Art & Culture Hotels & Lodging New Mexico Restaurants Shopping The Southwest Travel: Art & Culture Hotels & Lodging New Mexico Restaurants Shopping The Southwest Travel
Ahhh-hhh, off-season. Anyone that has lived in a resort town knows the true meaning of off-season. Whether it occurs in the winter or summer, spring or fall, this lull in peak travel times provides a much-needed respite from the busy-ness of high season. In Telluride, Colorado it means tons of available parking spaces, no lines at the Post Office or grocery store and a certain quietude akin to a ghost town, something that delights some and bores the heck out of others.
Most don’t mind this downturn of activity, since many take advantage of our seasonal slowdown (during the spring and fall) to go off and seek fun for themselves elsewhere. Since the mountain closed two weeks ago, we’re in the throws of off-season now, also referred to as shoulder season and in the case of the spring off-season, mud season.
Many people take off for exotic locales for as many as six weeks travel; others find their bliss within a two- to six-hour drive from our southwestern Colorado mountain town. Indeed, we’re located just a few hours away from some of the best recreation around in Utah, Arizona and New Mexico, all sunny and warm destinations this time of year where spring arrives with the intensity of the desert sun.
Do you choose your getaway according to the destination or where you plan to stay once you arrive there? Even if you’re camping, site and location are key, so I think it’s best to come up with some combination of both. Just remember that where you hang your hat can make or break a stay.
I could write a whole post on Taos, New Mexico, a fascinating town that has maintained the authenticity of its Spanish/Native American/Western heritage while forging an identity of its own. Taos boasts a vibrant arts community and its connection to the mountains—in this case, the Sangre de Christos—and the great outdoors allures many a traveler. The centuries-old Taos Pueblo, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, provides reason alone to go there as does its fabulous culinary offerings. In this story, however, I’m focusing on a terrific place of lodging that delights all the senses while transporting guests to a different land, one rich in the adobe style where warmth and coolness trade places depending on the season or sometimes even the time of day.
Hacienda del Sol, a bed and breakfast on the fringes of town, captivated me by its handsome decor, rustic New Mexican style and stunning mountain views. The innkeepers, Gerd and Luellen Hertel along with their daughter, Erika, and her husband Mark, who manage the inn, are equally as charming as this historic abode. It’s surely their combined European/hospitality industry experience (Gerd has been a chef at many fine properties for over forty years and Luellen has served as a cruise director for thirty) that has shaped Hacienda del Sol into such a fine and hospitable getaway, one in which superior quality breakfasts and the discretion of the hosts stands as their hallmark. (No blathering, overly inquisitive B & B innkeepers here.)
So whether you’re embarking upon a grand tour of sunny New Mexico or just looking for a special place to escape to, consider lining up a stay at Hacienda del Sol. You might like it so much that you’ll stay a week, especially during ski season. It’s never too early to start thinking about that, particularly since it stands in the wake of Taos Ski Valley, one of the country’s finest ski hills.
Great Spring Drive
The High Road to Taos Byway to or from Santa Fe is of interest year-round. My boyfriend, Steve, and I traveled this route in the fall and enjoyed it very much, however, we were even more enchanted by the raw beauty of the southwestern scenery on Route 64 heading west of Taos. Between Taos and Santa Fe, stop at the historic town of Chimayo where you may visit the lovely Santuario de Chimayo, an important place of pilgrimage for centuries. Have lunch at Rancho de Chimayo, a large family-styled restaurant where generous portions of New Mexican dishes are served up at reasonable prices. And be sure to save time to shop in their store for provisions and mementos from this colorful land. They also have an online boutique where you can purchase a variety of traditional comestibles including jars of green and red chile, chunky sauces that taste of New Mexico with every spoonful.