I have wanted to visit Taos, New Mexico since my freshman year at Texas Tech in 1973. Back then, all of the cool kids went to Taos on long weekends and holidays to ski Angel Fire. I was not cool. I never went.
Mack and I are on our way to meet Trae and Corie in Santa Fe and had an extra day to spend on the road. He thought Taos might be a fun stop – and he was right! (he remembered me talking about the void in my college experience). So, we rolled in yesterday afternoon and checked in to our very first Air B & B. It is a tiny, yummy second floor apartment, behind a blue gate in the center of town. Decorated in shabby chic (the real shabby – no put on), it’s perfect for our one-night stay and I keep telling myself, “location, location, location”).
We slept with only the screen door latched (with one of those old latches like on my grandmother’s screen) and heard the church bells ring out the quarter hour all night long. (As a safety precaution, I put two bar stools in front of the door and Mack placed the trash can on top of one of the chairs – to deter any intruders-kind of like Mary Tyler Moore did when Dick van Dyke was out of town).
We had an early dinner consisting of a tapas crawl through the town square, checking out some of the pricey shops along the way. My favorite was the Chocolate and Cashmere shop (now, there’s a combo!) where the hand-knitted caps are $155 and chocolate is $20 a piece. No purchases (obviously), but the caps did remind me of those mink-yarn ones I made for the Gardenias a few years ago. A bargain, at twice the price.
We had chips and guacamole at La Cueba Cafe, then a Mediterranean sampler in the Tree House Bar at Lambert’s, and finished up with a charcuterie plate in the lobby of the historic Taos Inn.
The Taos Inn is located right across the street from our Air B & B, so we figured that would be a good place to end up for the evening. They had free music in the lobby, and we planned to sit a minute and listen to music, then head on back across the street.
The Taos Inn has been in business since the 1930s and hosted such celebrities as Greta Garbo, D.H. Lawrence, Pawnee Bill, Robert Redford and Jessica Lange. It kinda felt like stepping onto a movie set. Exactly what you would expect in Taos.
The lobby was small – about 8 tables and a couple of old leather love seats. Mack and I snagged one of the sofas and sat down to listen to a bit of the music. It was actually pretty good. A young girl, slinging her curly blonde hair around, belting it out and walloping on the keyboard, kept us entertained with covers of Lay Lady Lay, When Will I be Loved, Stand By Me, and Goodnight Irene. A pretty eclectic playlist!
That playlist was nothing compared to the eclectic-ness of the audience. Straight out of central casting. At the bar sat an emaciated cowboy, sipping a longneck. A dapper old guy in pink shorts and a jauntily-angled straw hat, with long white socks completing his ensemble strolled through (Mack thought he might be a gigolo – I thought that he would surely starve to death if that was his profession).
Then, on the love seat facing ours, a couple about our age sat down. George introduced himself and immediately told us that they had a hotel room in Santa Fe, but decided to stay on at the Taos Inn that night because they didn’t want to drive back down the mountain at night. Since they brought no suitcase, they had gone to a thrift store in town and the wife had bought a bright purple flounced dress and a red sweater (circa 1980). She said that she was a visual arts teacher (I could have guessed it-she was very bright and artsy-looking). She also said that I “looked like a teacher.” Hmmmm…I chose to take that as a compliment since teachers are my very favorite people (how is it that nobody ever identifies me as a former swimsuit model? – wait, don’t answer that!).
We had a nice conversation – well as nice a conversation as you can have with a visual arts teacher tossing back tequila shots and a pneumatic valve salesman (Mack always says that if engineers had any personality, they would have been accountants. Since he’s an engineer, I guess that’s ok to report).
When that couple stumbled out, a new young couple took their place on the love seat. We enjoyed hearing about their travel adventures in an old pick-up. I’m always amazed at the amount of life that I didn’t live. Having never taken off cross country in an old pick-up with a massage therapist fella with a man-bun, that I was not married to, I fear that my life is incomplete. She was a darling girl and obviously, an adventurer. I like that.
The cast was completed with a trio of 30-somethings who had obviously been celebrating (in some fashion) all afternoon, who danced the night away, a young family with a baby in cowboy boots, and lots of old hippies. Perfect.
Mack and I stayed until the music was over at 9:30 (practically an all-nighter for us). We reminded ourselves that we are never sorry when we get out and do stuff. While the altitude and long drive had us both weary, I’m so glad that we didn’t miss that fun adventure. I’m finally getting my cool on at 62…not bad.