Monday, May 29, 2023

Trippin': Taos

There's Family Fun Galore Up North


Our family travels to Taos to clamber all over Wheeler Peak and get away from the city. Hiking and biking trails snake through the mountain, the highest point in New Mexico. It's no spoiler to say that the view is unparalleled in a state rich in breathtaking views. About two miles away at Taos Ski Valley, you can take a ride in the chair lift in summer and spot wildlife and flora from that vantage point, too. Need I say the children love it all?

The Taos Youth & Family Center has a Skate Park complete with plenty of bowls and dips and whatever else skateboarders navigate when they're having fun. Bring your own board and safety equipment. You'll have to sign a waiver for the kids.

Upscale El Monte Sagrado might not be the first place you think of when you think "family getaway," but it should be. The grounds are perfect for wandering with children, lush and green in summer, with a giant chessboard in the lawn for kids to play on. The rustic, well-appointed rooms are fairly spacious and you can fit the whole brood into one or claim adjoining suites, or take advantage of an art-filled casita that will make you want to move in. If you book a service at The Living Spa, ditch the entourage at the pool or the exercise room. Kids love ordering room service for breakfast or lunch (you'll want to supervise before you head for the spa).

For dinner, however, you might want to regroup and enjoy each other's company at De La Tierra Restaurant and Garden Courtyard. Le Cordon Bleu-graduate Executive Chef Cristina Martinez orders up seasonal ingredients for her signature dishes; if you've dined at The Artichoke Café in Albuquerque you are familiar with her fine work. Breakfast and lunch are also served there.

Eating off-campus is a breeze as Taos has more than 60 restaurants, almost all of them locally owned. Our family favorite is Gutiz, serving Latin-French cuisine that is reasonably priced and divinely done. The children are into omelets and French toast but the Saltado Chicken does it for me every time. We can't miss our meal at Gutiz every time we travel to Taos.

If meals en suite are your thing, there's a farmers market on Taos Plaza every Saturday morning where you can pick up food for lunch. I prefer to grab something fresh from a vendor, then wander. That's my favorite part of the day. Wandering is fun for parents and kids alike--you can watch them and take a breath at the same time. It makes me happy to see their expressions while window shopping and people watching. Taos is filled with treasures (tourist items, too) in traditional, antique and modern styles, a real shopper's paradise. Visit Two Graces just off the Plaza for items that are history and art lessons in themselves. Owner Robert Cafazzo is a true Taoseño, historian and guide to the town's unique character.

Summer Music in Taos

There's free Live Music on the Plaza June 23-August 25 from 6-8 pm (except for the weekend of Fiestas de Taos, below). Local bands apply to play here and you're sure to hear some old favorites and find new bands to follow.

Cultural flair and fun define Fiestas de Taos, running from July 22-24. There is music, dancing, food and "a coming together of the generations." The kids will love it. Taos Pride is on the weekend of August 4-6 this year.

Kit Carson Park is the big music venue this summer thanks to AMP Concerts. Here's the line up through July 4:

ZZ Top, June 18 Saturday, 7-11 pm

Lyle Lovett & Chris Isaak, July 3, 7-11

Elle King, July 4, Monday, 6-11

Check with AMP for more music to come in Taos this summer.

Before we make our way home from Taos, we always stop in the Village of Arroyo Seco, about halfway between Taos and the Ski Valley. Taos Cow is a sweet little ice cream parlor, open every day from 7:30am-5pm. They also have sandwiches and a few breakfast items, along with coffee and that famous, all-natural ingredient ice cream, impossible to find in summer in Albuquerque stores. The Arroyo Seco Mercantile is a cool place to let kids spend their allowances on T-shirts, keychains and such, while you browse the pottery and jewelry. Abe's Cocina y Cantina is open on weekdays and has outdoor seating. The town itself is walkable and you can point out all of the references to famous hippies (or Grandma can).


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