Santa Fe – Chez Friends

Super Styling Santa Fe Site

Well that was my favorite stay so far. Takes some awfully nice hosts to top the Grand Canyon and Antelope Valley, but because of our friends Rhea and David, it is no contest. They have been through a huge remodel, so we not only got to swap horror stories, but also got to enjoy the fruits of their labors. Their house is incredible and their driveway makes a perfect campground. I really wish we could offer the same to our traveling friends, but the grade of our driveway is not so camping friendly.

Wonderful downtown, full of art and trinkets, and endless food

The last time we came through the area, I was at my worst point in dealing with the after effects of my encounter with Spider Bro. This was a place of healing, rest, and recovery. Thankfully, we arrived bite free, but still found the stop to be deeply recuperative after many days on the road. Also, Santa Fe is a pretty nice location to explore. Besides having historic architecture to tour, it also has anything your heart could possibly desire; including both a Trader Joe’s and a Whole Foods for groceries.

Reminder to Richard: stop worrying about unreliable weather reports and enjoy the views.

We took Highway 550 almost all the way from Mesa Verde and Richard worried about weather the whole time. It was a wasted worry because rain did not hit us anywhere on the route and did not blow in to Santa Fe until the evening. He was able to get in a ya-yas bike ride into town, where I picked him up and hit the grocery stores. Then, it was all about the socializing and laughing with wonderful friends.

The Chocolate Smith is conveniently located between Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods. Great service and incredible chocolates!

The next day we discovered there is an app that directs you through all kinds of tours. The Margarita Tour, though super tempting, lost out to the Chocolate Tour. After Richard got some work done, we drove in and parked at the first location: The Chocolate Smith. We sampled some of their more interesting combinations, like those with chilis mixed with dark chocolate, and their lemon poppyseed cranberry bark. It was so good, we were hard pressed to stop. But we had other places to visit, so we limited ourselves and walked into the heart of town.

The Oldest House in the U.S. (they have good arguments supporting their claim inside)

We had a good map and good info on what historic sites to look for downtown. We made a full day of it, visiting the Cathedral of St. Francis of Assisi, the Loretto Chapel, San Miguel Chapel (possibly the oldest church built in the U.S.), and the Oldest House built in the U.S. We also found our second stop on the Chocolate Tour: Señor Murphy Candymaker. We again tried some chili chocolate, and then decided maybe we’d had enough of that. It’s quite spicy and sneaks up on you!

This place definitely has to be visited to be believed. Wow. So so good.

Our third stop on the tour was our favorite: Kakawa Chocolate House. OMG. What a place! Yes, we sampled chocolates, but they also have flights of hot sipping cocoa to try, homemade ice cream with the best hot fudge we have ever ever had, and sometimes they just hand you things. They handed us a cinnamon horchata that was to die for. At this point though, we were both experiencing sugar highs and had to cut ourselves off. You could spend a lot of time and calories in that place and never taste it all. The mint chip ice cream tasted like it came from fresh mint, which the owner confirmed after Richard left a five star Google review. Loved that place and would absolutely need to go back on any future visits.

Great Tapas restaurant

For dinner, we had way too many options. I figured it would be more in the style of Santa Fe to eat at a tapas place, rather than say, pizza. We got a good tip to try La Boca and arrived before it got too busy. Our waiter was helpful in explaining the dishes and steering us toward some house specialties. We tried their special of the day Zarzuela, which had lots of seafood and chicken in a rich romesco sauce. We paired that with prawns in a delicious garlic sauce, and a baguette to soak it all up. We felt underdressed, but unjudged, at least by the waiter.

Señor Murphy’s is more like a general candy shop that also has chocolates.

For our second full day in town, Richard got slammed with work. It was both good and bad that his service was excellent because he had to sit on calls all day long. It wasn’t until around 3pm that he was able to log off. Luckily, I was happy as a clam just chatting with Rhea and David. For that kind of a day, we were in the best place we could have been. We had just enough time after he was finished for him to get a ride in to town, and me to meet him there and pick up some dessert to share with friends.

Fabulous group of people here

Many of the local Santa Fe Altoistes were able to come over for dinner. How lucky are we to have such great friends in such wonderful places? That is one of the many perks of being in the Alto community. We had a really wonderful evening catching up over delicious homemade chicken and couscous salad, and poached salmon pasta salad. Their house is perfectly set up for entertaining and I have landscaping envy. I hope some day to be able to host friends in such a lovely way.

Wonderful stay in Santa Fe!

Eventually, we all retired and we reluctantly departed the next morning. This will be one of my special memories of this trip. Many many thanks to Rhea and David for putting up with us, laundry and all! Love you both!

Total miles from Mesa Verde: 281.0, 18.0 mpg, 6 hours 32 min. Premium Site in newly graveled, high end driveway, custom widened to fit an Alto. Electric, Water, Wifi, and even Sewer offered, but not needed. Plentiful solar and homemade meals. Excellent cell service for both. Best campground hosts in the whole world. Five Stars. Would come again.

6 thoughts on “Santa Fe – Chez Friends

  1. I was completely enchanted not with just Santa Fe, but the moody clouds! I spent as much time looking up as I did eating, and that is saying a lot! Kakawa chocolate 🥰! We also have lots of amazing pottery from that trip!

    1. Right?? We have to be careful buying gifts that have to trailer travel a couple thousand miles. We did find wax covered fudge though!

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