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New Mexico See And Do

Hotel Photo
Georgia O'Keeffe Museum
217 Johnson Street
Santa Fe , New Mexico
87501
Tel: 505 946 1000
www.okeeffemuseum.org

The 13,000-square-foot downtown museum houses the most extensive collection (1,148 paintings, drawings, and sculptures) anywhere of the former resident's works, with a rolling presentation of 50 on display at any one time. The museum also shows other American artists, such as Jackson Pollock and Andy Warhol.

Open Saturdays through Thursdays 10 am to 5 pm, Fridays 10 am to 8 pm. Free Fridays 5 to 8 pm.

Harwood Museum of Art
238 Ledoux Street
Taos , New Mexico
87571
Tel: 505 758 9826
www.harwoodmuseum.org

Taos has long attracted artists who fall in love with New Mexico's clear light and inspirational views of the Sangre de Christo Mountains. Founded by Elizabeth Harwood in 1923, this is the second oldest art museum in the state, and represents Taos artists from the 1700s to the present. It's a highly accessible collection, including some excellent works by the Taos Society of Artists who came in the early 1900s, such as Ernest Blumenschein and Bert Phillips Colony. Victor Higgins's emotionally charged 1932 Winter Funeral depicts a gathering of black cars in the snow as angry clouds rage overhead. There are also a number of paintings by Agnes Martin as well as works in wood and tin in the Hispanic Tradition Gallery.

Open Tuesdays through Saturdays 10 am to 5 pm and Sundays noon to 5 pm.

Hotel Photo
High Road to Taos Scenic Byway
Sangre de Christo Mountains , New Mexico
www.newmexico.org/place/loc/bymap/page/DB-place/category/158/place/639.html

Informally known as the High Road, this beautiful drive is 67 miles of interconnecting two-lane roads running along the crest of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains between Santa Fe and Taos, passing through villages first colonized by the Spanish in the 17th century. One of these, Chimayó, is home to the church of El Santuario de Chimayó, pictured, where pilgrims scoop up the sacred earth in the hope of curing disease. (You might also stop for the stellar New Mexican food at the Restaurante Rancho de Chimayó). Another picturesque village is Truchas, where Robert Redford filmed his 1988 movie The Milagro Beanfield War. Allow three hours for the drive, if not longer, so you can take in the views of the desert valley far below. And drive safely: The roads are serpentine, and you'll see plenty of descansos, beautiful but sad roadside crosses that mark the sites where other motorists have met a bad end.

If you're looking for a quick route between Santa Fe and Taos, use US-285 and US-84, which take about half the time, and pass through the town of Espanola, famous for its low-rider cars.

Hiking and Biking in Santa Fe + Taos

Outdoor types will find prime hiking and mountain biking 15 miles outside of Santa Fe in the Santa Fe National Forest. For some of the best hiking, take Hyde Park Road up to the base of Ski Santa Fe and park in the second lot (the one that's furthest from the ski area). From there, the intermediate-level Windsor Trail leads up through aspens and pines. For a full-day out-and-back, start Windsor early in the morning to reach the summit of 12,622-foot Santa Fe Baldy; it's approximately 14 miles round-trip. The entire area, including the connecting Pecos Wilderness, is threaded with trails (www.fs.fed.us/r3/sfe). Note: Even in summer, the weather can be unpredictable. Bring water and warm gear, even on a short day hike. Only advanced outdoorspeople should attempt the trail in the off-season.

If you're a fat-tire aficionado, take the Windsor Trail going down toward town. It's 10 or so miles of challenging and fun singletrack. The trail will dump you out on County Road 72A, near the village of Tesuque. Arrange for somebody to drive you back up to the parking lot, unless you feel like riding back uphill.

Santa Fe Fiesta
Santa Fe , New Mexico
Tel: 505 988 7575
www.santafefiesta.org

Inaugurated in 1712 to commemorate the return of the Spanish to Santa Fe, Fiesta features art and craft fairs; religious processions led by America's oldest statue of the Madonna, La Conquistadora; the burning of Zozobra (a.k.a. "Old Man Gloom," a 40-foot paper effigy); the Children's Pet Parade; mariachi concerts; melodramas; the Fiesta Ball; the Historical Hysterical parade; and an audience with the Fiesta Queen. Check website for dates.

Santa Fe Opera
Opera Drive
Santa Fe , New Mexico
87504
Tel: 505 986 5900 or 800 280 4654
www.santafeopera.org

Regardless of your fondness for opera, the setting of this theater is incredible. Productions have been held on the site since the 1950s, but James Stewart Polshek's 1997 semi–open air structure is especially striking. Its two intersecting roofs not only allow for views of the surrounding Jemez Mountains but carry the sound to the audience beautifully. Opening night always means a big party—an opera tailgate event, actually, complete with tuxedos and ball gowns—and the singers and musicians are international up-and-comers, usually brought in specially for each work. Past productions have included Puccini's La Bohème, Berg's Wozzeck, and Donizetti's The Elixir of Love.

Site Santa Fe
1606 Paseo de Peralta
Santa Fe , New Mexico
87501
Tel: 505 989 1199
www.sitesantafe.org

All evidence to the contrary, art in Santa Fe is not all cow skulls and howling coyotes. There's a thriving contemporary scene here, and you can pretty much trace it to the 1995 inception of the international biennial created by this arts organization. These days SITE is an exhibition space anchoring the burgeoning Railyard District, and hosting a number of avant garde multimedia shows each year. A 2007 installation by Hans Schabus consisted of a dismantled mobile home and 200 tons of dirt. The museum has no permanent collection, but a new workshop invites artists to create work onsite.

Open Sundays noon to 5 pm, Wednesdays through Saturdays 10 am to 5 pm, and Fridays 10 am to 7 pm.

Skiing in Santa Fe + Taos

Neophytes, scaredy-cats, and snowboarders need not show up at Taos Ski Valley, 23 miles outside of town. The first two will likely get their clocks cleaned, and the last are not permitted. This privately owned property is a throwback, which means that fellow skiers are apt to be highly capable, and you won't be held up by slow-moving families. The area gets an average of 300 inches of snow a year and—equally important—more than 300 days of sunshine. Elevations are steep and often rocky—it takes a lot of snow to get everything covered to the point where you won't really hurt yourself if you fall. More than 50 percent of the mountain's 110 trails are expert level: The section known as the Ridge, which has no lift access, is the most challenging, topping out at 12,481-foot Kachina Peak. If you're an average skier looking to achieve expert status, consider the Ski Week program at the Ernie Blake Ski School here. Students are organized into groups and spend mornings together under the tutelage of first-rate instructors. Spring rates are as low as $150 per week (866-968-7386; www.skitaos.org).

Those looking for an easier, family-friendly environment should head to Ski Santa Fe, 16 miles out of town. With 67 runs over 660 acres of terrain, it is smaller and denser, and a good number of the runs are groomed. It also allows snowboarding (505-982-4429; www.skisantafe.com).

Ten Thousand Waves Spa
3451 Hyde Park Road
Santa Fe , New Mexico
87501
Tel: 505 982 9304
www.tenthousandwaves.com

About a ten-minute drive from Santa Fe's Plaza, this day spa in a fantastic mountain location feels like a world away. There are the usual body wraps and specialized massages, but the primary emphasis is on public and private hot baths, where guests bob around in the hot, bubbly mineral water, pop into the attached saunas, and kick back in the sun. There's a clothing-optional communal tub and a women-only tub, but we recommend renting a private hot bath such as Waterfall: Enclosed by a wood fence, with partial views of the mountain, it has its own sauna and small waterfall. Genuine New Mexican pricing is in effect, too: Private baths run from $30 per person for an hour. If you can't get enough of the serene environment or views, you can also stay in the ryokan-style rooms.

Open March through October Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays 10:30 am to 10:30 pm; Tuesdays 2:30 to 10:30 pm, and Fridays through Sundays 9:30 am to 10:30 pm. November through February Mondays and Wednesdays 10 am to 9:30 pm, Tuesdays 3:45 to 9:30 pm, Thursdays 10 am to 9:30 pm, and Fridays through Sundays 9 am to 10:30 pm.

Information may have changed since the date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.