From Farmhand to Fauntleroy: Adventures in New Mexico

Four Seasons Santa Fe

Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado 

Before having children, dull parents will rattle on about how tired you’ll be when you do succumb, how you won’t be able to sleep again and how you’ll age fifty years in three months. When your child pops out into the world, their defeated words come back to haunt you and you realize how right they were…

 

Sarah Ivens - Moffett

Sarah Ivens – Moffett

From Farmhand to Fauntleroy: Adventures in New Mexico

By Sarah Ivens-Moffett

No one, however, tells you – before you procreate – to make the most of your vacation time because holidaying with a child can be harder work than being in an office. My husband and I are still filled with wanderlust, despite being new parents. Our 19 month old son may be filled with rage if he’s taken away from his tractors and diggers and he may be hell in a high chair if we break his routine, but we still need to escape. Longing to take a road trip, like the ones we used to do across the South from Kentucky to Georgia or abroad from Thailand to Singapore, but with William on board, we crossed our fingers and headed to New Mexico to take the child-friendly short ride from Albuquerque to Santa Fe. Can travelling with a creature that throws tantrums in public places ever be fun? Can fussy eaters find refuge in five star hotels? Thanks to the two hotels – and cities – we headed to, we’ve actually returned from a vacation for the first time since William arrived on Planet Earth feeling like one should after a break: inspired, invigorated and like we’ve eaten too much.

Little Ivens-Moffett

Little Ivens-Moffett

Our first destination was something style watchers would call an Agri-tourism All-star resort, but we’ll just call it heaven for little boys. Family-owned Los Poblanos is a beautiful historic inn and organic farm, with a restaurant that takes field-to-fork dining from eco-sensible cool to utterly divine. As we checked in, William was declared a ‘little farmer’ and handed a personalized bag containing a cuddly pig, cow and goat stickers and a farm-related coloring book and crayons.

Chilis outside our door

Chilis outside our door

Then waiting for William in our suite – a cozy hideaway complete with a roaring fire and an exquisite bathroom stocked full of lavender-scented lotions and potions , fresh from the purple field outside our window – was organic milk and warm, freshly baked cookies. The hotel had him at cuddly pig, so he happily trotted off to dinner at La Merienda – despite the late hour – and sat patiently while his greedy parents dived into the delights on offer: farm food with a spicy New Mexican twist, such as seared white bass on a potato celery root gratin with a spicy green tomato nage, followed by a sweet treat of pannacotta with a pecan snowball. The local cheese plate was the finest I’ve ever tasted. After a good night’s rest, the three of us tangled up together in the gigantic, super-plush bed, and a hearty breakfast of fresh fruit, farm-scavenged honey and eggs Benedict, we wandered off to the farmyard, where William was invited to milk the goats and collect fresh eggs from the chickens. He also chased peacocks, mooed at the cow and tried to brush the farm’s ginger tom with a broom he found in the tractor shed.

The Fire Pit at The Four Seasons

The Fire Pit at The Four Seasons

After two hours of frolicking in the fresh air with his new furry friends, it was time to leave and exhausted by all the excitement, he slept all the way to Santa Fe – which is what every parent dreams of! Checking into the uber-cool and classy Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado took my little boy from mini farmhand to Little Lord Fauntleroy. Here, he was a happy traveler for very different reasons: dreamy chocolate brownies and milk waited for him fireside, which he was allowed to help build with his daddy. When he was finished with that, he turned his attention to the Native American drum, positioned as a side table next to the bed, which he played for ages – until it was time for him to take a dip in the bath, the most humongous I had ever seen which must have looked like a swimming pool to William.

As he splashed about, I washed him down with the array of baby products that had been thoughtfully left for him – and then wrapped him up in a miniature white robe, quite possibly the cutest thing I have ever seen him in. After we’d all had our baths, the three of us sat around the fire, wearing our matching robes, William looking at photos of cowboys and horses in a Santa Fe tourist magazine; my husband and I sitting silently, dumbstruck that travelling with a child could not only be done, but could be enjoyable. The next day, while the boys went off for a mini-hike on the grounds of the hotel, I had some mom-alone time. Bliss. Designed to reflect the sacred kiva rooms of the indigenous Pueblo Indians, the treatment areas have a pared-down Southwest style that force you to leave your troubles and to-do lists at the front door. Sue, my massage therapist, gave me a fascinating Santa Fe history lesson while she buffed and soothed me with warm coconut oil and wrapped my feet in hot towels, then sent me off to the warming room – a relaxation lodge complete with a log fire, cashmere blankets and chamomile tea – where I forgot about the 19 months of disrupted sleep I’d endured, feeling ten years younger. Dinner at the Four Seasons ranch is not for the faint-hearted.

Food at the Four Seasons... nom nom nom

Food at the Four Seasons… nom nom nom

You will want to try everything, even the spiciest dishes that will leave your lips on fire (New Mexicans really are obsessed with chile!) and the desserts are so delicious, you may have to order two. My husband did. He blamed all the high-desert air for increasing his appetite, I blamed his taste buds: why wouldn’t he want to try the signature sundae (house made churros, tequila caramel sauce and dulce de leche ice cream) while he was waiting for his dark chocolate soufflé (with green chile cream!) to rise to perfection? Thankfully, William sat enchanted by the monster of a bread basket that greeted our arrival and the spaghetti I chose for him from the healthy kid’s menu. The two hotels we enjoyed on our New Mexican adventure were so good we had to force ourselves to leave the grounds. But we’re glad we did – to get our art on at the Georgia O’Keefe museum near the Old Plaza in Santa Fe, and to get scared at the Rattlesnake museum in Old Town Albuquerque, a place that gave me the heebie-jeebies, but the little lad loved. We left New Mexico with a new appreciation for hot food, high-dessert skies and their infinite stars… and most importantly, the courage to take on more road trips.

Have child, will travel. Yeehaw!

Lospoblanos.com

Fourseasons.com/santafe

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Santa Fe: Your Romantic Vacation Cheat Sheet

We bet you’ve never contemplated your belly button in the center of Tent Rocks before.

Or how about made love in an adobe den under the multi-hued skies of Santa Fe?

So what, we ask, are you waiting for?

It’s not hard to feel like you’re on vacation in a place where the calm envelops you with a warm embrace. Here, fine art and dining are as approachable – and enjoyable – as that lovely girl with a wide grin smiling from across the crowded room. Ladies and gentlemen, Santa Fe, New Mexico, is the next best place to vacation (and invest your retirement money). There’s a reason stars like Harrison Ford and Julia Roberts love this state so here are Jaunt Magazine’s top picks for a great spa/art/adventure away from this rat race.

Santa Fe Hotels

The Inn and Spa at Loretto is one of our top picks right in the center of town. Impressive adobe architecture and easy access to all of Santa Fe’s attractions, makes this property a favorite for Jaunt staffers. Special packages with spa, ski, and golf amenities are also available for Girl’s or Boy’s Getaways. Priced around $300-$400/night.

http://www.innatloretto.com

Inn of the Anasazi, a Rosewood Hotel, has massive hand-carved doors, sculpted stairways and sandstone walls as part of their authentic Southwestern Pueblo touches characterizing an intimate 57-room hotel. They also offer award-winning dining and an ideal location near the city’s historic central Plaza. Four-poster beds and other handcrafted furnishings grace each of the beautifully decorated rooms, along with cozy gas-lit kiva fireplaces. Rooms start at $309/night.

http://www.innoftheanasazi.com

Encantado, an Auberge Resort: This exceptional new retreat opened this August in a spectacular setting at the foothills of the Sangre de Christo Mountains, seven miles north of downtown near the Santa Fe Opera. Featuring 65 casitas luxuriously appointed in New Mexican native adobe style with private terraces, outdoor fireplaces, state-of-the-art technology and sweeping views of the Rio Grande, Los Alamos, and the Jemez Mountains, Encantado also introduced Santa Fe’s first world-class resort spa, a gourmet restaurant and an expansive outdoor sculpture garden. For those wishing to explore Santa Fe, Encantado also offers complimentary Mercedes-Benz car service and easy access to the city’s famed art galleries and restaurants with its centrally located Concierge Lounge offering VIP services. Rates start $425/night.

http://www.encantadoresort.com

Galleries/Museums
Leading galleries of contemporary art have quickly made a home in the new Railyard District, including Zane Bennett Contemporary Art, which has moved from Canyon Road to a striking new two-story gallery space on South Guadalupe Avenue. The gallery has represented contemporary masters from Richard Serra to Robert Motherwell, and Louise Nevelson to Robert Rauschenberg.

Gebert Contemporary recently expanded from its Canyon Road gallery and sculpture garden to add a Railyard District location with 6,000 square feet of “project space” that can encompass monumental sculpture and painting as well as video and installation pieces. Gebert specializes in the contemporary abstract painting and sculpture of an international group of established and emerging artists.

The Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, which recently celebrated its 10th Anniversary, is the only American museum devoted to a female artist. Hollah! One of the most significant artists of the 20th century, Georgia O’Keeffe (1887-1986) was devoted to creating imagery that expressed what she called “the wideness and wonder of the world as I live in it.” The largest single repository of O’Keeffe’s work in the world, with a collection of nearly 3,000 works, including more than 1,000 O’Keeffe paintings, drawings, and sculpture, the museum displays works by this great American modernist. Over 140 artists have been also exhibited at the Museum including Frank Stella, Jackson Pollack, Andy Warhol and Arthur Dove.

Santa Fe Restaurants
Learn about the rich culinary history of the “City Different” with a restaurant walking tour and progressive lunch starting at the Santa Fe School of Cooking, the authority on Southwestern cuisine. The tours are led by native Santa Fean, television host, and chef/guide, Rocky Durham. Then it’s out for a guided tour to three of Santa Fe ‘s most prestigious dining destinations:

Amavi, recently voted ‘most romantic restaurant in Santa Fe’ in the May 2008 issue of the Santa Fean. Chef/owner, David Sellers and his wife, Heather highlight regional specialties from the cuisines of Italy, Spain and France.

http://www.amavirestaurant.com

Tom Kerpon, Executive chef of Rio Chama, will share some of his secrets about his award-winning regional cuisine that has made him one of Santa Fe’s favorite chefs!

http://www.riochamasteakhouse.com

Coyote Café, where the new chef/owner Eric DiStefano, formerly of Geronimo, will prepare a dish and share some of the rich history of the world famous Coyote Café. Phenomenal food and the chefs were so charismatic and generous with time, preparation instruction and portions!)

http://www.coyotecafe.com