Time for part 2 of vacation photos! I'm so glad you guys enjoyed the first batch. Thank you for all the nice comments! I think New Mexico is one of those under-appreciated states... although it's kind of nice that way. :)
These start with the second and longer part of our trip, in and around Taos. On our way there, we stopped for another scenic view and you can see our furry friend who was on the trip, too, our dog Pia.
We stayed in a lovely little cabin, tucked away in the mountains in a canyon where there was no Internet and no cell phone service. Sometimes it's so nice to disconnect! We stayed here a couple of years ago, too. There are only 5 cabins and the couple who runs it is very hands off, so you really have a lot of privacy. We had the cabin on the far end...
My footwear of choice for most of the trip...
The cabin had a full kitchen so while we were still stuffing our faces with New Mexico cuisine while we were out, we cooked a lot, too. A little bit of our eats—a breakfast burrito with local tortillas, veggies, cheese, chiles and scrambled eggs, and grilled hot dogs topped with guacamole, tomatoes and onions.
There was lots of knitting, too. These are a pair of lace gloves from a vintage pattern I busied my hands with the entire trip. I had enough time to start and finish them. Bliss! I'll photograph the finished gloves soon to show them off.
We did a big hike one of the days near Taos, hiking to Williams Lake in the Wheeler Peak Wilderness.
Now make no mistake, I'm smiling because it's the beginning of the hike. That's before it starts to kick your ass. I love to hike though don't consider us truly serious hikers (we're not out doing fourteeners like my 60+ aunt and uncle), but this hike is fairly hardcore. Steep climb, big elevation change, scree slopes. But it starts off along a beautiful mountain stream, making you think it's going to be all easy when it's not!
For us flat-landers, it takes some serious effort to get to this elevation. You can actually see that the hike approaches timberline/tree line, the point at which trees no longer grow. It's not a strict line per se but more of a gradual thing, as you can see in the photo below as we approached the lake.
Of course I hike in appropriate footwear, silly as it may look with the rest of my outfit. ;)
It felt so great to reach the lake!
The lake was actually rather low, so it doesn't look quite as impressive in these photos, but believe me when you're there and hiked a few miles up through the forest, it sure is!
In fact we were the only ones there! You can't tell because I look so pleased with myself, but it was probably about 45 degrees and lightly raining when we got to the lake (which by the way, is only the halfway point because then you have to turn around and do it all again but downhill). So we were chilly. I know better than to go that high into the mountains in the summer without a coat but did it anyway. Whoops. It was still worth it.
I wish you could get a sense of it in the photos, but the lake is surrounded by huge mountain summits on all sides.
We were so glad we made it, and to have the place to ourselves! We literally felt like the only two people (and dog) on the planet. I think the only bummer about our trip is the weather really turned pretty cool and rainy while we were staying near Taos, so we didn't get in as much "communing with nature" activities as we would have liked. But this was a pretty spectacular one.
The next day called for more relaxing activities, so we went to Taos. This dress was a favorite of mine on the trip.
On the plaza there's a little soda fountain tucked into a tourist shop, so I enjoyed a bottle of Coke on a neat park bench on the plaza.
We also took a drive and visited the Earthship visitor center. It sounds stranger than it is—although fairly unusual looking, they are basically super eco-friendly homes that are off the grid, use recycled materials in the building process, have an extensive water collection system and much more. This was a hallway filled with luscious plants (including tomatoes, peppers and chard), all fed by water that is filtered and collected from the home. The colored lights you see at the back end is actually recycled bottles used in the building materials that let light through in such pretty ways. It was really amazing to walk around in one!
One of the late afternoons when we got back to the cabin it was raining. Mel took Pia out for a walk and then came back inside telling me I had to run out and see the double rainbow. And was it something! A double rainbow extending across both sides of the canyon.
Unfortunately I really didn't get much in the way of family photos while we were on vacation, but at least I have a photo of my cousin Carolyn and I at a gelato shop. We hung out with her the last evening of the trip as we had a hotel in Albuquerque close to the airport. (It's really easy to be far from the airport in New Mexico, something I take for granted living in a large city with two airports.)
But now I'm jumping out of order! Back to Taos. This outfit included one of my favorite vintage embroidered shirts and Southwestern-inspired earrings.
We were bent on finding some good antiquing or thrifting in and around Taos, but it didn't pan out very well. We did pick up a couple of books at a really large thrift store. I thought I had a great find there, a lovely 50s day dress, but while carrying it around the store I discovered several huge holes near the hem. Wah! It wasn't long enough for me to cut and re-hem, nor was there enough fabric in the hem for me to possibly snip away some fabric to mend it. I was really bummed.
But, it was pretty neat seeing a thrift store with two entire shelves of cowboy boots!
And a cigar store Indian!
One place we really liked that I'd looked up ahead of time was a small gallery in Ranchos de Taos. It also had lots of amazing examples of vintage Western and Southwestern glassware. The place is called Two Graces. I wish I could have swept up the whole lot of glasses and transported them to our kitchen! I was swooning over them so much I forgot to take a photo. Suffice it so say they were cool!
In the back was gallery space with art by local artists. Now Mel is an artist and both of us are lovers of art (my grandfather was an art professor and renowned artist in Kansas), and we often buy small pieces of art when we can. Our walls are packed with art which you sometimes get a glimpse of in my photos.
Anyway, we had our eye on a piece in Two Graces. It turned out that the artist, Robert Cafazzo, was there in the shop. We didn't know at the time that he and his wife Holly were the owners, though we soon found out. He talked with us for several minutes about his art and his process, which was fantastic. Rarely do I feel you get to have a one-on-one conversation with an artist about their work. It just made buying the piece so much more special for us. It was so nice to meet them.
When I visited his blog, I saw an older post about blue doors in Taos. One of the doors he included might look familiar to you, as it's a blue door I stood against for some photos! It was a home just across the square from the gallery. It's one of my favorite shades of blue and the color against the adobe is pretty magical.
Here are a few other photos from Ranchos...
The famous San Francisco de Asis Mission Church, a Catholic church that was built starting 1722. It is a dramatic (and often-photographed) building. I'm not usually one to photograph churches unless they are really something special... so I think to date my church photos include San Francisco de Asis, the cathedral of Notre Dame and the basilica at the top of Montmartre in Paris. lol
An example of the amazing painted and carved woodwork inside...
More photos from around the square...
And the last photos from Taos...
Hope you enjoyed the views from our trip. Have a great weekend!