Mother Earth Living

Natural Home Goes to Taos, New Mexico

Visit this multicultural, historic city.
By Robyn Griggs Lawrence
May/June 2003
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Visit the ancient Taos Pueblo built entirely of adobe.
Photo Courtesy Taos County Chamber of Commerce / photographer Don Laine
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With its blend of old Spanish and Native American customs, influenced over several centuries by French trappers, frontier scouts, and American artists, Taos, New Mexico, offers a multicultural slice of life dating to the seventeenth century—and you don’t even need a passport. Taos, which locals say means “gateway to heaven,” has become a legendary artists’ colony, attracting renegades and intellectuals such as D. H. Lawrence and Georgia O’Keeffe. One look at this enchanting town full of traditional adobe architecture, nestled into the stunning Sangre de Cristo Mountains, and you’ll understand why.

While you’re in Taos, keep your radio tuned to KTAO (101.9 FM), the nation’s largest solar-powered radio station, which transmits an eclectic assortment of music and community news using 140 photovoltaic panels.

Sleeping

Dobson House Bed and Breakfast
Always wondered what it would be like to live in an Earthship? The Dobson House Bed and Breakfast, thirteen miles north of Taos Plaza on the Rio Grande Gorge, offers you the chance to experience the warmth of both passive and active solar living in a beautiful home made from 20,000 aluminum cans, 2,000 old tires, and 7,000 bottles. Based on a design by famed Earthship architect Michael Reynolds, the house includes two guest suites that sleep up to four people. (505) 776-5738

Touchstone Inn
A quiet, historic adobe estate a mile north of Taos Plaza, Touchstone is filled with original art by owner Bren Price and treasures collected from all over the world. Cozy rooms feature fireplaces, patios, and luxurious textiles, and guests can enjoy an outdoor hot tub and a double hammock. Spa treatments are available. 0110 Mabel Dodge Lane (800) 758-0192 or (505) 758-0192

Hacienda Del Sol
Once owned by Taos’s legendary art patroness Mabel Dodge Luhan, this adobe hacienda was a guesthouse for D. H. Lawrence, Georgia O’Keeffe, and Willa Cather. Latilla fencing and adobe walls surround grounds that include fruit trees, willows, and old lilac bushes. Rooms feature original art, handcrafted furniture, and patchwork quilts. 109 Mabel Dodge Lane (505) 758-0287 or (866) 333-4459

Eating

Villa Fontana
Carlo Gislimberti, owner and chef of this renowned Italian restaurant, is the only person in the state of New Mexico legally authorized to pick and sell wild porcini and chanterelle mushrooms. His cream of wild mushroom soup and other mushroom-based delicacies are unmatched. Gislimberti, an artist who believes that art and cooking go hand in hand, fits right in here. Located five miles north of Taos on Highway 522 (505) 758-5800

Sightseeing

Taos Pueblo
The oldest continually inhabited adobe dwelling in the world, Taos Pueblo has been home to the Tewa Indians since at least A.D. 900. The compound includes dwellings for 150 residents, the historic San Geronimo Chapel, and seven sacred underground kivas. Several feast dances throughout the year are open to the public.Taos Pueblo is located three miles north of the town of Taos. Check for current entrance hours. (505) 758-1028

Harwood Museum of Art
This historic adobe compound, with portions dating to the mid-nineteenth century, is a stellar example of Pueblo Revival Architecture, with seven galleries devoted to historic and contemporary local artists as well as Hispanic traditions including New Mexican furniture. 238 Ledoux Street (505) 758-9826

Millicent Rogers Museum of Northern New Mexico
An American fashion icon, Millicent Rogers spent much of her life collecting jewelry and indigenous art, much of which is now on display in this adobe building on a windswept, sagebrush mesa. Jewelry, baskets, textiles, and paintings offer a satisfying glimpse of the Southwestern Indian and Spanish American culture. 1504 Millicent Rogers Road (505) 758-2462

Fechin Institute
Immigrant artist Nicolai Fechin created a Russian house out of New Mexico mud to make himself feel at home without being an outsider in the late 1920s and early 1930s. Considered one of America’s architectural wonders, the house is now open to the public. 227 Paseo del Pueblo Norte (505) 758-1710

Wild Earth Llama Adventures
Llamas carry the gear and naturalists guide the way, leaving you free to enjoy the beauty of Carson National Forest, abundant with wildlife. Multi-day pack trips, day hikes, and custom wilderness experiences all feature gourmet meals made from fresh, local ingredients. (800) 758-5262 or (505) 586-0174

Events

Taos Solar Music Festival
Taos, which calls itself the Solar Capital of the World, lives up to its name with the annual Taos Solar Music Festival, held the last weekend in June at Kit Carson Park downtown. The festival features live music and a Solar Village, with displays and demonstrations of the latest in solar technology.


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