While all seasons are kind to the quaint city of Santa Fe, New Mexico, the fall — when the shadows grow longer and the weather is ideal — remains the perfect time to visit. So, if you’re planning a September trip to the capital of the Land of Enchantment, here are some places to stay, cuisines to eat and things to do.
Where to Stay
Hotel St. Francis
While the luxurious La Fonda prides itself as the grande dame of the historic district, there are other boutique hotels that deserve a look. Located just around the corner from La Fonda and within walking distance of most attractions, Hotel St. Francis is a gem. The candlelit stone lobby is tranquil and attractive, and the hotel houses both a bubble bar (the Gruet Winery tasting room) and one of the best bars in town (Secreto Lounge). One of the oldest and most historic hotels in Santa Fe, the 80 guest rooms and suites are modern and cozy. hotelstfrancis.com
Rosewood Inn of the Anasazi
Rosewood Inn of the Anasazi is a luxury hotel that’s received annual awards from the likes of Condé Nast Traveler, Forbes and AAA. Well-known for its service, the concierge is on hand to customize your trip. You can also take advantage of in-room massage and aromatherapy treatments or book the intimate wine cellar for a private dining experience. The Southwestern design of the shared spaces is luxe but understated. The rooms are bright and modern, with spa baths.
Where to Eat
Radish and Rye
If you’re visiting Santa Fe, be sure to come hungry, as the city is chock-full of premier dining destinations. Once you get your fill of enchiladas topped with New Mexico’s classic red and green sauces, you might enjoy a change. We like Radish and Rye, which presents a classy and comfortable New American vibe and a well-stocked bourbon bar. One recent seasonal menu included pan-fried trout with green chile corn bake and house tartar, as well as an appealing vegetarian plate consisting of oyster mushrooms, heirloom tomato and yellow corn polenta. Expect a homey environment and top-notch service.
The perfect breakfast or lunch break is just down Palace Avenue, near the iconic Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi. Chez Mamou is a quaint French bistro with a jaw-dropping pastry case at the back. You can’t beat a croissant or pastry and a café au lait for breakfast — that is, unless it includes its classic Eggs Benedict. Chez Mamou also features an extensive wine list and a full coffee bar if you need a midday pick-me-up. facebook.com/Chez-Mamou-French-Cafe-Bakery
Things to Do
Santa Fe Wine and Chile Fiesta
Nestled between the Jemez Mountains and Sangre de Cristo Range, the annual Santa Fe Wine and Chile Fiesta will take place this year from Sept. 23–30, on the grounds of the Santa Fe Opera. The festival is notable for uniting local and other notable chefs who host special dinners throughout town. “While some national wine events can compete with the quality and breadth of the Santa Fe Wine and Chile Fiesta’s 100 participating wineries, no other event in the country can boast the unique culinary talent of the 75 Santa Fe restaurants that participate,” says Michael Trujillo, a member of the event’s board of directors.
Two metroplex chefs will also be on hand at this year’s fiesta to display their culinary skills, including Dean Fearing and Jon Tesar.
After a 20-year run at Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek in Dallas, Fearing opened his own Fearing’s Restaurant at The Ritz-Carlton, Dallas in 2007. Tesar’s career, on the other hand, took him from Paris to New York before reinventing the modern steakhouse concept with his Knife Restaurant in Dallas. And recently, Tesar expanded with a new Plano-based burger joint called Knife Burger, which will soon open a second location at the new Crockett Row Food Hall in Fort Worth.
Santa Fe Farmers’ Market
The Santa Fe Farmers’ Market is so extravagant, it leaves most out-of-towners wondering why they can’t have one like this in their city. The explosion of colors, sights and smells is intoxicating. With fresh produce, freshly baked breads and pastries, flowers and plants, and handmade products around every corner — it’s really a sight to see. But, you should never shop on an empty stomach … so grab a coffee and a breakfast burrito to tide you over.
In the up-and-coming Railyard District, the Santa Fe Farmers’ Market takes place Saturday and Tuesday mornings and Wednesday afternoons seasonally.