By Neal Broverman
Originally published on Advocate.com September 04 2008 12:00 AM ET
As gay couples
rush to the altar in California ahead of the November
election that could snatch their marriage rights away, many
are planning hasty honeymoons to Vegas and Palm
Springs. Ho-hum. May we suggest another destination
not far from the Golden State?
Santa Fe, N.M..
is the grown-up place to toast your love. Art,
restaurants, adorable adobe architecture, gorgeous scenery
-- it’s all there. Do you really want to go to
a circuit party or a clothing-optional resort after
you just promised your life to another?
Temptation of the
wandering-eye variety is hard to come by in Santa Fe --
the only gay bar is in an LGBT retirement home 20 minutes
from downtown (we kid you not). The real temptation is
the plethora of restaurants right at your fork tines.
The New Mexican capital has only about 70,000
residents but hundreds of top-notch eating
establishments, many of which are sophisticated,
romantic, and friendly. Santa Fe, of course,
specializes in authentic Southwest cuisine: everything from
tamales to Frito pie. Standouts include Fuego (330 E.
Palace Ave.; 505-986-0000) and Geronimo (724 Canyon
Just remember, if
you’re holding hands with your wife or husband,
locals won’t look at you twice, but the city is
teeming with tourists, so you may get a stare from
that couple with the fanny pack.
Maybe the most
wonderful thing about Santa Fe (besides its temperate
summers, which are often cooler than those in Los
Angeles) is the city’s manageable size. The
ultra-charming downtown, devoid of chains and strip
malls, is completely walkable; don’t bother renting a
car if you don’t have to (you’ll need to
walk off all those great meals anyway).
innumerable art galleries and museums are a 10-minute stroll
from most area resorts, hotels, and bed-and-breakfasts. A
good choice for your overnight stay is La Posada de
Santa Fe (330 E. Palace Ave.; 866-331-7625). The luxe
resort and spa is tucked away in a quiet nook just two
blocks from Santa Fe’s ubiquitous culture and cuisine
-- Santa Fe’s beautiful St. Francis Cathedral
is a stone’s throw from La Posada. The
resort’s tasteful cabins are cozy (fireplaces for a
quiet night with your betrothed), and there’s a
pool, gift shop, restaurant (the aforementioned
Fuego), and a full-service spa. Even better, La Posada
offers commitment ceremonies and receptions on the property,
whipped up by its very own wedding planner, David
If you can tear
yourself out of your room for anything other than meals,
make sure to check out the abundant art and museums.
Everything worth seeing is just blocks from the
Historic Plaza—a quaint park in the middle of
town. Across the street from the Historic Plaza is the
squat, but cute, Palace of Governors; built in the
early 1600s to house Spain’s territorial
government. Today, the structure holds a museum on Santa Fe
and New Mexico history. Nearby is the Museum of Fine Arts, a
Pueblo Revival building that houses boatloads of
Western art. Around the corner is the Institute of
American Indian Arts, a collection of, you guessed it,
Native American art. Don’t miss the Georgia
O’Keeffe Museum, where the works of the
legendary painter -- who found inspiration in her
adopted state of New Mexico -- are gathered in one
convenient, beautiful spot. Keep an eye out for
celebrity sightings; this one’s a favorite of
the jet set.
Suffice it to
say, art galleries will come at you fast and furious.
They’re literally on every block. Don't get stressed,
just wander in to whichever one catches your eye.
Everyone’s friendly, and the proprietors
welcome the window-shopping.
wondering what nightlife in Santa Fe consists of, it
revolves around eating as well as drinking a good
glass of wine (or two or three). Wander to the
city’s main drag, San Francisco Street, and get tipsy
at the San Francisco Bar and Grill (50 E. San
Francisco St.; 505-982-2044), or try the Coyote
Café & Cantina (132 W. Water St.; 505-983-1615).
Don’t worry, you’re not driving.
At about 10 or 11
you’ll find yourself back in your hotel room
-- full and happy and postnuptial. Who needs the bars?