Making the most of autumn in Santa Fe
Fall is one of the most glorious seasons in Santa Fe. The aspen leaves turn gold, the air is scented with the earthy aroma of roasting green chile and the days are bright and warm while the nights are star-studded and chilly.
Most of the tourists have gone home, so the locals no longer have to wait in line at trendy restaurants or fight for downtown parking. It's a beautiful time of year to get outside and hike in the mountains or stroll the downtown streets.
For many locals, fall is Santa Fe's best season and that's because the region celebrates autumn with a host of events, from festivals and studio tours to art markets, a film festival, restaurant specials and more. Here are just some of the highlights of the coming fall season in Santa Fe:
Admiring the Aspens
There are a few ways you can ascend the mountains around the city to view the glorious golden aspens. You can hike the Aspen Vista Trail off Hyde Park Road, where you'll be surrounded by the trees and all their color. Or, drive up Hyde Park Road and the panoramic views will be stunning. If you're a cyclist, the ride up Hyde Park Road is a challenge, but definitely worth it for the views. (The Ski Santa Fe chairlift usually takes visitors up to view the aspens, but because of the damage from the Pacheco Canyon fire this summer, the lift is closed this year.)
Fall Harvest at The Santa Fe Farmers' Market
This is the market's busiest time of year, as farmers reap the harvest of the season. From pumpkins and apples to green chile, squash, cheese, organic meat and more, the bounty is amazing. This market has been named one of best in the country, and after a morning shopping here, you'll see why. Open Tuesdays and Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. and Thursdays from 4 to 7 p.m. Visit http://www.santafefarmersmarket.com/ for details.
From Abiquiu to El Rito, Dixon and Galisteo, studio tours offer a chance to meet artists in their work space and purchase art directly from them. In nearby towns and villages, the artists throw open their doors and welcome visitors with food, music, art and more. Check http://www.santafe.com/calendar/major-event/art-studio-tours for the 2011 fall schedule.
Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta
Hundreds of brilliantly colored hot air balloons, piloted by balloonists from around the world, take to the Albuquerque skies for races, mass ascensions, evening balloon glows and more from October 1 through 9. The fiesta draws spectators and balloonists from around the globe and is one of the city's biggest events. You'll find all the details at http://www.balloonfiesta.com/.
Wait Until Dark
Get in the spirit of Halloween with the screening of this classic film starring Audrey Hepburn as a blind housewife terrorized by a group of thugs, led by Alan Arkin, seeking a doll stuffed with heroin that they believe she has in her possession. Following the screening, Arkin, a Santa Fe resident, will be on hand for a Q&A session with the audience. At 7 p.m. on Saturday, October 1. Visit http://www.santafefilmfestival.com/2011/09/23/the-santa-fe-film-festival-presents-wait-until-dark/ for more info.
Canyon Road Paint-Out
Artists set up their easels on Canyon Road and invite guests to participate in creating their work during the annual Paint-Out, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on October 15. A Children's Parade takes place at noon. There's also food, music and more. Find the details at http://www.santafefilmfestival.com/2011/09/23/do-you-have-an-appetite-for-art/.
The Great Pumpkin
Chef David Sundberg of the Southside Blue Corn Brewery celebrates the pumpkin with a beer social, The Great Pumpkin, held from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. on October 18 at Southside Blue Corn Brewery. Working with eight different pumpkin varieties, he'll prepare three small plates paired with a brew crafted right on the premises. Call for reservations at (505) 438-1800.
Santa Fe Film Festival
This four-day festival, held October 20-23 at various venues around the city, showcases the best in independent cinema. With a full schedule of screenings, parties and more, the Santa Fe Film Festival has become an exciting and popular event that draws film professionals and fans alike. For additional info, visit http://www.santafefilmfestival.com.
Santa Fe Harvest Festival
This fall celebration features nearly a month of special dining events, from discounts at top Santa Fe restaurants to a server relay race around the Plaza. Also on tap are cooking classes taught by acclaimed Santa Fe chefs, a food and wine tasting, a Best of the Fest Gala dinner, a chef showdown, Bar Wars and a silent auction that benefits Cooking with Kids. All the details are at http://harvestfestival.santafe.com/.