Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Our First Weekend in Santa Fe, NM

Last Thursday, Chris and I hopped into our car at 7am and began our very long journey to Santa Fe, New Mexico. We spent approximately 11 hours in the car with minimal breaks. It was a long, tiring day but I had been awaiting the experience for months.

Chris and I decided to get married in Santa Fe after the local New Mexico government started issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples there. The two of us had contemplated getting married out of Texas for some time. Other options included California, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Canada...

New Mexico seemed sensible. All I had seen of the state prior had been through a car window. It would give us the chance to have a destination wedding we could afford and have our honeymoon within driving distance, too.

Considering the amount of time it takes to get there, we thought it may be prudent to get our marriage license in advance, prior to the weekend of our wedding. Licenses do not expire in New Mexico. How exceptional! We also wanted to scope out the venue we had chosen and reserved online. And try out our catering options.

On Friday morning we legally obtained a marriage license from the city of Santa Fe. Walking up to the building was nerve-wracking for me. I'm easily worried and paranoid about things I needn't be concerned with. Nevertheless, a part of me feared being turned away, whether for bigoted reasons or for having the wrong forms of ID. You name an instance and I can find something to be paranoid over! But we did it!

This piece of paper says we can get married, y'all!
The gentleman who helped us shook our hands when the process was finished. And a nice lady standing next to him gave us her congratulations. I actually felt appreciated. I felt like our relationship was appreciated. It was amazing. Texas could learn a thing or two from these folks. 

With that out of the way, Chris and I readied ourselves for the rest of our day. We made a picnic lunch and left the hotel with Rusty, our adventure poodle, for our wedding venue in the mountains. The winding road that lead there offered us beautiful scenery. A friendly park ranger greeted us upon our arrival. He was, however, the only person there at the time. The visitor center was closed. But we were able to go inside of our venue, take photos, and contemplate things to do with it.

Some photos of our venue.
I found this venue online. It's a small, quiet park lodge that's full of bright light. It's very quiet and secluded. It's rustic and woodsy, which is why we ultimately decided for our theme to be "foresty." It's going to be really pretty. I'm envisioning lots of greenery and wood. In fact, I'm going to print up these images and doodle on them for inspiration :-)

Once our curiosity was sated we took our backpack and found a nearby trail to hike. The higher elevation made things a bit more challenging, but we managed. All three of us had a great time. I grew up hiking in New Hampshire. It felt wonderful being surrounded by tall trees again, meandering down a winding trail with a cool breeze swirling about you. Yep.

Me and the fam, getting some fresh air.
As mentioned a few wedding posts ago, we had some family members react negatively to having to eat vegan food at our wedding. Another reason we wanted to visit Santa Fe was to try out some of the vegan catering options. I'll post photos and write-ups for the sit-down restaurants later. I can, however, say that one of our biggest challenges is going to figure out what to do about the cake or desserts.

On Saturday morning we went to Revolution Bakery, a gluten-free bake shop with vegan options, to investigate cupcake options. They didn't have any vegan cupcakes in stock. The clerk informed us they only really make cupcakes on special order now. Then we tried the Tree House Pastry Shop, who also advertised having vegan cupcakes, and they didn't have any that day either. Same deal.

And while I'm mentioning it, it seems like Santa Fe has vegan options but very few vegans. For instance, it has two Whole Foods locations within walking distance of one another. They carry vegan products but have little in the way of vegan take-away. They don't even have vegan cheese at the pizza bar. No vegan muffins, scones, or cookies in the baker's case, either. So, regardless of what we decide for the cake situation, we won't be able to taste test beforehand.

As one would expect, we indulged in a lot of take-out and restaurant food. By Saturday night both of us were feeling a bit gross. I don't know if no longer being able to eat an excess of junk food without feeling horrible is related more to growing older or to becoming more sensitive to certain ingredients after limiting ingestion of them, but oily and sugary stuff just does not sit well with either of us anymore. It made us realize that unless we want to feel disgusting on our honeymoon we'll actually have to plan our meals better when we return. We'll need to bring a cooler, have big salads for lunch, make sure we eat whole grains for breakfast, and I'm even contemplating bringing our damn juicer to make sure we get enough fruits and veggies. Call me extreme, but if that small amount of effort is what's going to stand between me feeling good and the alternative you can bet I'm going to do it. Oh, and nasal spray. Maybe a humidifier. It was extremely dry and our noses were unhappy campers.

Saturday was extremely long but we did SO MUCH STUFF. We woke up ungodly early. There's a time difference and on top of that Rusty kept barking at everyone outside of our hotel room. We went out for breakfast and then retrieved him from the hotel. We headed down to the farmer's market at the Railyard and were very disappointed to discover thatdogs are not allowed even in the outside area of the market. I may not look it in the photo below, but I really was aghast with disbelief. I suppose we are just spoiled in Austin. An artisan market set itself up across the street so we went there instead. Unfortunately, it was so small we were done in about three minutes.

Me and my guy at the Railyard in Santa, Fe. So much love.
With a whole day left and nothing to do, we improvised and walked down to the historic plaza. We found another art show on the way and did the stereotypical tourist thing of buying art in Santa Fe. We bought some prints from a very nice woman. We couldn't pass up her one and only Texas-inspired print. I mean, it had bluebonnets in it so of course we bought it.

We also stopped in a western store. They let the dog come in and wouldn't hardly leave him alone. It was actually pretty cute. The store sold a number of different items but was primarily filled with women's clothing. Lots and lots of flowy skirts and lacy tops. I wanted to buy something but the amount of options overwhelmed me. I could not decide so we opted to come back in October.

Another great stop was located right next door. Where, you ask? A shop called Dinosaurs and More. It sold artifacts, fossils, gemstones, geodes, original dinosaur paintings, meteorites, and a ton of other nerdy things. Also hard to decide on something there. Again, we'll be back in October, lol.

I enjoyed the atmosphere of the historic plaza. Adobe buildings, street vendors, and old-fashioned storefront architecture could be found there. We "window shopped" at the Palace of the Governors where Native American craftsmen and craftswomen sold handmade jewelry on blankets in front of the building. It inspired us to consider turquoise wedding rings. While we didn't find anything we really pined for at the market, I found some bridal inspired sets online. I am considering them as an option...

Even if we don't, I expect I'll buy some turquoise jewelry when we go back. The vendors were very nice and especially talkative. At one point, the foot traffic cornered me in a small space with the dog. One of the vendors spotted my Beatles t-shirt and made some comment about remembering when the album for it came out.

We got some boring vegan food at a non-vegan restaurant before heading back to the hotel. Then there were naps. And after that, salads. And then TV and sleep. Sunday brought the drive. And we had buckwheat pancakes for dinner. Definitely a worthy end to a successful trip.

Less than five months until we do it all again :-)

Thanks for reading, everyone. I know a lot of you are curious about our wedding plans and challenges. I want to publicly thank everyone who has offered us gifts, but we don't need anything, really. We don't need any more stuff, which is why Chris and I have opted for an alternative "honeymoon registry" through Honeyfund. If you really want to share your generosity we're asking that you help us with our honeymoon as opposed to getting a gift. It's kind of like Kickstarter but for a trip instead. Thanks again!

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