I really haven’t had my fill of art-shops and could have spent another day gallery-hopping, but alas, we had to leave Santa Fe for our next destination, Taos.
We made a little detour en route and stopped at Chimayo, a small village founded by the Spanish. Its main attraction is a church built on sacred mud. This mud, supposedly, cured many a pilgrim of various ailments. Next to the church, people were loading up on this (or similar) mud. I didn’t think this stuff would work on non-believers, so I passed. But we did enjoy the wood carvings and tiled inlays in the church and the chapel around the corner.
The village itself was kind of nondescript, so we decided to check out Abiquiu, the little village where Georgia O’Keeffe spent the second half of her life. We figured, we can’t go wrong with a place where an artist chose to live.
Abiquiu is tiny, down to earth (almost literally), and completely non-commercial. O’Keeffe’s house is behind an adobe wall and is not visible from the street. By mistake, we wandered into the hacienda across the street thinking it hers. It could have been – very artistic and beautiful. From Abiquiu we drove up to the Ghost Ranch where O’Keefe lived in the winter. The road to the ranch was magnificent! The landscape started changing as soon as we left Abiquiu. The mountains turned into multicolored rock formations. You didn’t need a lot of imagination to see all kinds of animal and human shapes.
First we arrived at Lake Abiquiu. The blue water of the lake was still amidst red, white and yellow rocky mountain ranges. Past the lake, the mountains became more and more dramatic, and the colors more and more vibrant. We turned right onto a gravel road leading to the ranch and got out of the car to gape open-mouthed at the stunning scenery before us. Suddenly, a polished antique car came around the corner, then another, and another, a whole bunch of antique cars driving past us against the backdrop of a multicolored rocky mountain – it was a scene out of a movie.
The ranch is in a valley framed by these gorgeous naturally sculptured mountains. I felt I was a figurine inside a giant diorama and part of this magnificent setting.
The whole area along route 84 from Abiquiu and several miles past Ghost Ranch is a cluster of breathtaking rocky formations, each a sculpture in its own right, There was even a nature’s own amphitheater.
From there to Taos, we took several country roads, all of them stretching through no man’s land. We drove, and drove, and drove with no life in sight until we came upon a small town in the middle of nowhere. What kind of people live in a town like this? What ails them? What makes them happy? Did they even care when the WTC towers fell? Do they know about the Ground Zero mosque ?
We finally arrived in Taos. From the first glance, Taos is a sleepy oversized village Our B&B here is an adobe-style hacienda on a street lined with beautiful Southwestern-style houses. The house is tastefully decorated with antiques and local art. We even have an adobe fireplace in the room. The owner bakes every afternoon, and this afternoon she made a tres-leches cake. I am looking forward to tomorrow’s breakfast!