There are two distinct "Taos's." There is the city, and then there is
the ski resort, which is quite a drive away.
We have little experience with the City of Taos. It is THE area for
local artwork, consisting of local paintings and turquoise jewelry.
J. D. Challenger, a famous artist, has a studio there. People in other parts of the
Circle differ on their opinion of Taos. Some say it is a friendly
city; others say it is a different world. We've never spend
enough time there to find out. We stopped in one shop to look around
and the owner was very cordial. In other area stores, they were very
cold. It was very crowded, as it is
apparently a magnet to the local artists. We found little allure to
the city, although it was very convenient, from a driving standpoint, to
the attractions we wanted to visit.
The traffic in Taos has been very heavy when we've been there. On one
trip into the downtown area, there was a police car in the left turn lane of Paseo Del
Pueblo Sur, trying to merge with traffic. Traffic was backed up
and bumper-to-bumper, and no one would let the police car in. I
stopped and flashed my lights; the police car jumped into the traffic
and hit his red lights to acknowledge. In Texas, we try to respect
each other, and almost everyone respects the police. I was surprised
that no one cared.
There's a historical village that's available for touring, but there's not
only a per-person entry fee, they also charge per camera. We didn't
There's not much shopping apart from art, except they have a big-box store.
That's about all they have for shopping.
Stucco is required by the city, so almost all the stores looked the same.
From fast food to Radio Shack, they were all stucco. Yuck!
With a few exceptions, such as
Pueblo Balloon Company
and Michael's Kitchen, I feel Taos is like an outdoor light bulb surrounded
by insects ... there's a lot of attention, but you never figure out why.
It's also an excellent place to stay if you're taking the
scenic railroad, as
it's about an hour and 15 minutes away (Antonito station).
Worthy of a visit is the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge on US 64, 10 miles northwest of Taos.
See pictures below.
Taos is a convenient place to stay if you're going to enjoy activities such
as hot-air ballooning,
riding a historic train,
or taking at ATV ride.
It's about 45 minutes from Angel Fire, where we have previously stayed.
We like town of Angel Fire much better than Taos.
We found the Comfort Suites (1500 Paseo Del
Pueblo Sur, Taos,
US, 87571), a Choice Hotels
property, to be very nice and reasonably priced. Their breakfast is a
real breakfast -- it varied, but included sausage, bacon, breakfast
sandwiches, tamales, cereal, and bagels. A waffle machine was there every day,
as well as coffee, apple juice, and cranberry juice.
Their rooms are reasonably spacious, with each containing a king and queen bed, a
"lounge" area with a hide-a-bed, refrigerator, and a "dressing" area
separate from the bathroom. The commode and shower are in the same
room, as with many hotels, and that can cause a backlog. We would like
to see handicapped parking at the rear of the hotel, not just in the front.
But, overall, it was a very nice place to stay, and we'll stay there again
when we return.
We compared the Comfort Suites (about $100 a night) to another property that
had separate bedrooms -- the latter was over $500 a night. Since we
were all family, we choose the Comfort Suites and saved a bundle of money.
Everyone at the motel was extremely cordial toward us. Our balloon ride got moved
to our departure date due to bad weather, making us unsure of checking out by
the 11 a.m. checkout. Jennifer is the manager of the hotel, and she
was very accommodating in allowing us extra time. (We left at 11:15,
but she told us she understood that sometimes the balloon ride took a little
longer than at other times.)
Ed, our balloon pilot,
picked us up at 6:20. Breakfast opens at 6:30, but they told us the
previous day they'd have it open by 6:00 to allow us to get breakfast prior
to departure. In short, we were treated much better at the Comfort
Suites than we have at the chain where we used to stay (Embassy Suites,
Hampton Inn ... Hilton properties).
The Sagebrush Restaurant (adjacent) is owned by the same company, and the
food is excellent. Somewhat expensive, but my steak was juicy and the
salad bar was one of the best-tasting I've ever enjoyed.
American Express Card Number Stolen
A few days after we returned from our Taos visit,
Amex notified us our card number had been attempted to be used to make a
phone order from Sears in North Dakota. The security agent with whom I
spoke said our number was probably copied at a restaurant we had recently
visited. Of course, we had been to multiple restaurants in Taos the
Taos Ski Village
The ski village of Taos is another matter.
Ski Magazine has rated it as one of the 10 hardest ski resorts in the U. S.
They jokingly say that "taos" is a Spanish word meaning "steep." We
think it is a word meaning "<censored>." To use more polite words
arrogant, egotistical, condescending, rude, unprofessional, self-centered, and uncaring come
to mind. Our opinion is the censored word covers it all, and it has
to do with anatomy.
We skied there one day many years ago. While it's
the law that skiers must ski under control, Taos is flooded with expert
wannabe's who will run over you on the beginner runs. We were hit
several times in the "slow" beginner section by young men anxious
to demonstrate their excessive level of testosterone and low level of skiing
ability. We never saw the ski
patrol slow anyone down (a regular occurrence on most mountains, especially
on the green beginner runs). We considered the mountain
dangerous, told the management so, and they ignored us (as we expected).
With Angel Fire and
Red River so close, I don't
know why anyone would ski Taos.
On this trip, we decided to see the ski area during the
summer. Wanting to get refreshments, we parked in the last open spot
of a group of parked cars -- no markings, no signs. There was a
handicapped parking space on the side of the lot, but we couldn't park
there because it would block the roadway; in short, the cars in the
parking lot had exploded onto the roadway, requiring traffic to drive
through the handicapped parking space.
So, we took the last open spot in the group.
About 20 minutes later, we returned to find a very
scraggly looking guy
putting a business card into our window. At first, we thought he was
breaking into our car. The guy said we were blocking
the exit (we should have taken a picture to show how ridiculous that
statement was, but I was more concerned with someone messing with our car as
I was unarmed and am handicapped). We apparently were considered to be the only car
incorrectly parked in this group -- no doubt because of our Texas license
agreed with the sentiment of the message ... going to Taos Ski Village was definitely a "bad idea," and
we won't make that mistake again. The message, written on the back of
a card from
William N. Sullivan, PhD, was as follows: