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  • Randi

Twenty 4th Birthday Celebrations

Two weeks ago my husband took me to New Mexico, our beloved wedding state, to celebrate my twenty-fourth birthday. As we drove into Santa Fe a wave of sweet memories flooded my mind. Every year, for the last several years, we have made it a priority to spend at least a weekend in the cool, dry city of Santa Fe. And then of course it is also the place we exchanged vows and our lives were forever changed just a short two and a half years ago.

After checking into the hotel we got changed for dinner. We parked in our usual place downtown at the plaza, and walked a couple of scenic blocks to the plaza center. The climate is so much more enjoyable than the hot, humid suffocation we experience in DFW. Our first destination was rooftop pizza. We sampled some beers at Marble Brewery, enjoyed every bite of the delicious pizza, and watched the sun set over the mountain tops. After our bellies were full we spent an hour or so walking in and out of quaint little shops and later refueling with some coffee and ice cream. We were then persuaded by my father-in-law to go and listen to a band at a nearby venue, which was a surprisingly pleasant adventure.

The next morning I woke up before anyone else, it was my birthday! I drag my husband out of bed and down to the continental breakfast, which turned out to be a disappointment. (The eggs tasted like dirt, never a good sign.) But the birthday card I was given afterwards made up for it. Later that morning we drove a ways north up to Taos where we had lunch at one of our favorite spots, Eske’s Brew Pub.

Then it was on to Red River for my much desired birthday adventure. We decided on an ATV tour in the mountains of Carson National Forrest. As we pull up to the meeting place we heard thunder rolling in the distance. (Uh oh! I didn’t plan for rain!) We got geared up and added a (hideous) poncho last-minute to help keep us dry, and I was so glad we added extra layers! I had not driven a four-wheeler in probably eight years, so I was a little nervous. I had never driven one at an incline bigger than that found in flat Parker County, much less up a mountain, and much less in the rain.

But a short ways into the tour I began to feel much more comfortable and the views were breathtaking. Once we got to the top of the mountain we stopped to take it all in. By this point it was very much raining and it was pretty cold. We kept going, over rocks, past beautiful trees, through deep mud, and beyond. It was so beautiful. My husband, of course, took advantage of the giant mud puddles, covering himself head to toe. It was exactly the memorable birthday experience I was hoping for.

On the journey back, we stopped again in Taos to visit the Native American Pueblos. The Taos Pueblo stands as the largest surviving multi-storied Pueblo structure in the United States, enduring even after four-hundred years of Spanish and Anglo presence. It was a rich historical experience. The adobe and other natural materials used serve as a rare piece in this picturesque scene.

We drove back to Santa Fe and got cleaned up for dinner. The restaurant I chose was, of course, at the plaza and afterwards we went to The Hotel Saint Francis, where we were married, for a drink. The night life in downtown Santa Fe is calm but enjoyable, just my speed. Everyone in New Mexico seems to move at a much slower pace, they enjoy the arts and nature (it’s kind of a “hippie” place really). But it serves as a perfect get away from the faster paced life that I am used to.

Learning our lesson, my husband took me to breakfast at a favorite little place, The Plaza Café. Afterwards we walked around, shopping for a birthday present among the hand-made Native American jewelry. It no doubt took me little time to decide. Again it was time to refuel, so we stopped at The French Pastry Shop and Creperie, a must when visiting Santa Fe. These giant, unforgettable crepes should be plenty to share, but I finished my nutella and fresh strawberry crepe alone in record time.

After some more shopping and walking through art galleries, we had one more final stop to make before we could leave. We had to visit our favorite little winery, Vino del Corizon. After a wine and chocolate tasting, and buying a few bottles of wine, we shared one last meal at Maria’s Mexican Kitchen before beginning our journey home.

Basically my favorite things about visiting Santa Fe can be summed up in four words: food, wine, shopping, mountains.

… But the celebrating didn’t end there.

Last weekend I got to celebrate with twenty-two of my friends over dinner and Jazz. In summary, I feel very loved.


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