Leaving Colorado Springs and taking the road to Taos sends you into the hills and through lush forests, which are a complete contrast to the wide landscapes we saw driving through Wyoming.
It was on this road that I finally I got to see those picture postcard log cabins I was after – plus the chance to do some one-of-a-kind road stops – such as a road side visit to museum dedicated to gas station memorabilia – a first!
You are spoilt for choice in Santa Fe in the accommodation stakes – we went for the most obvious, and one of the most expensive. La Fonda – which we loved.
The ground floor felt like a shopping mall, it was a really buzzing thoroughfare.As you enter Taos you start to see those otherworldly adobe houses nestled in the greenery, which for me was unexpected as I had been informed by Hollywood westerns tumbleweeds, cacti and parched landscapes – here, temperatures are moderate and the overall feel is alpine. Though Santa Fe is the more famous of these two adobe towns, Taos has its own special spirit, and ideally I would liked to have hung around longer, with more time I would have had the chance to soak up a little more of the hippy ambiance that pervades the community. During our short stop over we did get a chance to see a great automobile show that showcased classic american cars both cruising around town and parked in the main town square (see photo above) – my personal highlight was digging into the best nachos/enchilada, Mexican food experience of my life – at the low-key yet brightly colored restaurant called Orlandos.Before leaving town don’t miss the UNESCO Wold Heritage site, the only one that is also a living community – the *Taos Pueblo. This adobe settlement has housed a Native American community for more than seven centuries.
For the first evening we took it easy with room service, (excellent), though at the same time I felt that when in New Mexico a Marguerita must be drunk – so we did go downstairs to the bar in the hotel, and knocked one back while watching elegant rhinestone encrusted oldies line dancing to a live band. I tried a few gulps, it wasn’t for me.
The bad view from our room (a sad inner-courtyard) was made up for the attention to detail in the room. The hotel had commissioned local arts and crafts artists to add local flavour to the decor of the room, I loved how traditional motifs where given a fresh and modern re-interpretation, I wish could have taken some of these features home.
FURTHER STAY OPTIONS *
INTO THE WILDER/FAR FROM THE CROWD, for those who play it quiet The Hacienda De Cerezo (pictured above, an $$$$$ all inclusive)) – 12 miles from Santa Fe. From here whitewater rafting, hiking,hot air ballooning, spa treatments are all options.
BREAKFAST at La Fonda – the food was ecelente! After breakfast do a walking tour through town. We booked it through the concierge ( you don’t have to be staying at La Fonda to be able to do this) .
Hacienda for La Casa Sena
This was a very fruitful adventure. We skipped through the town, hitting on the main historical spots in Santa Fe, while getting the chance to fly through some really cool stores – that we wouldn’t have discovered on our own. Another highlight was discovering a hidden courtyard of beautiful hacienda (a hacienda is large estate or plantation with a dwelling house) that contained the restaurant La Casa Sena, which we returned to eat at next day. Also on our walking tour list was a church, and and a small garden littered with some incredible wind sculptures.
Wind Vane Sculpture, Sante Fe
GIORGIA O’KEEFE MUSEUM it would be a crime to make it to Sante Fe and not go. The artist, Giorgia O’Keefe put Santa Fe on the map for me, as well a number of other artists, which has left the town overflowing with galleries containing not such great art. For the die hard fans, you can also visit her house but it is an hour out of town
Lots of people visit Santa Fe for its opera season – which had finished the night before we arrived, though Leslie our walking tour guide told us to go to Vanessies that evening – as that’s where all the opera’s apprentices hung out after work to sing along and give impromptu recitals together with resident piano man, Doug Montgomery.
Leslie had already told Doug about our arrival – so as we walked through the door we were asked to do our own arias – in front of the 70 odd patrons well into their golden years. Even though a handful had already dozed off and would not have been affected my tone deafness, I still wanted to leave Santa Fe with a little dignity, so I declined.
The highlight of the evening was undoubtedly Nessun dorma – sung by identical twin apprentices. Though Doug could match them in the talent department, as he could play any request by ear – he dedicated a Billy Joel medley to me – which made me so woozy I almost forgot that he was wearing man-sandals.
Sleep: LA FONDA, Santa Fe
45 mins SANTA FE to ABIQUIU