Articles for the Month of December 2013

Thanksgiving Vacation

Thanksgiving Vacation

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So, I decided not to go home for Thanksgiving this year. I decided instead to go on an honest to goodness vacation. I haven’t done that in a long time. It took me a while to decide on where to go – I wanted somewhere close enough to drive, that I hadn’t been to before, and that offered some fun tourist activities. My options were north or south, west being impractical due to possible weather in the mountains, and east – well, that’s just flat, and there’s not much there. North didn’t honestly seem like a good idea in November – particularly late November – since that’s usually when the real snow starts around here, so that left south.

Santa Fe, as it turns out, is only about a 6 hour drive, with one mountain pass to cross, I’d never been there, but it came highly recommended by several different folks. My original plan was to head down there for four days of alone time to explore and possibly enjoy the benefits of some ritzy spa. Instead, some madcap impulse took over, and after three entertaining dates with The Writer, I invited him along.

It actually worked out really well. I am a huge fan of Groupon, and I found a deal on a hotel about a block off the square, the Eldorado Hotel and Spa.

We drove down on Thanksgiving Day – beautiful weather the entire way, no traffic to speak of, and my roommie had agreed to take care of all of the pets for me for the weekend. We left a little later than anticipated, but since there was no rush it wasn’t a problem, and we pulled into Santa Fe at around 6pm. On the way down, we discussed dinner options – it being Thanksgiving, I figured reservations would be necessary. We found a likely place, Italian, called Osteria D’Assisi. I cannot in any way recommend this restaurant. For Thanksgiving they had a prix fixe menu. (For those of you that don’t know, a prix fixe menu is a complete meal offered at a fixed price) Whereas their normal prices were around $18 a plate, the prix fixe was $45 a plate. I can actually live with that, I don’t mind paying for good food, the problem was, it wasn’t good food. About the only decent thing included were the candied walnuts on the salad, and the breadbasket. Though I am not a fan of Coffee, The Writer is, and even I know that serving someone coffee with curdled milk is bad form. Luckily, this was the only truly bad dining experience all weekend.

Friday, whereas I might have been inclined to keep myself in the hotel room all day, a particular failing of mine, The Writer dragged me out and made sure I explored the area. This proved particularly useful since he had to work during part of the weekend and if I hadn’t gotten my bearings earlier, I definitely wouldn’t have gone out. Dinner Friday night was at the Blue Corn Café in downtown. Perfectly tasty Mexican food, and for Santa Fe, reasonably priced. I don’t think I spent less than $50 on any meal all weekend. I did make a trip over to the Georgia O’Keefe museum. As it turns out, it was right behind the hotel. I also found a gem for The Writer to explore – a rare used book shop, also directly behind the hotel. Since it was the day after Thanksgiving, Santa Fe seemed to be having a special event – there was a band in the plaza, all the Christmas lights were on, and there were a million people around.

Saturday was another day of laziness, shopping and eating good food. On our way out, hunting for a place to eat, The Writer spotted a tiny little sign that looked promising – the San Francisco Street Grill. We went up three flights of stairs, following tiny little red arrows, through what was obviously a very back way, to emerge on a well laid out, large, and mostly empty restaurant. Bonus, there was an accordion player performing traditional music AND pop from the 80’s, and the food was good.

I’m afraid we didn’t actually get around to seeing some of the other touristy things – I’ll just have to go back. Oh by the way, if you’re getting Christmas presents, it’s likely they’re from Santa Fe. That’s the only hint you’ll get.

Sunday we headed home – another lovely drive in beautiful weather. We made good time and only had to stop for gas twice. And I’m very thankful that I went last week and not this week. After the low 50-degree temperatures of last week, this week our highs are hovering around 8 degrees.