Remember a few weeks ago, when you assigned me a travel story to [Insert Midwestern City Here]. And remember I called you halfway through the trip because I was about to go off on one of the PR reps who told me that a baseball game was “not optional” and I had to go even though I had been up since 6 AM and I was dead tired and willing to walk back to the hotel alone?
I didn’t have much fun on that trip.
Now don’t get me wrong, I truly appreciate that I’m in your Rolodex when travel stories come up. I’m not a travel writer, per se. But at least three times a year, you send me somewhere fun to cover travel for your section. And for that, I’m truly grateful.
Have I ever told you that?
There was Paris. Anguilla. Barbados. The list goes on.
And it’s because of you, dear Kym, that I get to go on these wonderful (read: free) trips and eat great food and have a getaway from the stresses of everyday life.
But the reason for this letter, my dear Kym, is to inform you about my most recent trip.
I write to you from Santa Fe, New Mexico, a place I have never been.
When you sent me the itinerary, I immediately called TH to ask him if he could hold down the fort so I could go.
[I’d like to interrupt this letter to my dearest Kym to thank TH for dealing with Tog for a whole week all alone. That’s a job right there, ladies and gentlemen. I’d also like to thank my mom and TG’s mom, who are also caring for Tog while I’m away. Y’all are the best.]
Back to you my dearest Kym.
You have sent me to New Mexico, on behalf of your magazine. And I couldn’t be more grateful.
This resort, La Posada, is nothing short of exquisite. Your needs are met before you can ask. The staff is super attentive. And the accommodations? Well. Check it out:
Sweet suite, right?
I’m talking wine and chocolates at bedtime, fully stocked mini bar. Two flat screen televisions. A fireplace. Jacuzzi in the bathroom. What?
Our first event was a lesson in Tequila.
Did you know there were many different types? All with different levels of quality. We had a taste test to learn about the different qualities. I actually don’t drink. I just had a smell test instead. The low level stuff smelled like rubbing alcohol. The good stuff smelled like the inside of an oak barrel.
Oh. And Tequila doesn’t come with a worm. That’s Mezcal.
This resort has a full-time on-site art curator named Sarah.
The art featured in this hotel is worth the trip alone. Some of the pieces here literally took my breath away.
My Iphone camera doesn’t do them justice. But take a peek anyway.
We had an event in which we watched on-site artists painting and they explained their process to us. It was moving to see how a work comes together.
This morning, we had a cooking lesson from the Executive Chef.
She made roasted butternut squash soup right in front of us. She drizzled it with an apple cider reduction. Do you know what that means? Means she took a half-gallon of apple juice and cooked it until it was reduced down to a thick, syrupy sauce. Nothing else. Just apple juice. So. Good.
It was actually a four-course lunch, all prepared in front of us. And capped off with molten chocolate cake with homemade ice cream. Divine.
I came back to my room. And I was informed that I’d received a package.
It’s my novel. Did I tell you I wrote a novel, my dear Kym? It’s being published next summer and my editor sent some revisions.
I’m nervous about the whole thing.
Quite intimidating to see it all printed out with her notes. Scary, even.
I’m glad I’m here, in Santa Fe, where I can read the edits in a big huge comfy bed all alone with a fireplace crackling at my feet. It’s the perfect place to rethink plot points and character traits.
And now, the real point of this communique:
I had a spa treatment today, dear Kym. And it made me realize just how much I love you.
I know we’ve only met once in person. We’ve only talked on the phone a handful of times. I know very little about you besides your lovely accent and genuinely friendly demeanor.
But yes, dear Kym, I love you dearly.
I realized it as a young woman led me to the Aspen room of the spa at La Posada. She told me to disrobe down to my undies and slip under a towel on a massage bed.
She took a loofah and exfoliated my entire body, from my neck to my toes. Then she flipped me over on my stomach and loofahed my back into complete submission. Then she rubbed a chocolate-chili paste into my entire body. She wrapped me in plastic wrap, dear Kym, and then a heavy towel. And then she turned down the lights and went away. The room got warmer. My skin got softer. And any worries I thought I might have had melted away.
After thirty minutes, I got in the shower and rinsed off my chocolate body scrub and my therapist returned and covered me head to toe in a creamy concoction.
My body is as soft as a baby’s bottom.
I am completely relaxed. Numb, almost.
And I’ve only been here 24 hours.
My dearest Kym. I love you so. I can’t wait to write this story for you. And I thank you for sending me on this trip.
Aliya S. King