August in San Francisco is a peculiar brand of summer: foggy, windy, and cold. Eager for a sunny escape, my husband, Steve, and I surfed websites like Travelocity and Travelzoo to find weekend deals.
There they were: cheap flights to Albuquerque, only an hour’s drive from the culture and chile-spiked cuisine of Santa Fe. Its 82° August average fit our needs―and the price was right.
Santa Fe, an old Spanish outpost town in the high desert, is like a richly lit Georgia O’Keeffe canvas: Earth-toned buildings blur with baked soil, and a crystalline blue sky is dotted with steppingstone clouds. Rather than join the Plaza’s souvenir-seeking throngs or rush through all of the dozen-plus museums in just two days, we select two must-sees―the O’Keeffe and the Awakening Museum―and hit them early, then head off the beaten path, free map in hand and sun on our shoulders.
Romantic side streets lead to tucked-away home and import stores and a less-traveled route to the Old Santa Fe Trail, where we get our history and architecture fix. Continuing on foot to Canyon Road, the epicenter of the high-end gallery scene, we find the galleries uncrowded. We linger, ogling artwork … and price tags.
Relaxed and recharged, we make one last stop before heading home: a roadside roaster, tumbling fresh green chiles. With 10 pounds of smoky chiles in our carry-on, we take Santa Fe’s flavor with us.
Going at the last minute
Rooms are scarce during the popular Santa Fe Indian Market (Aug 20–21).
Stay within walking distance of the Plaza and Canyon Road.