“You have driven me from the East to this place, and I have been here two thousand years or more. … My friends, if you took me away from this land it would be very hard for me. I wish to die in this land. I wish to be an old man here. … I have not wished to give even a part of it to the Great Father. Though he were to give me a million dollars I would not give him this land. … When people want to slaughter cattle they drive them along until they get them to a corral, and then they slaughter them. So it was with us. … My children have been exterminated; my brother has been killed.” — Standing Bear of the Poncas
Since my 1980s childhood in small-town Arkansas, I’ve placed Friday on a pedestal above all other days. There was something magical about Fridays, what with all the awesome movies featuring the Coreys (“License to Drive” anyone?), John Cusack showing us how to express our love (it’s with a boombox held high above our heads, of course), and Michael J. Fox showing us what happens when we drive 85 (if in an awesome DeLorean, you might drive it into a barn in 1955). I’ve always found my inspiration on Fridays, and it partly goes back to when my brother and I could rent lots of awesome movies and watch them on the VCR until 4 a.m. So I thought I’d take my infatuation with Fridays and turn it into a new weekly feature focused on travel inspiration. Welcome to Friday Travel Inspiration.
Before traveling to Taos, N.M., I had heard the mountain town is full of character … and a few characters. Taos isn’t on the way to anywhere, unless your destination is a town with a cool vibe and beautiful mountains all around. And that’s why we were excited to spend a couple of days in this beautiful and laid-back mountain town. We wanted to discover the unique Taos character. When we arrived in Taos we quickly met our host for the evening, and one of the community’s real characters. We had arrived at the Red Cat House, where we found a carefree, artsy, cool and eccentric lady who quickly came to represent everything Taos means to me.
On our recent week-long adventure in New Mexico, our time in Albuquerque was a bit odd, to say the least. We started the trip with a quick overnight in the city before heading north for several days in Taos and Santa Fe. We returned to Albuquerque for a 24-hour period, a short time but long enough to experience an art show, science museum, and a couple of awesome experiences at the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. And we had a comfortable night’s sleep in the Hotel Cascada.
Set at the base of the mountains that sit high above Taos, N.M., is the ancient home of the Taos Pueblo people. Northern New Mexico is home to 19 Pueblos, and Taos just might be the most famous because of its ancestral home. Taos Pueblo is the only inhabited property in the world listed on the UNESCO World Heritage site. And after spending a morning there exploring its beauty, listening to its people, and getting a tiny glimpse at their lives, it’s hard to leave this ancient land not in awe on so many levels.