Forest in Santa Fe, New Mexico

Leisure Chronicles: Santa Fe, New Mexico

Give me a place where I can get lunch at breakfast and I’ll give you a giant smile…

Sugary breads, eggs ten ways, or soup? I’ll take soup, every time.

One such place is Santa Fe’s Dolina Bakery and Cafe, whose Slovakian born owner-Annamaria-fuses Eastern European, American, and New Mexican influences into her menu. Not only did Annamaria serve me lunch at breakfast, the flavors she shared offered a sense of what home can mean when infused into cozy foods and exquisite bites.

Soup at Dolina Bakery and Cafe
Breakfast at Dolina Bakery and Cafe

What else is exquisite? Solitude at daybreak.

On this vacation, that meant getting up at five am to venture into a freezing, dark, semi-desert morning. I steered through quiet streets towards the trailhead. I began an hour before dawn, forging through the shadows-hiking upwards through the pines, pinyons, and junipers to greet sunrise on the mountaintop.

Peace, beauty, and wide open sky.. It was my birthday, so of course, I felt reflective. These are the moments that we wait for, then cherish once they arrive. And so started another trip around the sun, with rumination under a fresh dawn…

I grew up in a rural Canadian town, surrounded by Dutch and English neighbors who exposed me to unique baking. Flour, butter, fruits, spices and warm ovens combined to create incredible cookies, cakes, and pastries that would later remind me of my home and my roots. Like these extensive forests, we are rooted in our beginnings. We grow towards light.

My thoughts turned to Dolina and the lovely foods that would be turning out in their kitchen. On the way back, I’ll stop in for soup and perfect baking. There’s something about taste, texture, sight, sound…senses sparked can usher in a sense of belonging to a specific time and place.

At this moment I belonged to Santa Fe. So, how did I get here?

I’m someone who needs to get outside of regular life to make room for new ideas.

Ten Thousand Waves

I first came to Santa Fe and Ten Thousand Waves after Covid shook life into a new pattern.

Because of travel restrictions and being unable to go home to Canada or Europe, I really needed to find a getaway in America.

I lived in New York City for eighteen years before I relocated to Texas, but I hadn’t had the opportunity to explore America beyond her eastern and western coasts. I was a single mom dedicated to my son and my career. I’d spent twelve summer breaks in Europe, working for Italian Fix, which was amazing, but during the rest of the year I was way too busy to travel far afield.

Then Covid happened. We all know how that drove many things to a standstill. Simultaneously, it opened us up to new ways of doing things. That’s when I rolled out a map of the USA and started looking closer. I’d been hearing about Ten Thousand Waves for years and years. I was curious about it, and a lot of other places too. Where to start? We checked out Oklahoma, then Utah.

Utah did a real number on my rib cage.

Specifically, there was an epic tumble from a mountain bike in Moab.

I was bandaged and broken and still needed to drive fifteen hours home to San Antonio.

Along the painful route home, enter Santa Fe.

Status? Rough.

That’s why we veered off the roadway towards a shimmering oasis of healing, the Santa Fe Oxygen Bar and Apothecary Restaurant. As I desperately hobbled from my car towards the restorative haven, I felt hopeful. I just needed someone to do something, anything, to help me.

This was the right place-it reminded me of what the hippies in the seventies wished they could have built-we’re talking about a bunch of tea, reiki, healing salves, nutritious food, and homeopathic remedies. Truly, all of this soothed me.

[As an insider tip, consider making a stop here, particularly if you are struggling with the elevation. Santa Fe is the highest capital city in the USA, even loftier than the “Mile High City”of Denver. The services offered at the oxygen bar will assist you in acclimating to thinner air, and help you to avoid altitude sickness. Also, stay hydrated and pace yourself.]

While in Santa Fe, I remembered Ten Thousand Waves, the resort I’d been hearing about.

Ten Thousand Waves

As someone who visualizes being old and perpetually soaking in hot springs, this new destination had my full attention. I decided to add it to my list of priorities. After all, tranquility, a little more tea, and salves never hurt a girl;-) After I got home, I planned my return to New Mexico.

From San Antonio, you could drive to Santa Fe, but I didn’t…it’s over ten hours in the car. The Santa Fe airport is tiny-sort of like one of the small airports from the old days-nice and easy. Hop off the plane and the car rental is right there.

Next, breathe in. The air is amazing.

Out in Nature

How can I say it? There are places in this world where you could go just to breathe.

I made a reservation for one of the limited lodging options at Ten Thousand Waves ahead of time. Turns out, there was a waitlist to get in [insider tip, it’s worth putting your name on].

The resort’s features, including the hot pools, are all outside in the forest. They provide robes and sandals, which is everything you’ll need (except a bathing bottom, which is required in all communal tubs). The architecture of the property is exceptional-saunas, hot pools, cold plunges-all nestled in the hills of Santa Fe. If you benefit from hot to cold therapy, as I do, then this will be perfect.

At Izanami, you can dine in your robe.

If you intend to stay at Ten Thousand Waves and eat at Izanami (the onsite Japanese restaurant) you won’t need to pack much. Izanami is absolutely incredible, you actually feel like you’re in Japan.

Ten Thousand Waves has a spa onsite.

The spa offers a variety of body and skin care treatments, as well as ketamine therapy. Ketamine is a progressive treatment that is used to turn the tide on anxiety or depression. I’ve not tried this but wanted to mention it because, although it’s quite expensive and unusual, it has been shown in clinical trials to be effective.

The spa will help you relax, but I’ll be honest…

There were a few times that I had to run around the property to find cell service.

While most people go to resorts to relax and disconnect from responsibility, you might still need to take or make the odd call. Just know that the cell service and wi-fi is spotty and it’s not the place for a working vacation.

Although, if you are considering a working vacation, or you are not able to stay onsite, there are great Airbnb options in Santa Fe. Another popular lodging option is Bishops Lodge, home of Skyfire Lounge.

Even if you don’t stay at Ten Thousand Waves, when you book a massage at their spa, you’re able to use the Grand Bath communal soaking tub. If you time it just right, you can lounge in the hot pool under a wildly starry sky.

You may even find stars without looking up…Santa Fe is known for its art.

There are plenty of galleries to choose from. Art appreciation is often the motivation to sojourn in the capital of New Mexico. If time allows, definitely check out Meow Wolf and the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum. If history piques your interest, there’s an abundance of it here.

And beyond the city, the landscape delivers sky high palettes.

Hiking in the Moutains
Cactus in Foreground

There is incredible hiking all over, you’ll basically find it any which way you want to walk. The red dirt trails have options for every level. If you want a challenge, Aspen Trail is a really hard hike but it’s wonderful for forest bathing.

If you’re curious about the ski hill, you can drive up there as well.

Take a day trip to Taos. It’s a super cool place to visit…you won’t be sorry. Especially if you go the long way around through untouched hills-the views are just gorgeous.If you’d like more hot springs, Ojo Caliente is worth a visit.

Paper Dosa South Indian Cuisine

If you find yourself played out and ready for dinner, Paper Dosa’s South Indian Cuisine is to die for…but I promise: you’ll die…and come back to life! It’s absolutely delicious.

In Santa Fe you’ll find roots and waves, grounding and renewal. Plus…very tasty food!

Dish with Salsas
Tasty Food in Santa Fe
Marketplace in Santa Fe
Opuntia Santa Fe

“The moment I saw the brilliant, proud morning shine high up over the deserts of Santa Fe, something stood still in my soul, and I started to attend”
-D.H. Lawrence

Tim The Girl Catering offers fresh and vibrant food for private events and corporate gatherings throughout the San Antonio area. Send your inquiry here.