Creative Travel in Santa Fe, New Mexico: Travel Tips Around Thanksgiving!

Today, I am leaving the city of Santa Fe feeling both sad and excited. Excited, because I am on my way through to Dallas and Miami (Miami Vice, South Beach, Ocean Drive here I go!), and “sad” because of leaving many dear people & places in and around Santa Fe, New Mexico behind. “I am not even sad because I know that you are going to come back!”, dear Rebecca Wurzburger smiles, who as Santa Fe’s former Mayor Pro-Tem has earned the city’s reputation and international excellence for developing the Santa Fe Creative Tourism strategy. It is really down to her continuous efforts that Santa Fe today counts among the top travel destinations for creative travel worldwide: Countless meetings & recent creative workshops with Santa Fe’s artists focusing on crafts, cooking classes, painting, encaustics or photography lessons have confirmed this travel trend for me more than once.


“Everybody I have met in Santa Fe has chosen to live (and thrive) here for many reasons. The energy, the light, the inspiration of this creative city have earned it a reputation far across the borders of New Mexico …

… you cannot help but become creative yourself”, is what I tell everybody who asks me about my stay and creative workshops here in Santa Fe. Indeed, I have only met happy people – from taxi drivers to the hotel staff to the very artists themselves, who of course love to share their awareness of the special magic that rules this place.

In addition to all of this, I would like to include some travel tips & ideas for your next visit to Santa Fe. Let me start by elaborating on Hotel Santa Fe, which does have a special story to tell. The majority of this hotel belongs to the Native Indian tribe of the “Picuris-Pueblo” and, despite its size (Hotel, Hacienda & Spa!) does a good job of blending in with the existing, surrounding adobe house structures that make Santa Fe such a unique place on Earth. All around the hotel, I find traces of the First Peoples of North America, starting from a local language welcome above the hotel’s entrance, to locally fitted spa treatments all the way to a large variety of inspiring Indian poems that room service like to leave on my bed each day. Beautiful: I love little details such as these ones! They make a place unique and render it a singular atmosphere, as well as an unparalleled and unique sense of charm.

Arriving a Hotel Santa Fe is a special welcome. "Timeless traditions & New Directions" mark the way forward for one of the local native tribes engaging in the city's tourism industry.

Arriving a Hotel Santa Fe is a special welcome. “Timeless traditions & New Directions” mark the way forward for one of the local native tribes engaging in the city’s tourism industry.


I very much enjoy the comfort of my room for the entire duration of my stay, with little notes of timeless Indian poems on my bed each day. Love it!

I very much enjoy the comfort of my room for the entire duration of my stay, with little notes of timeless Indian poems on my bed each day. Love it!


The view from my room over the city of Santa Fe, as well as the nearby Capitol Building, stretches far up to the nearby mountains, at over 2.000 metres above sea level.

The view from my room over the city of Santa Fe, as well as the nearby Capitol Building, stretches far up to the nearby mountains, at over 2.000 metres above sea level.


Indianische Elemente finden sich überall hier im Hotel Santa Fe ...

Indian elements are to be found everywhere around Hotel Santa Fe …


... sowie auch über der Eingangstür hier: "Mah-Waan, Mah-Waan!" - Herzlich Willkommen!

… even here above the entrance: “Mah-Waan, Mah-Waan!” – Welcome!


Die Wärme ist hier übrigens auch von Seiten des Teams an allen Ecken & Enden zu spüren: Danke, liebe Sophie, für den tollen Empfang hier im Hotel Santa Fe!

Warmth & hospitality may be felt all the way throughout the hotel thanks to the efforts of all the staff here at Hotel Santa Fe: Thank you dear Sophie & team for such a happy welcome every day!


Das Hotel Santa Fe hat zudem einen erstklassigen Spa, welcher über diesen lichtdurchfluteten Eingang erreichbar ist ...

Hotel Santa Fe also offers a great local spa which may be reached crossing this sunlit little path over from the hotel to the hacienda building (the number of chiles out by the door actually symbolizes wealth) …


... und bietet erlesene Kulinarik auf hohem Niveau, wie diese Avocado-Cranberry-Kürbiscreme-Suppe, welche ich gleich drei Mal (!) bestellt habe!

… as well as delightful, tasty, seasonal local farmers’ cuisine such as this creamy cranberry-avocado-pumpkin soup that I have ordered three times in a row (!) – YUM!


Wirklich in Acht nehmen solltet Ihr Euch aber vor diesem "Biest" hier, einer echten "Breakfast Burrito" die locker für den gesamten Tag ausreicht!

The only thing you might want to check before ordering is your appetite: Here, they serve me a true American “Breakfast Burrito” which tastes delicious and essentially has potential to last for the whole day. SuperSizeMe (not)!


Talking food: Apart from Hotel Santa Fe, do check out charming little Back Street Bistro as well as Kakáwa Chocolate House while in Santa Fe. Why?

Quite simply speaking: True local comfort meets real tips for travellers here! As its name suggests, the “Back Street Bistro” is located a little afield from the city centre of Santa Fe and does merit your visit. Tucked away between the famous Santa Fe Plaza and the equally delightful Railyard District with its weekly Farmers’ Market (a must-do when visiting Santa Fe on a Saturday morning!), you will find the Kakáwa Chocolate House, which equally deserves to be visited. Heavenly chocolate creations featuring chili, fruit flavours, nuts or simply pure (drinking) chocolate the kind of melt-in-your-mouth … everything for the sweet tooth here!

Meine Chili-Mais-Creme-Suppe schwebt mir noch heute vor ... Danke an das Team des Back Street Bistro für diesen köstlichen Lokaltipp hier in Santa Fe!

My chili corn cream soup still reminds me of the flavours of Santa Fe … Thank you dear team at Backstreet Bistro for such a tasteful visit!


Das Kakáwa Chocolate House ist ein wahrer Geheimtipp für alle Schleckermäuler und Schoko-Fans. Hier wird einzigartige Trinkschokolade mit einem Hauch Chili gereicht!

Further on, Kakáwa Chocolate House proves to be a secret tip for all lovers of chocolate. Here, I am greeted with a tasting size cup of drinking chocolate infused with a made-to-measure chili shot – wow!


Zum Anbeißen: Feurige Schoko-Häppchen für Genießer in Santa Fe, New Mexiko! Nach dieser Ration war ich eine Runde Joggen ... im Ernst! :D

Crackling chocolate makes the world go round … and us go rounder! I swear, after this visit (and lots of other foodie explorations here in Santa Fe!) I did indeed go jogging. I had to -despite the altitude and lack of oxygen! 😀


Last but not least, let me tell you a personal story. About Santa Fe & my first Thanksgiving. “Have I lost something else maybe … ? Other than my heart, of course …!”

Not my words- although you might be curious to hear more now.! Well. All my love and respect are for dear Rebecca Wurzburger, who I am quoting here and above as well as during my first ever days in the city. Rebecca and I are what you would call, “a true love story”. Some six years ago, the very committed and energetic Rebecca has single-handedly laid the foundation, and subsequently organised, the world’s first ever Creative Tourism Conference in the city of Santa Fe. Since then and me living in & supporting Creative Tourism New Zealand, I have followed her tireless efforts and worldwide engagements for the development of Creative Tourism International. Now that the time has come for us to “finally” meet in person, both of us are just BURSTING WITH HAPPINESS. What is more, Rebecca has almost instantly invited me to her Family Thanksgiving Dinner back home, a truly exceptional gesture that honours me deeply. It is thanks to her and her family that I have felt very much like home here: Home away from home in Santa Fe. Unsurprisingly thus, that we might have lost a part of our hearts to each other, but gained new friendship in the process! Here’s to you, my dear Rebecca.

Rebecca & ich, sind ein Herz & eine Seele (geworden).!

Rebecca & I have truly grown friends during our time here in Santa Fe.! Another merit of the beauty of the whole creative tourism movement!


Im Jahr 2009 erscheint das erste internationale Handbuch für Kreativ Reisen, welches mir Rebecca hier handsigniert und persönlich überreicht. Vielen Dank, liebe Rebecca - ein wahres Geschenk für jemanden wie mich!

Back in the year 2009, the first International Book on Creative Tourism following the Santa Fe conference is published, which Rebecca has offered and signed for me on the occasion of us meeting – a truly meaningful gesture for someone as passionate about the subject as me I have to say!


Rebecca Wurzburger hier in Action während der größten amerikanischen Familienfeier, Thanksgiving zu erleben, ist zudem ein Geschenk wie es nur wenigen Reisenden zuteil wird.

To meet & share time with dear Rebecca Wurzburger & her family in her beautiful house on the occasion of THE American celebration of the year, Thanksgiving, is an honour that few international travellers experience. What a blessing!


Ich fühle mich überaus geehrt, an diesem Tisch Platz nehmen zu dürfen ... Thanksgiving ist hier fast noch wichtiger als Weihnachten (und fühlt sich auch so an.)!

Love my meal with the family here … What an honour! Thanksgiving, I learn, is even more important than Christmas here … wow!


Das Essen ist einfach köstlich ... VIELEN DANK für diese wunderbare Einladung !!!

Our meal is simply delightful … THANK YOU SO MUCH for this unique Thanksgiving celebration here in Santa Fe !!!


Bis zum nächsten Mal in Santa Fe, liebe Rebecca. Ein Platz in meinem Herzen ist Dir & Deiner Stadt sowie all ihren liebenswerten Menschen die mir hier begegnet sind sicher!

See you next time round, dear Rebecca. You, your city as well as all the people I’ve met here have certainly won a treasured place in my heart!


Looking for further inspiration on what to do & see in & around Santa Fe, New Mexico? Here is my hand-picked selection of creative foodie travel tips, as shown on this Flickr Photo Gallery:


Disclaimer: I have been invited by Hotel Santa Fe & Tourism Santa Fe. All opinions are my own.

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