Have you ever been to Taos, NM? The official website describes it this way: Taos is an art colony, a world-class ski resort, an ancient community and land of Earthships. I describe it this way: Taos is weird and wacky and kind of wonderful.
The friend that I call Porkchop recently texted and wondered if I’d like to meet up in Taos to see a concert (The Mavericks and Dwight Yoakum…both fab if you’re inclined to this kind of music) and hang out. Yes, please! I am inclined to this kind of music and a weekend getaway was just the thing I needed.
Having waited too long to book a room in Taos (let me be an example to you), I ended up staying about 45 miles from Taos at the Buffalo Thunder Resort outside of Santa Fe. That turned out to be ok because it’s a Hilton property and it has this pool (a casino, too, if that’s your thing). See my happy toes hanging out in the New Mexico sun?
The drive from Santa Fe to Taos is relatively short, but speeds can be slow and roads are a little trickier than a straightaway. As mentioned, Taos is a little wacky (in a great kind of way), so go with an open mindset and you won’t be disappointed.
You really should visit the Pueblo of Taos if you’re up this way. This was actually the first time I’d successfully made it into the Pueblo. The Pueblo is normally open to visitors, but may close unexpectedly at the discretion of the tribe. Don’t be like the creeps on TripAdvisor…be respectful. Things come up and the tribe has every right to ask us not to come traipsing around if there’s been a death, etc. On this day, we followed a tour bus in, so I thought chances were good we’d get to make a visit.
The Taos Pueblo is a living community and there are rules to follow. (Please follow them!) This tribe allows photography in most places and some people are open to having their photograph taken. Always ask first. As you can see, it is
quite a lovely place. I’m always in awe of the contrast between the brown adobe (mud, to you non New Mexicans) and the blue sky. Enjoy time wandering around here to see the traditional homes and shop. And for the love of all that is good, get some frybread before you leave!
Now, there are lots of things to buy, but I want to tell you about my favorite purchase – soap! We wandered into Native American Soaps which smelled wonderful for good reason. Hand crafted soaps fill this shop and the shop owner is FUN! After smelling around for a few minutes I settled on two soaps: The Real Rugged Real Beautiful Woman Soap which boasts a fabulous title and description and the Love Medicine soap. When I started to smell the Love Medicine soap, the shop owner sharply cautioned me: “That one is powerful! Get ready, men will be showing up from everywhere.” (I told the man in my life about this and he didn’t seem to believe it. Snort.)
My second recommendation when visiting Taos is to head up to the village of Arroyo Seco. You’ll find this fun little town easily on the way to the ski resort. Arroyo Seco is an artist community and it is wonderful. You can shop here, too. (Note, you should probably take some money to Taos. You’re going to want to buy stuff).
On this trip, we got a special treat. Porkchop has taken ceramics classes where she’s had a rough time throwing clay. We wandered into an artist co-op, and one
of the artists was there. With very little persuading, he sat down and showed us his process for crafting a ceramic bowl. He made it look so easy.
There are also lots of shops in Taos proper. Some of them are your run-of-the-mill junky tourist shops, but there are some unique places that warrant you at least sticking your head in. Places are filled with trinkets and art, including some more risqué art (like these from artist Anais Rumfelt – more interesting to some people than soap).
Kit Carson Park, site of the concert, is lovely. Kit Carson did actually live here in Taos and you can visit his home and a nice little museum. A quick drive to the Rio Grande Gorge is also worth it. If you didn’t get enough of the wacky side of Taos, take some time to visit the Earthship homes…that will give you your fill.