Hemlock ❤️s Adventure: Santa Fe

Everything to do, from where to stay, explore and relax in Santa Fe, New Mexico

 Mary Kate Hafner, Adventurer

Why I Went

In some great literary text, there is a phrase similar to ‘the sea is calling, so I must go.’ Well, for me, when the desert calls, I must go. So, when the stars aligned with a stretch of open days and a stack of credit card airline points, I packed my bags and headed west.


Where to Stay 

I rented the most delicious Airbnb, slightly out of the city. When booking, I was anxiously on the fence about being a bit out of the way. However, I could not be happier that I took the chance. Affectionately named Studio Cielito, my Airbnb was slightly tucked away on the owner’s property, giving a feeling of security and privacy. The cabin’s skylights and soaking tub created a true oasis. One of my favorite memories of the trip is driving the scenic roads to and from the city center. 

Where to Eat

For breakfast or lunch, go to Dolina Bakery and Cafe. I nearly melted from delight after one spoonful of my Hungarian paprikash. If you don’t save room for dessert, browse their pastry case for a sweet to-go. I will regret not snagging a slice of their banana cream pie into my nineties. 

For an afternoon pick-me-up, try Kakawa for authentic and historic drinking chocolates. For a better visit, try before you buy. Kakawa is not your Swiss Miss hot cocoa. The flavors are deeper, richer, and less sweet. The staff will happily let you try as many flavors as you like. If you’re like me, you may take a couple of packages home as gifts. 

For dinner, visit Maria’s New Mexican Kitchen to dine on New Mexico’s famous chiles. The succulent, green chile-covered meatballs are nationally known and featured yearly during Santa Fe’s renowned Food and Wine Festival. Maria’s was a spot where I wish there were more of me to order multiple dishes. 


What to Do

My main objective in visiting Santa Fe was to see art, relish nature, and learn something. The city’s mere existence makes these three items easy to achieve. 

Art is everywhere, especially in the more touristy square, where galleries and museums are on every block. Hecho Gallery, which I discovered walking back from the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum, was a real treat. At the time, Mexican artist Alfonso Barrera was showing their first solo exhibition at Hecho Gallery. The artist’s work is surreal, captivating, and an example of the inspirational treasure waiting for discovery.

If you visit only one museum in Santa Fe, let it be the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture. I spent nearly three hours reading every sign and pamphlet available and still did not take in every sentence of information. The museum is a premier repository of Native art and material culture and tells the stories of the people of the Southwest. The museum is beautiful, heartbreaking, and fascinating—a must-see for anyone wanting to learn more about the lives of Native Americans.


To avoid afternoon rain, I hiked at sunrise. Watching the sun move across the mountains and the birds flying at eye level makes me feel small in the absolute best way. There is a reason so many artists are inspired by the beauty of New Mexico.

Santa Fe Pt.2

Handker’s founder and owner, Beth also has major love for Santa Fe. Here are her suggestions for rounding out your trip: 

If you’re a fan of a good long soak, you MUST check out Ten Thousand Waves. It’s a Japanese style spa high up in the hills above town, and if  a massage isn’t calling your name, you can get a day pass and just soak in a variety of mineral hot springs tubs. It’s truly magical in the winter when there’s snow on the pine trees. And the restaurant there is top-notch as well!

American Folk Art Museum: I walked into this place and had an out-of-body experience. It was like all the world’s most delightful patterns, colors, and the spirit of the people who made these objects was just laid out for my enjoyment. So much of Hemlock’s designs are inspired by folk art style patterns and prints, so this was a majorly inspirational place for me.

Ghost Ranch: worth the incredibly scenic drive up to Abiquiu to see this spiritual and artistic outpost. Georgia O’Keefe has a home there and painted straight from the land here. The ranch is home to artist workshops and retreats, as well as hiking trails and incredible desert views.

For kids and adults alike, Meow Wolf is a wacky experience. Bonus points for being indoors and climate-controlled on those hot and cold days! There’s a washing machine portal to another world and just so many delightful little artistic surprises. The place defies definition.

The Wrap-up

New Mexico’s license plate crowns the state as “The Land of Enchantment,” a title I believe they rightfully bestowed upon themselves. While I only savored a sliver of the state, I am eagerly plotting to return and explore more. The people, the food, the culture, and the landscape will have me dreaming for many moons to come.