Questions for Santa Fe dopers

Mr. Athena and I are heading to Santa Fe/Taos in a few weeks for a much-needed vacation. We’ve been to both areas quite a bit before (when we lived in Colorado, we’d zip down for weekends) but haven’t been there in quite some time.

As we live in the middle of nowhere, I do want to do some stocking-up on stuff that’s not available here. Also, we’re going to have more time than we’ve ever had before, so I’m looking to do some different activities. As such, I need some recommendations:

  • Is there a really good wine store in Santa Fe? I’d like to spend at least one night sipping some Grand Cru Burgundy. I’m looking for a high-end floofy wine store, with knowledgable staff, not the Liquor Barn that sells cheap Coors.

  • I’m desperate for a new pair of running shoes. Is there a good runner’s supply store in Santa Fe? I want one of those places where they have a treadmill and I can try on the shoes.

  • Restaurants: I want a lot of Mexican, and Sushi. I know, I know, Sushi in the desert doesn’t quite go. But I can’t get it here, so I don’t care.

  • I’d like to do a couple nice hikes. I don’t need an all-day, climb-a-mountain type hike. I’m thinking something that can be done in a couple hours of moderate intensity that will get us out into the desert. Any recommendations?

  • I have a little fantasy about renting horses for an afternoon. Anyone done this?



I don’t live in Santa Fe, but I spent a good amount of time there for a job a few years back.

Sorry that I can’t help on all your items, but I do have some input:

I don’t drink so I don’t know of any wine stores. But downtown (plaza area) there must be some. One thing that comes to mind are some of the nicer hotels near the plaza. If they don’t have a decent selection in their bars, at least they might be able to recommend some place (if there’s one thing about Santa Fe, the people are some of the nicest I’ve ever come across).

As for hiking, Bandelier (sp ?) would be the place. You can choose from a number of different hikes, and choose how far/hard you want to go. It’s not quite “desert”, but then neither is Santa Fe.
One place that I really liked was just outside the normal Bandelier park, on the way to Los Alamos called Tsankawei (sp ? - sorry. I think it’s pronounced something like zonk-a-wee), I think. There isn’t much shade, but you get to walk around all these cliff dwellings and structures on this little mesa. In particular, seeing the well worn path/steps used to get from one level of to another was really fascinating.

Hope this helps.

Can’t help you out with the wine question: even if I were old enough to legally buy, I’d still be going for the cheap stuff. But I know that there are a number of ‘classy’ hotels around with bars - take a look around any one of the millions of guides to Santa Fe.

Food: For Mexican, there’s any number of good places around. The Blue Corn cafe is right on the plaza and fairly decent. Also, I’ve never eaten there, but I’ve heard that Tomasita’s is absolutely excellent. For more recommendations, check out the Reporter’s picks.

Hiking: I can personally recommend the Atalaya trail. It’s not particularly out in the desert - it starts in the parking lot of St. John’s College, which is sort-of on the ‘outskirts’ of Santa Fe. It’s about 4 miles and a very decent hike.

FYI on the wine store, I mean I want a retail place that sells good wine (ie, a “package store”), not a bar where I’d have to pay bar prices. I may also want to buy a case or two to bring home.

Thanks for both the hiking recomendations. We’ll probably do both of them. I’m especially interested in checking out the one around St. John’s - I would have gone to school there if I’d known about it back when I was in college.

Actually, if you’re looking for wine, why not try some of the wineries in the state? As you can see on the map, many wineries are clustered in the middle Rio Grande valley. From Santa Fe there are at least 6 not much more than an hour’s drive away.

As for hiking, I’d suggest the Sangre de Cristos, but most of those are pretty far north of Santa Fe. Getting into the Pecos Wilderness is always pleasant. The Jemez contain Bandelier, which has some easy, pleasant walks and of course the history. If you head towards Albuquerque, there’s always the west side of the Sandias. Most of the foothills are Albuquerque open space (land bought by the city and held, pretty much undeveloped, for recreation) and some distance further in it becomes national forest. If you really want to get out into the middle of nowhere and into near-desert, there are the volcanoes to the west of Albuquerque. In the same area are the petroglyphs, though further north, and I don’t believe it’s possible to get into the monument on foot approaching from the south, where the only parking lot for getting near the volcanoes is that I know of.

[wine snob]
Because I’m looking for French wine in particular. I live in a small town, and no stores here carry a good selection of wines. I’m sure New Mexico makes some fine wines for New Mexico, but they ain’t French Grand Crus.
[/wine snob]

I do however, plan on stopping at Gruet on the way out of Albequerque.

I know that some of my requests may seem odd to you people who live out there in the real world (“Why in the world is she looking for French wine in New Mexico?!?”) but you have to understand, I live in the middle of nowhere. When people here go out of town, it’s partially for pleasure and partially to stock up on stuff they can’t get locally. I know I can get a lot over the Internet, but sometimes you want to be able to stroll through the aisles in person, if you know what I mean.