Destination: Taos, New Mexico
When we visited: July 2012
Why to go: We knew we were in Taos when, within five minutes of arriving, we heard someone use the phrase “Jungian archetype” in conversation. Taos is a small town filled with galleries, shops, and an abundance of New Age ambience.
What to see:
Taos Pueblo is a UNESCO World Heritage site, and the residence that has been continually inhabited for the longest time in the United States. Built nearly 1000 years ago, the pueblo is constructed entirely of adobe. Originally, the buildings were accessible only through the roof (by ladder) to assist the natives defend against invaders.
San Francisco de Asis is one of the loveliest churches in the US and a National Historical Landmark. If you think you've seen it before, you probably have, as a subject of either a photograph (Ansel Adams) or a painting (Georgia O’Keeffe).
Just northwest of Taos, the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge is one of the tallest bridges in the country. The Rio Grande lies 650 feet below (see the view in the photo above). There must be something about that height that makes people nervous; in the short time we were there, we saw both a lens cap and a pair of glasses come calamitously close to going over the edge.
And one of our favourite stops in the area was Arroyo Seco, a village located just east of Taos. We loved its tiny galleries, the mercantile and Taos Cow ice cream shop.
Where to Stay:
We were happy with all the places we stayed on this trip, but if we had to choose a favourite, it would be Casa Gallina, an enchanting bed and breakfast just outside of Taos. It was close enough to town that we could drive there in a few minutes, but in every other way it felt as if we were in our own world. Our balcony had chairs and a hammock, and another covered sitting area near our front door featured a second hammock. Our room was beautifully decorated with work made by local artists, and the New Mexico evenings were cool enough that we could open the windows for a lovely cross-draft. Our host, Richard, was friendly and very knowledgeable about the area, helping us get all the reservations we needed and pointing us in the direction of several sites that we might otherwise have missed. We prepared our own breakfasts with freshly-laid eggs and produce from the garden, and whatever else we chose to pick up at Cid’s, the local grocery store.
Where to Eat: El Meze is a tiny restaurant located just north of downtown Taos, and is superlative in both food and service. At our request, the waiter took us through each of the dishes and gave his recommendations. The seasonal starter of Spanish-cured ham, Manchego cheese and white nectarines was breathtaking, and the rest of the meal (fresh pasta with vegetables, almond semifreddo) was equally good. The backyard view over the Sagre de Cristo mountains was gorgeous. And when one of us accidentally left our VISA card there the owner came back the next morning to retrieve it for
We also had a terrific meal at The Love Apple, an even smaller restaurant that serves organic and locally-grown food. Not being overly hungry that night, I ordered a simple salad, and it was as good as salad can be when prepared with the freshest and most delicious ingredients.