4 ways to explore Taos

Get a local's take on the ultimate food-art-outdoors-adventure lover’s experience in New Mexico

 

Katie Arnold

3. Paddle the river

Fuel up for the day at World Cup Cafe (102 Paseo del Pueblo Norte; 575/737-5299), a micro coffeehouse just off the plaza where, says Cody, “everybody knows each other and the owner is a connoisseur of the perfect pour.” Then pack a bathing suit and get picnic lunch from Cid’s Food Market (closed Sun; 623 Paseo del Pueblo Norte; 575/758-1148) for a morning on the Rio Grande. Stake out a shady spot beneath a cottonwood on a sandy stretch of shoreline in Orilla Verde Recreation Area ($3 per vehicle), where the river’s mellow enough for Cody to take Eva out for a ride on his stand-up paddleboard. Or hook up with iconic Taos riverman Cisco Guevara at Los Rios River Runners for a guided half-day raft trip ($50; losriosriverrunners.com). Back in town, cool off beneath the wooden portals on the plaza and prowl the shelves at Twirl (225 Camino de la Placita; 575/751-1402), crammed with kites, capes, crafts kits, puzzles, and other cool toys; Twirl’s expansive play space offers free drop-in music and art classes and a treehouse.

4. Prowl the galleries

Taos was an arts colony long before Georgia O’Keeffe landed in New Mexico in the late 1920s, and it still supports an impressive mix of traditional painters, contemporary visual artists, and art galleries for a town of only 6,000. At Parks Gallery (110 Paseo del Pueblo Norte; 575/751-0343), vivid watercolor landscapes by Jim Wagner share wall space with paintings, sculpture, and mixed- media works by the late Melissa Zink, a longtime Taos local. Over at Studio de Colores Gallery (119 Quesnel St.; 575/751-3502), Ed Sandoval’s vibrant paintings of northern New Mexico are practically larger than life. So is the artist himself: The Taos resident sometimes dons a black cape and rides his Arabian horse through town to breakfast. “He’s like a real-life Zorro,” Cody says. Cap the day at the rave-worthy Love Apple ($$; 803 Paseo del Pueblo Norte; 575/751-0050) for a beet, avocado, and grapefruit salad and rainbow trout baked in a cornhusk, followed by live music and a fresh-squeezed lime juice Cowboy Buddha margarita at the Historic Taos Inn (125 Paseo del Pueblo Norte; 575/758-2233). Cody says, “Get there early if you want a seat.”

Where to stay

Mabel Dodge Luhan House. A rambling inn that once served as a creative salon for visiting artists and writers like Georgia O’Keeffe and D.H. Lawrence. From $98; mabeldodgeluhan.com

Hacienda del Sol. Bright Southwestern-style rooms and mountain views from the hot tub. From $145; taoshaciendadelsol.com  

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