Archive for the ‘New Mexico’ Category

There’s an extraordinary history behind the Mabel Dodge Luhan House in Taos, New Mexico. Its past is a collage of moments both inspired and insane, of guests and visitors both famous and infamous.

Wealthy, Buffalo-born socialite Mabel Dodge already had an established reputation for her literary and artistic salons in Greenwich Village, NY, before moving to Taos in 1917. In reading decriptions of the relationships she formed and the gatherings she pulled together, it’s not a stretch to say she had a magnetic, even hypnotic effect on those around her.

After meeting Tony Luhan, a local Tewa native american who would become her fourth husband, she purchased a small adobe house on the outskirts of town and added on guest rooms and common spaces to house the flurry of visitors and activities. That guest list included dozens of highly influential names, including D.H. Lawrence, Georgia O’Keefe, Ansel Adams, Willa Cather, Carl Jung and Martha Graham. Add to that the Dennis Hopper years – he owned the property from 1970 to 1977 – which added names such as Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Jack Nicholson and Bo Diddley to the list of guest celebrities.

If the walls could talk, they would tell of love affairs, marriages broken, friendships made and lost, novels written, suicides botched, films edited, drug parties and more. It was a center of much activity and much controversy, as well.

I had visited the current incarnation of this property a few years ago, now used as a bed and breakfast and center for various artistic workshops. At that time, the rooms were all booked, but this time I had planned ahead. In spite of having to shift my reservation to a different night (due to Day Two of this trip, which we will now gratefully forget,) I knew I had a place in the Cather room – a good choice for me, since she has long been one of my favorite authors.

It’s quite amazing to walk into a building, knowing the footsteps of those listed above all stepped through the same doorway.

I entered quietly, found the office, checked in and headed back out through a classic southwestern portal, finding my room two doors down. The room was spacious, one of several with twin beds to accommodate workshop attendees. It had a kiva fireplace, two dressers, an armchair, reading lamps and a private bath. And it was quiet – no phone or television. Wireless access was available in the lobby area.

The rain that had followed me along the High Road to Taos was still drizzling a little, on and off. I wandered around the cobblestone courtyard and garden areas, snapped what photos I could and then made a trip into town, where I continued my New Mexico carb-fest by ordering Mango Chicken Enchiladas (they were fabulous) at The Apple Tree, a well-established cafe a couple blocks from the plaza. I then strolled over to browse plaza shops and galleries before heading back to the inn, where I worked on writing and editing until the day caught up to me. Lights out. Long day. Restful sleep.


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From Ojo Caliente, I decided to backtrack to Espanola. I’d been through the area too many times in the past without taking my intended route. I knew I wasn’t traveling far that day and I had time for a little detour.

The High Road to Taos runs to the northeast side of the straightaway route, passing through the Sangre de Cristo mountains. It is a treasure of a drive, with authentic, non-touristy areas, old adobe buildings, historic churches and some breathtaking scenery. I started off by taking route 76 out of Espanola, heading for the town of Chimayo.

Wisely, I called ahead for a lunch reservation at Rancho de Chimayo, well known for its good food. True to its reputation, a line of people were gathered in the front courtyard, waiting to get in.

Deceiving from the outside, this restaurant has a good amount of space for seating, including both interior rooms and terraced dining on the hillside behind the building itself. I was seated at one of the terrace tables, about three levels up, under the shade of a catalpa tree. The young waiter, John, was helpful with menu recommendations and I ordered Carne Adovada Pequeno, a dish of tender, cooked pork, served with posole and rice. And the bread! Sopapillas – sort of like a pita, but oblong and not cut open – to die for. With a cup of honey, as if the warm, soft, oven-fresh bread wasn’t enough.

It was a delicious meal. I can only imagine what their dinner selections would be like. I know people often drive out of their way to dine at this restaurant and now I can see why. If I could have afforded another night’s delay, I would have booked a room at their B&B across the street, the Hacienda de Chimayo. But I knew I needed to continue on.

Light rain was starting to fall as I left Chimayo, so I didn’t stop at El Santuario. This historic church contains a side room with dirt that many believe to have healing powers, creating nearly two centuries of pilgrimages. But there was no way to know if the rain would become a heavy downpour or not and I knew I had an hour of mountain driving ahead.

I passed through Truchas, where Robert Redford’s The Milagro Beanfield Wars was filmed. As I approached the town of Las Trampas, I had the good fortune of a short period without rain. I was able to stop to take photos of the church of San Jose de Gracia, which dates back to 1760, nine years after the community of Las Trampas was established.. This church is considered to be one of the best examples of Spanish mission architecture in the state.

I continued north, climbing into the Carson National Forest, an absolutely gorgeous drive. I attempted to stop at the Sugar Nymphs Bistro, a brightly mural-painted building, converted from a theatre and adjoining building, but I was dissuaded by a “closed” sign in the window. Later I would regret this, as another travel writer at that night’s lodging establishment would tell me she believed the business was started by two former nuns. (Note: I have not fact-checked this.) Adds a twist to the background and name of this place, doesn’t it? In addition, it is run by the former executive chef from Greens in San Francisco and the food is reputed to be very good. (As if I needed more food after leaving Chimayo…) Anyway, “closed” does not always mean closed if you wander around and peek in windows and talk to people. I’ll have to make a point of stopping there another time.

The weather was terribly uncooperative with photographic opportunities – very dark skies and on and off drizzles – but it was a beautiful, interesting drive. I arrived in Taos about 3:30 in the afternoon, with plenty of time to get settled in and do some exploring.

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I grabbed a cup of coffee from the motel lobby (which was fairly good, surprisingly…I’m not usually a fan of the styrofoam cup brew that is typical of lower-end lodging.) After scavenging up a granola bar from the car, I packed up and hit the road.

I high-tailed it out of Santa Fe, not because I dislike the town/city, but because it just didn’t seem this was meant to be for this trip. I decided it was time to hit another place that I’d missed on other trips, so I headed north to Espanola and veered north-west from there.

Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs Resort and Spa has been attracting visitors since the mid-1800s, when prominent citizen Antonio Joseph opened both a mercantile and a health spa there. For centuries before that, however, it was well known to Native Americans and their ancestors. A detailed history of the property is available on the resort’s website.

I was ready to relax and this seemed like the perfect place. I’d been to a few other mineral springs in other parts of the country. But this was my first time here and I was glad to be able to add it to my “collection.” I booked a room in the Historic Hotel, grabbed a bite for lunch at The Artesian Restaurant, conveniently located just across the lobby from my room, and then headed out to the pools.

There are four minerals that emerge from the various natural springs in this area: Soda, Iron, Arsenic and Lithium. Each is believed to have different benefits to those who partake of the waters. In keeping with the modus operandi at these places, I decided to hop from pool to pool, spending a little time in each one before moving on to the next.

I managed to catch the Soda Pool when no one else was using it, which felt like a luxury, considering the resort is a popular spot for both locals and travelers. Located in an enclosed building, it had sort of “secret pool” type feeling to me.

The Iron Pool, located right next door to the Soda Pool building, is open to the skies and sits beside wonderful rock formations (as do several other pools.) Hot, but comfortable once I became accustomed to it, I soaked up the water (along with the smell of iron – not as bad as it sounds) before moviing on to another pool.

Now, the Arsenic/Iron Pools (the two minerals are mixed together) drew comments from more than one person stepping in. I was hesitant myself, never having thought of arsenic in a positive way, but I have to say I liked these pools the most. Backed up against the cliffs and out in the open air, these pools felt spacious to me, in addition to smelling the best, in my opinion.

In addition to these pools, there is a large pool, where children are allowed during limited daytime hours. And then there is the Lithium Spring, which isn’t a pool at all, but a hand-pumped well in the center of the complex of pools.

But, of course, Ojo Caliente doesn’t just offer mineral pools. There’s a full-service spa (massages, facials, body scrubs, etc.) and I decided to give them the money that I didn’t give the hotel in Santa Fe the night before. Ahhhhhh, smart decision. By the time I returned to my room, I was Ms. Tranquility.

I hit the restaurant again for a chicken quesadilla, which was excellent, and then retired to my room to enjoy the wireless access (which was supposedly only available in the lobby, but my room was the first one down the hall.)

All in all, it was a darn good day. I edited some photos, read a little, slept well, had breakfast (not included with lodging, but served in the restaurant) and hit the road once again. I didn’t have a chance to explore the hiking trails or take a yoga class or walk the labyrinth. But you just can’t do everything.

Many believe that the mineral waters at Ojo Caliente have healing powers. I know they certainly healed my disappointment and irritation over the events of the day before. I left there relaxed, calm and ready for the next adventure.

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It seems there always has to be a day that turns into a disaster. Hopefully this would be the only one I have on this trip.

I left Winslow shortly after noon, having stayed at La Posada until the last minute before check-out, in order to soak in the extraordinary-ness of the place. I took the time to watch an impressive video about the restoration of the building, as well as to have an absolutely delicious breakfast in The Turquoise Room. Eggs, shredded beef, red and green peppers, corn, tortilla strips and jalapeno jack cheese, scrambled together. Served with black beans. Worth every penny of the 8.95 price. Comfy booth again, relaxing morning, great meal.

It would turn out to be a good thing I took the time to have breakfast, as it would be my last real meal of the day.

Driving through AZ and NM is generally a breeze, as the speed limit is 75 and the roads straight and open. I knew there would be a little summer traffic, but I hadn’t counted on extensive road work along I-40. My fault for running advance weather searches, but not road conditions. At least four times I dropped to a 45 mph speed limit for construction areas, which was really more like 20 mph because of two lanes merging into one. Watching family campers and vacationing tourists battle out merging priority with big rigs was a little like being back in L.A. Still, it was tolerable – mostly because I knew I had a good lodging plan and plenty of time for a few slow periods of travel.

To make sure I had some variety amongst the day’s delays, I was given a literal push start when I pulled off the road for a restroom stop and was hit from the rear by a blue pick-up truck. This didn’t take much time, though, since he took off as soon as I pulled over to check the car. A few good sized scratches and paint marks were the extent of the damages.

Just west of Grants the light gray clouds that had been hovering overhead turned dark and then darker, until it seemed the sun had gone down. Bolts of lightning streaked across the sky and it was not long before a bucket of water the size of Lake Tahoe was unleashed from the sky. Fortunately there were a few medium-sized spurts at the start of the downpour, which allowed me to take an upcoming exit and hide away in a truck stop until it eased up.

I was back on the road about thirty minutes later, which wasn’t too bad. I zoomed on, hoping to catch up a little on time and was delighted when Albuquerque finally loomed in the distance. Another ten miles and I could turn north. I would still have two and a half hours to drive, but I had survived I-40.

That’s when I saw the brake lights ahead and slowed to about 3 mph. I knew I was in trouble when I crawled past a sign that said “Road Construction 1 1/2 miles ahead.” I knew I’d be crawling for at least two miles now and I was starting to worry about time.

I called the inn to see what they recommended. I had a back-up option that was not quite as far away and a couple others in Albuquerque, so I still felt I was covered. After all, I still had about four hours to make it before the inn’s office close and I was only two and a half hours away. The innkeeper was kind when she reminded me I had crossed into the next time zone and had an hour less than I thought. I felt ridiculous, after all my years of cross-country travel, to have overlooked this.

We decided it would be better for me to arrive the following night and so I set my sights on a closer destination, just one hour away. Unfortunately, I spent that hour going the two miles it took to get through the construction stretch. Eventually I emerged and saw past Albuquerque’s first few exits. I had considered stopping there for the night, but was so fed up at this point with traffic and rain delays, I grabbed onto I-25 like a life raft and headed north. Traffic was cruising at about 80 mph. I figured another forty-five minutes and I could finally get off the road. Called ahead to check room availabilty at Back-Up Plan C and was quoted an acceptable price, though a little more than I would have liked to pay for what would now be a late arrival.

I was still thinking I might be able to make my original destination, if I really zoomed along. This is about when traffic came to a complete stop. From 80 to 0 in sixty seconds. Thank heavens for good brakes. I sat there for what seemed like another hour (but was probably only twenty minutes or so) as car after car turned onto the median and headed back south. I decided to wait it out and traffic finally started crawling ahead. After slowly passing a horrific accident, Interstate speed was back to normal.

Now, I know Santa Fe well enough that I should have been able to head straight downtown. How I took the wrong exit and wandered side roads is unexplainable. But I lost another half hour driving in circles and by the time I arrived at Santa Fe’s historic plaza area I was simply fried. The one way streets taxed my nerves and the tourists crossing against red lights didn’t help. When I found the hotel, their parking lot was full, but I managed to find parking on the street a block away.

It was a very nice hotel, probably an excellent one to add to my travel list of historic accommodations, but when I got to the desk, the clerk told me he had neglected to tell me the room he had quoted me was a smoking room. He had other rooms, but I would have to pay more. He realized I had waited out the accident traffic (I had called while parked on I-25) and that it had taken me two hours to get there, based on his rate quote and assurance there would be space when I arrived. But he was firm about not giving me the rate he had quoted me, in spite of the fact the non-smoking room was identical to the smoking room, with the exception of it having a king bed instead of a queen.

One would think at this point I would have just paid the extra money and turned in for the night, but I was tired and cranky the principle of it got under my skin. It was late at night, the room would likely sit empty if I didn’t take it, and it just wasn’t good customer service, in my opinion. I took a brochure (why?) and left.

I called a few places and found other openings, but it’s a pricey area in-season and all I wanted now was a place to get off the road for a night. I was considering returning to Albuquerque, when I saw that Tom Bodell had left the light on for me, just a few driveways from a Mickey D’s. That was it. I’d go the budget route and wake up to a better day.

And so I did.

No pictures with this entry, but let’s face it – who’d want to see them?

Here, we’ll throw a few pretend pictures in:

Photo #1 – Yours truly, sitting in traffic on Interstate 40, drumming fingernails on the dashboard.

Photo #2 – Yours truly, alongside others, staring out the truck stop window, watching the rain pour down.

Photo #3 – Yours truly, parked on Interstate 25, wondering if the current paperback she’s reading is in the car or the trunk.

Photo #4 – Desk clerk at Santa Fe hotel, trying to decide if the woman standing in front of him is going to go ballistic or not.

Photo #5 – Back up desk clerk looking relieved that she is not the one at the desk.

Photo #6 – Yours truly, ordering a 1.49 Snack Wrap at McDonald’s at 10PM, thinking this will probably not make for a good food review.

Photo #7 – Desk clerk at Motel 6, trying not to laugh when asked if they have wireless Internet access.

Photo #8 – Yours truly, finally settled in for the night and relieved that a new day is just hours away.

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On a quiet lane, south of town, I arrived at American Artists Gallery House, a hidden retreat with a foliage-laden adobe wall. The peaceful surroundings and views of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains would have been reason enough to head out of town to this bed and breakfast. But I would find excellent hospitality was an additional blessing.

I was welcomed with much fanfare in the front courtyard by George, a resident peacock. This fine feathered friend blended right in with the striking turquoise trim on the inn.

Innkeepers LeAn and Charles Clamurro greeted me inside the front room, a common area filled with Southwestern art and open to all guests. Not only was the open-hearted hospitality immediately apparent, it was clear LeAn and Charles possessed a wealth of knowledge about the Taos area. Whether for a rundown on outdoor activities or insight on the history and artisans in the area, I’d hit the jackpot for information.

The accommodations offered at the inn ranged from small, intimate rooms to spacious Jacuzzi suites. But I knew where I was headed. The “Garden Gallery” would be perfect for me, a small, southwestern casita tucked away in the rear of the garden. It was quiet, private, cozy, comfortable and absolutely adorable. Not to mention extremely affordable, as B&B’s go. I admit to searching it out specifically to book this particular casita, in order to be able to recommend it to others as an inexpensive option to standard lodging or high-priced inns. But what I found was the best of both worlds: luxury and economy all wrapped up in one gracious package.

Surrounded by calm, soothing, artistic decor, I had a queen bed, hand-painted writing table and chair, private bath and, best of all, a kiva fireplace, set and ready to add warmth to the chilly night. Metal kokopelli figures danced on one wall. A window looked out into the garden, facing a private corner of the property, framed with an umbrella of cascading lilac. It was ideal, a perfect, peaceful retreat.

Following what would turn out to be an excellent dinner suggestion from Charles, I headed south, away from town, taking a left and heading up a dirt road through sagebrush covered landscape. There wasn’t a building, car or person in sight and I questioned whether or not I’d been confused about the directions. The road climbed and curved and climbed a little more, until I finally saw the hillside restaurant come into view.

The Stakeout Grill & Bar sits high above the valley, peering out from its 7200 ft. altitude location above Rio Grande Gorge State Park and far beyond. The views were extraordinary and arriving just as sunset approached was an extra blessing. From my outdoor table, I watched wispy clouds glow in deepening coral hues, silhouetted by whitewashed adobe arches surrounding the patio.

I decided to splurge on dinner, given the exceptional surroundings. Though the menu featured many steak and seafood options, I ordered Ravioli Porcini – cheese-filled with mushroom sauce and dusted with porcini mushroom powder – with coconut gelato and coffee to finish off the meal. I lingered over dessert a long time, watching the staggered outline of the sagebrush landscape grow sharper against the sunset until both brush and sky blended together into darkness.

The road back to the highway was deserted. Gravel crackled under my tires and eerie shapes of desert nature seemed to pop up in my headlights without warning. I reached the main road, turned towards town and drove back to my Garden Gallery casita, where I lit the fire and relaxed into the night.

There were so many outstanding features about my stay at American Artists Gallery House that it’s hard to pinpoint one as a favorite. But as B&B’s go, it would be worth a trip here just to be able to take a seat at the breakfast table. Charles’ culinary skills guarantee there’s no chance of starting the day with a non-descript meal. Homemade scones, fresh squeezed juice and entrees fit for the pages of Gourmet Magazine are what guests will find at the sunny, breakfast table.

Being somewhat of a loner, I find morning visits with other guests can sometimes be a little unnerving, especially before a caffeine infusion. Not so at this bed and breakfast. The innkeepers’ easy, relaxed manner and obvious love for the Taos area immediately put guests at ease. Over coffee and outstanding breakfast cuisine, conversation flowed freely and comfortably.

It was difficult to leave, but a reservation a few hundred miles up the road called for me to pack my bags and move on. I would have to wait until another visit to take advantage of local horseback riding or hot air ballooning, which LeAn and Charles can easily arrange for guests. Taos is rich in opportunities for exploring, whether for art, history, culture or outdoor recreation. This bed and breakfast was a perfect choice for a traveling home base, with something to offer for everyone, reasonable prices and top-notch hospitality.

After saying goodbye to LeAn and Charles, I headed for the town plaza, where I browsed shops and galleries and took advantage of photo opportunities. I picked up a quick lunch at the Apple Tree, a popular restaurant with both indoor and patio dining. Still fighting the urge to linger, I finally hit the road, heading west on Hwy 64.

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It was on dusty ground, next to a small, flowing river, as I watched dogs splash in the water and chase and nip at each other’s tails, that I really began to feel the rich history of the Taos area. Nestled against the Sangre de Cristo mountain range, this high mesa was home to Tiwa-speaking Native Americans long before it became a popular haven for artists and ski-enthusiasts.

At Taos Pueblo, I paid my entrance and camera permit fees and walked the guide-led tour with a group of visitors. We were offered historical information by our guide, then allowed to walk freely, to explore the thousand-year-old pueblo and to browse through small shops, where pottery, jewelry and other handicrafts are sold by artists.

Most of the housing at Taos Pueblo is grouped into two buildings, one on each side of the small river. Both the North House – called hlauuma – and the South House – called hlaukwima – stand tall against the dramatic mountain background. Additional, smaller houses are scattered around the larger structures. Formed of adobe – a mixture of earth, water and straw – these buildings are believed to have been built sometime between 1000AD and 1450AD.

I stopped first to talk to Marilyn, who sat in the shade not far from the North House, a table of fresh baked goods next to her. Each plastic-wrapped package contained two cinnamon-sugar cookies, which she had baked earlier that morning. I bought some, chatted for a bit, then nibbled on one of the cookies, as I moved on.

Though the Taos Pueblo structures were originally built without windows and doors, entered only from above, over time additional openings have been added. Now many of these roughly-framed doorways are painted with rich colors of blue, green, red, orange or deep rose, forming a sharp visual contrast to the earthy brown of the adobe walls. Signs hang by many of the open doors, announcing the residence and shop of a Taos Pueblo artist.

Drawn into one such dwelling, I met up with an artist who goes by the name of Sunflower, who held a brush steadily in her hand, drawing fine lines on a small piece of pottery. In the corner, the embers of an earlier fire glowed in a kiva fireplace.

I asked Sunflower if it was difficult to draw the precise lines that the traditional pottery requires. She told me it was really just a matter of practice. She finds it soothing to work on her artwork, likening her mornings by the fire to someone curling up with a book on a relaxing afternoon. This is how she spends most of her mornings, and it was clear from our conversation that she enjoys her work.

In another shop, Juanita Martinez showed me her storyteller dolls, proudly posing next to a display case for a picture. Many of the Taos Pueblo natives are not comfortable having their pictures taken, but I found by asking that some are quite willing. For Juanita, this photo request isn’t new. Several published articles featuring her work were taped near the display case, including a couple in German and Japanese. I purchased a small clay ornament of a rabbit, sculpted by Juanita’s daughter.

I spent a good amount of time visiting with artists and observing life in the pueblo area. Even with roaming tourists, who are allowed to visit from 8:00 – 4:30 daily, there was still a variety of regular pueblo activity to view. Two native residents patched a rooftop, carrying buckets of adobe mixture up and down a side ladder. They smiled, but waved a signal to me that they preferred not to have a picture taken. Tribal elders, who work from offices just outside the ruins of the old wall, walked in pairs and small groups, folders of paperwork tucked under their arms.

Children played in the open area in front of the church of San Geronimo, named after St. Jerome, the patron saint of Taos Pueblo. This church, built in 1850, stands not far from the ruins of the original church, which was built in 1619, destroyed in 1680, during the Spanish Revolt, rebuilt, then destroyed again in 1847 by the U.S. Army, during the War with Mexico.

I finally drew myself away in the mid-afternoon, leaving the rich culture of Taos Pueblo and heading back into the town of Taos itself. A phone call to my next lodging stop confirmed that they were ready for me to check in. I packed my new pottery ornament and remaining cinnamon-sugar cookie into my car, then headed over to the inn.

Taos Pueblo Tourism Office
P.O. Box 1846
Taos, NM 87571
(505) 758-1028

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I arrived in Taos, NM, late at night, in the midst of a rather furious thunderstorm, though it passed quickly. I knew there were many vacancies in town, having checked availability in advance. But the weather slowed my travel more than I expected and by the time the lightening and rain subsided, I had only a few choices for lodging.

It was thanks to the kindness of Manka Lewis-Smith, at the historic Taos Inn, that I ended up safely tucked away for the night in Room 204. This charming room, actually a suite, was larger than I needed. But Manka, whose patience is to be commended, placed me there after we ruled out a couple other rooms – one for noisy proximity to the lobby and another because guests had previously checked in, then changed rooms.

In any case, my hideaway for the night was extremely inviting, in spite of it being out-of-season for use of the kiva fireplace. Though traditional in appealing adobe structure, the viga ceiling in this room was high, which gave it a wonderfully spacious feeling. Artistically decorated with hand-painted mirror frames and tin holders for bath products, this was classic Taos style – rustic, yet filled with modern amenities such as a television and phone. It was a welcome relief after the rainy roads. The convenient location, just 1/4 block north of Taos Plaza, was another plus.

Originally named The Hotel Martin, the Taos Inn opened in 1936, named for Dr. Thomas Paul (Doc) Martin, the county’s first doctor. Well-loved by the community, Dr. Martin devoted his life to setting broken bones and delivering local babies, both in the building now known as Doc Martin’s Restaurant and by saddling up horses and heading out on house calls. He was known for accepting unusual form of payment for his services, such as goats, chickens or even a sack of potatoes.

His wife, Helen, was an admired batik artist and, with her husband, did much to contribute to the growing arts in the Taos community. This tradition is continued in the regular “Meet the Artists” lecture series hosted by the inn.

The Taos Inn is actually a group of adobe houses, clustered around a courtyard, in the middle of town, one of those being Dr. Martin’s original house and office. The Taos Society of Artists was founded in their living room, by Ernest Blumenschein. Greta Garbo, Anthony Quinn, Thornton Wilder and D.H. Lawrence were all guests, as well as many others, including Robert Mitchum, Peter Fonda and Robert Redford.

After getting settled in, I stopped back into the lobby to enjoy a bit of music in The Adobe Bar. Originally an outdoor plaza, this now-enclosed, festive gathering place is worth seeing just to enjoy the tall vigas and stained-glass cupola, built around an original well. But it’s also known for live jazz and flamenco entertainment, offering tables and chairs clustered around a kiva fireplace, or up narrow stairs, from a balcony overlooking the lobby. Outdoor tables in front of the inn offer other seating options.

I slept well and woke up to calmer weather and peaceful skies. Breakfast is not included with lodging at this inn, but is available in the restaurant. I had fruit and muffins with me, so I combined these with hot coffee from the lobby and enjoyed a simple morning meal the patio outside my room.

I packed up and thanked Manka for her excellent hospitality. After a little writing time in the lobby balcony and a delicious, spicy chile relleno in Doc Martin’s restaurant, I headed out to explore. (Inside hint: There are live phone jacks inside the balcony wall, for online access. This is a nice bonus for business travelers.)

I wasn’t leaving Taos yet, as I’d planned to spend a couple days in the area, before making the final stretch to California. I looked at my options for the new day and night. I didn’t know it yet, but I was about to discover one of my favorite B&Bs of all time, as well as a little history and some of Taos’ eateries and shops.

Taos Inn
125 Paseo del Norte
Taos, NM 87571
(505) 758-2233

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