Healing in the Land of Enchantment: A Wellness Guide to Santa Fe
Santa Fe - Where do I even begin? This little city in the high desert of New Mexico is a mecca for all things wellness and healing. Nestled at the base of the Sangre de Cristo mountains, with views of the neighboring Sandia and Jemez Mountains and sprawling vistas in just about every direction, I believe the healing begins the moment you step foot on this land. I am currently seven weeks into a little over a two month stay here in this beautiful place which I was called to from across the country when living in NYC for the space, healing, and mystique it offers so abundantly. My first visit last year, left me craving more and now I have the pleasure of experiencing this place on a more intimate level. From soaking in hot springs, to hiking trails abound, it is a wellness lover’s paradise and worth a trip for anyone seeking space, inspiration, healing, and connection to nature. It doesn’t take much to begin reaping the healing benefits this place has to offer, but in case you need some guidance, I’ve rounded up some of my favorite ways to get the most out of your visit and stay next time you find yourself in this part of the state so lovingly called The Land of Enchantment:
Go Hiking :: One of my favorite things about the land here is how quickly it grounds me, and one of the best ways to get grounded, in my opinion, is to connect with nature through hiking. Santa Fe and the surrounding area is a hiker’s dream. Trails range from easy to difficult and you can access many of them within 8-10 minutes from anywhere in the city. I’ve listed some of my favorite trails I’ve tried so far:
Dale Ball Trails - This trail system consists of 22 miles of trails that are right in Santa Fe. It couldn’t be easier to sneak a hike into the middle of your day with access to these trails that vary in level of difficulty, with many trail loop options, and many views where you can see for miles. There’s nice and easy options for when you’re still acclimating to the high altitude here [Santa Fe is situated at about 7,200 feet!].
Galisteo Basin Preserve - These trails give you a real taste of the desert. The Galisteo Basin is about a 25 minute drive southeast of Santa Fe and it gives you a very different taste of the terrain. There are so many rose colored rocks here! Simply hiking on this land feels like the equivalent of laying a rose quartz on your chest - so loving, supportive, and nourishing. It can be much warmer there, so keep that in mind when choosing a day/time of year to visit and bring lots of water.
La Vista Verde Trail - If you drive up the highway towards Taos, you’ll find yourself driving through the Rio Grande Gorge carved out by the Rio Grande itself. There is a rather easy trail up there that came highly recommended and it truly lives up to the hype. This out and back hike takes you through fields of sagebrush, past cliffs and rocks with petroglyphs, and if you’re lucky, you may even spot some bighorn sheep along the way. The trail ends at the most jaw dropping view of the gorge that will always remain imprinted in my mind.
*Healing tip: Once you reach somewhere on your hike with ample space to sit down, ideally with a view or surrounded by trees and rocks or near some flowing water, try taking off your shoes and placing your bare feet on the ground. Sit there in silence for at least 10 minutes, breathing in the fresh air and imagining your energy grounding down and exchanging with the earth. The best part is, it’s free and I bet you’ll feel a whole lot more grounded and connected to your surroundings after doing so.
Soak in Healing Waters :: There is no shortage of sacred healing waters to soak in in New Mexico. From free natural sources you can hike to, to full blown spas, it’s almost a rite of passage to take advantage of the hot springs that run freely throughout this land. Here are two spas and more off-the-beaten-path option, all of which are not to be missed:
Ojo Caliente - Drive about an hour north of Santa Fe and you’ll find yourself at the sacred hot springs of Ojo Caliente. This spa has a hotel for overnight stays, as well as day passes to the pools to soak. One of my favorite things is how they label each of the pools and explain what minerals you are soaking in and what they can help with. I’m a nerd when it comes to these kinds of facts, so I eat this sort of information up! If you have the opportunity, make sure to do yourself a favor and spend the morning, day, or evening in these sacred waters.
Ten Thousand Waves - To put it in their own words, ‘Ten Thousand Waves is inspired by the great Japanese hot spring resorts… There is nothing quite like it on the North American continent’. This spa comes highly recommended and it really is something special and unique. They offer communal soaking, private spa suites, and premium private hot tubs, along with a full menu of spa treatments, a traditional izakaya restaurant, and lodging all available on the property. We did a private soak when our friend was in town. It was extra special to have our own soaking tub, sauna, and cold plunge looking out to the desert plants and event a couple bunnies. It is a relaxing retreat in an already healing place, which makes it extra special if you ask me.
Wild Hot Springs - If you’re feeling a little more adventurous, there are ample opportunities to soak in wild hot springs. What I mean by wild is that they are not curated into a spa. They are simply places out in nature that hot springs naturally occur and little pools usually lined by rocks found in the area that define where you can soak. A good Google search and/or asking locals for recommendations is likely your best bet. There’s one location up near Taos in the Rio Grande Gorge that we really enjoyed. See what you can find!
Eat Fresh, Healthy & Delicious Food :: Don’t get me wrong, New Mexican food is delicious, but it sure is indulgent [hello, melty cheese!]. After a few meals like that, my body quickly begins craving fresh veggies and lighter fare and Santa Fe has no shortage of healthy food spots to satiate your healthy palate and balance it all out:
Sweetwater Harvest Kitchen - This was my first stop for lunch after driving cross-country from NYC to Santa Fe, and it was as if I had arrived in healthy, nourishing food heaven. It is a great option for people with various dietary preferences as they have vegan, gluten free, paleo, vegetarian, pescatarian, you-name-it, options abound. Everything is delicious, but the Salmon Donburi is extra delicious and is one of my favorite dishes on their menu!
Vinaigrette - Another incredibly delicious healthy spot, with just the perfect amount of indulgence to their menu. The menu predominantly consists of entree salads, with some sandwiches, soup, and side options. I’ve been here nearly every week since arriving in Santa Fe, and I imagine that will continue through the entirety of our stay here.
Modern General - As the name might lead on, this is a wellness lover’s dream of a modern General Store. They offer food for dining in like smoothies, pancakes of all sorts [from sweet to savory options], sandwiches, and other lunch specials, as well as a curated selection of gourmet foods, books, trinkets, gardening supplies, and skincare/beauty products, among other things. Most of what they sell is locally made which is always a great way to support the local community and get a feel for the place.
See a Healer [or two] & Visit a Healing Space :: Santa Fe is filled with holistic healers, but it always helps to have a couple recommendations right? Here are some of my personal favorites that I myself have worked with:
Well Adjusted Holistic Health - This husband/wife duo of Santa Fe-based Well Adjusted Holistic Health is pure magic. Dr. Randall Polgar is a Chiropractor who uses applied kinesiology in his practice. He is warm, gentle, and incredibly informative. I had never been to a chiropractor before working with Randall and I was even a little hesitant to explore it as treatment for general wellbeing, but almost immediately Randall put me at ease and I left feeling a whole lot more aligned, clear, and informed about my body. I’ve now had four appointments with him and we are getting to the root of minor health issues that I honestly thought I’d just have to ‘deal with’ for there rest of my life. He’s also providing me with professional support as I try an heal a persistent ear infection naturally! I am so grateful for healers like this.
Danielle Polgar, M.D. is an astrologer and holistic counselor who has been my personal astrologer for a few years now and has now become a dear friend. She delivers astrological information in such a grounded and approachable way, that even skeptics could digest the information she translates and delivers. She seamlessly weaves her experience and training as a counselor into her astrology practice and I wouldn’t miss an opportunity to get a reading in person with her when you’re in town if I were you. She does sessions in person at their healing space in downtown Santa Fe, but she also offers virtual sessions too, so if you’re eager for a reading and don’t have a trip to Santa Fe planned anytime soon, she’s got you covered.
AY^AM Tesuque - I first heard about AY^AM’s healing space in Los Angeles, only to learn soon after that they have a space here in an area of Santa Fe called Tesuque. They offer tea meditations a couple times a week and the room is a gorgeous round space that feels like it was made for conscious gatherings and learning in community. I’ve only been to one tea meditation here so far, but I plan on visiting a few more times before I leave. The women I met at this space were so warm and welcoming. They’ve truly created the dreamiest and most conscious space for deep connection and healing to take place. They offer a seasonal weekend retreat for locals and visitors that I just missed, but I would so love to return for it someday!
Meet & Mingle with the Locals ::
Santa Fe Farmers Market - Every Saturday morning from 8am-1pm locals, tourists, and farmers gather at the Santa Fe Farmers Market at The Railyard. Farmers and vendors sell everything from local, seasonal produce, to baked goods, to homemade skincare products, to bone broth. Even if you’re just in town for a few days, this is worth a visit and you’ll likely find yourself going home with a variety of New Mexico specialities. Even without any purchases, this is a people-watching frenzy and a great place to talk to locals.
Check out a local coffee shop - I love a good coffee shop. I think it’s a great way to observe and get to know the community where I’m at. Santa Fe has no shortage of great coffee shops to grab a coffee, tea, or spend the day working from. Below are a few of my favorites:
Iconik Lupe - There are a few Iconik locations throughout Santa Fe, but this is where I’ve spent most of my time. There is a co-working space and yoga studio in the same building, which makes for a great mix of people coming through at any given time.
Opuntia - A plant-lover’s paradise! This ‘tea house in a glasshouse’ serves great food [it’s become another favorite lunch spot] in addition to their amazing coffee and tea available.
Sky Coffee - Located in The Railyard right next to where the Farmer’s Market takes place, this is a great place to stop for a coffee before or after perusing the market on Saturdays. Being right next to the train stop, it seems to be a meeting place for people who ride the train up to Santa Fe from Albuquerque, making it another great place for people watching.
There you have it - a roundup of some of my most favorite places, spaces, and activities I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing during my time here so far. People here are incredibly friendly and helpful, and if you’re coming from a big city, you’ll definitely notice the change in pace. If that’s the case for you, I encourage you to slow down and take in the more conscious speed this place can dial you down to instead of moving at the quicker pace you’re used to. Slowing down and space have been big parts of my healing journey and there are ample amounts of both here. This place will work on you if you allow it to [and maybe even if you don’t], so if you feel called to visit and spend any amount of time here for whatever reason, I highly support you in that pursuit.
This land has been consistently nudging me to show up more for myself through my creativity, my business, my healing on all levels [mentally, emotionally, and physically], my relationships, and so much more during my time here. Within days of arriving I got a clear vision of my new virtual offering called Held From Within: A 4-Week Journey Within with 1:1 Support for Your Healing & Self-Discovery that is now open for enrollment and will begin the week of May 13th. Be sure to check it out if you have not done so already. I’ve really poured my heart into it and the essence of it is infused with the supportive, grounded, and wise energy of the this high desert. I can’t wait to serve those who feel called to take part in it, I know it will be special and unique to each soul that participates!
Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions you may have.