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And as has become an annual tradition from Team SFR, this feature is about naming some of the reasons we are especially grateful right now.
And in a not-entirely-self-serving way, it's also a way to get ready for the Feb. Nominate your favorites and learn how to participate at SFReporter. As an year-old, a new friend and I drove off into the desert one night during our first week as freshmen at the College of Santa Fe. We thought we were in the middle of nowhere. I later figured out we were actually in Eldorado.
We pulled over and looked up at the sky. It's a scene that's likely played out with many folks coming to the impressively dark landscape of New Mexico for the first time. The combination of low population and almost no industry makes for a sky that twinkles more than most, and our state's Night Sky Protection Act, put into place in , regulates outdoor light fixtures and sets guidelines for energy conservation.
Paradoxically, less light makes it easier to see when driving at night; and, while some light can make us safer, the International Dark Sky Association suggests that "Dark Campus" programs actually reduce crime and vandalism.
Say what you will about rich people, but really good food is often a byproduct of their existence, and the closest thing to a successful demonstration of trickle-down economics most of us will ever see.
A truly world-class dining experience is often just a short walk away from your appointment at the county building or City Hall. But it's not just restaurants; we grow stuff. Most of it's legal and most of it's delicious. The farmers market is churning out produce and other crafty goods both in downtown and on the Southside, and there are delicious, cheap taco trucks all over town.
It's a good time to be hungry, Santa Fe. What do your metropolitan friends from New York or Seattle or Houston do to relax? Hit a happy hour, see a movie, sometimes spend way too much on a massage. OK, sure; those are all nice things we do here, too. Tell your city-slicker buds, though, about how you hopped in the car after work and 20 minutes later were carrying a rolled kimono past a koi pond, getting ready to sit in a hot tub beneath the pines for the evening—all for about as much as they spent on their flick 'n' popcorn.
Or, if you have a little more time to spare, tell them how you drove for an hour or so and sat in a natural hot spring for zero dollars, under the dang open sky or beside the dang Rio Grande or next to a dang mountain. Is this real life? Santa Fe County has an entire department dedicated to wide-open areas. Since , the Open Space and Trails Planning department has purchased large tracts from private owners "specifically for conservation and preservation," and has sought input from community members for how each of its eight areas—totaling 6, acres of open lands, acres of parks, and 34 miles of trails—should be managed.
We always listen to our community members; we always take their concerns into consideration and to the best of our ability," says Maria Lohmann, the senior planner at the Open Space and Trails department.
Some of these concerns, she says, often tend to deal with how best to make a space open for humans while also not threatening theanimals and plants that live there. The related environmental review process, which solicits guidance from people in surrounding communities, can run for years, and at least one area, the South Meadows Open Space, has been in a planning period for almost two decades in fairness, it's located next to an old nuke-parts plant, so that might be part of the holdup.
But the amount of time the county is willing to put into environmental planning makes the slow trot worth it, in our view. We're an arts mecca, and you can confirm that with visitors, but we sure hope everyone at home is aware of the many museums Santa Fe has to offer. Not only did SITE go nuts with renovations—including that absolutely stunning steel prow which now juts out toward Paseo de Peralta—but the state art museum is also planning a new satellite location nearby next year in the Halpin Building on Montezuma Avenue.
SITE celebrated its grand reopening with the ongoing exhibition called Future Shock and this month launched a solo show from Luke DuBois on the timely issue of democracy and elections.
The art museum got a major facelift and has put up three exhibits in honor of its centennial. Did we mention many of these places have at least one day every week when admission is free? For Christmas, my mom bought me a really incredible poncho from a border town in Mexico. It's large and warm, and has an Aztec sun pattern woven into it.
I've worn it a lot since then, and I've felt at various points like a broad-shouldered mammal who can ward off a mountain lion if I need to. Professionally crafted ponchos are a new addition to my wardrobe, and my excitement has clearly eclipsed that of those around me: Nobody in Santa Fe cares I'm wearing what is essentially a large blanket draped over my shoulders, and the only time anybody ever comments on it is to give a compliment.
In any other city of this size, at least anywhere outside the Southwest, a large and illustrious poncho such as mine may be too eccentric to wear regularly while avoiding extemporaneous comments. In larger cities like New York, I'd worry about getting the tassels caught in a subway car door, or, while sitting in a cramped restaurant, making a big show of lifting it over my head and probably grazing somebody's face in the process.
How embarrassing and unsanitary. But in Santa Fe, you can stretch out your arms and puff out your poncho like a bluffing spider monkey and it's totally normal. Millennials call it "extra. It's the ol' razzle-dazzle. Baubles, bling, accoutrements, the bits and bobs of a haberdasher, accessories—whatever you refer to it as, it's stuff. And you look really, really fun when you employ it in your wardrobe. In most other parts of the country, when you dress like a weird hippie with scarves and rings and multiple piercings in one nostril, when you're a dude and your socks are cooler than your girl's, or when your purse has long dangley fringes hanging down to your knees that goes for any gender or lack thereof , it's not that you "may" get the side-eye.
Here, the more junk you add to your person, the better you look. Brightly colored fringed floral kimono? Wrapping a Christmas garland in your braid in March?
Giant wool coat with massive embroidered flowers and a big ol' rhinestone cow skull across the yoke? Sure, this style isn't for everyone. But think of it this way: The more plainly you dress, you're not more likely to get mocked. However, the more outrageously you bedeck yourself, often the more folks roll their eyes.
Either end of the simple-to-ridiculous spectrum is equally respected. Barbers and cosmetologists say they covet the Santa Fe market because the cost of cuts here is relatively more expensive than elsewhere in New Mexico. This is because the clientele tend to be older, retired, or just passing through and looking for a way to pamper themselves, cosmetologists tell SFR. Where you go matters; many of the salons and barbershops clustered near the Plaza might not even be open in the afternoon if they haven't already booked clients for those times.
But there's plenty of cheaper spots that more than likely have talented people on their staff. And if you're willing to take a risk with your head, you can get a cut or color at Vogue College of Cosmetology Cerrillos Road, The person who cuts your hair will be a student, so you have to be willing to let them try and fail on you; but the prices are rock-bottom cheap, and you can actually get a decent cut there, since they're working under the gaze of instructors on the salon floor.
America sucks when it comes to mental health. The National Institute of Mental Health estimates about 43 million people suffer from one or more diagnosable mental conditions in a given year, though the severity and fleetingness of a person's condition can range. About 10 million are functionally impaired due to their mental health, and in Santa Fe County, there are about 2, people in that camp.
And whether a person is temporarily gripped by anguish, it's not easy to get treatment. That's why Santa Fe county's plan to build a "crisis triage center" is right on time. Community Services Department Director Rachel O'Connor told SFR last year that the center will feature qualified mental health and addiction counselors and other specialists on site at all hours of the day, including employees from Christus St.
Vincent, the addiction and transitional housing center The Life Link, and reps from the city's Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion program. The county's crisis center is part of a broader effort by mental and social service workers in Santa Fe to tear down any barriers. Over the last year, the county has formed a plan to rope about a dozen local health and social service providers into a coordinated plan to treat vulnerable people in the county, the idea being that if one place doesn't have what a person needs, they can easily and quickly send them over to another organization that does.
The county's crisis triage center, which will probably break ground in , aims to act as an anchor. As we write this, we've got visions of recent shows shows from acts like Wavves , Joyce Manor and Future Islands dancing in our heads. The Man at the convention center in April are reminders that maybe we're gonna have a viable non-local music scene after all. And though we'll tip our hat to the hardworking Santa Feans in the trenches week after week—not to mention the thriving DIY scene being cultivated by spaces like Zephyr Community Art Studio and Ghost—we're gonna go ahead and point out the obvious: We can only hope the trajectory keeps climbing, but we're not complaining yet ; more like reveling in the awesomeness while the reveling is good.
Getting to see coyotes here is like seeing whales breach in the Pacific. When it comes to the statues, paintings, jewelry and Christmas ornaments in downtown shop windows, Flores tells SFR of his travels around the United States: In general, Santa Feans respect coyotes' sovereignty. They were here long before us, and they're gonna be here long after the Homo sapien apocalypse. Keep your pets inside. Unscientific and ineffective coyote-killing contests still occur in New Mexico, but not without vehement protests.
And, Flores says, we could be closer than ever to getting them outlawed California's already done so: Last year a bill banning them passed the state Senate, but died in the House. Keep up with Project Coyote projectcoyote.
We have so many trails. They're so accessible and so rarely crowded. And while we're getting more mountain bikers, we're also getting more trails. They can get dusty and washed out, but even that is getting a little better as a handful of groups who care about —and know how to go about—taking care of them make their way through Santa Fe's myriad singletrack sightlines.
Sure, the National Forest trails require a bit more appreciation for crowds to the grump who told me "I hope you fall" on Raven's Ridge … I didn't. And sure, we still have people who think a trail is the perfect place to let their dog off-leash it isn't, and it's usually illegal , but most folks are happy to accommodate each other regardless of the way they're using the trails.
It's gorgeous out, anyway—what's not to smile about? Without getting into a whole thing about how artists can sometimes be taken advantage of a story for another day , have you ever stopped to think about just how many people in Santa Fe make their living creatively?
From session musicians and street performers to sculptors, filmmakers, painters, theater folk and countless other sub-classifications of jobs, it's quite possible to ditch that 9-to-5 for a career in the arts and make a fairly comfortable living. Oh, we're not saying it's going to be easy, and the hustle might be tough, but at the end of the day, the only real thing stopping you is you.
We're actually scared to type this for fear it may cause a water main to burst—but most of the widening and improving and even God-awful double-diamonding of Cerrillos Road is complete.
It's been such a pain for so long that it seems fairly likely there's an undiscovered morality play by Sophocles exploring the allure of the shortest route to Home Depot or Natural Grocers but for the treachery of using Cerrillos Road to get there.
There are some things of which we're certain, including that there's a repair that will pop up sometime soon or, eventually, a section that needs to be widened again—in fact, no sooner had we started typing this than the state confirmed it is studying a project for the stretch of Cerrillos from Osage Avenue to St.
But nothing is planned or funded for the next four years.
Activists from the immigrant community flanked her Wednesday as she read it aloud. School board President Susan Duncan told the crowd she feels like the country has suddenly moved backward — maybe as far back as the s.
Allegra Love, legal counsel for the Santa Fe Dreamers Project, which helps immigrant families gain legal status and fight deportation, agreed that people in the community are confused. She wanted to take some action. And she reminded the crowd Wednesday that under New Mexico law, high school graduates are eligible for in-state tuition and lottery scholarships. Contact Robert Nott at or rnott sfnewmexican.
Log In Purchase a Subscription. From Albuquerque to Zuni, no town is quite like any other. Silver City was founded years ago, on the heels of a silver-mining boom. I fell hard for Silver City the first time I visited, about 15 years ago. Entranced by the slowgoing drive through the Black Range along breathtakingly circuitous N. Here are 25 attributes of Silver City that make it such a charmed place to live and visit. From the northeast, hop onto the mile southern leg of the Geronimo Trail National Scenic Byway geronimotrail.
The byway then backtracks to N. You can also sample house-crafted beers and spirits, from hearty stout to spiced rum, produced at the on-site brewery and distillery. Nab a full list of popular day hikes at the Gila National Forest ranger office in Silver City ; mynm.
If you have time for just one good trek, make it the Signal Peak hike Trail No. Just 14 miles north of Silver City, the five-mile round-trip ramble leads to one of the highest points in the Pinos Altos Range. A view from the Boston Hill trail network. Stop by for Vietnamese iced coffee, honey-almond scones, or a hearty breakfast frittata.
This shaded wonderland of balance beams, climbing structures, swings, and slides is anchored by a pleasant picnic area. Once the largest open-pit mine in the world, Chino aka Santa Rita Mine is about 15 miles east of town.
The kicky Raven's Nest Boutique is another copper source. Fig—arugula—goat cheese quiche and avocado—key lime pie keep regulars coming back to the cozy Green Turtle Noshery , where cheerful chef-owner Terri Todd cooks primarily with organic, local ingredients.
Diners at Diane's Restaurant. Check the dinner menu online before deciding whether to bring children—lunch is a safer option—and call ahead to ensure the restaurant is open as advertised on its website ; curiouskumquat. Tre Rosat occupies a light-filled storefront and serves modern American favorites like cured pork belly tacos with tequila-pickled jicama and stick-to-your-ribs bison short ribs.
The 1,acre property, popular with tent campers and mountain bikers, is also home to a roll-top astronomical observatory. Without getting into a whole thing about how artists can sometimes be taken advantage of a story for another day , have you ever stopped to think about just how many people in Santa Fe make their living creatively? From session musicians and street performers to sculptors, filmmakers, painters, theater folk and countless other sub-classifications of jobs, it's quite possible to ditch that 9-to-5 for a career in the arts and make a fairly comfortable living.
Oh, we're not saying it's going to be easy, and the hustle might be tough, but at the end of the day, the only real thing stopping you is you. We're actually scared to type this for fear it may cause a water main to burst—but most of the widening and improving and even God-awful double-diamonding of Cerrillos Road is complete.
It's been such a pain for so long that it seems fairly likely there's an undiscovered morality play by Sophocles exploring the allure of the shortest route to Home Depot or Natural Grocers but for the treachery of using Cerrillos Road to get there. There are some things of which we're certain, including that there's a repair that will pop up sometime soon or, eventually, a section that needs to be widened again—in fact, no sooner had we started typing this than the state confirmed it is studying a project for the stretch of Cerrillos from Osage Avenue to St.
But nothing is planned or funded for the next four years. We're also certain that no amount of widening or flow-fixing construction can fix stupid drivers. Maybe it can at least make them more tolerable. We don't love that it's been a record-breaking dry winter, and we know we are gonna miss the snowpack in the spring. But we do love that Ski Santa Fe is able to use the marvels of modern technology to somehow keep snow on the ground, and that you can get there in well under an hour from the city.
Sure, it's super weird riding the ski lift over hundreds of feet of bare, brown earth, and there may come a time when using water to make snow just isn't fair or feasible. But those corduroy runs still offer the mountain's special brand of exercise and relaxation, even if ski basin officials count 18 runs open and there are realistically only seven ways down. Snow-making crews work in the dead of night and apply a special skill at making smooth surface for our boards and planks.
Get thee to Totemoff's for live music on the patio on weekends, too. It took a minute, but it's finally open and has the potential to change more than just the daily commute for thousands of Santa Feans who live in Tierra Contenta. Imagine being able to take Highway into downtown instead of having to chug up Cerrillos Road? The interchange also opens up access to the SWAN Park on the city's Southside, which features a baseball field, soccer field and a big, grassy field that's good for frisbee or anything else.
There's a cool playground and basketball courts, too. Soon, the Village Plaza development could start popping up, with restaurants and other Southside businesses that could give the West Airport Road corridor some actual local flavor. In the somewhat distant future the other side of the interchange is supposed to lead to a new entrance to the airport and potentially open up city land for development and extra cash for city coffers.
When we're shriveling up in degree temps for that week or so each summer that it gets that hot, many folks feel blind rage when a starry-eyed tourist utters those six words.
But honestly … It really is a dry heat, and it really is much nicer than a wet heat, if you ask just about anyone. Sure, we wake up occasionally at 4 am choking from a sudden dryness in our throats, and you can't leave bread out on the counter for 10 minutes without it turning into an inedible knob. But think of the last August you spent in New Jersey. Think of peeling off your skivvies on a summer evening in New Orleans, or a Florida springtime where you need to swim through the air.
Even a weekend trip to Austin one May had me pawing wretchedly at my clothes and lamenting the unbearable moisture—until my friend pointed out that humidity was at 30 percent. A dry day, by Austin standards. I couldn't wait to get back to New Mexico. Weather and climate website wunderground. Keeping that in mind, according to researcher TC Scheffer's paper on historic wood structures for the Forest Research Laboratory of Oregon State University, "If wood moisture content is 20 percent or less, … serious decay is unlikely.
Every other city on the planet is a sopping wet mess and this desert is heavenly. Insert gripes about climate change and drought here; I know, I know. I'm just talking about surface pleasures here. If you don't like it, just go try and breathe on the Gulf of Mexico this summer and get back to us. Shirley MacLaine has given me the stink-eye playfully—I think and Val Kilmer once hit on the receptionist at a former workplace. There's even some family lore about laughing at the guy at Whole Foods who totally thought he was Christian Bale he was totally Christian Bale.
And you can't swing a tote bag in this town without striking Ali MacGraw please don't, though, she's lovely. The point is, these aren't special stories. They're anecdotes and everyone has them. If you're cool with us, we're cool with you.
The one guy in town who really does care if you're from Hollywood is Eric Witt of the Santa Fe Film Office —and he just wants to help you make money. Santa Fe is awash in nonprofits. We even have nonprofits that serve nonprofits. There are groups devoted to getting kids to dance, adults to move creatively, all of us to think and some of us to become better caregivers.
Speaking of, we care about finding homes for pets and saving historic homes from relentless progress. We have groups that want us to love music, whether sung, played or created on a computer. They fill gaps that businesses don't or that the government doesn't.
As an added bonus, the array of community groups makes volunteering easier than ever. It's always hard to take the first step guilty , but once you're plugged in, it's a breeze and immensely rewarding. Yes, there is street harassment everywhere, including in Santa Fe. But let's get real here: The frequency at which women experience street harassment in this town, anecdotally at least, is remarkably lower than in most places.
There are the exhausting and endless "bless you, mami"s from stoops in Brooklyn, or detouring around construction sites in San Francisco to find entire new routes to work walking for 15 more minutes is preferable to passing those guys every day. Tales abound from Austin to Adelaide. While research and advocacy group Stop Street Harassment finds that 95 percent of its survey respondents have been honked or whistled at, and 40 percent say it happens at least monthly, you deduce quickly that, when walking while female in Santa Fe, it's not nearly as pervasive a problem here as in other places.
In many American cities, among women whose office is in a downtown area as SFR's is , we'd posit that closer to 11 of 11 would have responded in the affirmative. Sure, you may have had a different experience. Let's make the app Hollaback!
But on the whole, dudes here keep it real. We can usually walk bar to bar without getting leered at. We can usually walk down Alameda without honks spooking our dogs. We can usually make eye contact on the street without inviting vulgarity. In the old days, Santa Fe was host to maybe, like, two good shops—and even then, it was only because Four Star founder-artists Mark Vigil and Dawn Purnell went their separate ways. Today, however, we've got more options than ever—and they're good ones, all y'all tattoo fans.
Of course, this is a mere smattering of options, but with permanent tattooers like Scott Buffington, Jeffrey Pitt and Amelia Albright creating custom pieces alongside out-of-town guest artists like Max Ireland and Julie Bolene, this little mountain town has a lot going on. Go forth, get cut, tip well. When this newspaper started putting together lists of organizations and businesses to prepare for the Best of Santa Fe nomination period, I was asked to draw up a list of theater companies.
I started from memory, hit about 15; when I got stuck, I consulted Theatre Santa Fe's website to mine the others. When I came up for air, my list was at 22 active companies—from Blue Raven Theatre, which hosted its inaugural show in November , to the Santa Fe Playhouse, which was founded in and hasn't missed a season since. I define "active" as any group that puts on at least one event a year.
For a small city—or, really, for any city—Santa Fe's theater scene is on fire. The first couple weeks of January tend to be a little quiet, but once the year gets going in earnest, there is at least one theatrical production up every single weekend the rest of the year—and sometimes as many as four or five shows.
And we're not talking piddly productions; these are truly impressive, fully staged shows, whether you want Shakespeare or Arthur Miller or something brand-new from a local playwright.