Just south of Taos is a town called Ranchos de Taos. Taos is just “too cool” to have things one needs to live life – like gas stations. So, those are a couple of miles south in Ranchos de Taos. You’ll also find a WalMart here.
And don’t let those Taosenos fool you (yes, that’s what they call themselves – pretentious, isn’t it?) they flood into the WalMart just like the rest of us do all over the country.
But, there is a very cool thing in Ranchos de Taos – the old church. “The Ranchos Church,” San Francisco de Asis, was completed in 1815 and is supposedly the most photographed church in America. I don’t know if that’s true, but I did yet more photographs of it – as if we were short on them.
I loved the church, but the neatest thing I saw were these carved doors. I’m guessing they go to the rectory. They’re on the north side of the plaza. They’re just stunning. Very beautiful.
The buildings around the square were wonderfully ancient. Adobe is apparently made by making bricks and mortaring them together, then covering the whole with more adobe. Over time walls get quite thick as it is generally recovered each fall.
I didn’t get to go inside the church, as I was there after 4 p.m. but perhaps on another trip.
I went on in to Taos and drove around the square. I never returned to it, other than this one visit. I drove down the main drag and spotted Michael’s Kitchen, which I had read about. I went in and had some dinner. It was a nice place – very casual – friendly staff – good food. I ate there twice more over my trip. I recommend it heartily.
Then I decided to head out to a campsite and get settled for the night. Supposedly the State Park people operate a number of them but they were all closed. I’m not sure why – maybe it was too early in the season. But, fortunately, I drove a little further and found a real gem.
Exactly five miles from downtown, east on Highway 64, is one of the best finds of the trip. It’s Sierra Village Vacation RV Park and campsite (505-758-3660). For $15 a night I put myself in a beautiful site, complete with creek a few feet away. I listened to the running water all night and got up to find a roomy and clean shower facility.
The gentleman who runs this park is wonderful – very friendly and very laid back. If you come in after hours, you’ll see the sign on the door that says the office is closed – to pick a site and pay in the morning, which is what I did.
It was such a good experience, that I stayed there the following night too. I can’t recommend it highly enough.