Taos and what it has to offer

By Eileen Richardson

Taos is located about an hour and a half north of Santa Fe at the foot of the Rocky Mountains. It is a very culturally and historically rich area like Santa Fe, but much more rustic and conscious of keeping their small town feel.

Taos started as a Pueblo 900 years ago when the Taos and Picturis Pueblos established the area as their home. It was thought that the mountain was sacred and was very generous to the pueblo. In reality it was a very fruitful area for farming and the pueblos survived well there for centuries.

In 1540 Conquistador Hernando de Alvarado followed the Rio Grande north to Taos Valley. When he saw the sun shining on the straw in the adobes at Taos Pueblo, he believed he has found the famed Cities of Gold. This began the influx of the Spanish where today there are ancestors of these settlers.

The Pueblo people became unhappy and angry with the Spanish for their ways and revolted and gained control back of Taos in 1680. But in 1696 Don Diego de Vargas of Spain resettled the area around Taos Pueblo, Taos Plaza and Ranchos de Taos. And so it remained in Spanish control like the rest of New Mexico until The Americans occupied New Mexico in 1846 when Col. Stephen W. Kearney with his "Army of the West" occupied New Mexico for the U.S. and Charles Bent of Taos was appointed as the first American Governor of N.M. In 1847 Taos Pueblo Indians and firebrand Hispano nationalists revolted against the U.S. occupation and land-grant land losses. Governor Bent was murdered and Taos was at war again but it was between Mexico and the U.S. In 1848 The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo was signed ending the Mexican/American War ceding Taos and the Southwest to the U.S. and making all non-Indian inhabitants who did not leave within one year citizens of the U.S. and so just like Santa Fe a tri mixture of cultures has influenced the present day Taos in its food, art, and presentation.

Taos Pueblo is a must see when visiting Taos. Taos Pueblo is the only living Native American community designated both a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and a National Historic Landmark. The multi-storied adobe buildings have been continuously inhabited for over 1000 years. The hours to visit are Mon-Sat 8am-5pm /Sun 8:30am-5pm. But check ahead because various other days it is closed. There are many opportunities to buy the local’s wares and food here. There are rules for photography and for showing respect posted for this ancient home of the Taos Pueblo. Please respect these rules when visiting.

On this site you can see the calendar of events at the Pueblo http://taospueblo.com/calendar.php Museums

There are some must see museums in Taos and the surrounding area that show the history and/or art in the area:

Museums

Blumenschein Home & Museum Home of co-founder of the famous Taos Society of Artists. Furnished with original art and antiques just as when the artist and his family lived here.

La Hacienda de los Martinez This is one of the few remaining Spanish Colonial haciendas open to the public. Period rooms and demonstrations illustrate the rugged lifestyle of the early 1800s.

Harwood Museum of Art The collection showcases many of Taos' best known artists from the early days of The Taos Society of Artists through the 20th century. Also featured 18th to 20th century Hispanic art .

Kit Carson Home and Museum The famed scout's home with furnished period rooms, mountain man relics, gun displays, Hispanic and Hispanic artifacts.

Millicent Rogers Museum. Acclaimed collection of historic and contemporary arts and crafts of northern New Mexico. Native American jewelry, pottery by Maria Martinez, Hispanic arts. Closed Mondays, November through March.

Taos Art Museum at Fechin House Nicolai Fechin's studio and home features his architecture, hand-carved furnishings and art work. The Taos Society of Artists are also exhibited. Closed Monday and Tuesday.

Art Events

The Taos Spring Arts Celebration, the Taos Fall Arts Festival, Taos Talking Pictures film festival, Taos Mountain Film Festival, and the World Poetry Bout are just a few of the events that showcase the diversity of creative talent in Taos.

You'll also find an array of performing arts events held at the Taos Center for the Arts plus numerous arts and crafts fairs and cultural events held throughout the year in Kit Carson Park and historic Taos Plaza.
Taos Institute of Arts, the Taos Art School, and the Fechin Institute offer classes in everything from painting and writing to music and dance. Taos has inspired the likes of Ansel Adams, D.H. Lawrence, and Georgia O'Keeffe and R.C. Gorman.

Taos Ski Valley - Taos Ski Valley is known as the place to spend time in the winter - skiing, snowshoeing, ice skating. Taos Ski Valley is world renown for their mountain sports. In mid-November they open up for the winter season. The snowfall is usually about 305 inches a year. They have 105 trails for all levels. There are twelve lifts which include quad, triple, and double chairs lifts and surface lifts. If winter sports on a 12.481 foot mountain of beauty if for you, this area must be tried.

But there is plenty of beauty in the other seasons in these mountains. There is fishing, bird watching, hiking, mountain biking, rock climbing, barn dances, and star gazing. Check out all you can do in Taos Ski Valley: http://taosskivalley.com/recreation.php

Shopping

Taos Plaza is the in the heart of Taos. The Plaza has shops and galleries. Plaza and Paseo del Pueblo Norte has more stores. Bent Street & Ledoux Street Two historic roads just off the Plaza offer more shops and galleries housed in charming old adobes.

I Love Taos Company has the Taos products unique to the area plus the typical souvenirs you may want to bring home.
Overland Sheepskin Co is actually a compound north of Taos with beautiful sheepskin, wool, and leather apparel,
Two Graces Gallery is a quaint local artist gallery
Enchanted Circle Potter sells local pottery.
Taos Rockers Mineral & Fossil Outlet is for the rock hound.
Garden & Soul Gallery also has local artists’ works
Taos Tin Works are two local unique shops.

Lodging

The Snake Dance is a slope-side resort in Taos Ski Valley that blends old-world alpine tradition with modern convenience. They specialize in warm hospitality and enjoy sharing their love of Taos Ski Valley with passionate skiers and snowboarders ready to experience the thrill of Taos.

Sagebrush Inn. A historic Taos landmark, Sagebrush Inn opened in 1931 as a 12-room hotel, catering to guests traveling by carriage along the trade route between New York and Arizona. Today, the newly restored Sagebrush Inn & Suites offers authentic Southwest charm amidst modern comforts and conveniences.

Adobe & Pines Inn B & B Adobe & Pines Inn is centered around an historic 1830s adobe hacienda preserved with its original architectural elements and transformed into one of the most charming and luxurious hide-always in the Southwest Taos Mountain.

El Monte Sagrado Living Resort and Spa offers a secluded yet indulgent sanctuary. In harmonious coexistence with its natural setting, El Monte Sagrado is surrounded by towering mountains and rustic high desert, sunlit, fish-filled streams, tropical flora and the sounds of calming waterfalls. Guests are inspired by the nurturing ambiance and mystique of the resort.

The Inn on the Rio, is located a mile and a half east of the historic Taos Plaza. Each of the Inn's 12 rooms is decorated in a comfortable Southwestern style reflecting the rich and colorful heritage of Northern New Mexico.

Adobe and Stars B and B Spacious and contemporary, this luxurious B&B inn was designed especially with the views in mind. Big windows, decks and patios invite star gazing, sunset viewing and the pleasure of contemplation in the hot tub under the stars. Many traditional Pueblo style features have been included to create warmth and Southwestern ambiance.

Dining

Doc Martin's Restaurant The culinary style here ranges from New World to European, with influences from the American Southwest, Mexico, and the Caribbean.

Michaels Kitchen and Bakery Michaels serves all three meals in a family style restaurant. Inexpensive and good. A Taos landmark for over 30 years.

Trading Post Café and Gallery Right up the hill from the famous Saint Francis de Assisi Church in Ranchos de Taos is the Historic Trading Post building now housing the Trading Post Café, a definite local favorite.

Lamberts of Taos is a Steakhouse, American, Contemporary, Wine Bar

El Meze Restaurant is Mediterranean, Vegetarian Friendly

Medley is American, International, Gluten Free Options

The Love Appleis American, Southwestern, Vegetarian Friendly, Gluten Free Option

Taos can have very different more drastic weather than in Santa Fe. It is advised that you prepare for snow in the Fall and Winter and rain in the summer. It rains and snows much more in Taos because of being at the foot of the mountains. When visiting dress appropriately. Taos is a great getaway and rich adventure for all types. Plan on spending more than a day to get the Taos rustic hometown feel.