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Innkeeper's Blog


Tip of the Week

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The Harvest Festival at Rancho de las Golondrinas

The Hacienda Nicholas utilizes local harvests of everything from apples to chiles, but what could be more fun than spending a day at the annual Harvest Festival taking place at Rancho de las Golondrinas on October 5 & 6, 2013. The full day events run from 10am-4pm and are the most popular of their weekend events - certainly my personal favorite of the Golondrinas festivals. Watch as grapes are crushed by foot for wine, chiles are strung for ristras, burros crush sorghum in the making of molasses, and apple cider and tortillas are made (and consumed). Also demonstrated are milling, blacksmithing, bread making, dying of wool and tanning of hides. Join in the fun by making your own corn husk doll or participating in the tin stamping workshop, trying out your archery skills, enjoying storytelling with Paulette Atencio or going on a wagon ride. There is also music, flamenco dancing, and delicious food and drink available throughout the day.

Ticket prices are $8 for adults, $5 for seniors and teens, with children 12 and under admitted for free.

The 2013 Santa Fe Renaissance Fair

Guests at The Hacienda Nicholas enjoy visiting Rancho de las Golondrinas (Ranch of the Swallows) throughout the year: visitors of all ages take great delight in this living history museum. The early 18th century Spanish colonial ranch is especially memorable when visited during one of the many weekend events, such as this weekend's Santa Fe Renaissance Fair, taking place from 10am-6pm on September 21 & 22, 2012.

The Fair features music, flamenco & belly dancing, a medieval village, costume contest and medieval combat, as well as Celtic games, food and drink, including ale and mead! Of particular note on the entertainment schedule are the performances by the enchanting Clan Tynker, with its jugglers, magic shows and fire tricks.

Tickets are a modest $10 for adults, $7 for teens and seniors, and FREE for children under age 13. Proceeds from the fair benefit The Interfaith Community Shelter, an organization which serves the homeless of Santa Fe.

Rancho de las Golondrinas is located 20 minutes south of town. From 1-25 South take Exit 276 and follow the signs.

Delicious Pumpkin Spa Specials at Absolute Nirvana Spa

Just across the street from Hacienda Nicholas is our award-winning Absolute Nirvana Spa, a destination for locals and visitors seeking top-notch bodywork as well as authentic Balinese spa treatments. Throughout the year the spa offers seasonal specials, and this time of year brings two of our most popular offerings. Fall is in the air, with crisp cool nights, falling leaves, and heavenly aromas of pumpkin pies, sugar and spices, inspiring us to create two Pumpkin Spa Specials.

Along with its heavenly aroma, pumpkin is also fantastic for your skin. Pumpkin is rich in carotenoid antioxidants that repair skin damage while simultaneously polishing and hydrating dull skin. The plant is also full of natural plant enzymes that accelerate the exfoliation process to peel away dry dead skin cells, reduce fine lines and sun damage, leaving skin renewed, refreshed and amazingly soft and glowing.

Our Pumpkin Decadence treat takes advantage of all the gloriousness of pumpkin: Treat yourself to a full body massage and exfoliating body scrub of brown sugar and cinnamon, followed by a nourishing mask of warm pumpkin, honey and cloves. One and a half hours of yumminess for just $165.

Or indulge in a Delicious Pumpkin Facial, incorporating the natural exfoliating and nourishing properties of Naturopathica's Pumpkin Enzyme Peel to increase collagen production, leaving the skin firm and radiant, with increased elasticity. One our of cleansing, exfoliation, hydrating mask, steam and nourishing cream for $105.

Once you have been inundated with the tantalizing smells of pumpkin and spices, add to your indulgence with a trip to Harry's Roadhouse for a slice of Peyton's fabulous Pumpkin Pie!

Fabulous New Exhibit at the Museum of Spanish Colonial Art

Just a ten minute drive from Hacienda Nicholas is the ever-so-popular Museum Hill, home of four of Santa Fe's best museums. Along with the Wheelwright, International Folk Art and Indian Arts & Culture is the Museum of Spanish Colonial Art. Now on display at the Spanish Colonial is a significantly large and permanent gift of Peruvian art: over sixty pieces have been donated to the museum from the estate of Pedro Gerardo Beltran Espantoso, Peru's Ambassador to the United States in 1944-45 and Prime Minister of Peru from 1959-61. In addition to the new permanent collection is a large number of objects on long-term loan from the estate. These rare pieces of Peruvian art, never before seen by the public, will be exhibited at the museum through May 27, 2014.

Some noteworthy pieces on display are a Eglomise painting of the Madonna & Child, an intricate silver panel of Abraham, Isaac & Angel, and a table with marquetry of incised ivory and tortoise shell. Other items include an exquisite dinner service, jewelry, silver and a selection of paintings.

The Museum of Spanish Colonial Art is the only museum in the country dedicated to exhibiting and interpreting art of the Spanish colonial period. The Museum showcases over 3700 pieces of art, ranging from historically important pieces to contemporary work. I recommend arranging for a docent tour, which can be done in advance of your visit by calling 505.982.2226 x 121 or sending an email to education@spanishcolonial.org.

Museum of Spanish Colonial Art
750 Camino Lejo
Santa Fe, NM

Santa Fe's Shakespeare in the Park

We are currently chock-a-block full of guests flocking to Santa Fe for the 92nd annual Indian Market Festival. The market is the largest of its kind in the world, and is a mecca for both serious collectors of Native American arts as well as those just wanting to see what all the fuss is about.

After a long day of perusing the hundreds of booths of the market, you may want to head to Whole Foods for a picnic dinner (or purchase a pre-made box picnic onsite), and then enjoy an evening of Shakespeare taking place at the beautiful campus of St. John's College. The performance, "All For Your Delight," is a medley of scenes and songs from Shakespeare's most popular comedies, and is affiliated with the highly acclaimed New York City Shakespeare Guild. The production, directed by the prestigious Nagle Jackson, will feature highlights from A Midsummer Night's Dream, As You Like it, Pericles, The Taming of the Shrew, and other Shakespeare classics.

Shows are scheduled for August 17 and 18 at 7:30, with pre-show music at 6:30. Ticket prices are $20, but just $12 for students. Make your reservations by calling 505.988.1234 or online at ticketssantafe.org.

The World Famous Santa Fe Opera

Every summer the Hacienda Nicholas enjoys the company of opera lovers who come from far and wide to enjoy the world-famous Santa Fe Opera. Guests typically sit together over breakfast on the garden patio for hours, comparing notes on the previous evening's opera, and planning their meals before the next evening's opera. The 2013 season, running now through August 24, 2013, features five operas: from classics such as La Traviata and The Marriage of Figaro to the world premier of Oscar.

This opera house is a remarkable adobe structure nestled in the mountains just north of Santa Fe, with majestic views of New Mexico landscape providing a dramatic and memorable setting. The world's most talented young singers, conductors, directors and designers are invited to participate in what is considered one of the most prestigious opera festivals around.

I recommend arriving early for two reasons. First of all, the scenery is not to be missed, and many people choose to tailgate (some make this a formal affair, with fine china, crystal, candles and very elaborate cuisine) so as to enjoy the surroundings by daylight. Enhance your opera experience by attending one of the Prelude Talks, given twice before most performances. These informative talks are free for ticket-holders and are given both two hours before the performance and one hour prior. Consider attending the earlier of the two Prelude Talks, then having your tailgate dinner, and then off to your night at the opera.

My parking tip is to park close to the exit, if you are able to walk the distance with ease. Otherwise you are stuck in a very long line of traffic easing its way back onto the highway.

Tickets may be purchased by calling 505.986.5900 or 800.280.4654 or online at santafeopera.org. There is a wealth of information online, including schedule, pricing and seating. The best seats of the house are pretty pricey, at $934, but some seats are as low as $84.

2013 SANTA FE OPERA SEASON

The Grand Duchess of Gerolstein
June 28, July 3, 6, 12, 19 - 8:30pm
July 30, August 7, 15, 21, 24 8pm

The Marriage of Figaro
June 29, July 5, 10 8:30pm
August 3, 8, 13, 20, 23 8pm

La Donna del Lago
July 13, 17, 26 8:30pm
August 1, 6, 14 8pm

La Traviata
July 20, 24 8:30pm
July 29, August 2, 5, 10, 16, 22 8pm

Oscar
July 27 8:30pm
July 31, August 9, 12, 17 8pm

Herb & Lavender Fair at Rancho de las Golondrinas

The lavender is just now beginning to bloom in the gardens of The Hacienda Nicholas Bed & Breakfast Inn, but lavender lovers will want to head out to Rancho de las Golondrinas this weekend for the annual Herb and Lavender Fair. The event takes place on June 22 and 23, 2013, from 10am-4pm.

Stroll the bucolic setting of Rancho de las Golondrinas, a 200-acre Spanish colonial rancho and living history museum, while learning about the uses of lavender, buying herb and lavender products, and sipping on lavender lemonade while touring the ranch's herb gardens. You may also choose to consult with a "curandera", a traditional herbalist and healer, make a lavender wand, and shake your booty to the live marimba music from Kumusha.

Admission is just $8 for adults, $5 for Seniors and Teens, and free for children 12 and under. The ranch is south of Santa Fe: Take 1-25 South, then Exit 276 and follow the signs for Las Golondrinas.

ACC Blowout Sale!

Just a few blocks from The Hacienda Nicholas is the Plaza location of ACC (American Country Collection), one of Santa Fe's most highly acclaimed home furnishings stores. Their large inventory of elegant and stylish furniture, linens, home decor, rugs and art is always of the highest quality, making ACC a favorite destination for both new and established Santa Fe homeowners. Their selection ranges from traditional to contemporary, from Santa Fe style to European.

ACC recently announced plans to close the Plaza showroom location at 53 Old Santa Fe Trail, and are offering 50% of ALL merchandise in the store from June 14 through June 18. This will be their last weekend of being open on the Plaza before all remaining inventory is brought to the store's primary showroom at 620 Cerrillos Road.

Now is a great opportunity to find some incredible deals at the store voted "Best Showroom in the Southwest and Midwest" by the ARTS awards. Should you find yourself feeling overwhelmed by the thought of redecorating your home with all the great deals you get at ACC this weekend, the store offers complimentary home decorating assistance.

Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell in Santa Fe

A rarely used venue (other than for the famous Santa Fe Flea Market), the old horse racetrack at The Downs, will be hosting Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell on Saturday, June 15, 2013. Emmylou Harris is one of America's most recognized singer-songwriters and musicians, having won 12 Grammys for her blend of country, folk and rock music. Crowell, himself a Grammy Award-winning musician, is a well-known country singer and songwriter who crosses over from mainstream to alternative country. While Crowell joined Emmylou Harris' Hot Band in 1975 as guitarist and harmony singer, the two have just released their first official collaboration, an album called Old Yellow Moon. The album features four songs written by Crowell, along with traditional country songs by Hank DeVito ('Hanging up My Heart'), Roger Miller ('Invitation to the Blues') and more. Songs from this album will be front and center on June 15.

The concert is scheduled to run from 7-10pm, with doors open at 6pm. The General Admission tickets are $70 for the Front Lawn, $40 for the Rear Lawn, and $10 for children 14 and under. Tickets may be purchased by calling 505.988.1234 or online at TicketsSantaFe.org.

Santa Fe Mother's Day Brunch Ideas

The Hacienda Nicholas Bed & Breakfast Inn is full this weekend, with many people taking advantage of our Mother's Day Spa & Lodging Special. Of course Mother's Day is often made complete with a Sunday Brunch, and a number of Santa Fe's top restaurants are featuring special menus for the occasion.

One of my top picks for brunch anytime of year is Santacafe, as they have a beautiful courtyard and a fantastic a la carte brunch menu. Some of their standouts include starters such as Crispy Calamari with 4 Lime Dipping Sauce, Shitake & Cactus Spring Rolls or their Shrimp & Spinach Dumplings. Choose from their extensive selection of main dish offerings, from a Southwestern version of Eggs Benedict to Mascarpone Stuffed French Toast with Fresh Strawberries to Green Chile Burgers with Rosemary Potato Chips and so much more! Weather permitting, you will want to reserve a table on the patio by calling 505.984.1788. They will be serving brunch from 10am-2:30pm.

Another favorite brunch spot is La Casa Sena, with one of the more beautiful garden patios in town. They will be serving Mother's Day Brunch from 11am-3pm, with a prix fixe, three-course menu priced at $28 per person or $12 for children under age 12. Start with a basket of fresh-baked breads, and then choose from entrees such as a Blue Crab Spinach Salad, Chorizo Omelette or Ranchero Eggs, a Pobalano Chile Relleno or Red Chile Crusted Pork Loin, among many other options. Leave room for dessert, which includes mouth-watering Blackberry Cake, Chocolate-Strawbery Pavlova or a Trio of Sorbets. Reservations are recommended - call them at 505.988.9232.

Both restaurants are located just a few blocks from the inn, making for an easy stroll.

Big Sale at Jackalope

On April 26, 27 and 28 Jackalope is offering 30% off all their pots, just in time for summer planting. Jackalope is the place to go in Santa Fe for pottery. At any given time of year they sell thousands of pots of all shapes and sizes, from tiny indoor pots to enormous outdoor pots. The sale extends to their greenhouse plants (15% off), with 10% off everything else in the store. Since Jackalope has limited options for plants, you may want to fill your new pots at Payne's Nurseries or Newman's Nursery. Alas, the beloved Santa Fe Greenhouses went under last year, after 29 years in business.

Jackalope is a Santa Fe institution: The store was founded in 1976 by Darby McQuade, selling Mexican pottery on the Plaza from the back of his pick-up. Since then the store has expanded tremendously. Jackalope now consists of three large warehouses on several acres of land, selling goods from Mexico, India, Bali, China, Egypt, Thailand and Africa. One warehouse is set up like a market, with folk art, Christmas ornaments, jewelry, clothes, masks and more being sold in little side-by-side stalls. Another warehouse is primarily dedicated to hand-made furniture, while the newest is devoted to such items as rugs, housewares, DVD's, candles and tableware.

One of my favorite things to do at Jackalope is to spend some time hanging out at the Praire Dog Village. Bring a bag of baby carrots to feed these adorable little critters, and you can easily pass an hour watching their interactions as they eat.

Shopping at Jackalope is an experience in and of itself. One can spend half a day just seeing all the merchandise, touring the extensive grounds, checking out the animal barn and prairie dog village, and getting a refreshment at their cafe. Please note that Jackalope can ship whatever you buy!

Jackalope
2820 Cerrillos Road
Santa Fe, NM 87507
505.471.8539

River Rafting Season Has Begun

Fear not dear outdoor enthusiasts of The Hacienda Nicholas! While the season has ended at the Santa Fe Ski Basin, now is the time to take advantage of the snow run-off and experience the thrill of whitewater rafting. My favorite river rafting company in the area is New Wave Rafting, which has been operating river tours since 1980. Located on the Rio Grande River between Santa Fe and Taos, they offer trips from the most mild to the most wild. Whether you are looking for a family outing with young children in tow, a peaceful trip down the river to take in the area's spectacular scenic beauty, or a thrilling ride of the Taos Box with lots of action, New Wave can accommodate.

Trips are offered every day of the week from March 28, 2013 through September 2, 2013, though the wilder rides generally end by July when much of the season's snowpack has melted away. New Wave has actually lowered their prices this year: you can book a two hour float for as little as $22, or a three day camping trip down the Chama for $448. Trips tend to run about $50 for a half day and up to $100 for a full day, and most include a delicious riverside picnic lunch.

You will definitely want to have hats and shoes that fasten securely, along with sunscreen and a water bottle, but New Wave provides all the rest. With so many options to choose from, you will surely find a trip that meets your needs and desires. Call New Wave directly at 800.984.1444 to make your reservations.

Tax Time Humor in Santa Fe

Tax time can be very stressful and devoid of humor, so I highly recommend guests plan to attend the Lensic Theater's production of Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo on April 15, 2013. Whether you are a lover of ballet or not, watching as this all-male drag dance company performs classical ballet's most beloved pieces in full traditional costume, complete with tiaras and pointe shoes, is guaranteed to provide a night of hilarity for all. The company's was founded 35 years ago with the mission to parody the conventions and cliches of classical ballet, which truly lend themselves to this sort of humor. The company's repertoire includes traditional ballets such as Swan Lake, Les Sylphides, Paquita, Balanchine's Stars & Stripes, the Nutcracker and more. The company's remarkable technique, brilliant acting skills and slapstick humor will have you laughing so hard you'll forget all about Uncle Sam's taxes.

Be sure to reserve your seats ahead of time, as this performance, brought to you by the Aspen Santa Fe Ballet, will inevitably sell out. Tickets may be booked online at TicketsSantaFe.org or by calling 505.988.1234. Ticket prices range from $25-$72.

Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo
Lensic Performing Arts Center
211 West San Francisco Street
Santa Fe, NM 87501
April 15, 2013 7:30pm

Beads, Beads, Beads...and More Beads!

Beaders will soon be gathering enthusiastically for the annual Santa Fe Bead Fest to buy from over 150 vendors, selling beads of every imaginable type and origin (including exotic beads from Africa and Asia), along with gems, tools and other jewelry making supplies. In addition is a wide array of workshops and beading demonstrations, catering to hobbyists, professional jewelers, and even absolute novices.

The workshops, all of which require advance registration, are suitable for all skill levels. Beginners can learn the basics of metalsmithing, for example, learning how to saw, file, and solder, all is one day. Another featured workshop appropriate for all levels is on the process of Keumboo, a technique for adding gold to jewelry designs. Other workshops teach everything from silversmithing to how to make tribal earrings, Dremel drilling techniques to making hinged treasure boxes. There is an impressive array of workshops - something for absolutely everyone.

The event runs from March 13 through March 17, 2013, and takes place primarily at the Santa Fe Convention Center, with workshops and demonstrations also taking place at the Santa Fe Hilton and The First Presbyterian Church. The booths are open from March 14-17, with Thursday's opening taking place from 5pm-9pm, Friday & Saturday hours from 10am-6pm, and Sunday's hours from 11am-5pm. One can purchase tickets online for just $12, which are good for all four days of the expo. The 4-day pass may be purchased at the door for $15, though there is also a link on the website for a $3 coupon to use at the door. Whether you are a professional jeweler or simply have a budding interest in the craft of beading, this festival has something for everyone.

4th Annual Santa Fe Restaurant Week

Santa Fe also boasts a wide array of highly-acclaimed restaurants: From Native American Indian to east Indian, French to New Mexican, African to Italian, Santa Fe has something for every palate. A great time of year to try out these fine restaurants is during the 4th Annual Santa Fe Restaurant Week, taking place from February 24-March 3, 2013.

All 49 participating restaurants will be offering specially-priced dinners (many also offer special lunch menus as well), some as low as $25 for a couple, and on up to $40/person for a serious culinary feast. My personal favorites of the high-end restaurants are The Compound (Contemporary American) and La Boca (Spanish Tapas), each offering a $40/person menu of delectable choices. Among the more ethnic and exotic options, my top picks are Jambo Cafe (African) and Shoko Cafe (Japanese).

In addition to the special dining deals, you can also take advantage of a plethora of cooking classes, demonstrations and tours. Learn to make "Gnocchi Like an Italian Grandmother" or "How to Make Fresh Pasta" from Chef Andrew Cooper of the Four Seasons Rancho Encantado. Sign up for the "Tour & Taste of New World Cuisine" offered at the Museum Hill Cafe in conjunction with the Santa Fe International Folk Art Museum. For those preferring a class centered on libations, check out "The History of Beer" being held at the Cowgirl BBQ.

Due to the popularity of this culinary event, advance reservations are highly recommended - they can be made by calling each participating restaurant directly, or finding them on Open Table. This the ideal time to dine at your favorite tried-and-true establishments, or to branch out and try something new and different.

Romantic Valentine's Celebration in Santa Fe

The Hacienda NIcholas Bed & Breakfast is the perfect place to wow your sweetheart this Valentine's Day, or any time of the year you might be inspired to rekindle your romance. Thick adobe walls, a warming fire in the kiva fireplace, and authentic southwestern style through and through, all create a truly romantic atmosphere.

Enhance the mood with a couples treatment at our Balinese-inspired Absolute Nirvana Spa, located across the street in the back garden of our sister inn, The Madeleine. They are offering a Valentine's Spa Special throughout the month of February. This couples treatment begins with a Master's Massage in a candlelit room as you are both drenched with warm oils permeated with rose and chocolate essence. Following your massages, slip into a hand-carved granite tub, filled with the petals of two dozen red roses, a fire burning at your feet, as you nibble on tropical fruits and homemade chocolate truffles.

After your blissful time in the spa, head out to one of Santa Fe's many fine restaurants. If your stay coincides with Valentine's Day itself, there are several restaurants offering dining specials. The Old House Restaurant is featuring a four-course 'Aphrodisiac Menu' which includes oysters, lobster tail, New York steak, fresh strawberries and chocolate. The price for this is a reasonable $119 per couple, or $149 if a wine pairing menu is chosen. Their Valentine's Day menu will be served from February 14-17. Reservations are highly recommended, and may be made by phoning 505.995.4530.

Santa Fe Opera 2013 Season

Every summer The Hacienda Nicholas fills up with opera lovers from across the country, many of whom have been staying with us for 15 years or more. The 2013 Santa Fe Opera summer season schedule is now posted, so you will want to plan your trip soon: the preferred seats and the best hotel rooms tend to sell fast.

This summer brings revivals of two very popular operas: Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro and Verdi's La Traviata. A real treat will be the world premiere of Oscar, by Theodore Morrison, based on the life of Oscar Wilde. This opera was co-commissioned and co-produced by The Santa Fe Opera and Opera Company of Philadelphia, and features David Daniels as Oscar Wilde. For operatic hilarity, plan to attend Offenbach's The Grand Duchess of Gerolstein, which has not been performed since 1979. This newly staged production will be performed on opening night, June 28, and features Susan Graham in the title role. Last but not least is Rossini's romantic La Donna del Lago, starring acclaimed mezzo soprano Joyce DiDonato as the mysterious lady of the lake.

Winter is hardly the time of year to be thinking of outdoor picnics, but you will want to plan a tailgate supper so as to take advantage of the spectacular sunset and mountain views available from the opera's parking lot. Stop by Whole Foods and choose from their extensive deli array, choose take-out from one of Santa Fe's many fine dining restaurants, or order a box meal directly from the Santa Fe Opera.

Tickets range from $30 (standing room only) to a whopping $943 for top tier orchestra seats. Serious opera devotees will want to plan their stays so as to enjoy all five operas back-to-back. This option is available from July 30-Augst 3, August 6-10 or August 13-17.

Tickets may be purchased online or by calling 800.280.4654.

Santa Fe Real Estate Market

As was the case in much of the country, our real estate market dropped in value by about 30%, though that tide has now turned. Inventory has dropped significantly from a year ago, and the median sales price for a Santa Fe home in the final quarter of 2012 was $266,184 - an increase of close to 30% - though there were fewer sales overall in that final quarter.

In addition, "Business Insider" anticipates Santa Fe's annualized expected growth in the real estate sector to be 8.9%, making it one of the fifteen best housing markets in the U.S. over the next five years. From the sounds of it, now is the time to buy in Santa Fe, before things heat up even more. The best values tend to be on the outskirts of town, and particularly in Eldorado, though the South Capitol is a good option for people wanting to be close to the Plaza area.

Santa Fe boasts a plethora of realtors, from large national agencies such as Sotheby's (call Katherine Blagden) and Coldwell Banker (ask fro Valerie Hasson) to highly reputed local agencies such as Barker Realty (go with John Hancock and Rebecca Holland), Prudential (Lisa Knouse) or Santa Fe Properties.

This is also a great time to furnish that new home in Santa Fe, as American Country Collection is offering every item in their showroom at 25% off. Located at 620 Cerrillos Road, the store features unique home furnishings, antiques, rugs and a wide assortment of upholstery and curtain fabrics.

A New Year - A New You

Winter is a quiet time at The Hacienda Nicholas Bed & Breakfast Inn, making it an ideal time to treat yourself to a quiet time of renewal and rejuvenation. Start the day in quiet meditation and journaling, or perhaps an early morning yoga class at Yoga Source or one of Santa Fe's newest yoga studios, Dragon Rising. After a healthy breakfast of fruits, yogurt and homemade granola (or indulge in Blue Corn Waffles, Blueberry Almond Stuffed French Toast, or a Southwestern Breakfast Enchilada), enjoy New Mexico's blue skies and sun with a walk up Canyon Road or a hike in the foothills of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains.

Then give yourself the ultimate New Year's gift of a spa renewal afternoon. Absolute Nirvana, our Balinese-inspired garden spa, is currently offering a Detoxification and Rejuvenation Special to help you start the new year at your best. Begin with a relaxing massage, followed by an exfoliating scrub of French White Clay & Sea Salt, and ending with a mask of Golden Belizian Seaweed. This treatment, using only natural and organic ingredients, is specially formulated to rid the body of toxins and stress. A new you will emerge, feeling energized, purified and radiant.

Santa Fe offers a number of healthy dinner options for those opting for a visit centered on purification of body and soul. Body Cafe offers a wide array of vegan, gluten-free and raw entrees, including some delicious raw organic truffles. Another choice is Vinaigrette, featuring a selection of salads, soups and sandwiches, made using organic greens and vegetables from their own farm in Nambe, NM.

Things to Do in Santa Fe for Chocolate Lovers

The Absolute Nirvana Spa, located just across the street from The Hacienda Nicholas Bed & Breakfast Inn, offers a couple of decadent chocolate-based spa treatments. Guests can indulge in the two hour Chocolate Decadence, for example, which includes a head to toe massage with warm oils, chocolate/rose aromatherapy, a scrub of raw organic cacao and sugar, a mask of yogurt and honey, and ending with a luxuriating soak in a tub filled with the petals of a dozen roses.

Chocolate lovers will also enjoy the new exhibition at Santa Fe's International Folk Art Museum, titled New World Cuisine: The Histories of Chocolate, Mate y Mas. This thoughtfully curated show highlights the earliest cultural mixing that took place in the Americas through cuisine, as foods originating from Europe and the New World were combined as a result of the travels of the Spanish Manila Galleons. Specifically showcased in this exhibition are objects and information related to the history of chocolate and mate: their origins, how they came to be so popular, and objects related to their harvesting, preparation and service. The exhibit will run through January 5, 2014.

This immersion into the history of chocolate, including a stop at the tantalizing 'scent station', you will no doubt leave you salivating for a taste of this elixir of the Gods. Satiate your desires with a visit to Kakawa, located near The Hacienda Nicholas, at 1050 Paseo de Peralta. Kakawa is best known for their assortment of authentic Pre-Columbian, Mesoamerican, Mayan, and Aztec drinking chocolates, as well as 1600's European, Colonial American and Colonial Mexican drinking chocolates. They also feature an ever-changing selection of exquisite and unique truffles, caramels and baked goods, working only in small batches, using only fresh and seasonal ingredients.

Celebrating the Holidays with Asian Flair

Our stockings are hung on the mantlepieces of The Hacienda Nicholas Bed & Breakfast, and garlands wrap the staircases and entry, in preparation for a full house of guests this Christmas. The Plaza twinkles with thousands of colored lights on every tree, and Santa Fe residents are busy making truckloads of farolitos to line their walkways and rooftops on Christmas Eve. Along with the beautiful holiday decorations are a variety of holiday concerts given by the Santa Fe Desert Chorale, Santa Fe Pro Musica and the Santa Fe Symphony.

For those of you looking for an out of the ordinary activity during the holiday season, check out The Golden Dragon Acrobats at the Lensic Performing Arts Center. Their production of "Cirque Ziva" is having its premiere performance in Santa Fe, and will continue on for another six months of touring. The troupe continues a tradition going back 25 centuries, and combines acrobatic feats, traditional Asian dance, and stunning costumes with both ancient and contemporary music. The Golden Dragon Acrobats are considered to be the top Chinese acrobat touring company of the day, and will leave you spellbound with their fast-paced and technologically thrilling spectacle - an exciting show for the whole family to enjoy.

Performances are scheduled for December 20, 21 and 22 from 7-9pm, with a matinee performance on December 22 at 1pm. Ticket price range from $20-$35 and may be purchased online or by phone at 505.988.1234.

Fantastic Flamenco for the Holidays

Along with visiting the museums, galleries and archeological sights of Santa Fe, guests of The Hacienda Nicholas Bed & Breakfast Inn are taking advantage of the city's many unique shops to buy some memorable Christmas gifts. Make Christmas shopping an even more wonderful event by combining it with an evening of flamenco dancing and fantastic Spanish cuisine.

On Sunday, December 9th, the Juan Siddi Flamenco Theatre Company is hosting its 4th annual Gala Event, hosted by Ali Macgraw, and featuring world-class flamenco dance, DJ Oona spinning salsa music, as well as paella and tapas by Santa Fe's top Spanish Restaurant, La Boca. A great opportunity to purchase some Christmas gifts at great prices is the silent auction; bid on original works of art and crafts from the city's many talented artists.

The event will take place from 4-8pm at the St. Francis Auditorium. Tickets are $30 and may be purchased at the Lensic Box Office or by phoning 505.988.1234. Proceeds for this fabulous event go to the Heart Gallery Foundation which supports Santa Fe's Foster Youth, as well as to the NM Dance Coalition and the Juan Siddi Flamenco Theatre Company.

Exciting New Cooking School in Santa Fe!

Guests of The Hacienda Nicholas Bed & Breakfast Inn have been attending classes of the Santa Fe School of Cooking for over 20 years, delighting in their array of classes featuring the cuisine of Northern New Mexico. There is now a new cooking school in town - The Santa Fe Culinary Academy - which focuses on a broader range of cuisine. The school has an extensive array of classes every month, geared to the season. Classes and workshops this December cover everything from Holiday Tamales to Gluten Free Holiday Baking, and include classes on Thai Curry, a Vegetarian Holiday Dinner and a Soup Workshop. These community classes range in length from a few hours to several days, and are taught by the school's professional chef instructors, local cookbook authors, visiting 'celebrities' and members of the local Santa Fe restaurant community.

For those seeking to embark on a restaurant career, the school also offers a 50 week Professional Program in their new state of the art, 5000-square foot facility.

We wish this new school much success, as they are clearing filling a need for locals and visitors alike who wish to go beyond southwestern cuisine.

The Santa Fe Culinary Academy is located near the inn, at 112 W. San Francisco Street, Suite 500. Check out their varied schedule online, or call 505.983.7445 for more information.

Thanksgiving Dinner in Santa Fe

Guests of The Hacienda Nicholas Bed & Breakfast Inn this Thanksgiving will be pleased to know there are many choices among Santa Fe's restaurants for a traditional turkey dinner or a more esoteric meal.

Just one block from the inn is Fuego Restaurant at La Posada, with seatings from 3-4pm and again from 5:30-7:30pm. Their five course menu, with selections of appetizers, soups, salads, a traditional turkey dinner entree and delicious dessert choices is $65/person. Fuego is doing something wonderful this year: with every reservation of four or more, they will donate a turkey to The New Mexico Food Depot. For reservations call 505.954.9670.

Another of my favorite restaurants, The Compound, is serving Thanksgiving from their historic adobe on Canyon Road. Along with the beautiful and tranquil setting, they are offering a prix fixe menu including starters such as Sea Scallops, Shrimp and Grits and Carmelized Pear Salad, followed by main course choices of Roasted Organic Turkey with all the trimmings, Natural Shetland Scottish Salmon or Wild Mushrooms and Organic Stone Ground Polenta. Dessert Choices include Bittersweet Chocolate Torte, Maple Pecan Pie and more. The price is $75/person, and $25 for a child's entree plus dessert. To reserve your dinner at The Compound please call 505.982.4353.

My third recommendation is Restaurant Martin, a family run business featuring deliciously prepared food in an atmosphere of understated elegance. Their a la carte Thanksgiving menu begins with appetizers such as Leaves of Ahi Tuna, Lobster Bisque and a Semi Boneless Quail, followed by such entree selections as an Organic Turkey platter with Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes, Stuffing and Gravy, a Duo of Black Angus Beef or a Vegetarian Tasting Plate. End your meal at Restaurant Martin with one of the following Dessert offerings: Carmelized Pumpkin Tart, Textures of Apple (an assortment of apple-based desserts) or a Frozen Chocolate Ganache. Call to reserve at 505.820.0919.

Handel's Messiah in Santa Fe

The Hacienda Nicholas Bed & Breakfast Inn hosts music lovers all summer long, as visitors flock to Santa Fe for the renowned Santa Fe Opera, Chamber Music and Desert Chorale. There is also a solid winter season of classical holiday music, kicking off this year with The Santa Fe Symphony's performances of Handel's Messiah. Treat yourselves to the glorious voices of The Symphony Chorus on Sunday, November 18th, at 4pm, in the beautiful and historic Lensic Performing Arts Center. Enrich your experience by attending the complimentary preview talk at 3pm.

Ticket prices range from $20-$70 (half price for children ages 6-14 when adult tickets are also purchased) and may be procured online or by phoning the Lensic at 505.988.1234.

Sunday, November 18, 2012
Lensic Performing Arts Center
211 West San Francisco Street
Santa Fe, NM
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Hacienda Nicholas • info@haciendanicholas.com • (505) 986-1431 or 1-888-284-3170 • 320 East Marcy St, Santa Fe New Mexico 87501