In August of 2022, we returned to northern New Mexico and visited the small town of Taos, New Mexico. We had traveled to Tao several times before but this time we wanted to visit and explore the church at Ranchos de Taos, Dennis Hopper's gravesite, and the Taos Ski Valley.
San Francisco de Asis is an adobe church located in an area of Taos called Ranchos de Taos and was completed in the early 1800s. This church is still active today and is one of the few original buildings still standing in Taos.
The building is a unique blend of Spanish colonial architecture and traditional building techniques used by the Taos Pueblo people and features twin bell towers, an arched portal entrance, hand-hewn vigas (ceiling beams), hand-carved corbels, and a choir loft. In addition, the church houses eight imported oil paintings set within hand-carved and hand-painted reredos (altar screens).
Georgia O’Keeffe began visiting the Southwest in 1929, and her experience of the region, as well as of its indigenous peoples, bolstered her interest in abstraction. If all, or parts of San Francisco de Asis look familiar to you it is because you might recognize O'Keeffe abstract painting of the church.
Dennis Hopper's humble gravesite is little more than a mound of rocks. The Native American-style burial mound in the Jesus Nazareno Cemetery in Ranchos de Taos, New Mexico, is believed to have been the Easy Rider star's final request. Faded flowers and trinkets from well-wishers cover the top of the rubble pile.
For lunch we stopped at 5 Star Burger located on Paseo Del Pueblo Sur in Taos and sampled some of their delicious chili cheese fries!
The historic Taos Plaza has been around since 1796 when the King of Spain gave the Don Fernando de Taos Land Grant to 63 families in the Taos area. This land grant became the most important settlement in the area outside of the ancient Taos Pueblo two miles to the north.
In 1820, the Historic Taos Plaza saw its first “La Fonda” (Spanish for “the Inn”) in the form of a mercantile store that also rented rooms. This historic location is where you will find the Hotel La Fonda de Taos. La Fonda is the only hotel located in the Taos Plaza. Inside the La Fonda is a completely renovated interior which features its own special touches, including the world-famous D.H. Lawrence “Forbidden Art” collection.
We do not ski but we've always wanted to visit the Taos Ski Valley which boasts to have over 300 inches of bone-dry powder and some of the most untamed ski chutes, bowls and glades in North America. The Hondo Rio parallels the road to the Taos Ski Valley and provided us with a beautiful spot to stop to snack on our way up to the ski resort.
As we left Taos we headed north making our way back to Angel Fire, New Mexico, where we were camping. Fascinated by the churches in this area we stopped to view Capilla de San Cristobal Catholic Church located in the village of San Cristobal. Near the church was the Valley Store housed in an old air stream.
To see more of our trip to Taos, New Mexico, check out our latest video on our YouTube Channel.
Here is the recipe for the travel-inspired cocktail we create in this video. It was inspired by the Legend of the Taos Tree Martini!
Dirty Vodka Martini
Ingredients 2 1/2 ounces gin or vodka 1/2 ounce dry vermouth 1/2 ounce olive brine Garnish: 2 to 4 olives Steps Add the gin or vodka, vermouth and olive brine to a mixing glass filled with ice and stir until well-chilled. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a skewer of olives.