Taos Pueblo is located in Northern New Mexico, on a broad plateau at the base of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. Its dramatic setting, near the source of the Rio Grande River, is probably responsible for its longevity, the oldest continuously inhabited community in the United States. The Pueblo is still inhabited even though there is no electricity or central heat. Taos Pueblo was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1992. Guided tours are informative. Many of the tribal members sell crafts and trinkets for income. The city of Taos sits at one end of a popular scenic drive known as the High Road to Taos.
At the other end of the High Road to Taos (a legendary scenic drive in this part of the country) is Santa Fe, New Mexico, the oldest capital city in the US and the second oldest city. The city’s pride in southwestern culture is evident in its architecture which is carefully controlled and regulated. The Old Town is remarkably well preserved and is ideal for walking. Many artists have been attracted to the area so there is an abundance of art galleries and craft shops.
The Palace of the Governors, on one side of the main square, is now a museum, and Native Americans display their wares on blankets along the front of the building. San Miguel Mission is one of the many, lovely churches in the city.
In Santa Fe, visit the Loretto Chapel to appreciate a local legend. Inside the chapel is a “miraculous” spiral staircase with no visible support beams or nails, built by a transient carpenter who left as soon as he was done, without asking for payment and without giving his name. He accomplished all this with only a T-square, a hammer, a saw, and a tub for bending water-softened wood. The chapel itself is lovely and frequently the scene of weddings.