The aromas of jasmine, sage and lavender fill the night air, as soft breezes lift the spirit with a sense of peace and calm. Santa Fe is a distinctive choice for those seeking an adventure for mind, body, and soul. The city, known for its iconic art culture and adobe design, is in the vanguard of health and wellness opportunities in America’s southwest.

On a recent Girls Getaway Weekend, Sunrise Springs Resort 15 miles southwest of Santa Fe became a spiritual and relaxing retreat. Nestled among 70 acres, plus 20 acres of gardens, paths and walking trails, this wellness resort is a serene oasis overlooking a natural, spring-fed pond, a source of rejuvenation for centuries.
The spa facilities offer a nurturing sanctuary for restorative services. A pool, outdoor yoga classes and meditation programs are at the resort’s center of tranquility in the New Mexico foothills.

This is where the tired and stressed come for restoration. Ditching their cell phones, the ladies were ready to unplug, recharge and pamper. (The lodgings have no TVs). There are private outdoor soaking pools infused with de-toxifying minerals. Classes in archery, culinary, and Qi Yong are popular activities.

Not surprisingly, resort cuisine infuses healthful approaches with every menu. Executive chef Rocky Durham embraces the idea that food is a potent elixir for both body and mind. He works with local farmers to source seasonal herbs, fruits and vegetables.

Other wellness options are located in the city’s downtown. The Santa Fe Oxygen and Healing Bar specializes in individualized therapies designed to target specific ailments: headaches, sinus and allergy relief; tensions that block energies, and foot reflexology.

Owing to the city’s 7,000-foot elevation, some people benefit from oxygen treatments that help the weary traveler adjust to higher desert altitudes and counter the symptoms of jet lag. Menu options at the facility’s Infusion Bar include such innovations as Anxiety Calm Latte and O2 Mojito Boost infused with pineapple, lime and mint.

Arts places

Santa Fe, 408 years old, is the nation’s oldest state capital. Its colorful adobe architecture and historic downtown create a dramatic setting against the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. The Plaza is at the heart of the historic district, a mecca for shopping and strolling through the art and craft markets lining the street.
Santa Fe is known as The City Different with a rich history blending Hispanic, Anglo and Native American cultures. These influences are showcased in everything from the food, architecture, art and vibrant character.

The Palace of the Governors is the only building to survive the 1680 Pueblo Indian revolt against the Spanish. The palace and adjoining museum are worth seeing for a sense of the city’s past.

In front of the Palace, indigenous American artisans from l9 state pueblos sell jewelry and other fine crafts beneath the Palace’s long portal on the Plaza as they have for 200 years. They proudly explain their works of art and how they are made. These are authentic, high quality native handicraft.

New Mexico gained statehood in l912 and soon became a haven for those seeking a dry climate, beautiful landscapes and a diverse cultural background. Two annual festivals attract worldwide visitors: the Santa Fe Indian Market in August and Fiestas de Santa Fe in September.

The mountain views and unique traditions are the same qualities that have drawn artists and adventurers here for centuries. Santa Fe was the first designated UNESCO Creative City for craft and folk arts. With more than 250 galleries, it is the country’s third largest art market after New York City and Los Angeles.

Canyon Road and Museum Hill are prominent cultural centers. The oldest houses on Canyon Road date to 1750 and are now a charming collection of adobe structures for thriving art galleries and restaurants. Rug weaving, pottery and leather making can be observed.

The city has a free shuttle service with pickups near hotels and drop offs at major attractions. There are four stops on Canyon Road alone. The Teahouse on Canyon Road is a pleasant spot for dinner and an exceptional array of teas from China, Indian and Japan. The Teahouse offers outdoor seating in the sunken garden.

While Canyon Road is a pleasant stroll from downtown Santa Fe, Museum Hill requires a cab or bus ride. The complex includes four museums and the Botanical Gardens. The high point is the Museum of International Folk Art. Its mission is to foster understanding of the traditional arts to illuminate human creativity. With more than 130,000 objects from l00 plus countries, the museum is home to the largest international folk art collection in the world.
Art hotels

Art is everywhere in Santa Fe. One is captured by a total visual immersion on streetscapes, in bars, and restaurants. The art scene is illuminated in the finest hotels and resorts displaying the original works of local and regional artisans. The La Posada de Santa Fe Resort and Spa has its own art gallery. There is an art curator on staff, and talks are given every Friday. Other hotels have artists working on site.

La Posada is set on six beautifully landscaped acres downtowns, steps away from the Plaza and Canyon Road. It offers richly appointed adobe style casitas, or small villas, and a lavish spa which reflects the splendor and enchantment of the Southwest.

Nine customized massage treatments are offered, including the Altitude Adjustment massage. This includes a 15-minute oxygen infusion to help oxygenate the blood; an anti-aging lymphatic facial was also popular with the ladies.

The El Dorado Hotel and Spa’s extensive art collection is located in the public areas and conference rooms. The hotel has a spa, lounge and rooftop pool, and is steps away from the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum.

Another rich source of art inspiration resides in the churches. The Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi offers brochures outlining self-guided tours. Lovely stained glass windows along the walls in the clerestory depict the ten apostles and two evangelists.

The ladies opted for the Sweetwater Harvest Kitchen, specializing in local, organic and vegan culinary treats. The Paleo Burrito and Turkey Tortilla soup are daily favorites. The congenial owner is from Vietnam and presents Banh Mi, Vietnamese style chicken sandwiches.

Santa Fe’s climate is moderate to hot, but June can get into the low 90s. Best time to visit weather-wise is the spring and fall. The people are friendly and move at a slower pace. The thinking is: carpe diem…manana (seize the day ... tomorrow).