Ever since Adam and Eve, gardens have been places for romance. The Santa Fe Botanical Garden on Camino Lejo (Museum Hill), is a romantic setting for lovers. The Orchard Garden, opened in July 2013, has romantic spots throughout. Bring a picnic lunch with you. Pick a romantic spot on one of the benches scattered throughout and feed each other tasty morsels. Enjoy the profusion of colorful plants that thrive in the arid high desert gardens. There's even a drought tolerant version of a romantic English Garden here. Hold hands as you walk across the old bridge that was brought to the site from Las Vegas, New Mexico. Want to pop the age-old question? The Rose Ramada is the perfect place. The garden, with perfect west-facing views can also host a glorious sunset wedding (or engagement or anniversary party).
For many people of a certain age, their first romantic encounter was a furtive arm over the back of the seat at the local movie house. The intimate Jean Cocteau Cinema takes it one step further. One of the most romantic ways to watch a film in public is to rent the private, soundproof VIP room at the Cocteau. Not only will you have privacy but you can order drinks and even food delivered to your private lair during the screening. The theater, owned by George R.R. Martin of "Game of Thrones" fame is more than a movie house. They also host author talks, live music and even magic shows. If you pay the surcharge on all four seats, the space is all yours for the show.
There's something very romantic about parks. They're popular trysting places in real life, books and films. Amelia E. White Park on Santa Fe's historic Eastside, is a romantic oasis minutes from downtown Santa Fe. It's probably the most intimate public park in Santa Fe. Steal away at dusk for an in-town picnic for two, or come out and stargaze after the sun goes down. The park (once parkj of El Delirio, the estate of the locally infamous White Sisters), is an urban gem. The two socialites held legendary parties in the 1920s and 30s. Martha passed away in 1937. In 1966, Amelia White deeded the land to the city to the city with the stipulation that it be used "only for the purpose of a public park ... and that flowers and vegetation will be cultivated and irrigated." Planning a small wedding? The picturesque arbor here is the perfect spot.
Hyde Memorial State Park (dubbed Hyde Park), just a short ride from downtown Santa Fe, is a great place to spend a romantic day or evening. One local young woman said that it was her make-out spot of choice when she was in high school. Bet she wasn't the only one. If you're outdoor types, you'll love the hiking trails leading to great views. Take a picnic lunch, find a private spot in the woods and tuck in. In winter, don a pair of snowshoes and head up a trail. At night, you can sit outside and watch the stars overhead. Reserve one of the tent camping or RV sites at the state's oldest state park and stargazing will be just outside your tent flap or door. Reservations are highly recommended as they book up. The good news: you can reserve your spot online.
There's nothing more romantic than a sunset. Santa Fe's high desert ones are spectacular. The show is different every night running from reds, to oranges, to pinks and even purples. The Terra Bar at the Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado offers one of the best places to view the nightly show in comfort. Order two glasses of vintage wine or one of their signature cocktails and head outside to the terrace with its blazing fire pit. It's one of the best seats in the house for Mother Nature's nightly show. After the sun has retreated behind the mountains, grab a casual bite to eat in the bar or something more elaborate in Terra's dining room or head back to town.
Spa time can be very romantic. Couple it with private Japanese-style soaking tubs and you're onto something. Ten Thousand Waves sitting on the mountainside minutes from Santa Fe is a great option for romance. Book early! Tubs and treatments at this destination spa, popular with both locals and tourists, get booked way in advance. Want the most romantic tub? Book Waterfall, one of their "premium" soaking tubs. Their website calls it "the closest thing to bathing in a wild hot spring in the woods." After your soak, try a relaxing spa treatment.Their signature treatment, a four hands massage, is pure bliss. In summer, you're sure to see hummingbirds. End your spa day with dinner at Izanami, their izakaya-style small plate restaurant. You can even spend the night in one of the 13 on-site accommodations.
Looking for something uber-romantic and unique? Book one of the private outdoor soaking pools at Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs Resort & Spa, a little under an hour north of Santa Fe. A relaxing soak in the naturally hot mineral springs is perfect for lovers. While the warm pools whisper romance during the day, soaking a deux is at night under the stars takes it over the top. Add the flickering flames of a fire in the wood burning kiva fireplace and lie back in the warm water gazing at the brightly twinkling stars overhead. It doesn't get much sexier than this. Go between Monday and Thursday and take advantage of their High Desert Getaway for Two package which includes two massages along with a soak in one of the private pool kiva pools fire ablaze. When done soaking, share a bottle of wine in the resort's intimate bar.
Wine and romance go hand and hand. In the 12th century, Persian poet Omar Khayyam wrote, "A loaf of bread, a jug of wine, and thou." Walk the beautiful grounds of Estrella del Norte Vineyards through grapevines, past artist studios into the sculpture garden. In warm weather sit outside while sipping glass of the Estrella del Norte's Gold Metal Pinot Noir. Bring a crusty baguette, some cheese and olives and picnic as you sample the wines. The tasting room offers a six-wine tasting. Want something different? Opt for their "Holy Mole," a Zinfandel with a touch of almond, a bit of chocolate and a spark of red chile. Most romantic moment: a Colorado couple got engaged out by the romantic fountain in the vineyard. She said "Yes," and the happy couple toasted their engagement in a full tasting room to a round of applause.
Santa Fe is a walking city. Historic Canyon Road is the perfect choice. Hold hands as you walk the narrow sidewalks past old houses that are now galleries and wonder what secrets lie beyond picturesque adobe walls. Most romantic times: at sunset when the light is beginning to change, at dusk when the shadows promise a bit of mystery or after dark. Stop for a drink at The Compound. Guests sit around the top of a 1950s "conversation pit." The bartender stationed in the pit is at eyelevel. The cozy bar at Geronimo is a bit more romantic. Grab a table for two and sip on one of their signature cocktails or a glass of bubbly or wine and talk of love. When you reach Camino del Monte Sol turn right and then right again onto Acequia and walk back downtown on one of Santa Fe's oldest streets.