Back in January, we dreamt of a September-Moon in Spain. We bought a guidebook, interviewed other Spain travelers, and mapped out our route. But, things don’t always happen as planned. Funds and lack of time off caused us to re-route and simplify. So, we landed on Taos, NM – we heard great things about it and that it was also settled by the Spanish (the next best thing to being in Spain, right?). You could also call this “Honeymoon” trip our Baby-Moon… but that would imply that we’re not going to be out and about and traveling until February. No way, I say. I have a stubborn travel gene. Have bump. Will travel.
We took the “High Road” rather than highway from Albuquerque to Taos so we could enjoy the scenic route. As we drove our sporty compact rental, we came across the small town of Madrid. Maybe we were in Spain after all.
We followed Sunset Magazine’s advice and stayed at the Hacienda del Sol – a B&B with an amazing view of Taos Mountain and the a spot where Georgie O’Keefe used to stay as well. We claimed to be aspiring artists in residence.
We painted local scenes from Taos, and found out from the artist that the photo Carl was painting from was actually taken from the Wal-Mart parking lot, and the adobe building the background was actually an Applebees. Nice. But she assured us that when you’re an artist, you can “play God” and edit those kind of details out. Carl avoided the neon apple logo.
On one of our days, we took a long drive to the town of Abiquiu (if you can call it town… as it only had a convenience store). Georgia O’Keefe lived there and was inspired by the beauty of the surroundings with the backdrop of red mountains and sage. 30 minutes past this “town” we drove 13 miles down a dirt road to a Benedictine monastery – Christ in the Desert. Carl contemplated becoming a monk. I reminded him that he married me, and that lifestyle was out of the question. We pondered this as we walked past the beautifully carved crosses that led to the main chapel.
If you ever want a place to get away from it all and experience absolute silence… this is the place to go. People take silent retreats there all the time. And, Benedictine monks are known for their hospitality. We even met Brother Francis who confirmed this during our visit.
Afterwards, we walked around Ghost Ranch where Georgia O’Keefe lived and painted… but more importantly(?) where City Slickers was filmed. Of course that’s the movie we watched that night back at the B&B.
Other highlights from our trip? Yummy New Mexican food – enjoyed both the red and green chiles. Hiking Taos Mountain to a glacier lake. Oh, and the dumbest thing we did? We hiked during a break in a lightning and thunderstorm to the bottom of a gorge to some natural hot springs next to the Rio Grande.We had about 10 minutes in the hot springs before the rain and thunder started up again. I’ve never hiked so fast in my life. But I must say, watching a thunderstorm with a completely unobstructed view overlooking the desert is a quite a site to see. It also provided a wonderful sunset for our last night in Taos.
Rating: 2 enthusiastic thumbs up.
What we’d bring with us next time: Carl was the prepared one. I’d bring a rain jacket. I guess my positive thinking didn’t work to prevent a thunderstorm. (Thank goodness my chivalrous husband gave up his waterproof wear during our frantic sprint on the trail.)