Road Trip USA: Santa Fe, New Mexico

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Put Santa Fe, New Mexico on your list right now.  Let me tell you why.

I’ve done this cross-country venture before.  This was my second visit to Santa Fe.  The first time, my mom, my friend Shannon, and I set up camp in the Santa Fe National Forest before strolling around the town square for a few hours.  We all agreed Santa Fe was a special place, beautifully thriving in culture and art, perfectly set in southwestern grandeur.  We loved every minute of it, but alas, returned to our tent in the forest with adobe dreams in our heads.

Maybe it was a blessing in disguise that the Santa Fe National Forest was closed when Paul and I rolled into town.  Due to dry conditions and the deadly forest fires surrounding the area, our camping options were limited and, in this case, nonexistent.  Perfect excuse to book a room at a luxurious inn and spa, right?

Of course!  And thanks to the coolest app I’ve ever found, Hotel Tonight, we got that luxurious inn and spa for a steal!

Stop reading this blog for a second and download Hotel Tonight on your phone.  Just do it.  If you love to travel you shouldn’t live without it.  It is truly the best app any traveler could have.  Why?

Hotel Tonight is a hotel reservation app that sells unsold rooms at quality hotels for last minute prices.  How does it work?  Sales begin at 12 noon on the day you need a reservation.  Pick your city of choice from the list and peruse the deals.  How could we say no to a $100 hotel room that usually runs around $400 a night?

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We booked a room at the beautiful Inn and Spa at Loretto.  It was gorgeous, inside and out.  We made sure to take advantage of the pool and bar area, as well as enjoy a few tranquil sips of coffee on our balcony overlooking a peaceful and quiet early morning in Santa Fe.  Yes, we got a balcony too in that deal.

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But, I don’t want you to think our trip to Santa Fe was just a lovely hotel stay.  It was also much more than just a stroll through the  plaza, the famous part of Santa Fe that contributes to its small town coziness.  What made Santa Fe most special to us was an unexpected meeting with a very important person: the one and only, Sara Eyestone.

Google Sara Eyestone and you will find an endless number of articles and websites devoted to her artwork.  She is an extremely talented American artist, famously known for her exquisite floral paintings and still life portraits.  The flowers in her paintings are so vivid they make you want to reach out and feel the delicacy of the petals, if only you could do such a thing.  There are no other words for her than she’s “just amazing”.  But we love her for more than just her incredible talent with a paintbrush.  She’s a treasured Shappirio family friend.

Years ago when Paul’s family lived in Ocean Township, he was lucky enough to call Sara Eyestone his neighbor.  His mom and Sara became good friends and, when Sara moved away, first to San Antonio, then to Santa Fe, they lost touch.  On this trip, while settling into our hotel room, the idea to contact Sara suddenly struck Paul, and he quickly looked for her contact information online and sent her an email saying we were in town.  Minutes later she responded, and within an hour after that, we were meeting up with her and her husband, David, at La Posada de Santa Fe Resort and Spa.  Little did we know, Sara is the art curator at La Posada, which with some stroke of luck, just happened to be around the corner and down the street from the hotel in which we were staying.

I was so thrilled to finally meet Sara and, after we caught up over some drinks at the luxurious La Posada, Sara and her husband took us out to dinner at Maria’s New Mexican Kitchen.  Here we feasted upon delicious vegan vegetable fajitas, wrapped in authentic homemade tortillas that were being made to order in the corner of the dining room.  The meal and the experience was fabulous and we thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it.  We found we had so much in common, including a love of Whole Foods and vegan cooking.  We were so grateful to have spent this time catching up with Sara and David and plan to set up a trip for the future so Sara and Paul’s mom can reunite in beautiful Santa Fe.

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With the great hotel deals we were getting, Paul and I decided to spend another night in this quaint New Mexican town.  After driving through Texas for what seemed like an eternity, another day of rest in Santa Fe was just what we needed.  We booked another night at The Inn and Spa at Loretto and spent a lazy day walking around town, leisurely ducking in and out of art galleries, and dining on sopapillas at the Guadalupe Cafe.

So have you put Santa Fe on your list yet?  If I haven’t convinced you, perhaps the links below will.

Sara Eyestone’s website here: http://www.saraeyestone.com

La Posada: http://www.laposadadesantafe.com

The Inn and Spa at Loretto: http://www.innatloretto.com

Maria’s New Mexican Kitchen: http://www.marias-santafe.com/index.htm

Guadalupe Cafe: http://thepinkadobe.com

Don’t forget to download Hotel Tonight!  http://www.hoteltonight.com

Next post: Arizona

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