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Fine dining and hiking Santa Fe

After a great first couple of days in Santa Fe we were excited to keep the adventure going while fine dining and hiking Santa Fe. On Saturday, our second full day, we decided to find a long mountain hike in the Sangre de Cristo mountain range, just a few miles from Santa Fe.

But first, breakfast! We found a highly rated French bakery and cafe called Clafoutis on TripAdvisor that was on the way to the hike. They wait looked long, but turned out to only be 20 minutes. We thought everything about Clafoutis was exceptional – the service, the whimsical dress (staff were all wearing suspenders), the coffee, and of course the food. I ordered the coconut French toast and Brendan ordered a croissant breakfast sandwich. Pretty soon we were fueled and on our way.

We did a little research prior, and found what appeared to be a moderate 3 mile loop hike in the Hyde Memorial State Park.

Hyde Memorial State Park for hiking Santa Fe – Santa Fe of course is right in the center

There was a parking fee (using the honor system) of $5 for hiking Santa Fe through the Hyde Memorial State Park. We luckily had some cash, dropped it in the envelope, and parked right at the visitor’s center which was unfortunately closed. The map showed the trail we had previously found online, and we set out to take the East Circle Trail which connected to the West Circle Trail and did appear to be just over 3 miles.

Starting out on the East Circle, we took a detour on the Waterfall trail to see what we could see – however at the end of the road we were met with a dry river bed. Still a lovely hike through a shady forest by the creek bed on the East Circle, which would give a very easy hiking Santa Fe adventure if that’s all you were up for.

Finishing the East Circle Trail portion in 30 minutes or so, we continued to the other side of the road for the longer and more arduous portion of the hike – West Circle trail. We should have read the map more closely – it did warn us that it was a hard hike with an elevation gain of over 1,000 feet, taking us to the peak of a 9.4K mountain. The West Circle Trail was not as shaded as the East Circle Trail was, we think due to forest fires. We were glad we had our water bottle as it was easily another 90 degree day. At the top, we were rewarded with many beautiful views and were ultimately glad we ended up hiking Santa Fe at the Hyde Memorial State Park.

It was very steep in several places and even a bit of a scramble, especially going down (not easy on the knees, calves, and ankles!) and was more rocky than soft forest bed consistency. The thing we probably enjoyed the most while hiking Santa Fe was seeing only a few other people on the entire Circle Trail, and finding that every one we encountered has sublime hiking etiquette.

Back at the bottom, we were pretty tired, but decided to do another round of hiking Santa Fe – but this time consisting of an of art adventure in the old town area. By the end of our getaway, we ended up seeing all three art districts – Canyon Road, Railyard, and Downtown. We were lucky to have two art markets that day – the Fiesta Fine Arts and Crafts Market as part of the Fiestas de Santa Fe celebration, as well as the Santa Fe Society of Artists. Unfortunately we still didn’t make any purchases – we decided that the Southwest decor was not really a style that we could easily incorporate in to the style of our house (which was international eclectic). That said, some pottery (for the dining room table) and metal desert art could have worked. I think what we enjoyed the most about the art festival was the grilled street corn and a folk singer take on some of my favorite bluegrass songs.

After enjoying the festival and a few extra galleries in downtown, we went back to the hotel to rest and shower before dinner. We had a reservation at one of the fancy restaurant in Canyon Road called The Compound at 20:00. A friend recommended we eat at the bar, but we decided to get a reservation on the patio instead and planned to arrive early to have a drink at the bar beforehand.

We left about an hour early and walked a back way through the Bataan Veterans Memorial complex that was the most direct way to get to Canyon Road. Although not well paved (and in general even the fancy main street area of Canyon Road did not have good sidewalks), we saw a lot of unique buildings along the way. We passed the Inn of the Five Graces, a fancy boutique hotel with an amazing courtyard in back, as well as the oldest house in the US. It’s located just next to the San Miguel Chapel, the oldest church in the continental US.

We also walked by the Santa Fe Playhouse, nearby the wafting good smells from Upper Crust pizza.

Back on Canyon Road, we passed some of the same galleries we explored the day before, and took a picture in front of Pippin, one of our favorites.

The walk to The Compound took about 30 minutes, including the long walk down the driveway.

Since we got there a little early, they let us have a drink in the bar patio area as we waited. Brendan ordered the Strawberry-Rhubarb margarita and I ordered the blood orange margarita, which we both really enjoyed. Brendan’s was sweet and mine was bitter.

The Compound was able to seat us a little before our 20:00 reservation and brought us out to the dining patio, which was a covered terrace area next to a garden, which also had a few tables. The service was very good but slow, plating each course one at a time. We forgot we were on vacation and in no hurry, and eventually enjoyed the slower pacing. We shared a kale salad and bruschetta with heirloom tomatoes to start, and then each ordered the wild mushrooms and polenta as our main course. I accompanied it with a few glasses of Sauvignon Blanc while Brendan continued to drink margaritas. We enjoyed talking with the couples next to us, as we were all intently listened to a couple of loud and large Texas tables nearby discuss western movies and other interesting topics in an over the top way, as Texans do.

For dessert, we each ordered our own peach cobbler (most likely with Palisade peaches) and it was to die for.

We enjoyed the walk back in the now much cooler evening, and were ready for bed around 2330, having taken about 3 hours to dine. The verdict: recommend The Compound to anyone looking for an upscale contemporary restaurant in Santa Fe.

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