Summer Guide 2013
Feast on the Northeast
Land of Enchantment corners the market on fun
For notoriety and location’s sake, we chose to make our homebase stay at an earthship rental northwest of Taos. Think Luke Skywalker’s house on Tatooine meets a greenhouse meets a glass recycling plant. These funky, off-the-grid green buildings range from fairly plain and practical to wildly colorful works of art. Stop by the Earthship Biotecture headquarters for a tour of the sustainable shelters.
Having only been to Taos to enjoy winter activities, we were excited to explore the town and its offerings at a warmer time. We kicked off our big day in Taos with breakfast at Michael's Kitchen, where the just-the-right-amount-of-spicy red chile is made with juicy ground beef, and the sweet rolls are the size of your face. On the recommendation of a friend, we spent the majority of our day in Taos at the John Dunn House Shops. Just off the main plaza, this quaint courtyard is studded with adorable shops, boutiques and galleries. Set aside time for lunch and some excellent people-watching under the covered porch at Bent Street Café and Deli, and then take your satisfied belly over to the Moby Dickens Bookshop and be greeted by unique finds and the friendly resident cats.
A farther jaunt north brought us to an area near Questa, called Wild Rivers. Here, a byway meanders along the rim of the Rio Grande Gorge, offering stunning view after stunning view, and all leading up to the confluence of the Rio Grande and the Red River at La Junta Point. This too-little-known vista quickly made it on my list of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen. Perhaps it was because it had been raining, or maybe it was because we reeked of “newly-weddedness” for miles, but my groom and I managed to have the whole breathtaking spot to ourselves, despite the fact that it was peak season. A self-service pay station (a day pass is $3 per car), picnic benches and romantic trails made for a perfect private afternoon.
Between sleeping off the wedding hangover, vegging to the Summer Olympics and simply enjoying being married, we didn’t see nearly as much on our short trip as we’d like to. On our next escapade to our new favorite corner of New Mexico, we plan to spend more time exploring the history of the area, including Taos Pueblo, the historic village of Chimayo and Fort Union National Monument along the Santa Fe Trail. Our outdoor adventures-bucket list includes the resorts of Red River and Angel Fire, as well as Conchas Lake, the Capulin Volcano National Monument and Wheeler Peak (New Mexico’s highest boast). I attest that we didn’t drink nearly enough. Our next tour will include pit stops at Taos Mesa Brewing, the KTAOS Solar Restaurant and Bar, Eske’s Brew Pub and the Adobe Bar at the Taos Inn for some live music.
There aren’t enough days in the summer to visit and enjoy all the must-sees of our great state, but this fantastic quadrant is a grand place to start. From shopping to climbing to sightseeing to eating, NENM—an acronym I’ve just created—has it all. So get going.
Events to keep an eye out for this summer:
• Mother’s Day Rio Grande Whitewater Festival May 10-12 Orilla Verde Recreation Area, Pilar, N.M.
• Inaugural Taos Lilac Festival May 17-19
• Taos Solar Music Festival Featuring Mumford and Sons June 6 at Kit Carson Park
• The Red River Fine Art and Wine Festival June 15-16 at Brandenburg Park
• The 28th Annual Taos Pueblo Pow Wow July 12-14
• The Gravity Mountain Bike Nationals at Angel Fire August 2-4