Located at the base of the Taos mountain, sacred to the Pueblo Indians for more than 1,000 years, the small town of Taos, New Mexico is notable for its tri-cultural heritage as well as its beauty.
From majestic mountains to the valley of Taos where the town lies nestled, from the rivers and streams to the awe-inspiring gorge, the sculptural mesas and long stretches of high desert, it’s easy to become immersed in the unspoiled beauty of nature. Add to that the vast horizons, clarity of air and light, and the magnificent blue Taos skies, and this hometown of mine has much to offer visitors. Many people arrive from all over the country, as well as from Canada, Europe and Mexico.
Not only are there three cultures in Taos, but there are also three languages spoken. The language of the well-known Taos Pueblo is the same as it has always been, Tiwa. Spanish is spoken virtually everywhere since the Spaniards arrived more than 500 years ago. The anglos, as they are referred to here, are the most recent arrivals, and English, of course, is the common spoken language. So many of the Taos natives are bi- or tri-lingual.
Setting it apart from most of the Southwest region, New Mexico has its own traditional food with locals justifiably proud of their unique version of chili. The architecture is also specific with the frequent use of adobe with its warm, rich color of the earth.
Like Santa Fe, its larger neighbor to the south, Taos is known as an art colony. There are wonderful galleries and many fine museums, including the Harwood Museum and the Millicent Rogers Museum, each providing not only contemporary art shows but also the rich history of Taos art over the past generations.
In addition to the historic landmark Taos Inn, there are several motels and many bed & breakfast accommodations available. These, of course, reflect the owners’ tastes and sensibilities, and each one of them has something unique to offer. Vacation homes are also available for rent, and families often find that they can settle into them and spend quality time getting to know all the many offerings in town.
From the centrally located town plaza to checking out the many surrounding galleries to hiking some of the mountain trails, river rafting, ballooning, or skiing in the world-class Taos Ski Valley, there is much to do and see. That is, when you’re not trying out some of the extensive culinary opportunities. Not only is Hispanic cuisine available, but there is a nice variety of other options, including organic, Japanese, Italian and other specialties.
Finally, Taos is a town for all seasons. Springtime is glorious in the mountains, although it starts a little later than other regions. The snow-melt provides for rushing rivers, and the early flowers always evoke excitement after the cold of winter. Summers are glorious with morning and evenings almost always cool and crystal clear. Fall in Taos features the spectacular gold of aspen leaves. Taos is set against the intense blue of the sky and the deep green of the fir, pine and pinon trees, so there are many drives that will lure the visitor to cruise the mountain roads. Winter is much loved by skiers who have been waiting for the opportunity to sample the outstanding runs in the ski valley.
This is where I live, where my children and grandchildren have been raised, where I still work in my gallery and where I have enjoyed, for more than half my life, the special feeling of community that is Taos.