Favorite Places in Taos

This small town has visible—and hidden—treasures.

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Taos has a reputation for changing people's lives. Hundreds of first-time visitors are overwhelmed with an uncontrollable urge to quit their jobs, pack their belongings and relocate to Taos. Some say a spiritual energy grips them and they cannot, nor do they wish to, break its hold. Almost all explain that the light, scenery and people of this valley are in perfect harmony with their ideal of peace and beauty.

A unique experience awaits visitors at the Taos Pueblo. However, before entering the historic village, turn left and then make a sharp left again, past the public rest-rooms. Look for a small sign that reads "John Suazo", and follow the rutted drive that parallels the road to a little house with a studio to its right. With a bit of luck you will meet two noted Pueblo artists, John Suazo the sculptor, and his mother Juanita DuBray, a creator of storyteller figures. John is generally in the studio and Juanita in the house. They welcome guests and you may call before going there, 758-9629. They offer you the opportunity to learn about how Pueblo life influences their art. Taos Mountain is exceptionally beautiful from Juanita's front yard. John's gallery is in the historic village.

For a bit of quiet time, in a past-century setting, walk to the rear of Kit Carson Park and visit the historic Taos Cemetery. Kit Carson and some of his family rest here with many other past dignitaries of the community.

Be sure to look for the notorious Arthur Manby's gravesite. He was a powerful rogue who lost his head to an unknown assailant. Frank Waters' book To Possess the Land tells the Manby story.

From the cemetery it is a short walk to the Fechin House remote site The house can best be described as a jewel that displays its full power from the interior. Nicolai Fechin's hand-carved doors, furniture, architectural details and wooden sculptures appear to have a life of their own and it is difficult to avoid touching the modeled-wood to try and determine if they are alive or just inanimate objects. Today the house is the site of the Taos Art Museum remote.

When you are in need of lunch or a snack-break and want a quiet space with spectacular scenery, go to the Overland Sheepskin Compound at the north end of town. Walk behind the main store, through a riot of wild flowers, past the small waterfall and fish pond onto the outdoor area of the Ranch Café. From here the Sangre de Cristo Mountains march across the east side of the valley exposing, in uninterrupted vistas, the green grazing fields to the south and the sage to the north. The expanse and variety of valley views are exactly what one needs to recoup from the hectic pace of touring.

D.H. Lawrence gave Mabel Dodge Luhan his manuscript of Sons and Lovers for Mabel's ranch in San Cristobal. The University of New Mexico owns the ranch today and visitors are welcome. There is much to see at the ranch, which is situated high on a mountain north of Taos. Behind the current caretaker's house is the cabin that Frieda, his wife, and Lawrence shared. In front of the house is the tree that Georgia O'Keeffe remote site painted while she was lying on a bench (the bench is still there). Behind this cabin is the very tiny cabin that Dorothy Brett stayed in when visiting the Lawrences. Next, walk to the crest of a small hill to enter the memorial that Frieda built for Lawrence, whose ashes are mixed into the concrete of the small structure. Frieda is buried in front of the entrance. If you are fortunate enough to meet the caretaker, and he is in the right mood, you will learn what life was like for the Lawrences when they lived there.

I would recommend two books to visitors who wish to understand more of the ways of Taos life. The first is a short story in a book of short stories by Tony Hillerman and is titled The Great Taos Bank Robbery and other Indian Country Affairs. Then read Edge of Taos Desert by Mabel Dodge Luhan. These may aid you when trying to explain why you had to move to Taos, or clarify why Taos is a wonderful place to visit but you would not want to live here!

Thanks to Benjamin Carp

Originally appeared in
The Collector’s Guide to Santa Fe, Taos and AlbuquerqueVolume 14

Related Pages

A Glass Act: Dale Chihuly's Program in Taos article
Beauty and the Best: Millicent Rogers Museum article
Vietnam Veterans National Memorial article

Historic Houses and Sites in Taos article
The Ranchos Church article

Collector’s Resources


Harwood Museum of Art | 575-758-9826
Millicent Rogers Museum | 575-758-2462
Taos Art Museum at Fechin House | 575-758-2690


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