When I moved here full time in 1991, my friends in NYC were aghast.
“Where are you going again?” Most would ask me over and over incredulously, and “why are you moving to Mexico?” As if Taos was in another country entirely. Which of course it is, but back then the relative isolation from the civilized world was enough without heaping on added complications. Especially for friends who might like to escape the urban grind now and then, for a visit.
I would patiently explain that Taos (New Mexico), is a high desert town at the foot of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. It’s home to the oldest continuously inhabited multilevel apartment complex and village (Taos Pueblo), in North America, and was once an important stop on the Camino Real. A trade center for centuries before the Spaniards or the Americans came.
I told them about the cerulean blue sky, majestic mountain vistas and gorgeous sunsets. It’s also an Art Colony, I’d tell them; founded by a couple of NYC painters and their pals in the early 20th Century. Mabel Dodge came and brought her friends; D.H. Lawrence and Jung and Willa Cather among them. Millicent Rogers moved here, I’d go on.
They’d mostly just look at me as if I were entirely mad; why was I going to some dusty, forgotten outpost in the hills of nowhere, when I had a great life in the city, working for my own business (Managing musicians), and freelancing? I could make my own hours, wear whatever I wanted and go wherever I wanted to go.
I was invited to all the coolest parties and events, I hung out with Rock Stars, Writers and Artists. Life was okay. But my kids were here, and after three years, as I tried to figure things out, the back and forth began to wear on me, so I cut my losses, closed my business, said goodbye to the City that had schooled me in the ways of the word, and headed West.
Then, as now I would entice faraway friends to visit by running down a list of all the great things they could do and see while here. I guess it was inevitable I’d eventually be blogging about my adopted home town!
There are now many tours available , however if you just want to discover Taos and its environs on your own, but you are still on the fence (even though Taos is now, quite clearly on the map), here are 35 things to do while staying in Taos. Whether for a week or a long weekend, and aside from seeing great music all summer long! Just how many you fit in, is entirely up to you.
A little secret; while most of the U.S.A. is experiencing a major heat wave, it’s still a good ten degrees (or more), cooler up here, which makes that the best reason to take a quick getaway!
Plus, it’s not that hard to get here these days; shuttles run from the Albuquerque airport a few times daily, and Santa Fe is only a little over an hour’s drive from here. In winter you can fly Taos Air from Austin or Dallas’ Love Field. What’s not to love about that?
Next year, rumour has it, the plane might fly our summer skies as well!
Meanwhile, here’s something to get you thinking about a visit to the Frontier, because yes, we are still an outpost at the end of the Wild West, close to the border that once wasn’t there; Mexico is more than a neighbor, its Familia and the cultural ties remain strong. Up here in the Land of Enchantment, nothing and everything, including the Light, is as it seems, but rest assured, it’s even better than what you have dreamed. Big skies, horizon for miles. Clean and crystal clear air…what are you waiting for?
Robert Cafazzo’s 100 Things to do list remains the seminal blueprint, but here are my suggestions to keep you busy while visiting Taos, New Mexico in the summertime – quite a bucket list for sure, but very doable for even a short trip. Oh, and I almost forgot, eating chile is not on the list because it’s a given!
Explore the ancient multilevel adobe buildings, while visiting (and shopping), at Taos Pueblo
Shop for jewelry and see some cool contemporary (local), Art in Taos Plaza
Visit the historic Hotel La Fonda and see D.H.Lawrence’s erotic paintings.
Check out the Saturday morning farmer’s market also held in the square.
Get a sense of the Wild West at the Old Taos County Courthouse
Check out the shops (and El Gamal for lunch), on Dona Luz in Guadalupe Plaza, while listening to the church bells ring.
Shop till you drop at the John Dunn Shops
A stop at Chokola is a must!
Learn to make tamales at Cooking Studio Taos
Check out the Taos Art Museum at the Fechin House
Tour the sustainable Greater World Earthship community
Go rafting on the Rio Grande
Walk across the Rio Grande bridge and keep an eye out for bighorn sheep
Go mountain biking in the Sangre de Cristo foothills
Hike the Devisadero Loop overlooking the town
Climb Wheeler Peak on the Bull of the Woods Trail
Hike to Williams Lake and see the summit waterfall
Go horseback riding anywhere you can
Check out the (clothing optional) rock pools at Stagecoach Hot Springs and have an Easy Rider flashback
Visit the Millicent Rogers Museum and see her amazing collection of Native crafts and jewelry
See demonstrations of life in the 1800s at La Hacienda de Los Martinez
Take photographs of the San Francisco de Asis Mission Church
Climb into a kiva at Pot Creek Cultural Site (don’t try this at Taos Pueblo.)
Drive the Enchanted Circle Scenic Byway for incredible vistas
Take the Low Road to Santa Fe and stop at a winery or two, in the oldest grape growing region in the U.S.
Soak in the mineral springs at Ojo Caliente, and after the waters’ restorative powers have worked their magic, you’ll be ready to head back home on a high.
For much more to do aqui en Taos, as well as how to get here, get around and where to stay, please visit Taos.org, linked below this post.
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