All the merchants live pretty close to Arroyo Seco, typically not more than 10 miles away, or right here in the little artist’s village on the way to Taos Ski Valley. They all know each other and that gives this place a special feeling of closeness, of being part of a family. Visitors will pick up on it. Just know you are welcomed here.
As with many of the communities in Northern New Mexico, “Seco” grew from a land grant. The area was officially settled when the Martínez brothers planted crops and then homes here in the early 1800s.
Arroyo Seco’s Church of the Holy Trinity dates back to 1834. It is built of adobe with heavy vigas and corbels and an altar where an original bulto — a three-dimensional sacred sculpture, which represents the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit — is still revered.
Taos Cow was named one of the top 10 ice cream shops in America by “Bon Appétit” magazine. The ice cream is locally made and comes in many different and unusual flavors — ever heard of lavender ice cream? Abe’s Cantina y Cocina, established in 1945, is perhaps the oldest hangout for locals and serves the best chicharron burritos in the area; Aceq is a favorite farm-to-table restaurant that uses organic ingredients; and Sabroso is famous for its fresh-squeezed margaritas, fine dining and live entertainment. You can get groceries at Sol Food Natural Market, which is walking distance from the Abominable SnowMansion hostel. They sell organic produce and meats along with a deli and juice bar.
At Arroyo Seco Mercantile you can find everything from Pendleton blankets to antiques. Santos y Mas sells santos, of course, plus retablos, paintings, and ornaments. Many folks visit Seco for Weavings Southwest, and for the beautiful and functional ceramics by Logan Wannamaker Pottery, Rottenstone Pottery and Scott Carlson Pottery; Discover Parse Gallery, “an experimental creative space that provides a platform for artists, musicians and creators to present experiences in an intimate setting”; the treasures at Antiquarius Imports; tea house and gallery space Aureate Plum; and the surprises found at Bella Mundi Gallery and Fine Art New Mexico. Don’t forget the beautiful jewelry and sculptures at ClaireWorks, and Francesca’s pretty clothes. There is much to explore here and something for everyone.
Want to stay in Arroyo Seco longer than a day? The village also has lodging accommodations, including the quirky downtown hostel known as the Abominable SnowMansion, a number of vacation home rentals in the area and bed and breakfasts, such as Adobe and Stars just outside of Seco on the way to Taos Ski Valley.
Great zaniness and hoopla
The “biggest little parade in the country” or the annual Fourth of July celebration in Arroyo Seco gathers hundreds of spectators each year, as community members and local organizations parade down two blocks. It consistently attracts a crowd: around 5,000 people congregate here every year, and the number keeps growing. It’s a short parade route that begins around noon, but it includes a big array of attractions, from painted ponies to unusually decorated floats, trucks, vintage cars and Taoseño trucks. This is a quirky, fun event with live music all day. To avoid heavy traffic, come early and stay late.
The beautiful mountain drive from Seco up State Road 150 heads toward Taos Ski Valley, with numerous options for outdoor recreation. Seven miles in the other direction is Taos.
For a complete rundown on the village, check out visitseco.com.