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A favorite place to visit when you go to Santa Fe is the Flea Market located 8 miles N on 84/285. Given those directions from a tour book, you may wonder how you are going to find this place once you hit the 5 mile mark. You'll chuckle when the next exit sign shows "Flea Market Drive" coming up. All-in-all you will have a delightful time spent browsing the various jewelry, spice, clothing, and art vendors. You will get some incredible bargains, as well as the chance to meet many local people and eat some great local food. A must see. Open on weekends only.
Just a few miles north of Santa Fe on the road to Tesuque is the Shidoni Gallery and Sculpture Garden. They have several acres of large sculptures on display for sale. There is no charge to walk around. Both the size and price will prevent you from taking one home, but they like to have people walking around looking. Try and be there on a Saturday when they do their "pours". You can watch them actually pouring molten metal into the sculpture molds. There is also an indoor gallery on the premises and an interesting glass blowing facility next to the sculpture garden. A visitor can easily spend an hour or more there. Get driving directions in Santa Fe. This area is definitely not walking distance from the plaza.
Another interesting place to see is off of Hwy 14, on the Turquoise Trail. The Allan Houser Sculpture Garden gives guided tours of Allan Houser's artwork, near the town of Cerrillos, including sculpture, paintings and drawings. The artwork is highlighted by the fantastic scenery surrounding the area. The tour consists of a walk through the sculpture garden, a short video, and a walk through the gallery on the premises. The drive is about 30 minutes from downtown Santa Fe, but well worth the drive if you enjoy the arts. His works can also be viewed at The Smithsonian Institute: The National Museum of the American Indian in Washington D.C..
Just 15 minutes north of Santa Fe, take a turn off US84/285 onto The High Road to Taos (NM503) and head on over to Estrella Del Norte Vineyard which is Santa Fe's #1 vineyard/winery destination. This beautiful pinot noir vineyard estate is the authentic Santa Fe experience visitors are seeking and the gateway to an array of award-winning northern New Mexico wines. Beautiful sculpture gardens, wind chimes in the breeze, and a fun rustic tasting room converted from a former hay barn with a knowledgeable, friendly staff make Estrella Del Norte Vineyard a great place to spend an afternoon or enjoy an event. Preview their list of summer cooking classes, vineyard dinners with Santa Fe's top chefs, and other fun events at their website www.estrelladelnortevineyard.com. Looking to enjoy a weekend getaway? Ask about their vineyard casitas. Play, Stay and Wine! Salud!