside is carried on by the galleries that line the street today.
After the long trek up Canyon Road, you have the choice of settling in for a cup of tea at the Teahouse
or for a more serious libation across the street at El Farol
. El Farol is the oldest bar and restaurant in Santa Fe, specializing in tapas and Spanish food. The atmosphere is comfortable and friendly, and in the later hours the place fills up with regular locals who love to talk and kick it up on the dance floor. Housed in a quaint old adobe, there is a huge bar opening to a tiny dance floor. Most nights there is live music, featuring a variety of local talent, as well as a Flamenco Dinner Show on Saturday nights. This place is great for a fun night of eating, dancing, and drinking. Best of all, it is an easy walk from the inns, so you won't have to compromise yourself regarding alcohol consumption and driving. Have fun!
If the idea of tapas appeals to you, but you are not in the mood for such a wild evening, you might prefer the delectable menu at La Boca
, just three blocks from Hacienda Nicholas and the Madeleine. This European style tapas restaurant is a real treat. Tapas are small plates of exotic dishes that are meant to be shared. So let's say 2 diners ordered 4-5 items, they would have plenty to keep them busy. Try the Shrimp with Ginger, Moroccan style. Also noteworthy is the Carrot Hummus, Roasted Beets with Goat Cheese, and the Spiced Lamb with Mint Yogurt and Cucumber salad. The creative blending of flavors and ingredients make La Boca a favorite dining choice for locals and visitors alike.
Bandelier and Tsankawi Ruins, Valles Caldera
After breakfast at the Hacienda Nicholas take to your car for a fascinating trip to Bandelier National Monument
. Get an early start as there is much to see and do on this nature-packed outing. You may want to pack a picnic lunch for this itinerary, choosing from the deli at Whole Foods or delicious sandwiches and cookies from local favorite, Sage Bakehouse
. Start with a drive to Bandelier National Monument. From the visitor's center take a short 1.2 mile hike through Frijoles Canyon's archeological excavation site, complete with a pueblo village and cliff dwellings that have ladders set up so you can climb inside and look out, pretending to be an Indian scouting out the countryside from on high. Imagine living here as the Anasazi Indians did, hauling wood, water and babies up to your cave dwelling on the side of this magnificent cliff.
Now you have a couple of choices on where to venture next. You can certainly spend the entire day here, heading across the visitor center parking lot to find the trail head that leads to a five mile round trip hike to a waterfall and the Rio Grande River. However, I caution you to check with the ranger at the visitor's center to see if the waterfall is running (during times of drought it slows down to a trickle or can even stop altogether). This is a somewhat difficult hike at high altitude.
You may also choose to drive back towards Santa Fe, stopping at Tsankawi
, which is also within the park. The entrance to Tsankawi is 12 miles away, just past the 3rd stoplight. There is a gravel parking lot on the right. Tsankawi's 1.5 mile loop along the mesa has some incredible petroglyphs and pottery shards (please admire, but no not keep) in the ancestral pueblo village. One caveat - this trail is unpaved and is generally more rugged than the previous hike. It is also a fairly well kept secret, so you may be one of the only visitors, adding to the quiet mystery of the place.
Now, here is the best kept secret of all. From here drive 18 miles through Los Alamos, take Hwy 4 away from Bandelier to Valles Caldera National Preserve
. This is a unique experience for viewing beautiful vistas in an uncrowded setting of a collapsed crater. There are views of Redondo Peak (11,254 feet). The crowds are kept to a minimum so you have a real sense of solitude. This is achieved by having different activities scheduled for specific times. Please note - you must call and make a reservation for an activity beforehand. For information and reservations, call (866)382-5537 or see their calendar at events on their website. Activities include cross country skiing, snowshoeing, fly-fishing, equestrian trail riding, hiking and photo workshops.
After all this fresh air and exercise your thoughts may now turn toward your empty stomach. Heading back to Hacienda Nicholas or The Madeleine, your route will take you through Espanola. Stop here for dinner at El Paragua
, located just off Hwy 285 on Hwy 76. Housed in a quaint, old ivy-covered adobe, this New Mexico landmark serves all the great New Mexican favorites.
Day trip to Chimayo, Taos, Taos Pueblo
Get an early start as this day trip to Taos is packed with things to see and do. Start by heading north on Hwys 84/285 and taking exit 503 toward Chimayo. Stop in Chimayo to visit El Santuario de Chimayo
. This "most visited church in New Mexico", built in 1816, is also known as "The Lourdes of America". Unlike the more commonly found Spanish style churches of the state, with their huge, ornate and gilded interiors, this simple shrine is built of adobe (mud bricks) and has a quiet spirituality. Behind the altar and its miraculous crucifix is El Posito, a hole filled with a never-ending supply of "healing dirt". In the sacristy of the church you will see testimonials to past miracles, including discarded wheelchairs, crutches and braces, as well as fascinating homemade shrines. Take a baggy with you, as you are allowed to help yourself to some of this dirt. Chimayo is also known for its weavings. Stop at Ortega's Weavers
to learn more about this timeless art which has been practiced here by the Ortega family for nine generations.
Drive on toward the next town of Truchas to enjoy some spectacular mountain views. This picturesque town, nestled high in the hills, was also the location for "The Milagro Beanfield War". Continue on to Taos and head straight for the Taos Pueblo
, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which has been continuously inhabited by the Tiwa-speaking Native Americans for over 1000 years. It is also the largest multi-story Pueblo dwelling in the country. You might want to call ahead (575-758-1028) to check if visitors are allowed in on that particular day, as Taos elders have been known to close without much advance notice. Taos Pueblo has some very distinct and highly burnished pottery and incredible silver jewelry, as well as moccasins, boots and drums. In my opinion, the best time to visit this or any NM pueblo is during feast days, which occur throughout the year, from the Turtle Dance of January 1 to the corn dances in June and July and the Deer Dance of December 25. These events include everyone on the pueblo from the oldest grandmother to the youngest toddler. All come forth to the plaza dressed in full regalia and perform dances and other tribal rituals. The drum music and spiritual chanting are quite mesmerizing.
After Taos Pueblo, you may want to head out for something to eat. Try Graham's Grill
for a modern diner featuring comfort food at moderate prices, or the more upscale Joseph's Table
Once your belly is full and happy again, it's time for a stroll around the plaza. On Ledoux street, check out my 3 favorite galleries: Lenny Foster's Gallery
of photography is a must-see. Lenny is very interesting and engaging, and something of gallery rock star. Inger Jirby's Gallery
has some lively impressionist Taos landscapes, and Bill Rane Gallery
also features paintings by a Taos master painter.
Next stop is the Fechin Museum
, the past residence of Nicolai Fechin, a Russian-born portrait painter who moved to Taos in 1927. His paintings of Native Americans are very highly regarded, as is his handmade furniture. Dip into the Harwood Museum
next door which opened in the 1920's and features works by the Taos Society of Artists.
Before you head back to Santa Fe, take the short drive to the Rio Grande Gorge for a spectacular view from the bridge high above. A mile or so beyond the bridge, be sure to check out the Earth Ships Community
. Earthships are built completely off the grid, which means they don't utilize any utilities. They do use grey water and water catchment systems, solar energy and other sustainable means of living. Featured on Forecast Earth on the weather channel, they are very cleverly made, built partly underground and are quite odd looking.
You will travel back to Santa Fe on highway 68 following the Embudo River. Along the winding road are various New Mexico Vineyards
where you can sample and purchase some surprisingly tasty local wines. Hungry? Try the Embudo Station
, where you can feast on local & organic produce and beef on the banks of the Rio Grande River.
Museum Hill, Absolute Nirvana Spa, Shidoni
Phew, it's been an action-packed wonderful time, and here we are at Day 5 already. A highlight of any trip to Santa Fe is a visit to Museum Hill. Many maps make it appear to be within walking distance, but it is actually about a 10 minute drive. There are four museums to choose from: The International Folk Art Museum, The Wheelwright, Spanish Colonial and Indian Arts & Culture. Be sure to make your spa appointment before heading out, as the spa tends to get pretty busy in the afternoon.
My favorite is the International Folk Art, which features folk arts and crafts from every corner of the world. They also have fabulous revolving exhibits, which have included beds of the world, African tribal attire and Indonesian shadow puppets. To see the current exhibits, go to www.internationalfolkart.org. A real treat is the Folk Art Festival, now in its seventh year (July 9-11), which brings together artisans from far away villages in Africa, Asia, South America and Russia, to name just a few. The largest folk art festival in the world, this market brings a wide array of beautiful crafts, jewelry, clothing and art, as well as international music, dance, food and fun.
The Wheelwright and Indian Arts & Culture Museums showcase antique Native American art, including pottery, beadwork and jewelry. The Spanish Colonial Museum features objects from throughout the Spanish Colonial World. The museum itself, a historical building designed by John Gaw Meem, is worth a visit on its own merit.
After a light lunch, head back to the inn for your spa appointment. For chocolate lovers, I recommend the Chocolate Decadence Deluxe Treatment. For two hours you will be rubbed, scrubbed and masqued with organic cacao and roses. Yummmm, close your eyes and imagine that aroma, ending with you soaking in a tub filled with hundreds of red rose petals. Cacao, with its super high anti-oxidant level, will absorb those nasty free radicals racing around your body, leaving you healthy and rejuvenated. If that doesn't knock your socks off, consider a traditional or deep tissue massage, with a foot-fetish add-on. Your master-level therapist will relax your hard-working muscles and focus at the end on your barking dogs. After all, being a tourist is very hard on the feet.
If you still have the time and energy, head for Shidoni, a unique sculpture garden and bronze foundry. The sculptures are arranged outside on acres of land surrounding a creek and lots of shade trees. You can stroll the grounds at your leisure, unmolested by pushy sales people. My favorite sculptures are the whimsical giant insects made from garden tools and auto parts - very amusing. There is also a glass blower on the premises, and bronze pourings are open to the public on weekends.
This evening you may want to try the upscale but very comfortable Santa Café. Consistently delicious cuisine is served by a professional staff in this historic adobe compound. Take a seat on the patio if you can to enjoy the night skies and garden atmosphere. To start, I recommend the calamari or the spring rolls. Try the Grilled Rack of Lamb, or the Black Angus Ribeye, or perhaps the Chiles Rellenos with 3 Mushroom Quinoa and Chipotle Cream Sauce. The Ginger Crème Brulee makes a lovely dessert, though there are loads more to choose from.
Tent Rocks and Rancho de las Golondrinas
Start this outdoor adventure with a hike in Tent Rocks, where you will see hundreds of limestone spires (looking like teepees) in shades of white, grey and pink. Be sure to carry water because none is provided and there is no covering vegetation to provide any shade. This is not a strenuous hike at all, but you will need decent walking/hiking shoes. Please note that dogs are not allowed.
Take 1-25 south toward Albuquerque and exit at Cochiti Pueblo , exit 264. Go west on New Mexico Highway 16 for 8 miles to a T intersection. Turn right on NM22, heading for Cochiti Dam. Turn right on frontage road 266. Park in the parking area, and begin your hike from here. The entrance fee for a private vehicle is a mere $5. There are several trails to choose from, and you can hike as much or as little as you like.
Now get back in your car and travel back to I-25, heading back toward Santa Fe. Get off on Exit #276. Head north on hwy 599 bypass. Take first left onto W. Frontage Road. Go 1/2 mile and turn right on Los Pinos Road. Travel 3.2 miles to Rancho de las Golondrinas, which means Ranch of the Swallows. This is a living history museum where you will find buildings dating back to the 1700's, when this part of the U.S. was ruled by Spain and then Mexico. During the many special events held throughout the year, guides dress in period clothing and recreate 18th-century ranch life with demonstrations of sheep sheering, blacksmithing and candle making, among other activities. Events include a Civil War Reenactment, complete with the battle of Glorieta (an actual battle that was fought in New Mexico before it was even a state!), the Spring Festival and Children's Fair, July's Herb and Lavender Fair and the fall Harvest Festival. You can find a complete calendar of events at www.golondrinas.org/calendar.htm.
After this full day of activities, head back to Hacienda Nicholas or the Madeleine Inn for wine & appetizers before a casual dinner at Mucho Gusto, a consistently good Mexican restaurant, just 2 short blocks from the inns. Try the turkey mole, or their variety of taco plates - my favorites are the grilled vegetable or lamb tacos. There is always a fish or seafood special. Mexican food is generally not as spicy hot as New Mexican cuisine, so you can give your palate a rest. The restaurant itself is small, cozy, and adorned with charming paintings of Peruvian native women, all by local Santa Fe artist Elias Rivera.
Historical Pecos Pueblo and a Hike to Stewart Lake
This is a full day, with a walk through ancient Indian ruins, followed by a hike to a beautiful mountain lake. Suggestion; before you leave Hacienda Nicholas or the Madeleine, ask at the Hacienda to see the Sierra Club Guide to Hikes in the Santa Fe Area. Read #24 Stewart Lake, for full directions on the mountain trail to the lake.
Take I-25 north to the 2nd Pecos exit, Rowe/Pecos. As you exit the freeway, bear left to stop sign. Turn left, passing back under the freeway to the stop sign. Turn left and stay on Highway 63 for 2 1/2 miles to the entrance of Pecos National Monument on your left. Plan to spend about an hour to an hour and a half exploring the monument. Here lies the ruin of an Indian pueblo that was established in the 14th century and occupied for 400 years. Take the self-guided trail that begins at the visitor's center, and winds through 2 kms. of Pecos Pueblo and Mission Church . Included is a kiva, the ancient ceremonial center of the pueblo Indians. Also in the park is the preserved Battle of Glorieta battlefield, where a civil war battle was fought. This is astonishing because this was many decades before New Mexico became a state!
Jump back into your car, drive back to the entrance, and turn left onto Hwy 63. Drive about 2 1/2 miles to the town of Pecos. From the stop sign in the middle of town, drive 20 miles straight ahead to the junction at Cowles. Turn left over the bridge and turn immediately left again. Park at the Cowles Ponds parking area.
From the parking area, start your hike at Trail 254, Winsor Trail, which parallels the creek. Your hike starts off through meadows, and an aspen forest filled with wildflowers. After about 20 minutes of hiking, you will cross the creek to the left bank and continue the trail from here. I mention this river crossing because I missed it the first time, so be attentive for this landmark.
This is a strenuous hike that is somewhat remote, so don't attempt it unless you are in reasonably good shape. Also carry water and a lunch. You will ascend from 8400 feet in Cowles to an elevation of 10,300 feet at the lake. Give yourself 6 1/2 hours of hiking time.
In fact this trip can be done over 2 days, time permitting. You could see the Pecos Monument on one day and take the hike the next. If you are a very energetic hiker, there is another lake which would add another hour to this hike. Its called Lake Katherine and is so named because Robert Oppenheimer (of the Los Alamos Manhattan Project) used to take horse back rides into the Pecos wilderness with a young aristocratic daughter of a Santa Fe statesman, named Katherine Page. Oppenheimer was quite smitten with his riding companion, and one day when they came upon the lake they decided to call it Lake Katherine, and the name has endured ever since.
After all this activity, you will be ready for a hearty and casual dinner. I suggest Harry's Roadhouse, an upscale truck stop/diner which is extremely popular with the locals. It is very casual, with a wonderful back garden for outdoor dining in warmer weather. The menu concentrates on basic, comfort food - meatloaf, ribs, enchiladas, pizza and pasta. Save room for the big selection of desserts. Harry's is especially famous for its pies. To get to Harry's, take the road back to Pecos and turn left at the stop sign in the center of Pecos. Drive 6 miles to the entrance to I-25, go south on I-25 toward Santa Fe. When you exit 1-25 for Santa Fe (Old Pecos Trail exit), you will turn right on Old Las Vegas Highway and drive about 1/2 mile until you see Harry's on your left.
Georgia O'Keeffe's "Greatest Hits" Day
This day is devoted to Santa Fe's most illustrious artist, the incomparable Georgia O`Keeffe. Because this is such a full day in the dry environment of O'Keeffe country, I recommend booking a facial or massage for the late afternoon/early evening to re-hydrate your skin and work out the kinks from your day of touring. You will want to book your spa appointment in advance, and more importantly, you will want to book your tours of the O'Keeffe Home & Studio in Abiquiú and/or the tour at Ghost Ranch. The tours are one hour long, with a limited number of spots, and very popular. Reservations are required and can, and should be booked weeks or months in advance. (However, there can be last minute cancellations...)
I suggest you book the 11:00am O'Keeffe House & Studio Tour in Abiquiú, available most of the year. Information on this can be found at www.okeeffemuseum.org
under "About the Museum", or you may call for reservations at (505)685-4539. The second possible tour is at Ghost Ranch itself, though you can also just wander around on your own. Tours start at 1:30pm and are available on: Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday (no Saturday tours in winter months). The cost is $25 per person. Phone 505-685-4333 for reservations.
Before the morning tour, begin your day with an early breakfast while perusing our O'Keeffe coffee table book which is full of beautiful illustrations. After breakfast, hop in your car, and head north on Hwys 84/285. After about 15 miles you can turn left on 502, time permitting, for a quick stop at San Ildefonso Pueblo. Displayed there are some works of Maria Martinez, the most famous maker of the "black on black" style of pottery. She died in 1989, but her children continue her artistry by producing many fine works themselves.
Get yourself back on to Hwy 84 toward Chama. Veer left and take US 84 north to Abiquiú (22 miles). Pull over at Bode's General Store for a real look at New Mexico life. Here you can munch on one of their award-winning green chile cheeseburgers or deli sandwiches. Or, you can sip a latte or buy live bait, (depending on your mood), get some holiday decorations, Spam or hunting ammunitions. Bode's, opened in 1890 as a general store, post office, stage coach stop and jail, has something for everyone in the area. Once you have all the provisions you need it will be time for your tour of the Georgia O'Keeffe house and studio.
If you are so inclined, head out just a bit further on Hwy 84 (actually 20 miles further) to Echo Amphitheater. Pull off the road when you see the sign and park in the parking lot. It's a short hike to the canyon wall that forms a natural echo chamber. My kids always loved yelling silly sentences into it and hearing it bounce back.
One you're done, head straight back to Santa Fe, being sure to take in the breathtaking scenery along the way. I have seen more rainbows on this stretch of road than anywhere else in New Mexico. Once, I had to pull over and get out of my car to just give the arches of color my full attention, watching until it faded away into the landscape... Beautiful...
Need more Georgia? You might want to stroll down to the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum, located only 6 or blocks from Hacienda Nicholas or the Madeleine Inn. This small museum houses a fine permanent collection of O'Keeffe's work that represents the many periods of her career. Special exhibits are curated twice a year (causing short-term museum closures), so be sure to check their website: www.okeeffemuseum.org. Now that you have seen where she painted, viewing her works will be that much more interesting.
Thank goodness that is it time for your spa appointment now as your body/face will be appreciative of the soothing hands of your therapist on your aching muscles and barking dogs.
To round out your "O'Keeffe Day," you might try dinner at the O'Keeffe Café. The building once housed Union Officers during the Civil War. Along with an acclaimed wine selection, the restaurant features contemporary French cuisine, a nice end to the day.