July 2012


Taos Gates and Doors

What’s behind the adobe walls of Northern New Mexico? Almost as intriguing are the doors and gates that allow entrance behind those adobe walls. From ornate to functional the entryways display  individualism and originality. We find elaborate carvings such as those in the Fechin House and others that seem to have survived years of neglect.

Color adds to the interest and appeal. Blues predominate in many shades and tints. The label Taos Blue is often applied but there seems to be no agreement as to the exact hue.

  

There are no rules or standards, neon green or cherry red, arched or perfectly squared off, anything goes. These doors and gates lead to public and private gardens, homes, shops, restaurants,galleries, museums, and churches. And, for some we don’t know what’s behind the adobe walls.

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2012 Fiestas de Taos

July 20-22

Century old traditions continue in Taos Plaza July 20-22, 2012 with Fiestas de Taos. Parades, music, royalty, music, food, music, dance and more music. Opening ceremonies for Fiesta Mass at Our Lady of Guadalupe on Friday evening.

Colorfully clad children Parade Saturday morning. Families spread blankets to claim shady spots for the day of kid activities, shopping, entertainment and festival food. A dozen musical groups throughout the day until the Plaza closes at 10pm.

Sunday morning begins with the St. Francis Choir at 9am. The Historical Parade at twelve noon on Sunday brings Taos traffic to a halt.

 

A historical carousel known as Tio Vivo has been a key part ofFiesta every year since 1939. The only one of it’s kind active in the United States, the 19th-century “Flying Jenny” first arrived in Taos in 1896

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The Taos Lions Club maintains the priceless treasure that they feel belongs to the children of Taos. The club covers the large maintenance costs and hours of volunteerism so that children attending Fiesta can enjoy free rides on Tio Vivo .

 

Trading Post Cafe

Ranchos de Taos

 

We joined friends Dolores and Orell for dinner at the Trading Post Cafe tonight. Unbeknownst to any of us the Italian restaurant offers Mangia Festa, 3 course meals between 4- 6pm, Tuesday – Thursday for only $12. Such a deal!

 

The Mangia Festa features a cup of soup of the day, salad and the choice from six pasta entrees or pizza of the day. Pasta offerings include farfallel primavera, pasta bolognese, fettuccine alla carbonara, angel hair pasta with chicken and mushrooms in gorgonzola cream, portabello mushroom raviolis and penne arrabbiata.

 

Tonight’s soup was a chilled cream of avocado which Bob (surprisingly) really liked. Next was a fresh green salad with creamy Italian dressing. Bob and I both ordered the carbonara, on the advice of local friends, and were not disappointed. Dolores and Orell had the angel hair pasta dish. The servings were not large but the three courses were a very nice balance.

 

When Bob and I had dinner here on Saturday night we indulged in the marvelous flan. Because I baked a peach and cherry crostada today we bypassed the Trading Post desserts – with regrets.

 

They have an excellent pastry chef and there are many selections each day. If I’d known we were going to the Trading Post Cafe I would have put off my baking until tomorrow. Although that might not have worked because Bob says he’s going back tomorrow night for round two of Mangia Festa!

La Loma Plaza

Taos, New Mexico

 

Pasturelands once separated the town of Taos and the defensive village of La Plazuela de San Antonio – The Little Plaza of Saint Anthony. Renamed in 1964, La Loma Plaza, a few short blocks from the center of Taos, is designated as a National Historic District. La Loma Plaza sits on a hill west of Taos Plaza.

 

Spanish families began constructing adobe homes in 1796. The homes connected to each other. Windows and doors faced the interior plaza forming a square fortification to project themselves and their animals from Ute and Comanche Indian raids.


Today the core of many La Loma structures date back to original construction, some even owned by direct descendants of the first settlers. Entering La Loma Plaza, a narrow lane off Valdez Lane passes the diminutive San Antonio de Padua Capilla, circa 1875.

 

 

A low stone wall encloses a small flagstone park. Trees shade benches and chairs – a welcoming spot to relax and note architectural details of the surrounding plaza.

 

 

Several homes on the quiet plaza are available for vacation rentals. The pink adobe with heart motif gate immediately caught my eye, Casa Pajaro. From Internet research I learn that the interior and much of the furniture has been painted my iconic Taos artist Jim Wagner. Known for bright colors and folksy style, Wagner captures a whimsical view of the Northern New Mexico character. Ever-present, chattering magpies populate many of Wagner’s works.

 

 

I would love to see the interior of Casa Pajaro, perhaps it will some day be our vacation rental location. Meanwhile, I have to appreciate historic La Loma Plaza from outside the adobe walls.

 

Art & Photos

Bob started the Stephen Kilborn week-long painting workshop today. Visit Art by Robert Yackel to follow the week’s workshop activities.

My favorite Taos restaurant was tonight’s destination, hard to believe we’d been in town and hadn’t had our first Orlando’s fix. We studied the menu over salsa, chips and guacamole even though I knew before I left Denver what I would order – the shredded beef burrito smothered with green chile with sides of beans and posole.

 

Bob selected the shredded beef chimichanga. Orlando’s shredded beef is not for the weak of heart or tastebuds – it packs a real punch. So delicious. Smooth flan soothes any lasting zing.

 

 

Evening photos were on the agenda after dinner. Stopped by Ed Sandoval’s studio of pictures of his antique trucks.

 

As the sun set we strolled the historic mabel Dodge Luhan complex, lots of ideas for future paintings. Just as the pigeons flock in to roost for the night we head to the casita. Day is done, gone the sun.

Restful Day

Taos, New Mexico

Are we getting old or wise? We did the unthinkable today with a slow paced day in our charming casita. Bob did some sketching, looking for inspiration for the coming week’s workshop. Nancy did some baking, writing and gazing into space.

 

Stephen Kilborn held an orientation session for workshop participants in the late afternoon at his gallery in Taos. The group shared a bit of the bubbly and an overview of the week ahead.

 

We join friends for a yearly tradition of dinner at Doc Martin’s in the Taos Inn. At least once during a Taos visit we need to have Doc’s Chile Relleno. The cheese stuffed Anaheim chile is coated in a blue corn beer batter, smothered with traditional green chile, topped with pepitas and goat cheese cream with salsa fresca on the side. I dug in so quickly I didn’t remember to take a photo of the attractive presentation. Maybe next time.

 

We spend a marvelous summer evening on the patio of the enclosed courtyard listening to Doug Montgomery piano CDs and planning for tomorrow.

Church Doors

Northern New Mexico

 

As we travel the roads of Northern New Mexico visiting some of the historic adobe churches I’ve started noticing the gateways and doors. Some are finely handcrafted and well maintained while others are simple and barely functional. They all open as welcoming arms and embrace worshipers. Enter here.

 

                   

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