Santa Fe Opera: For almost 30 years, our Couples Bucket List included attending the Santa Fe Opera. On our most recent visit, we finally made this dream come true – and it was every bit as spectacular as we hoped for. As an extra special bonus, our evening started with dining at the pre-show dinner set amid the flower-filled rehearsal gardens. After a sumptuous buffet dinner with free-flowing wine and good conversation among the fellow opera lovers at our table, we enjoyed a presentation by an Opera staffer who described the finer points of the performance we were about to enjoy (Lucia de Lammermoor). Perched atop a hill, the Opera House is a magnificent (mostly) open-air structure with Pinon Pines and mountains for “walls”. As summer breezes and a few stray rain drops cooled us after a hot day, we enjoyed the spectacle. Opera fan or not, this experience should not be missed – don’t wait decades like us! Be sure to take a jacket – summer evenings cool off dramatically at this altitude.
Meow Wolf is part art installation, part amusement/attraction, part museum and escape room (with mysteries you never really solve). It’s weird, slightly scary, wondrous, mysterious, thought-providing and really interesting. Enter through the front door of a life-size house where something strange has happened to the family there, and the pet hamster! While you try to figure it out (not that you are mandated to), you meander from room-to-room, sometimes by walking through doorways, other times by walking into the refrigerator or washing machine! Meow Wolf goes to incredible lengths to draw us into the whacky storyline and carries that attention to detail through objects in the gift shop so you can take some of the wonderful weirdness home with you. Extremely popular among locals and visitors alike, Meow Wolf proves Santa Fe is a relevant arts player in today’s competitive cultural scene. Allow at least two hours, arrive early before opening time, and buy tickets in advance to avoid the long wait to get in! A host of food trucks provide quick food and beverage options. (Note: Parts of Meow Wolf may be challenging for visitors who are mobility impaired or who are sensitive to dark and confined spaces.)
Following the Rio Grande river valley upstream, we found scenic vistas of dry flatlands broken by erupting mountain ranges, dreamy cloudscapes, lush river bottoms, jagged canyon walls. Scattered among the humble settlements are various roadside attractions including wineries. Although Spanish settlers introduced wine growing to this region hundreds of years ago, today’s New Mexican wine industry only dates to the 1980s and thus cute little La Chiripada claims the title of New Mexico’s oldest winery. We enjoyed the detour to find a cozy tasting room with a friendly, laid-back hostess. Black Mesa Winery beckoned with a large outdoor patio, but alas, we ran out of time… next visit!