Friday, November 8, 2019

Fall Break, Parte Dos

After a full night of relaxing sleep (in the most comfortable bed, I might add) we were ready for our full day in Taos, NM. I had a list of must sees on the list: shopping at Taos Plaza, Taos Pueblo, West Rim trail and Rio Grande Gorge Bridge, Taos Mesa Brewing, and Black Rock Hot Springs. I am extremely happy to report that we did all of it, plus a stop at two grocery stores. Everything we did was amazing. Shopping in the shops wound up being one of the mini's favorite things we did, I particularly loved Taos Pueblo, and the Hot Springs was so unique I can't leave it out of our Tops List.

I started the day with fresh clean laundry that was folded for me while I was getting ready. Seriously, travel with your friends. They're fun AND helpful! Best vacation treat ever.

One big highlight from the shopping morning was coming across the Taos Farmer's Market in the center of the plaza. So many goodies from the market and all of the little shops surrounding it! Everyone left with souvenirs (and much more!).

I'm in love with my new Teddy Coat (as Gap calls it). It's pretty much a glorified bath robe with a fancy lining. I'm totally on board with it because it is sooo comfy!

Coffee from Noula's. I indulged in a raspberry mocha (much sweeter than the black coffee I'm used to) and the minis got hot chocolate and one caramel decaf macchiato for the middle one.

I wouldn't let them go in any shops with their drinks. On a related note, I got a lot of good shopping done during this time.

This was my favorite area of the historic Plaza!

My favorite local shop was Chokola Bean To Bar. They had magnificent sipping chocolate, beautiful chocolates, and delicious tarts (this dark chocolate raspberry tart was loved by all five of us). Plus, we had a wonderful time chatting with two of the workers all about Taos, local businesses to go to, where to eat, etc. We had a great time in this shop and took our treats back to our Airbnb to eat after lunch.

Our plan for lunch had been to find a cutesy restaurant with street tacos (this would satisfy us all), however we learned (thanks to the people working at Chokola) that Taos does not have a restaurant with quick order street tacos. We were taken aback by this because Iowa (and Chicago, where my friend lives) have an abundance of these places, so to not have them around took us by surprise. Nevertheless, the minis were more than happy to be treated to mac and cheese cups for lunch (I only get them when we're on vacation, so they're a "vacation treat" for them).

I loved our views from our Airbnb house!

Our next adventure (after the whole street tacos debacle and eating mac and cheese cups instead) lead us to Taos Pueblo. Designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, this Native American community is full of history and culture. Not only was it cool to walk around within the Pueblo walls, looks at the houses, learn about their way of life, and do some shopping in the local shops, but the minis were really taken with the entire experience. Our tour guide was wonderful and the minis listened intently. Of course, their favorite part was the dog that took a liking to Harrison and Elizabeth, followed them all around (laying near the doors of all the shops we went into), and attempted to leave with us. They're now convinced we need a dog that will walk them to and from school and follow them all around the neighborhood. They're also never allowed to watch Lassie.

The old San Geronimo chapel ruins.

We learned how the pueblos were made, what materials were used, and how the houses belong to a family followed by the next generation. Their were numerous pueblos that were falling apart, but clearly being rebuilt. We learned that those had been abandoned years ago and great grandchildren were coming back to live within the Pueblo wall and rebuild the family home. 

This river is sacred for the Pueblo village and is also their main water source. However, we spend quite a bit of time looking at the large Mississippi River. The rivers in New Mexico seem to be fast moving streams to me (this includes the Rio Grande).

As soon as we crossed the river, this dog came up, gave a sniff at Harrison and Elizabeth, started wagging its tail and followed them for the rest of our visit. I was tempted to ask if we could buy this dog (or one of it's puppies....but I think I worried the tribal members after making this statement out loud because they wouldn't tell me who this dog belonged to and made a comment about the puppies not being for sale! Oops!).

After we said goodbye to Pueblo and the dog, we hiked the West Rim Trail that began at the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge. By the end of the trip, we will have hiked the rim of the gorge, hiked down to the floor of the gorge, dipped our toes in the Rio Grande, and driven through the gorge. That's the way to get the most of the experience! The West Rim Trail was easy and provided many great views of the bridge, gorge, and surrounding landscape.

The temps were between 50 and 60 degrees in the daytime during our visit (much lower, in the 20's at night), but that sun was hot! The sun made the days feel much warmer than it was. I can't imagine visiting during the summer months--it must be ungodly hot!

Throwing rocks and yelling "echo!" into the canyon.

Watching this one hop, skip, and jump along our hikes cracks me up.

Our delicious dinner was just down the road from the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge. Taos Mesa Brewing has an awesome outdoor space, live bands/music every night of the week, fun drinks (agave wine margarita was the highlight drink of the trip for me), and great food (that was decently priced too). We loved hanging out and relaxing at this place in between adventures for the day!

This sign on the door made the minis laugh and they insisted on a picture of it.

Let's go back to lunchtime for a bit. Since we couldn't find street tacos we went back to the house for lunch. While the minis ate, I laid the swimming suits out because we had plans to go to hot springs later in the afternoon. When we left I didn't grab them because I figured we could easily go back to the house to put them on since everything was within 20 minutes. I made that decision without thinking twice about. Now, I wish I had thought twice about it! I always have extra clothes and swimming suits in our go bags. How I thought this was a good decision is beyond me. Now, back to late afternoon time.

When we walked out of the brewery we realized the sun was already setting. That's right, good ole daylight saving time was upon us. The hot springs were within minutes of the brewery. We were without swimming suits, but the alternative was going back for them and having it be too dark out to go to the springs. We decided to skip the suits and head to Black Rock Hot Springs in our clothes.

Our first realization that the walk down to the hot springs might be more than just a walk (an online review of the hot springs described the walk/hike to the hot springs as a bit rocky) was our drive to the hot springs area on a long, windy, mountain road into the canyon/gorge. It was a beautiful drive though!

We parked at the top and had to hike down the gorge. It was a great, fun hike but ooph. It was more than a rocky walk. More like climbing and making sure you don't fall into the Rio!

We were able to put our feet in and walk around in the warm hot springs. Since we were right next to the Rio, I made sure we dipped our feet in the river too. Now my kids can say they've been in the Rio Grande!

Our time at the hot springs was short lived because the sun was setting quickly (and I really didn't want to hike back up the gorge in the pitch dark).

I must say it was spectacular to see the moon and star begin shining as we hiked out of the canyon.

The minis hard work hiking and behaving was rewarded with mug cakes and long conversations with dad before bed.

But everyone was ready for bed (besides me, who stayed up doing laundry and watching movies on my phone until I could fall asleep).

When we first began on our road trip, I wasn't sure Taos was going to be great because it had already gotten snow, the weather was unseasonably cold, and well, late fall isn't always the best time to visit places. However, Taos couldn't have been anymore amazing, gorgeous, and altogether perfect. Maybe it was being in great company, but Taos will always be magical in my mind.