After clocking in nine days on our epic 3,500 mile summer family road trip, arriving to Taos, N.M. was like finding an oasis in the desert after tirelessly navigating through steep mountain passes and hairpin turns.
We visited this place four years ago, and I just fell in love with the city, the rich Native American culture, art galleries and total bohemian vibe.
Although known as a great ski destination, you’ll find plenty of Oklahomans and Texans visiting Taos to beat the heat at an altitude of 9,300 feet in the summertime. Summer in Taos is a breath of fresh air and an organic food lovers’ paradise with a wide variety of great family outdoor activities, entertainment, cultural attractions and lodging options.
Instead of staying at one of the local hotels, we rented a lovely casita, which is part of the Inger Jirby Guest houses. Inger runs the gallery next to the property and the decor features a rustic artistic Southwestern charm that is welcoming and homey. I couldn't have asked for a more family-friendly and convenient place to stay, which was also walking distance to the Plaza with its marvelous shops, eateries and art galleries.
This particularly Saturday, the Plaza opened up to the Farmer's Market where locals bring their wares. It was fantastic to see all of the booths featuring skilled artisans and organic farmers with locally grown produce and delicious homemade specialties. My daughters especially loved the chokecherry jam, lemon raspberry scones and white spun honey. Hubby's favorites were the vegetarian burritos, hibiscus flower tea with fresh lemonade and watermelon-ade.
After a stroll through the galleries, we headed off to Taos Ski Valley, which was about a 30-minute drive to ride the ski lift through the mountains. The ski lifts are Taos Ski Valley’s easiest and most relaxing way to escape the heat and enjoy the mountain scenery. You and your family can take in the spectacular views, blue skies and clear mountain air while riding the chairlift.
At the top, you experience unobstructed views of Wheeler Park, West Basin Ridge and abundant wildflowers. While there are no facilities at the top of the lift, you can find a great spot to picnic or enjoy a sack lunch.
If you prefer the creature comforts of a great restaurant, you can follow our lead by eating lunch at Rhoda's, located in the lodge where we enjoyed crab meat stuffed avocado, fresh-cut sweet potato fries and burgers topped with New Mexican Green Hatch chilies. This casual eatery was one of our regular spots when we visited last time. Escaping a cool mountain afternoon shower and enjoying lunch by a cozy fire definitely made it worth a return trip.
We topped off the lunch by visiting the lodge’s lounge where families gathered to listen to the local band, do face painting or play foosball. Afterwards we enjoyed the picturesque drive back to town while being serenaded by Fleetwood Mac's 1977 "Rumours" CD (Dreams and The Chain are Mommy's favorites). Stevie Nicks seemed to be the perfect choice for this scenic summer soundtrack.
Although we were tempted to make a detour to see the incredible 29th Annual Taos Pueblo Pow-Wow celebration, we opted to stop by the Rio Grande Gorge since we saw the Pow-Wow during our last visit.
Beginning near the Colorado border, the approximately 50-mile (80 km) gorge runs from northwest to southeast of Taos. The gorge depth is 800 feet (240 m) just south of the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge, which spans the gorge 10 miles northwest of Taos. It's a site to behold that never gets old.
The enchanting beauty and mild climate of Taos in the summer will always make it one of our favorite destinations, no matter what the season, and a perfect family travel locale - with or without the skis.
Carla Meadows is a Oklahoma City native, wife and mother of two tweens and a loveable Golden Retriever who blogs about building intentional family moments through the wonders of travel at home and across the U.S. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We're looking for
Are you passionate about a topic, an expert, a writer, a photographer, a story teller or maybe an artist looking for an audience? Do you want to make a difference?
We can help connect you to the topics, sources, coaching and community to help you publish in major media outlets like NewsOK and The Oklahoman. You provide trusted content, and Contributor Connect will help you get traffic.