History and charm.
A winning combination, and one you will discover even before crossing the threshold of this home away from home in the very sweet and hidden, La Loma Plaza
Upon entering La Loma Plaza you are greeted by a plaque with the history of the plaza. It is on the register of Historical Landmarks in New Mexico.
One of the oldest original settlements in the area, and part of the Don Fernando de Taos land grant, the construction of the fortified little plaza (located on a hill west of the central Taos Plaza), began in the mid 1700’s and was settled between 1795 and 1846, when New Mexico became a United States provisional government and fortified settlements were less important than they had been in earlier times.
To protect themselves from attacks by Comanche, Apache and Ute raiders, the Spanish settlers built homes contiguously with shared common walls while the outer walls were solid adobe bricks stacked three feet wide.
Entrances to the center of the plaza were limited and water was supplied by wells and nearby streams and springs.
Residents of the plaza kept chickens, pigs, cows and horses that grazed on pastureland between La Loma and the Taos Plaza.
What is now Ranchos de Taos was already an established settlement at the time and as in Ranchos, the settlers also built the San Antonio church in the plaza, which was blessed in October 1876 by Archbishop Lamy. They also helped found the town of Taos.
Some of the residents were artists, making santos and retablos. Others were craftsmen who carved and constructed furnishings for the little church.
Most of the houses within the quiet plaza have been restored over the years and although some are still occupied year round, a few of the homes are now B&B’s or short term vacation rentals such as this one.
Grantham House – Number 108 – is also marked with a plaque denoting its addition to the Historical registry – and was built in 1760, except for the large bedroom on the east side, which was added on during the 19th century.
Unlike many of the old adobe homes in Taos, which have been remodelled to the point of unrecognition, this gem of a house remains more or less as it was, when its first occupants moved in.
Except for modern plumbing and kitchen facilities, the old doorways still require that you bend your head before passing through them into the rooms they lead to. The wide, painted plank floors were probably added in the early 19th Century, The built in cupboards and thick adobe walls with common areas centered around a kiva fireplace, remind one that once upon a time, families hunkered down here through long winters, snowbound, with stored food and fuel, until spring’s thaw.
In the warmer months, the occupants enjoyed the fine weather in the lovely enclosed courtyard, and still do, year round. In winter an outdoor fire allows for a comfy star gazing spot!
Nowadays these rooms make for an authentic sojourn in the Land of Enchantment, but be aware that places like Grantham House are true treasures and a waiting list is in effect!
When I visited one afternoon recently, I was struck by a sudden sense of deja vu which gave me the chills for a moment until I remembered that in fact, I had been there before, several years ago when friends had rented it over the Holidays.
It had been a magical setting for an unforgettable candlelit Christmas Eve dinner after the Bonfires and Deer Dances at Taos Pueblo.
The house with its huge master bedroom with king bed, a double bed in the second bedroom, cosy dining area and living room is perfect for a family traveling together.
The history and charm aside, a five minute walk to Taos Plaza makes it even more of a prize.
For much more about Grantham House please contact Taos Central Reservations at Taos.org linked below this post.
All images thanks to Susan Crutchfield