1) There is clearly a Bavarian-rustic theme around this mountain, starting on the winding road to get there. Beer, food, architecture: It all plays right to it. The new Blake Hotel keeps up the tradition. Mix that with the heritage of the Southwest and you have an appealing vibe. Little shops. Small nooks and crannies. Pizza. Breweries. Coffee. Crepes. It's a ski villa New Mexico true.
The terrain is stellar. While the base elevation is over 9,000 feet, the top out on Kachina Peak is nearly 12,500 feet. That's big mountain terrain, and it's the real deal. But there is ample skiing for everyone, accessed by 15 lifts. Wide and fast groomers, steep rocky chutes, alpine bowls and bumps for days. Throw in some hiking and the terrain gets even better. Bonus: The 300 annual inches of snow is equal to the 300 days of sunshine.
On you way out of town, just shy of the Rio Grande Gorge, Taos Mesa Brewing is crafting up 10 to 12 handcrafted barley pops. It's a popular spot with a huge venue for live music that draws national acts, plus there's a terrific food menu. On “the mesa” things have a different feel. Panoramic views of the Sangra de Cristo Mountains and room to stretch. You'll notice the radio station broadcasting from the property.
“Go ahead, gorge yourself.”
At The Gorge Bar and Grill in the plaza, the menu runs deep with New Mexican ingredients. We like the Chicken Chicharones with chipotle honey tomatillo salsa for starters. The Tequila Lime Chicken Tacos came highly recommended and the Carne Adovada was fantastic. Next time, we're going for the Green Chile Chicken Alfredo. We also enjoyed the variety of New Mexico craft beer available both on tap and in the bottle.
Does your latte look like this? When we stopped in to get a cup of Joe at Elevation Coffee in El Prado just outside Taos, we knew we were hitting a place the locals loved, what we didn't know is we were about to get schooled on the mesmerizing wonders of latte art. We had the chance to see owner Janet Boccelli at her craft, turning the steamed milk of our latte into a mountain flower, an autumn leaf or even a scene from Taos Ski Valley. The art was so beautiful, it was difficult to drink it. That is, until we tasted it.
5) The Rio Grande Gorge
This 50-mile gorge slices right though this high desert just outside Taos. At 800 feet deep, the famed National Wild Scenic Rio Grande River Gorge is quick access to another world, a canyon country home to big horn sheep, climbers, rafters, songbirds, ancient forests with 500-year-old pinon and junipers trees.
Fly fishing is spectacular in the river, and trails and even some roads lead all the way down.