Family Travel: New Mexico




By Bekah Wright

Where better to take the family on vacation than the Land of Enchantment – New Mexico. To be more specific—Santa Fe. The state capital, Santa Fe was founded by Spanish missionaries in 1609. Located on a high plateau at the foot of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, the town’s quaint adobe houses blend with the area sandstone as if hiding incognito in nature.

As for getting to Santa Fe, there are options. Families from Dallas and Los Angeles can fly direct into the Santa Fe Airport or into Albuquerque, where the easily accessible New Mexico Rail Runner train will transport visitors directly to Santa Fe. Upon arrival, accommodations await at Rosewood Inn of the Anasazi.

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Set on the corner of Santa Fe Plaza, the AAA Four Diamond Inn is inviting from the get-go with its outdoor patio and scent of pinon that drifts out from the lobby. Kids will feel right at home upon check-in, when they’re greeted with personalized letters and age-appropriate gifts from the Rose Buds® program – among them, drawstring backpacks, water bottles, games and puzzles. Lists of local activities befitting the family are also on tap from the concierge, as well as some suggestions direct from the Manager Director, Andrea Gates, to the kids themselves. More about those later.

Something the little ones will spot right away en route to accommodations is the Anasazi’s triple-storey waterfall with skylight that’s across from the guest elevators. They’ll also note the skylight with handprints that will definitely evoke thoughts of future art projects. Throughout the Inn are other treasures, too, from artwork and sculpture from local artisans, to simple baskets of green apples in the corridors for those feeling peckish.

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On the first floor of the Anasazi, there’s The Library with a flatscreen television. Guests who prefer a bit of gaming will find several tables just right for rounds of Go Fish. Lining the shelves are books on Southwestern culture that are available for bedtime stories.

The boutique Inn’s 58 rooms beckon for time of their own. Parents will like the king-sized beds with their gas-lit kiva fireplaces and four-poster beds. There are coffee makers in the rooms, though coffee from The Anasazi Restaurant can’t be beat. Mini-fridges are also supplied, as well as humidifiers.

Perfect for older kids are adjoining rooms with four-poster, double beds. Rather than a running leap to get into bed, steps are located at their foot for easy access. Cribs are available to those families needing them. There are some rooms available with balconies, though the one fronting the hotel is great for people-watching, side balconies may be best when it comes to noise level for those with little ones who turn in early.

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Three meals a day are available within the hotel at The Anasazi Restaurant. Chef Oliver Ridgeway serves up contemporary global fare with fresh and seasonal ingredients. On tap, also, are menus targeted to kids. As for catching the sunset hour on the patio, the younger set has their own drink menu, with libations like the Annie Oakley and Butch Cassidy. Thirst quenched, it’s time to hit the town.

SANTA FE PLAZA

The square begs for time spent pestering pigeons, checking out skateboarders moves or staking out a park bench and taking in the scene. On one side of the square are the local artisans selling their wares on the sidewalk. Each day a lottery is held to determine who gets a spot and where, so shoppers with their heart set on a specific item, don’t put off purchases. Shopping isn’t only for adults in Santa Fe. Shops like Toyopolis, Moon Rabbit and Yippy-Yi-Yo are just right for tots.

A bandstand is another great place for playing with the kids. Even better, on summer nights free concerts are held here. The square itself is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Santa Fe’s myriad shops and 200+ galleries. When venturing through town, there are plenty of items for an “I Spy” list from a rock table and chairs with their own checkerboard game, dogs taking bicycle rides with their owners and drummers hauling instruments with them about town. And yes, they’re happy to stop for a chat. Be on the lookout, too, for strands of chili peppers adorning the outside of buildings. A definite place that calls for stopping is the labyrinth outside Saint Francis Cathedral.

When it’s time for family dining, there are many restaurants to choose from outside of the Inn. Right next-door is The Burrito Co. Cafe. Breakfast at Café Pasqual’s is a must, though expect a wait. Within walking distance of the Inn is the Coyote Cantina with its rooftop-dining terrace with a laidback vibe where kids can be themselves. Ideal for a lengthier evening walk is the Cowgirl. The barbeque restaurant will have diners wishing they’d donned their cowboy hats and boots, despite the disco music played in lieu of country tunes. A central, outdoor courtyard serves as a playground for young diners with swings, a slide, chalkboard, games and more.

FURTHER AFIELD

The Georgia O’Keefe Museum is a big draw in the city. Kids, however, will be clamoring to spend time at The Santa Fe Children’s Museum with its interactive exhibits and outdoor garden. Art, exhibits and concerts can be taken in at Warehouse 21. Another family hot spot is Las Golondrinas Living Museum where guests step back into the 18th century. Visits are by appointment only. Check dates. Spend time outside on a desert night and the spectacle of stars are unbeatable. Another way to check them out is via Santa Fe Community College’s Planetarium.

For families who love spending time outdoors, there are numerous activities from pocket parks on the riverbank to bird walks and hikes at the Randall Davey Audubon Center and Sanctuary. Santa Fe Climbing Center has a 3,000-square-foot climbing area, complemented by outdoor programs. The piece de resistance, though, is Bandelier National Monument with its 70 miles of hiking trails. Snow bunnies will want to visit Ski Santa Fe. Chipmunk Corner is its children’s complex with ski and snow play areas. Additionally, there’s daycare available for children as young as three months of age.

Still to be seen, Rodeo Santa Fe, where kids can ride wooly rams and ewes during intermission. Fun, too, is the rodeo’s carnival midway. Another way to hit the trail is via the Santa Fe Southern Railroad on an open-air passenger car en route to Lamy.

After a day of sightseeing, the Inn of the Anasazi is a welcome sight. Elves have been at work during turndown service, leaving behind a nightly story and something equally sweet – the Inn’s signature, homemade cookies as a bedtime treat.

To learn more about Rosewood Inn of the Anasazi visit www.innoftheanasazi.com or phone 1-505-988-3030.