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Tip of the Week

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Goya Print Exhibit in Santa Fe

Thanks to New Mexico Museum Director Mary Kershaw, Santa Fe was selected as the only stop in the U.S. for an international exhibition of drawings by Spanish artist Francisco de Goya. The show, "Renaissance to Goya: Prints and Drawings from Spain", is showing at the New Mexico Museum of Art now through March 9, 2014.

The show's contents were selected by Mark McDonald, a curator at the British Museum. This museum, famous for its tremendous collection of prints and drawings, has such a vast collection that many of these pieces were pulled from the vaults and have never before been on display. McDonald and Kershaw felt that New Mexico, with its Spanish heritage, was the ideal US locale to showcase this remarkable exhibit.

The exhibit includes more than 130 sketches and prints from the mid 16th to the early 19th century, reflecting over 200 years of Spanish religion, social commentary and changing society. Along with Goya are works from such well-known Spanish artists as Diego Velazquez, Vicente Carducho, Bartolome Esteban Murillo, Francisco de Zurbaran, Juan Ribalta and Jose de Ribera.

These drawings are actually quite rare, as they were not considered works of value, and thus were not deemed as collectable at the time. Most of the drawings are torn and soiled, indicating they were used over and over by the artists as they worked out the compositions for their paintings, or recorded finished work before sending it out of the studio.

This remarkable exhibit is a 'must-see' for anyone visiting Santa Fe.

Sales Galore in Santa Fe

Santa Fe is famous for its plethora of shops, with everything from museum quality Native American artwork (The Morningstar Gallery and Joshua Baer & Co) and jewelry (Ortega's, Things Finer, The Golden Eye) to hand-tooled boots (Lucchese Boots and Back at the Ranch) and custom made hats (O'Farrell and Montecristi).

The city is also a favorite haunt for women looking for unique apparel, and January is an excellent time to take advantage of great sales. Bodhi Bazaar currently has all their Fall Holiday Fashions on sale, along with boots, for 25-50% off. For those looking for a selection of globally-sourced fashions, check out Origins, with its selection of tribal jewelry and ethnic clothing from around the world. Here you will find one-of-a-kind items, now at 40-70% off!

Two other well-known Santa Fe stores specializing in home decor are also having sales this month. Design Warehouse, featuring contemporary furniture and household items, is currently discounting every item in the store. ACC (formerly known as American Country Collection) is a beautiful and very high end furniture store, with a selection of luxurious Scandia Linens now for sale at 20% off.

Of course there are plenty of other stores throughout the downtown area that are also offering great prices. Happy shopping!

Celebrating the New Year in Santa Fe

There is plenty going on in Santa Fe to celebrate the New Year, running the gamut from the spiritual to the spirited.

If you are inclined towards a more quiet and contemplative marking of the day, there are two organized meditations happening early on December 31. The Santa Fe Center for Spiritual LIving is holding a World Peace Meditation Service from 4:45am-6am, or you can attend the Everyday Center for Spiritual Living's World Healing Meditation from 5am-6am.

Another spiritually based option is the 23rd annual "Light up a Life" event on the Santa Fe Plaza. Hundreds of farolitos are set out to commemorate the lives of loved ones, both living and deceased. You may purchase your own farolito at the event, and it is suggested that you put a photo of your loved one on the farolito. The $20 donation goes to provide hospice services for those in need. You will want to arrive no later than 5pm to purchase your farolito so as to be present for the ceremony scheduled from 5:30-6pm.

Should you be wishing to bring in the New Year with a grand meal, many of Santa Fe's top restaurants offer incredibly decadent and tantalizing feasts. Some top choices would be The Inn of the Anasazi, serving a festive three course dinner from 4-9:30pm. Prices range from $95-$125, depending on the time of your reservation. The Compound does a fabulous New Year's Eve dinner in their beautiful historic setting, as does Luminaria, which is serving a four course prix fixe meal from 5-9pm for $95. There is also a new restaurant in town, The Thunderbird, located right on the Plaza in the old Ore House location. I have heard great reviews of this new place, and they have a mouth-watering New Year's Eve menu. Their four course meal will be served from 5pm-12am (a bargain at $75) with live music from 9pm-12:30am.

For those of you wishing to celebrate to the max, get your tickets now ($375 each, though $250 is tax deductible) for the New Year's Masked Ball, an annual black tie dinner and dance which takes place at La Posada. The evening starts at 5pm with a concert by the SFCA Orchestra at The Lensic Performing Arts Center (tickets are separate). Continue the evening at La Posada with complimentary wine & champagne, a sit down dinner, and then dancing to the band Soulstice. La Posada is just one block from the inn, making it a good choice for a full night of celebration. Call 505-984-8759 for tickets to this event.

Many guests enjoy attending the Taos Pueblo Turtle Dances, which take place on January 1 at sunrise. The dances begin officially at 8am and go until 1pm. If you plan on getting there for the beginning of this ceremony, you will want to be dressed for bitter cold, but it is well worth it. If you can manage to get there early, you will truly experience the magical mysticism of this dance. No cameras are allowed, giving you the opportunity to fully engage with the ceremonial rattles, drumming, dancing and chanting. What a memorable way to begin the New Year!

Frolicking in the Snow

sleigh
Santa Fe has been getting some great early winter snowfall this year, and there are plenty of options for enjoying the powder. The Santa Fe Ski Basin and Taos Ski Valley are both open, with beginner to expert runs available. Santa Fe is the ideal spot for beginner to intermediate skiers, while expert level skiers and boarders will appreciate the steeps of Taos.

If downhill motion is not your thing, consider snowshoeing the many miles of trails at the Valles Caldera (vallescaldera.gov). If you don't have your own equipment, you may rent gear at REI for a reasonable fee.

For a more leisurely expedition, how about a Horse-Drawn Sleight Ride? Picture yourself snuggled up with your loved one as you fly across the brilliant snow-covered fields of the Valles Caldera, sleigh bells ringing, followed by hot cocoa, or a hot toddy, in front of a roaring fire. For more information, check out bearcreekadventures.com.

Winter at the Santa Fe Farmer's Market

Guests of The Hacienda Nicholas Bed & Breakfast Inn absolutely love visiting the famous Santa Fe Farmer's Market, known for its abundant produce and lively atmosphere, but did you know you could make it a holiday shopping destination too? The Farmer's Market shops are open everyday through December 24th, giving you an opportunity to shop local and find unique gifts for everyone on your list. Choose from a tantalizing selection of wines, teas, coffees, chocolates, garden items, as well as a variety of locally and internationally crafted gifts.

The shops are open Monday through Friday from noon to 6pm, Saturdays from 8am-4pm and Sundays from 10am-4pm. The Market Shops entrance is in Railyard Plaza, at 1607 Paseo de Peralta. Forget the mall and support the community of Santa Fe.

In addition, while many of us patronize the market throughout the spring, summer and fall, it is easy to forget that the market is open on Saturday mornings from 8am-1pm throughout the winter months. Stop in for fresh locally grown fruits, vegetables, honey, eggs, cheese, grassfed meats, delicious baked goods, body care products and herbal products.

Another fun day to visit the Farmer's Market Pavilion is Sundays, when the Railyard Artists Market takes place from 10am-4pm. Listen to live music and peruse the booths of over 40 local artists selling fiber art, paintings, hand blown glass, herbal products, sculpture, photography, jewelry and so much more. Yet another venue for some extraordinary holiday shopping!

Santa Fe's Winter Indian Market

The Hacienda Nicholas gets booked five years in advance for Santa Fe's Annual August Indian Market, but many people don't realize there is also a Winter Indian Market. This year the Winter Indian Market will take place on November 30 and December 1, from 9am-5pm, at the Santa Fe Community Convention Center. Now in its 8th year, the Winter Market is a much smaller and more intimate affair than the crazy Summer Market, though the calibre of the artists remains high.

On exhibit will be pottery, weavings, drums, bead work and more from over 200 Native artists from the US and Canada. A special treat are six open studio artists demonstrations by award-winning artists, as well as Native American music, dance and food. A highlight of this winter's market is a performance of "The Immersion" by world champion hoop dancer and Cirque de Soleil star Nakotah LaRance, accompanied by Brian Frejo playing the Native flute, hand drum and a mix of hip hop beats. This performance will take place at 1:30pm on both Saturday and Sunday.

Admission to the Winter Indian Market is $10/day or $15 for the weekend, with members and children admitted free of charge. Stay away from the crowds at the mall and take advantage of this cultural event - a great place to buy some memorable and unique gifts.

Thanksgiving Dinner in Santa Fe

We'll be serving up some tasty Southwestern Breakfast Enchiladas at The Hacienda Nicholas Bed & Breakfast Inn this Thanksgiving morning, but guests will surely want to make reservations now for a Thanksgiving Dinner later in the day. Many of the town's fine dining establishments go the extra mile on this holiday, serving up sumptuous feasts with all the traditional trimmings.

My top pick this year is Fuego at La Posada: located just one block from the Hacienda Nicholas, La Posada has put together an amazing five course dinner comprised of the traditional holiday favorites. Start with Roasted Butternut Squash Soup, followed by Mulled Pear with Spinach and Arugula Salad with Blue Cheese and Spicy Pecans. Then comes an Herb Roasted Turkey with Mashed Potatoes and Herbed Cornbread Stuffing, Green Beats and Carrots with Cranberry Orange Compote. End your meal with Pumpkin, Pecan or Apple Pie. The five course dinner is a reasonable $69 per person, with seatings as early as 3pm and as late as 7:30pm. The reason I recommend Fuego above the others is because they are donating a turkey to the Santa Fe Food Depot for each reservation of four or more. Executive Chef Carmen Rodriguez, named "New Mexico's Chef of the Year" in 2012, deserves kudos for this generous initiative to help those in need.

There are plenty of other great options as well. The award-winning Compound Restaurant, located on Canyon Road, is serving a 3 course Prix Fixe Thanksgiving Dinner featuring Compound Classics and Seasonal Specialties. The dinner menu, served from 3-7pm, features a mouth-watering array of choices. Start with traditional Butternut Squash Soup or try something a bit more unusual like Rock Shrimp & Grits or a Duck Confit. You may choose the traditional Thanksgiving meal, including Organic Turkey and all the trimmings, or perhaps a Braised Veal Osso Bucco, Wild Alaskan Halibut or Wild Mushrooms and Organic Stone Ground Polenta. Save room for dessert! On the menu are a Dark Chocolate Walnut Tart, Pumpkin Bread Pudding, Maple Pecan Pie and Pear Sorbet. This 3 course menu is priced at $75/person, with a $25 option for children. Call them at 505.982.4353 for reservations.

Another top pick for Thanksgiving Dinner in Santa Fe is the Inn of the Anasazi, serving both a Thanksgiving Brunch (11am-2:30pm, 3 course menu at $45/adult and $28/child) and a Thanksgiving Dinner (4-9pm, 3 course menu at $85/adult and $45/child). For reservations call 505.988.3236.

42nd Annual Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta

All week long our guests have been heading off to Albquerque, whether at the crack of dawn or later in the afternoon, to experience the 40th Annual Albquerque Balloon Fiesta. If you have never seen this event, a Kodak moment if there ever was one, be sure to make it part of your New Mexico itinerary. The Albquerque Balloon Fiesta is the largest of its kind in the world, and they are always on the cutting edge of hot air ballooning. In fact it was in Albquerque, in 1979, where the idea of balloon glows originated.

My favorite part of the Balloon Fiesta is the night glow, when the burners of each balloon is fired up at the same time, creating a spectacular sight of glowing balloons of all shapes and sizes. This is followed by a memorable fireworks display.

Another highlight of the Balloon Fiesta is the Dawn Patrol. Balloonists prepare their balloons at 5:45am, taking off while it is still dark, and fly until there is enough light to find a safe landing spot. While there are no mass ascension days left during this year's Festival, you can still see dawn ascensions this weekend.

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.
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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