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Taos for 2 weeks - Advice

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Taos for 2 weeks - Advice

We are planning to spend 2 weeks in Taos end of June 1st week of July. We have 4 kids 2-7 years old. We plan on camping in our VW Van and tents. Any suggestions on campsites or good RV parks that are in nature.

Suggestions on activities?

Finally, we might just say forget camping and rent a mountaion house. Thoughts/recomendations?


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1. Re: Taos for 2 weeks - Advice

Sorry no Taos expert has replied. I am not that familiar with Taos recently. So my information is dated. What I did as a child was always, always eat at the old Taos Inn (Doc Martin restaurant) which had loads of plants hanging from the rafters and birds in cages. www.taosinn.com Then we would visit Kit Carson's home. It was a large home for those days and very informative as to the conditions. They also used to have great arrowhead collections and buffalo hide. We also strolled through the cemetery where Kit Carson and other celebitites were buried. They had great big cottonwoods and it was cool in the afternoon.

Of course the Taos Pueblo is a must. It is still lived in and you must remember it is their home so do not go around taking pictures and walking into doors as I have seen people do. I guess they thought it was a 'living museum' and did not realize that people really lived there. The mission church there is lovely and I believe has some sort of miracle associated with it - though that may be another church.

On your way to the Pueblo used to be a leather/sheepskin coat factory store. You could get coats like those worn by Dennis Weaver in the TV show - MC?? where a NM cowboy/sheriff goes to NYC.

There is the Rio Grande Gorge which is amazing way out there. Always sort of scared me in its abruptness.

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2. Re: Taos for 2 weeks - Advice

We would also go to the Vietnam Memorial back when Mr. Westphal was building it by hand. I am told that it is really something to see now that it has financial support. The story of a father's devotion to his son is touching.

Then it would be off to Red River by the old mtn road which is closed today. There is a new safer road now. The old road, while scenic and historical, was taking your life at risk. Red River had nothing to see but it was cool and there was a steak house that served peanuts whose husks you threw on the floor. That place burned down several years ago. Don't know what is there now.

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3. Re: Taos for 2 weeks - Advice

Lastly, with kids I think Cimarron is a must. You may remember the old black and white TV show - Cimarron Strip. It is an original western town. They have an old grist mill museum that is interesting and you must eat at the St James Hotel. www.stjamescimarron.com The hotel is very Gunsmoke like. It is full of ghost stories and there used to be a parrot. Don't know if he is still there.

Just down the road from Cimarron is Philmont Boy Scout Ranch. Visit the mansion and the Seton Library/Museum. The Seton had the real pelt of the wolf Lobo. It is a true story of a wolf that Walt Disney made a movie of. I have personally touched the pelt several times. They probably don't allow that anymore.

The most fun for children used to be the Rayado Fort, where Kit Carson based himself. They had carriages and a real blacksmith.

If you are on Philmont, you should know of a tradition of picking up Scouts walking on the road and giving them a ride to the facilities. We could meet interesting Scouts from all over - Saudi Arabia, England, Argentina. In this day and age it may be considered too dangerous for the boys to accept rides., but you should ask about it. It is fun to talk with the boys.

You may want to consider spending the night in Cimarron as the distance is a bit far from Taos for one day.

Maryville, Tennessee
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4. Re: Taos for 2 weeks - Advice

I would opt for a condo or mountain rental - it can can pretty hot. Avoid any place near Questa, as it is a really depressing and ugly place. In fact, that whole corridor from Questa down to where you turn to go to the Gorge (Hwy 64??) is not attractive at all. Angel Fire area would be better if you are not staying in Taos.

Also, avoid the "Gorge" - you can't really see anything except the gravel parking lot and your children will look at you like you are crazy if you take them there (we know). There are some good grocery stores in Taos and the prices seem reasonable. The groceries also sell wine, etc.

The Taos Inn might be pricey for your family if you are eating dinner here. Orlando's has food that is just as good, is more relaxed (you can eat outside on their patio if it isn't too hot) and kids would feel right at home. They only take cash, however - no credit cards.

The traffic in Taos is a mobile parking lot. There are "free" lots off the main drag. Avoid the Taos Plaza - nothing much there but touristy stuff. The shops between the Plaza and the main drag are interesting, but I don't think much for children to get into.

If you are eating out, Michael's Kitchen is a great place for a family meal - inexpensive and lots of excellent food, both Southwest dishes and a great hamburger as well ( if your kids are like mine and don't always appreciate southwestern cuisine). Very friendly staff.

Do NOT miss the Taos Pueblo - it is a fantastic experience . . very unique.

If you can, you might drive down to Santa Fe to enjoy the Native American Museum "on the hill" - one of the best presentations of Indian culture ever!

Have a great trip.

Salt Lake City
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5. Re: Taos for 2 weeks - Advice

I can't help with the Taos area, but I might be able to help with the camping activities ...

These are things that worked with my kids:

finger/water color painting at the picnic table. Take an adult T-shirt for each kid to wear while painting. I liked liquid paints in little jars best. Adding table salt to them will thin the paint if it gets too thick.

Paint with water coloring books.

Sticker books.


Check out some books on tape/CD for quiet time.

Squirt guns. You should see the looks we got when we would have family squirt gun fights in a campground :-)

See if you can get a copy of Sharing Nature With Children. It's a great book with loads of fun activities to do outside with little kids. Here are two ideas from the book:

1) Watcher In The Night. The kids sit down in a row with blindfolds on . (Blindfolds are good for lots of camping activiites). Each kid has a flashlight. Mom or Dad try to sneak across the campsight without making noise. The first kid to shine a light on Mom or Dad wins. Guess who gets to say who did it ? :-)

2) Hug a Tree. Blindfolds again. Take each kid, blindfolded, to a tree, bush, shrub etc. and let them explore with their hands the area around the tree as well as the tree itself. Then return them to the picnic table, take off the blindfold and tell them to find their tree. It's amazing how well and how fast they can do it.

The book is full of similar activities. I had loads of fun with my sons when we camped! Good luck! Go for it - you can rent a mountain house when you need a walker.

6. Re: Taos for 2 weeks - Advice

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Angel Fire, NM
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7. Re: Taos for 2 weeks - Advice

I would strongly recommend you expand your thinking to include the entirety of the Enchanted Circle (Taos, Angel Fire, Eagle Nest, Red River, et al.) Taos is a great town, but you'll have some difficulty figuring out what to do after the fourth day.

There are tons of nice camping areas all around the circle. Be sure to look at the website for the Carson National Forest. They have campgrounds along the Rio Fernando (the little stream that runs 20 miles from Angel Fire to Taos) and along the Red River between Red River and Questa. But the best part about the National Forest is this: it's all open. Currently (I suspect this won't change soon) you cannot have a campfire. As is usually the case in New Mexico, we are having a drought. But camping in the Carson National Forest opens up hundreds of thousands of acres to you -- and it's free.

By circumnavigating the Enchanted Circle, you'll also get the opportunity to see the astonishingly varied terrain of Northern New Mexico. Taos is historic and beautiful, and is the home to a number of amazing museums. Angel Fire is located in a spectacular alpine valley, and is criss-crossed with walking trails. The kids will love taking the ski lift to the top of the mountain.

Eagle Nest sits on the shore of the 2400 acre Eagle Nest Lake, a new state park. The fishing is great. Just east of Eagle Nest is Cimarron Canyon State Park, through which runs the Cimarron River. This is also prime camping and fishing country. The drive from here to Cimarron is spectacular, and the kids may enjoy seeing the St. James Hotel, where Buffalo Bill used to stay.

Red River is a compact tourist town. You can rent a four-wheeled bicycle surrey and ride it right down the main street while enjoying a soft-serve ice cream. You can also rent ATVs or horses, or go for a jeep ride into the surrounding mountains.

As I mentioned, there are some nice camping spots on the Red River between Red River and Questa. Just past Questa you'll spot D.H. Lawrence's ranch, where his ashes may or may not be (that's a long story.)

There are lots of good websites -- be sure to check out each town's chamber of commerce.

8. Re: Taos for 2 weeks - Advice

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