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Taos, NM


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 Enchanted 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 bother.


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.



Comfort Suites


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, NM, 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 week prior.



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 plates.  We 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:





Click on thumbnails to view full-size picture.


Various scenes around the Taos area, including the ski resort (see one of the ski runs above, left).

Rio Grande Gorge driving North to Taos



Facing East

Facing North

Facing North




Rio Grande Gorge Bridge

10 miles NW of Taos on US 64


650' above the Rio Grande, it is the fifth highest bridge in the U. S.  The bridge has appeared in Natural Born Killers, Twins, She's Having a Baby, Wild Hogs, Terminator Salvation, and other movies.

Facing North


Facing South




Facing South

Facing South

Facing South




Facing Down

Facing South

Ray (camera facing south)




Georgia (camera facing west)

From Visitor's Center on West Bank

From Visitor's Center on West Bank



Angel Fire

Angel Fire Excursions

Angel Fire Lift Ride

Driving in New Mexico

Hot-air Balloon

Red River


Scenic Railroad

Vietnam Memorial


Return to Enchanted Circle Page




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