Best of Taos
Taos Art Museum at Fechin House: In the early 1930s, Russian artist Nicolai Fechin designed his home in a fantastical fusion of Tartar, Spanish, and American Indian styles. Today, his paintings hang next to the wood lintels and furniture he carved.
La Hacienda de los Martinez: Get a taste of life in early 19th-century Taos at this restored adobe family compound, home to historic community leaders. Don’t miss the fascinating display on the Penitente brotherhood.
San Francisco de Asis Church: With its massive adobe buttresses and rich earthy glow, this 350-year-old Franciscan mission is one of the most recognizable in the world, thanks to its frequent depiction in paintings and photographs.
Taos Pueblo: The stepped adobe buildings at New Mexico’s most remarkable pueblo seem to rise organically from the earth. Don’t miss the ceremonial dances here, held about eight times a year.
Rio Grande Gorge: Think how dismayed the first homesteaders must have been when they reached “New Mexico’s Grand Canyon,” an 800-foot-deep channel cut through the rock to the west of Taos. Think how overjoyed today’s white-water rafters are in the spring, when mountain runoff surges through the rift.
Taos Ski Valley: This is the purist’s mountain: deep powder, no pretension. Don’t ski? Drive up here just to crane your neck up at the top, and consider taking lessons.
Vietnam Veterans Memorial State Park: Set on a low ridge overlooking the bowl of a high valley, this elegant white chapel, dedicated in 1971, was built to honor one man’s fallen son. Since then, it’s grown to become a national monument.
© Zora O'Neill from Moon Santa Fe, Taos & Albuquerque, 2nd edition