Saturday, December 03, 2005

Taos, New Mexico

One of our favorite places to spend a long weekend in winter is Taos, New Mexico. We don't go for the skiing, though. We go for the art and ambience.

Our annual weekend winter visit began on a whim one winter several years ago. While my husband and I are both the kind that prefer to plan things ahead, we've learned to add a certain amount of spontenaity to our traveling. We've found a lot of things that way that we would have missed otherwise.

We had been there once or twice before and had found a simple, inexpensive, hotel there that we liked called The Adobe Wall Motel. One winter several years ago, we were in southern Colorado to visit a frozen waterfall that is just south of the Great Sand Dunes. My husband realized we had an entire weekend before us and that it would take less time to drive to Toas than to drive home. So we went to Toas and that's how it all began.

We've discovered that a nice time to go is right after the holiday season when the decorations are still up, but it's quiet because all the other tourists are out at the ski slopes.

As travelers that lean toward the budget end with a few key splurges, Taos is a great get away for us. The Adobe Wall is is on the lower cost side during summer tourist season and offers a slightly discounted rate during the winter. It's not fancy, but it's clean and warm. Each room has its own kiva fireplace that really pumps out the heat and creates a romantic atmosphere. It's not too far from Taos plaza either. For those who are not opposed to walking, it's only three or four blocks away.

There are a lot of good restaurants for all budgets. We, of couse, have our favorites. For breakfast, our favorite is Michael's Kitchen. If you go, be prepared to wait. It's always packed full of both locals and tourists. Ask anyone who goes to Taos on a regular basis where to eat breakfast and they'll tell you to go to Michael's Kitchen.

Where we eat lunch varies, but we always eat supper at Doc Martin's at least once. It's not a budget meal, but it's worth every single penny. I have discovered that no matter what I order, I can't go wrong. If you decide to try them out, budget for it and get reservations. While they aren't always necessary, it can save some disappointment if they are booked for the whole evening.

Shopping in Taos consists primarily of art and souvenirs. So if you love art, you'll enjoy a visit to Taos. Those who don't enjoy art are going to be bored, so send them off the to the ski slopes. There are a lot of galleries to choose from and it's a matter of just walking around leisurely and checking them all out. It can also be a good place to purchase silver and turquoise jewelry.

A word of advice about shopping for art and jewelry:

-First of all, see my previous post about collecting art. Follow those guidelines and you can't go wrong no matter what your budget is.

-When you get there, pick up a collectors guide. It's a chance to see what's available before you go out. Most things are in the central area around the plaza, but there are a few things that are definitely worth seeing, but are further afield.

-Another suggestion is that if you feel pressured to buy, don't. It's your money and you shouldn't feel pressured to buy anything you don't want. If you aren't comfortable rebuffing high pressure sale tactics you may want to leave. Most of the reputable establishments will let you browse and enjoy the art while also being very happy to answer any questions you have without making you feel like you have to buy something.

-If there is a particular type of item or art you're looking for, don't hesitate to ask. If they don't have it, they will probably recommend someplace that does. That's another sign of a reputable business.

-Finally, it really is okay to look and not buy anything at all. Just enjoy looking at everything and create some memories.

While we usually try to go right after the New Year, this year we're going over the New Year weekend. So when we get back, I'll do a post on some of the places that are great to go visit.

If you are going or have gone to Taos, post a comment and tell me what your favorite things are.


  1. My favorites in Taos are (Museum) Millicent Rogers (Ice Cream) Dime Store on N. side of Plaza (Restaurant) Doc Martins (Breakfast) Coffee Shop N/W corner at Plaza stop light (Gallery) changes each time I go (Silver & Turquoise) Artist Co-Op on Plaza E side (Motel) Adobe Wall Inn (B&B) Old Taos Guest House

  2. Jeff & Brenda9:31 AM

    Favorite activity for us in Taos is the high road drive to Santa Fe with visits to the galleries and shops along the way and a picnic lunch. There's a great supermarket with good local and organic produce called Cid’s Food Market (623 Paseo del Pueblo Norte).

    If you want to splurge a little on a nice B&B. We highly recommend Casa de las Chimneas (House of Chimneys). Not only does it have wonderful and romantic accommodations with the amenities, but beautiful gardens (in the spring & summer), is walking distance from plaza, and wonderful food for breakfast.

    The kicker for us is it also serves a light dinner prepared by culinary students who have there externship at the B&B. It was usually more than enough food for us and was delicious. Not needing to go out for dinner added a lot of value to the price of the room. Also, they do a last minute special which means you get a significant discount if you book 72 hours or less. Susan the concierge is a great resource as well. We haven't taken advantage of the attached Spa, but some friends of ours who used our recommendation said it was heavenly.