Discover Taos: Summer Visitor's Guide 2021
 
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The journey to Taos for artists Lucy and Dirk Herrman always seemed to them a foregone conclusion.

“It was just an intuitive thing, that somehow I just knew we would live in New Mexico,” Lucy said, and Dirk concurred. “We moved a lot but on our first visit here we knew this was going to be ‘home.’ It was an immediate, powerful draw.”

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Arts in Angel Fire and the Moreno Valley may not be as easy to find now as they once were. There used to be two galleries: The Rupp Gallery and Arts Space Gallery. But as respective owners Carol Rupp and Katherine McDermott discovered, you can either create art or sell it. 

So Rupp and Mcdermott independently closed galleries and opened studios. Other artists followed suit, and so began the era of artist studios in and around Angel Fire. 

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The majesty of the Sangre de Cristo mountains appeals to every type of hiker and outdoor enthusiast. New Mexico ranks sixth in the nation for the availability of public lands and Taos County offers a wide range of terrain. 

Hikers and backpackers can climb from high desert to stately alpine mountains with their vast meadows and craggy, rock-strewn peaks. Most trails aren’t ‘seasonal’ in Taos County, so hikers and backpackers enjoy the trails year-round.

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One venue the pandemic has been unable to dim is the Harwood Museum of Art: Even when you cannot visit in person, executive director Juniper Leherissey Manley and staff have continued to curate first-rate exhibitions that shine like beacons in these difficult times.

Summer 2021 will be no exception. In addition to extending its popular juried exhibit of local talent -– Contemporary Art/Taos 2020 – the Harwood welcomes summer season with two new shows – one, a journey into an ephemeral, atmospheric otherworld; the other – solidly, down-home Northern New Mexico. 

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The drum beats. The bass rolls and the guitar rocks. Your toe taps and your body sways to the rhythm. Music has long been key to mental and emotional health and well-being. Studies have shown that attending live music performances decreases the release of cortisol and other stress hormones. Watching live music can result in a 25% increase in feelings of self-worth and a 75%improvement in mental stimulation. Regular concert attendance can add up to a decade to your life expectancy and dancing can help stave off dementia 70% more than crosswords or sudoku.

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Dadou Mayer hasbeen teaching skiing in the United States for more than 60 years, most of them at Taos Ski Valley. Except for stints at Santa Fe, Red River, Sundance in Utah and Snowmass in Colorado, he has led ski classes in the Taos mountains for longer than many of his fellow instructors have been alive.

He said he teaches skiing

‘because it is my passion.’

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It’s the time of year when the leaves fall, snow hits the ground and many folks start to think about the colder climes ahead – with snow sports in mind. 

Given the uncertainty of the 2020-2021 season, physically distanced winter sports for skiers, hikers and general nature lovers may be just the ticket.

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There isn’t any season that’s not perfect for a stroll along historic Kit Carson Road, but, as the winter chill sets in, the shops along this charming stretch are particularly inviting.

Just across the way from Taos Plaza, Kit Carson Road is a nostalgic visit to the frontier roots of the town, anchored by the Kit Carson Home and Museum and the Couse-Sharp Historic Site and Lunder Research Center farther to the east. In between these classic examples of Spanish Colonial architecture is a lineup of fine art ateliers and showrooms, funky studios, quaint boutiques and the finest of historical and contemporary art.

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Adventuring in New Mexico during the winter has its own magic and chile-spiced flavor. Although the COVID virus is changing how we adventure, the sights and tastes of New Mexico are still available through Heritage Inspirations tours.

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For 40 years, the Taos Ski Valley Ski Patrol has had the assistance of specially trained dogs to help them rescue people trapped in avalanches. Taos was an early innovator in using canine assistance in the United States, after ski patrollers on an exchange to a resort in Utah brought the idea back home.  

“Rescue dogs are a faster way to find people buried in an avalanche than searching with a pole,” says Leland Thompson, head of the TSV Ski Patrol dog department. He notes that if a skier is carrying a beacon, they might be found more quickly than the dog could locate them – but not everyone carries a beacon.

 

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ROOM 102 IN THE HISTORIC TAOS INN, on 125 Paseo del Pueblo Norte, is special. One of 45 unique guest rooms, this one room has a silver Nambé star on its door. It was the room reserved for Washington, D.C., writer Dee Strasberg every spring and fall, starting in 1951, until failing health kept her away.

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FISHING IS ONE OF THOSE SPORTS that is just as satisfying when shared with friends and family as it is all by yourself.

Most fisherfolk even secretly hold the belief it’s almost as fun whether you catch anything or not — although some will never admit that. And, with catch-and-release becoming more prevalent these days, there is no longer the onus of feeling bad about killing a creature of the wild.

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WHEN VISITING YOUR CHOICE of a place to stay can be just a pillow to rest your head or an engaging part of your experience. Taos offers a plethora of sophisticated choices close to town, the Taos Ski Valley or favorite hiking trails, all at appealing price points – a charming inn, a B&B, an historic building, an Airstream or an Earthship. 

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Signature must-do drinks around Historic Taos Plaza

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COME, TAKE OFF YOUR SHOES, take some deep breaths, sigh them out, move a little, wiggle.

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TAOS SEEMS TO THRIVE on breaking the norm. Its roots run deep in history, its culture is as distinct as its landscape. From adobe abodes dotting the mesa to chic chalets peppering the mountain side, one thing is for sure – this place isn’t average, and neither are its dwellings. 

 
 
 
 
 
 
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