Taos is "Off the Beaten Path" as it is. You are already an adventurer if you have made it to the place that is affectionately known as "The Soul of the Southwest."

In town you might enjoy LeDoux Street. Originally built as a fortified street with gates at each end, LeDoux St. is chocked full of art. You start at Lucilles used book shop. Go on in, she knows where everything is. Then on to  to R.C. Gorman's Navajo Gallery. After just a few steps you are at a favorite gallery, the Bill Rane Gallery. Just a few doors further down is the Blumenshein Museum. This museum is not only filled with art from the early days of the Taos Sociiety of Art, it is also a wonderful place to study the architecture of the area. Finally, at the end of the street is the Harwood Museum. The Harwood has a very eclectic collection of art that spans everything from the old Spanish era art of the area to a exhibit in the round of Abstract Minimalist, Agnes Martin. Finally the Lenny Foster Photographic Gallery will knock your socks off. Lenny is a Taos treasure.

If you were to head down Ranchitos road for another mile or so you would come to the Hacienda Martinez. This is one of the last fortified hacienda's in the .US. It was built in 1804 and will give you a good idea of how tough the people were who resided in this valley in the early 1800's. If you head even further south you will come to the Church of St. Francis in the village of Ranchos de Taos. This church is perhaps the most photographed and painted building in New Mexico. It was built by the local villagers in their spare time in 1812. At the time it was built it was located in the center of a walled community. It was initially built without windows and was the place of last refuge for women and children during hostile indian attacks. More recently it has been made famous by the art work of Georgia O'Keefe, and photographed by Ansel Adams. Now its just waiting for you to try out your own hand. Ranchos is also home to a number of wonderful galleries, some of which feature the local Spanish religious art.

On the way to Taos Ski Valley, just about 15 minutes from the center of Taos, is the village of Arroyo Seco. If you are looking for the old New Mexico charm and sleepy feel, you have found it. Seco is home to a number of Artists, including Claire Haye. Claire's gallery is named "Claire Works" and is a beautiful space showcasing her work. Claire works in many mediums, but a favorite is her jewelry which is done in silver, bronze, and gold. Her work is extremely affordable, very collectible, and not so southwestern that you need to put on a broomstick skirt in order to wear it. Next to Claire's is the Doug West Studio, another great art space. Across the street is Taos Cow Ice Cream. This locally made ice cream is served in many New Mexico  restaurants. The Cow is also known for their great sandwiches. Abes Cocina y Cantina sells Lena's killer tamales made with her hand ground corn. The Arroyo Seco Mercantile Mart has a selection of old fashioned penny candy, cd's of cowboy music, books on women in the west, used tools, fabric, you name it. Across the parking lot is Francesca's ladies clothing shop. It is hard to go into Francesca's and not come out with something that her educated eye has found that will look stunning on you.

Finally, if you are driving the "enchanted circle scenic drive," there are two spectacular places that you might wish to visit. The first is the Wild Rivers Recreation Area just 2 miles north of Questa. Wild Rivers is where the Rio Grande and Red River come together, and each is in its own 800 foot deep gorge. You can drive and stop at various lokouts, but you can get a more intimate experience by hiking.  If you hike down into the canyon, you'll discover that the views at La Junta, where the two rivers meet, are breathtaking. The hike down and back is steep but not too demanding for anyone who is in good shape. On a hot sunny day, take plenty of water with you. The trail is good. The hiking here is fantastic twelve months a year. Wild Rivers is very underused, and your federal government has spent millions improving it. The roads and campgrounds and picnic areas are all extremely well maintained. Whenever you go to Wild Rivers, be prepared to be alone to enjoy nature in all of its glory. Very few people have discovered it.

The other little side trip from the enchanted circle scenic driveis to drive the thirty minutes to Cimarron, just east of Eagle Nest Lake. Cimarron is where the Rocky Mountains meet the Prairies. This is a good drive to possibly see elk, antelope, deer, wild turkey, or buffalo. Make certain that you stop in to see the St. James Hotel. Twenty six men were killed in gunfights in this old hotel and there are still bullet holes in the ceiling. Further down the road (where you will actually be driving on the old Santa Fe Trail) you come to Philmont Scout Ranch and its fun museum. Happy Trails to you!!