With the Sangre de Christos on one side and the Rio Grande Gorge on the other, this bustling Land of Enchantment town lives up to the hype when it comes to its repuation as a place where magic (oh and lots of outdoor adventure) is sure to happen.
Oh come on, the food is perhaps the biggest reason why you travel to New Mexico and Taos is an epicenter for traditional and nuevo cuisine that runs the gamut from cheese-laden comfort food to farm-to-table extravaganzas. Start the morning at Michael’s Kitchen (michaelskitchen.com), where you can merge cultures with a fresh green chili croissant. Looking to eat with the locals? Head to Guadalajara Grill (guadalajaragrilltaos.com), which has locations at either end of town and plates a massive serving of chili rellenos that should sate your hunger after a big adventure in the Sangres. Treat yourself to the decadence of Chokolá Bean to Bar (chokolabeantobar.com), the husband-and-wife team here concocts every type of chocolate goody you can imagine—from green matcha tea bon bons to rich hot sipping chocolate that you can enjoy in the café. With postcard-perfect mountain views and a garden full of wind sculptures, Farmhouse Café (farmhousecafetaos.com) serves farm fresh dishes that draw on local traditions including organic chicken enchiladas and a curried squash pie with a homemade rosemary crust. For that special meal, book at farm-to-table fave ACEQ (aceqrestaurant.com) in nearby Arroyo Secco.
With a coop of friendly chickens pecking around right on the property, Casa Gallina (casagallina.net) feels far away from the bustle of Taos Plaza, even if it’s just a few minutes away. Book one of the cozy, artfully furnished casitas that include kitchens (currently running $450 for two nights in September) and channel your inner artisan. The philosophy here is to slow down (and enjoy the fresh eggs). Couples seeking some Land of Enchantment romance, will want to check in to the Adobe and Pines Inn (adobepines.com), where you can enjoy a private deck (and more chickens on premises) or wander hand-in-hand in the lovely gardens. Double rooms run $240 per night in September as of press. If you want a taste of tradition, the Inn on La Loma Plaza (vacationtaos.com) is your ticket. The historic hacienda gives you a feel for old Taos with handcrafted furniture in each room and breakfast on site.
The big outdoor attraction in Taos is of course Taos Ski Valley (skitaos.com). Even on a low snow year, you can find excitement on the steeps that host the Freeride World Tour each year. In the summer and fall, the resort serves as a cool base for mountain biking adventures or a hike up New Mexico’s highest point, 13,159-foot Wheeler Peak. It’s an 8.2-mile round trip to the summit that racks up 2,961 vertical feet on the climb and begins right at the resort. Looking for something a bit more low key? Take a llama to lunch with Wild Earth Llama Adventures (lamaadventures.com). The outfitter offers fun day trips served with gourmet lunch up in the Sangres as well as multi-day trips on which the gentle pack beasts provide support. And fat tire fans will want to spin one of the best mountain bike rides in the state, the rollicking, 21.1-mile South Boundary Trail. —D.S.