New Mexico

100th Birthday in the Land of Enchantment

San Francisco de Asis Church in Ranchos de Taos

 

Construction of the most photographed church in New Mexico started 140 years before statehood was approved in 1912. The natural beauty, flavorful cuisine, rich cultural and artistic history magnetically draw visitors to the Land of Enchantment. After dozens of trips to all corners of the state we still find new adventures and rewarding experiences with each visit. Why not join in the celebration with your own New Mexico discoveries?

 

Check back often to see an ongoing series of reasons to visit and enjoy the enchantment.

Fantastic Friday

Blue Chairs on Couse Porch - B

A century-old world of creativity and inspiration opened as we stepped into the domain of famed Taos artist E.I. Couse (1866-1936). By pre-arrangement, we met Couse’s granddaughter Virginia in the garden of his home and studio. For nearly two hours we were captivateCouse Palette - Bd by the stories she shared of her grandfather, one of the founding members of the Taos Art Society as we walked through rooms filled with family furnishings, collections, sketches, prints and original paintings. We left inspired not only by Couse’s art but the family’s commitment to preserve his legacy through The Couse Foundation.

Tours must be arranged in advanced. No fee is charged but donations to the foundation are gratefully accepted. When you go be generous for this is worthy of support.

Bavarian Exterior - BFor the afternoon we headed to the Taos Ski Valley and lunch at the Bavarian Lodge and Restaurant. The 19-mile drive from Taos ascends through the Carson National Forest into the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. The restaurant sits at over 10,000” altitude, transporting guests to an alp-like ambiance. After a filling German lunch we stroll the Village of Taos Ski Valley, considerably quieter than a wintertime visit.

Returning to Taos we stop in the quirky village of Arroyo Seco. It’s impossible for me to pass through Seco twice without a stop at Taos Cow Bob with Ice Cream - BIce Cream. I consider the day a total success when one of today’s choices is Pinion Caramel, my absolute favorite. Across the street we “need” to do some jewelry shopping at Claire Works. Bob is now supplied with gifts for my birthday and Christmas.

In light of spaetzle and ice cream we make a workout visit to the Taos Spa. The facility accommodates regional visitors with reasonable priced day passes or multi-visit punch cards.

We peacefully conclude the day back at the casita with music, wine and books – a fantastic Friday.

 

Tantalizing Taste and Tranquility in Taos

Orlando's Birdhouse - BWe’ve arrived for our long anticipated yearly sojourn in Taos, New Mexico. Next week Bob attends a watercolor workshop given by Taos resident artist/potter Stephen Kilborn. Driving from Colorado our traditional first stop is lunch at Orlando’s, a personal favorite consistently serving excellent New Mexican fare.

Today we savored every tantalizing taste – Bob a shredded beef chimichanga, Nancy a combination platter of cheese and onion enchilada in a blue corn tortilla, chile relleno and a shredded beef taco in soft shell blue corn tortillas, accompanied by posole and beans. Yum! Although many Orlando’s menu items are ones similar to those found on Tex-Mex menus there’s a world of difference in the rich New Mexican flavors.

Orlando's Diners - BFilled to the gills, we declined one of the homemade dessert treats. During our Taos visit I’m planning on several more visits to enjoy the shredded beef burrito, the fish tacos and grilled shrimp burrito plus dessert at least once. The flan is always exceptional and the frozen avocado pie uniquely refreshing.

Birdhouses at Casa - BFor the third year we’re delighted to settle into Casa de Las Abuelas, an adobe guest house. I’ll share more about this exceptional property in a separate posting. The convenient yet secluded location provides much needed tranquility after a day of travel, museum and gallery visits, or outdoor activity. After threatening afternoon skies we peacefully watched evening descend as mere whiffs of clouds inched across the sky. A perfect beginning to a Taos vacation.

Nancy on Patio - B

Spring Festival & Children’s Fair

June 4 & 5, 2011

Golandrinas Wagon - B

El Rancho de las Golondrinas (The Ranch of the Swallows) will hum with a multitude of activities during Spring Festival & Children’s Fair, June 4 & 5, 2011. The living history museum/ranch located south of Santa Fe interprets rural life in the Southwest during the 18th and 19th centuries.Golondrinas Making Tortillas - B

A large volunteer staff dresses in clothing appropriate to the period. They share culture and heritage through stories, role playing, demonstrations and hands-on activities. Visitors can make tortillas, grind corn, make a corn husk doll or other arts and crafts, and sample bread baked in the traditional hornos.

Festival presentations include traditional music and dance, sheep shearing, blacksmithing and puppet shows. Sunday morning begins with a special mass and San Ysidro procession. Events run until 4pm both days.

Late spring is a perfect time to walk the 200-acre rural setting and festival weekends offer additional rich experiences.

Golondrinas Penatente - B

Golandrinas Sheep - B

Golondrinas Leather Work - B

 

Golandrinas Horse - B

2011 Festivals & Special Events

El Rancho De Las Golondrinas

Golondrinas - Bob Morada - B

Any weekend visit to the living history museum El Rancho de las Golondrinas provides historic and cultural experiences from the 18th and 19th century. Annual festivals and events promise even more reason to spend a day at the outstanding facility celebrating colorfulGolondrinas Sheep and Lady - B Southwestern heritage.

*June 4 & 5 – Spring Festival & Children’s Fair

Sheep shearing, animals born this spring, entertainment plus lots of games, puppet shows and hands-on activities for kids.

*June 25 & 26 – Fiber Arts Festival: From Sheep to Blanket

Follow the steps to create traditional New Mexico textiles from sheep shearing to elaborate embroidery. Original fiber arts for sale.

*July 2 & 3 – Santa Fe Wine FestivalGolondrinas Swishing Skirts - B

Meet vintners and sample wines from 16 New Mexico wineries. Purchase your favorite varietals, agricultural products and handmade arts and crafts.

*July 16 & 17 – Viva Mexico! Celebration

Celebrate the culture, cuisine and crafts of Mexico through music, arts and food.

Golondrinas - Bob Mill - B*July 23 & 24 – Herb & Lavender Fair

Tour herb gardens and attend lectures on growing lavender. Hands-on activities plus lavender and herb product vendors.

*Aug. 6 & 7 – Summer Festival: Frontier Days & Horses of the Old WestGolondrinas - Two Men - B

Mountain men and women demonstrate skills necessary in settling the West and relate tales of the era. Peruvian Paso horses from La Estancia Alegre.

*Aug. 13 & 14 – Survival: New Mexico

Practice fire starting, building shelters, using an atlati, making adobe and other survival Golondrinas Carding Wool - Btechniques required in Colonial and Territorial New Mexico.

*Sept. 3 & 4 – Fiesta de los Ninos: A Children’s Celebration

A family weekend honoring youngsters with games, crafts and entertainment. Children 12 and under admitted free.

*Sept.17 & 18 – Santa Fe Renaissance Fair

A Renaissance Fair with Spanish flair – defend a Spanish Galleon, games requiring knightly skills, flamenco dancers, turkey legs, ale and mead.

*Oct 1 & 2 – Harvest Festival

Golondrinas Stringing Ristas - BCelebrate the seasons bounty with wine making, grape stomping and stringing ristas at the most popular yearly event.

Golondrinas Pumpkins - B

10th Annual Quick Draw and Art Auction

Taos Center for the Arts – September 25, 2010

Quick Draw Today - B 

Paint Brushes - B Couldn’t pick just one from the dozens of Taos artists taking part in the 10th Annual Quick Draw and Art Auction so we salute all the participants and their creativity. Paint brushes, tubes of paint and  sculpting tools stand at the ready as the noon hour approaches. Local artists in a wide range of media begin work on creations that must be finished on site by 3pm. Patrons and browsers wander among the easels and work tables chatting, asking questions or just standing back to watch the process as each work takes shape.

Leigh Gusterson Cropped - BAt 2:50pm we hear the announcer, “Artists, you have ten minutes to finish your work.” As each piece is completed, signed, and framed they are taken to the finish line. The public can view, appraise and sign up for a bidding paddle. The auction starts at 4pm, action lively and sometimes quite competitive. Proceeds benefit the Taos Center for the Arts which provides facilities, programming and education in the visual, performing and media arts.

In the morning we viewed the shows comprising the Taos Fall Arts Festival. Quick Draw offered an opportunity to see many of Doug Scott - Bthe artists in action whose works we’d admired in the shows.. An ever changing gathering watches as horses charge across Doug Scott’s canvas. Ed Sandoval’s personality and painting quickly draws a bevy of art enthusiasts as he captures a Northern New Mexico fall scene. Pat Woodall intensely adds vibrant colors to his Ranchos church. We stop to watch Leigh Gusterson whose art we frequently admire.

In addition to painters, sculptors, potters and jewelry makers work in stone, glass, wood and silver. Live music and an appreciative audience add to the festive Pat Woodall - Batmosphere on a perfect autumn afternoon in Taos.

Ed Sandoval 2 - B

 

Angie Coleman

Woodblock Prints, Oils, Pastels

 

Angie Coleman Studio - B

Taos artist Angie Coleman is well known for her woodblock prints. The image of each relief print is produced from the raised surface of a woodblock. As each color is printed more of the background is carved away. One block is used for each limited edition.

The process intrigues me, I can’t imagine the vision and planning required for each new creation. As each layer is chipped away there is no going back; one slip of the chisel and the result is changed. The process produces subtle variations with each print.

Coleman graduated from the California College of Arts and Crafts and has been included in many national juried shows. Her work received the best of printmaking award at the “2007 Taos Invites Taos Show” and the Harwood Museum purchase award in the “Originals New Mexico Show” in 2007. In addition to woodblock prints she also works in oil and pastels.

Angie Coleman's - Winter Scenes - B Many of Coleman’s subjects reflect her years of living in Taos, New Mexico and her love of hiking and camping in the mountains ofColorado and New Mexico. We’ve collected a number of her works over the last ten years. Each day we enjoy Coleman’s images of chamisa, golden aspen, antique truck and rustic adobes in our home. Add to that today’s purchases of two winter scene miniatures and her last available print of Apples and Adobes.

When in Taos visit Angie Coleman in her working studio/gallery at 207 Paseo Del Pueblo Sur, two blocks south of Taos Plaza and immediately north of McDonald’s. The studio is generally open Monday thru Saturday, call 575-779-4658 to confirm hours. Visit her website for more details on the woodblock process and the “Gallery” pages to see the range of her work.

Apples and Adobes - B

Cimarron to Taos

US64

Aspen Promises - West of Angel Fire - B

Aspen Glow - B Green predominates through Cimarron Canyon. Views from Eagle Nest include splashes of colors on Wheeler Peak. As soon as the road turns west from the Angel Fire intersection the promise of fall color increases. Twisting up Palo Flechado Pass many of the aspen are in transition, some green leaves edged with yellow. The peak is yet to come but scattered groves gleam golden or a lone tree absolutely glistens.

Proceeding down Taos Canyon roadside color enhances with yellow-topped chamisa, silvery white dried seed heads, multi-hued grasses and red and orange shrubs against a background of dark green pines.

Roadside Color with Chamisa - B

 

 

 

Further down the canyon willows and cottonwoods add a palette of yellow and gold. A number of artist studios along the route welcome visitors. Combine autumn and art for a engaging tour.

Bright Aspen - West of Angel Fire - B

Winter Sweepstakes

Native Dancers

 

Because I would love to win, my selfish side hesitates to share this opportunity but my better half wins out. The Albuquerque Convention and Visitors Bureau is holding a Winter Sweepstakes for a free getaway to the Duke City.

 

The Albuquerque Getaway Sweepstakes Package for two includes:

  • $200 Visa Card that can be used for airfare, gas or shopping  

 

Enter the Albuquerque Getaway Sweepstakes before February 28, 2010 at http://www.itsatrip.org/sweepstakes_winter/default.aspx.

In previous posts I’ve shared many of the attractions and activities Albuquerque offers visitors. Native American arts and cultures, science, history, nature, shopping, sports, gaming, unique Southwestern dining – a multitude of days and nights can be filled with fascinating and fun options. I’ve made my entry in the sweepstakes.

Click to View Previous Albuquerque Posts:

Old Town Shop

Old Town Albuquerque Museums  

Albuquerque Cultural Centers

Albuquerque Wineries

Old Town Albuquerque

Corrales

Hanselmann Pottery

Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta

A Stroll Through Albuquerque’s OlOld Town Churchd Town

 

Quintessential New Mexico, the shaded plaza, adobe church, shops, galleries, restaurants, music, arts and crafts keep visitors returning to Old Town. Most Albuquerque tourists who spend time in Old Town circle the Plaza, admire jewelry spread on blankets, and pop into stores for souvenirs. Those who follow winding, brick walkways into quiet courtyards discover the essence of the Southwest – a slower pace, a musical duo, shaded patio cafes and one-of-a-kind shops.

Kaleidoscopes Colorful magic fills two rooms at La Casita de Kaleidoscopes. The gregarious owner encourages “try them all” as we gawk at the variety – miniature scopes on necklaces to massive floor models. Eighty artists from around the country handcraft these optical wonders. Descriptive names – Marble Scope, Passport to Paris, Dreamdrops, Eye on the Ball – entice us to pause for calming views.

 

Old Town Tour Guided walking tours sponsored by the Albuquerque Museum offer a historical and informative insiders view of Old Town. Museum docents lead the seasonal tours, mid-March through mid- December, pointing out details we’d miss own our own. A self-guided walking tour brochure is available at the museum for those whose visit doesn’t coincide with a guided tour.

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