Few American cities have captured my attention like Santa Fe. There’s a really refined, contemporary artisan spirit here and a beautiful fusion of New Mexico influences. Not only is it a highly creative place, it is also highly spiritual. Ancient Native American practices take cues from the secret curative abundance of high desert plants. Colonial Spanish has a modern revival and clashes with wellness influences from the East. You can find acupuncture and Ayurveda experts alongside tribal ceremonies and leaders.
Every season is a feast for the senses. The intoxicating fragrance of desert flowers in bloom, burnt piñon wood smoke flowing out of kiva chimneys and the scent of sagebrush saturating the air after a fresh rain are all uniquely transformative. As cliche as it sounds, there’s a reason why so many important artists find their voices here in the high desert. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not the easiest environment to adjust to. It’s very demanding. It demands your best attention to everything. To your skin. To your art. To your soul. The dry wind will strip away all the moisture from your face and with that goes that mask you wear trying to be someone else.
I always feel that kind of high energy vibration is surrounded by things that can help you. The desert takes away all your moisture but gives you jojoba and willow. The desolate quiet calm can feel isolating so it gives you ancient rituals, dances and ceremonies. The altitude throws off your balance and equilibrium so it has great access to yoga, mediation, and other expert therapies.
I’ve been slowly chipping away at experiencing what the area has to offer where wellness and art collide. Let me tell you, it’s worth buying a plane ticket or renting a car immediately and giving yourself some time to sink into the vibe here. Here are just a few favorite things that I love about the city (because if I didn’t limit it, I could go on and on and on…)
Ten Thousand Waves
This place far exceed any expectations. Tucked into the hills only 15 minutes outside of town is a Japanese wellness oasis. It’s like the drive up the mountain is a teleport deep into the Japanese countryside to a pristine Ryokan. I booked the Ichiban private tub area and wow was it exquisite. Two giant hand-thrown ceramic tubs envelope you in the most perfect temperature of hot water. There’s a private wood sauna and a gorgeous outdoor shower. I showed up in Fall and left in Winter. It’s even more amazing in the snow!
Aside from the hot springs, Ten Thousand Waves is also a hotel and spa. They have oxygen facials, massages and community soaking pools. There’s a delicious restaurant on the premises. One of these times I’ll try to book a room here! It was completely booked out for weeks.
I’m a creature of habit and when I like something I really like something. Such is the case with Cafe Pasqual. No matter what it’s always crowded and no matter what I’ll always wait for my spot at the communal table or for a private spot underneath the stringing lights and colorful paper flags. The restaurant isn’t necessarily health focused it deserves a spot on your itinerary. Their granola and yogurt bowl looks like the most boring item on the menu next to chorizo polenta but it’s absolutely heavenly!
There’s yoga at every turn in Santa Fe. Ashtanga, vinyasa, bikram… you can find it all here. Try classes atThe Body, or Thrive. For Ashtanga, Kendra Myers is the one to track down for led classes and Mysore.
Authentic Artisan Spirit
To refresh the spirit creatively, I personally love to stroll along the Palace of the Governors and collect Native American artisan jewelry. I’m just in love with how they weave their ancestry in with contemporary designs. Think lots of stones with copper and silver. Some stones hold energy, like Bumble Bee Jasper, which is a stone to help contemplate change and new beginnings. If you want to feed your soul, then get your hands on something that was made by someone else’s hands.
My favorite store is Santa Fe Dry Goods for the most beautiful edited collection of contemporary clothing. Made by Voz and Pleats Please by Issey Miyake are a few designs I’ve found and loved there. Their new store called Wildlife a few doors down is heaven for interiors.
If you want an amazing wellness stay right in town then book the wellness package at Inn of the Five Graces. I’ll devote a whole separate post to that! And ooooh it’s so good! Check back soon xx