Taos Is for Writers

GUEST BLOGGERS, USA MAINLAND, QUIRKY PLACES, WRITING — By on May 1, 2012 at 01:01

By guest blogger Deonne Kahler. Feature photo Copyright © Brian Williams. Story photos Copyright © Deonne Kahler except where credited otherwise.

WRITERS AND ARTISTS have been hanging out in Taos, New Mexico, seemingly forever. D.H. Lawrence, Willa Cather, R.C. Gorman, Georgia O’Keeffe, John Nichols, Dennis Hopper—even Julia Roberts has a house here.

It’s no wonder. The small-town vibe, how individuality and creativity are practically a residency requirement, and the sheer beauty of the place (frequently overheard visitor comment: “Why isn’t the sky this blue where I live?”) make Taos the perfect place to get your artsy juices flowing.

If you’re a writer planning a visit, here are some places to check out:

Bookstores

Go see Rick at Brodsky Books—tell him I sent you—and browse his collection of used literary delights. (Last I checked he also had a great collection of current indie magazines.)

If you want new books, check out Moby Dickens in the John Dunn shops on Bent Street, with its two floors and comfy chairs for browsing.

Moby Dickens Bookstore, Taos

Moby Dickens Bookstore

Cafés and Wi-Fi

On the south side of town, Wired? is where to go if you need quiet space. There’s free Wi-Fi with purchase, a silent section for serious workers, plus a sweet garden if clean Taos air would help your process.

On the north side don’t miss Elevation, with its free Wi-Fi, outstanding coffee, and friendly staff.

Taos bookstore and coffeehouse

Left: Brodsky Bookshop | Right: Elevation Coffee

Smack in the center of town, Taos Plaza has free Wi-Fi and more: shopping, restaurants and cafés, and benches where you can watch the world go by. If you visit during the summer, don’t miss the free music (rock to mariachi to country) at Taos Plaza Live! every Thursday night from 6 – 8 p.m.

Cheap clothing and accessories

Unless you’re Stephen King you’re a writer on a budget, but hey – you still want to look good. Rethreads has stylish, high-quality used men and women’s clothing for not much money, with everything from weekend to office-wear.

Rethreads, Taos, NM

Rethreads Clothing Exchange

Classes

The University of New Mexico’s Taos Summer Writers’ Conference offers classes to all levels of writers, from basic craft to master classes. (I’ve studied there twice and can attest to the outstanding faculty and variety of choices.) Take either the week-long class or weekend intensive, but whatever you choose, you’re sure to learn plenty.

Taos - the view from Gorge Bridge

The view from Gorge Bridge

Inspiration

If you’re not afraid of heights, don’t miss the 600-foot views from the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge. Watch the river flow below, the big Taos sky above, and prepare to feel part of something as old as time.

It doesn’t get much more inspiring than Taos Pueblo, a living, breathing Native-American homestead for more than 1,000 years. You can take a guided tour or wander the grounds on your own, but make sure to check the website or call first—the Pueblo closes a few times a year for religious and community reasons.

Mabel Dodge Luhan House has history and drama with famous visitors including Lawrence, Cather, and O’Keeffe, as well as Ansel Adams and others. You can stay in one of the rustically charming rooms, or take a free guided tour and soak up the creative energy that still permeates the grounds.

Taos Ski Valley has gorgeous vistas and exceptional hiking, snowshoeing, and skiing. But if exercising at 9,000 feet is a bit much, at least make the drive up. A lively village with restaurants, shops, and a spa will reward you at the top.

Taos Ski Valley

Taos Ski Valley (photo courtesy Brian Williams)

A Drink

I’m not encouraging bad habits, but wouldn’t a margarita taste especially good after a long day of writing or sightseeing? Even if you’d prefer a drink of the non-alcoholic variety, these are my favorite spots for a beverage:

The Historic Taos Inn has free music seven nights a week, the best margarita in town, and great people-watching. It’s not called “The Living Room of Taos” for nothing—this is where locals hang out. And let it all hang out.

Taos Inn

Taos Inn

Okay, I lied. The other best margarita in town is at Sabroso, made with fresh-squeezed lime juice. Plus there’s free live music Sunday and Wednesday nights, and perhaps the most romantic bar in town with a fireplace, soft lighting, and leather sofas.

Come see us! You’ll leave feeling refreshed and inspired—or the drink is on me.

See underneath Deonne’s bio for a list of the links included in this article.

———

Deonne Kahler

Deonne Kahler


Deonne Kahler is a writer, photographer, road tripper, and mom to Sam the Wonder Pup. Check out her website, JournalsAndNotepads.com, for fun and inexpensive journals, notepads, and sticky notes. She blogs at GoneScamping.com about her travels with Sadie, her 13’ Scamp trailer, and at LifeOnTheHighWire.com, where she helps people live creative, independent, hugely satisfying lives.

———

DEONNE’S TAOS RECOMMENDATIONS

Brodsky Books

Moby Dickens

Wired? Coffeehouse

Elevation Coffee

Rethreads Clothing Exchange

Taos Summer Writers’ Conference

Taos Pueblo

Rio Grande Gorge Bridge

Taos Ski Valley

Mabel Dodge Luhan House

The Historic Taos Inn

Sabroso

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    15 Comments

  • Betsyv
    Twitter: betsy_v
    says:

    Well, it looks like I have another place for my bucket list. This sounds like a lovely place to have a relaxing vacation.
    Beautiful, and historic!
    Thanks for the great article and photos!

    • Deonne Kahler
      Twitter: deonnekahler
      says:

      Betsy – Taos is a great vacation spot! And it’s only a little over an hour north of Santa Fe, which is different but equally interesting. Hope you get to visit us soon.

  • Stefanie says:

    That’s it! Booking my trip right now – next flight out of LGA.

  • Ann
    Twitter: AnnHolly
    says:

    This is GREAT! I’ve heard the same thing about Taos. One day, I’ll get there….but thanks for bringing a slice of it to me!

  • JM Merchant
    Twitter: JMMerchant86
    says:

    Looks idyllic to me. If I ever make it to the states I’m definitely taking a detour to this writers hotspot!

    Thanks for sharing Deonne!

    • Deonne Kahler
      Twitter: deonnekahler
      says:

      JM – My pleasure! I’m proud of our little town and am always happy to introduce it to new visitors. Come see us soon.

  • Great post! I love the Southwest, two lane roads and small towns. Taos isn’t tnat far from Denver, either. See you soon! 🙂

    • Deonne Kahler
      Twitter: deonnekahler
      says:

      William,

      You’re right, we’re only 5 hours apart, and I’d love to show you around Taos. When you’re in the neighborhood, let me know!

      Deonne

  • Flora Morris Brown, Ph.D.
    Twitter: florabrown
    says:

    Thanks for the enticing info about Taos. It was not high on my bucket list, but it just moved up.

    Since retiring from teaching I’ve been travelling, writing, hosting a radio show and coaching. Just this morning during my walk I was reevaluating where I am with my life and where I want to go next.I don’t believe in coincidences, so finding this website and following the links to others are sending a strong message that it’s time to regroup.

    • Deonne Kahler
      Twitter: deonnekahler
      says:

      Hey Flora,

      Nice to hear from you! Your post-retirement life doesn’t sound much like retirement (ha), but wonderful nonetheless. I’m excited for you and your regroup – I hope you’ll speak about that at some point. Times of change can be both daunting and thrilling, but I’m guessing you’ll handle it with grace.

      Deonne

  • Flora Morris Brown, Ph.D.
    Twitter: florabrown
    says:

    Hi Deonne,

    LOL. My friends and kids also say that my life doesn’t sound like retirement. I forgot to mention that my idea of retirement was never languishing in a rocking chair on a porch.

    For me retirement is a chance to do things you enjoy that maybe the career schedule didn’t allow. My challenge is to make a choice and focus since the possibilities are endless.

    I’ll visit again to keep you posted.

    • Deonne Kahler
      Twitter: deonnekahler
      says:

      Flora,

      I’m with you – the traditional idea of retirement doesn’t appeal to me at all. I admire how you’ve created a vibrant new life for yourself, and your definition of “retirement” sounds just right.

      Can’t wait to hear your next update!

      Deonne

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