Friday, December 20, 2019

Taos Shopping Guide for Hipsters, Top Thirteen Shops in Taos, Best Stores in Taos, The Heart of Taos, Millennial Shopping Guide to Taos, Thirteen Cool Shops in Taos, Twelve Shops in Taos for Creative Types, Shopping in the Taos Historic District, Shopping in Downtown Taos

Whether you’re on vacation, or shopping locally in Taos, how do you know what to buy? What exactly should you bring back home with you from your shopping excursion. These shops have your memories of Taos at hand. Unique, individualistic gifts to soothe your soul until you return to Taos once again. Outside of the many art galleries in Taos these are the most creative shops among us, (some actually are art galleries with a bit extra). 

Vintage Tourism Sign

Criteria for being added to this list is such: range of merchandise, is there a ‘classic’ souvenir available, price point needs to be from $10. or less and up, is there hand crafted merchandise available, craftsmanship in general, is the merchandise well displayed and well curated, avoidance of mostly 'factory made' merchandise, do the shop-owners show they care, are they located in the 'heart' of Taos. Try being a tourist in your own town, all of these store owners will treat you like you belong here! 

Opening hours tend to be 10-5 in Taos

These businesses are all within walking distance from each other in the Taos Historic District.

Taos has the worst directional signage, don't be afraid to ask if you've taken a wrong turn.

Bryans Gallery 10-5 Daily 121 Kit Carson Road 575-758-9407 
Store owner Bryan Steger has been in business since 1982. With so many years in business, he’s doing things right. Paintings and sculptures by Hopi artist Gregory Lomayesva fill this shop with color and wonder. Bryans carries one of the best selections of Zuni Fetish carvings and a Native American jewelry selection unrivaled in Taos.
Works by Gregory Lomayesva

Turquoise and silver cuff bracelets

*Hot Tip: Check out the cases along the right side wall full of bargain vintage silver and turquoise jewelry, prices start at $39.99, you’re sure to find a treasure.

The Ranch at Taos 10-5 Daily 119 Kit Carson Road 325-647-
Considered mostly an art gallery go for the hand made jewelry. Ask
owner Lanna Smith to show you what she has in stock, you’ll want
to buy it all, affordable and southwestern with a twist.
Rosa Kilgore Jewelry

A lot going on at the Ranch a tiny space that makes an impression

*Hot Tip: The handmade locally crafted jewelry IS what this store is all about, buy someone you love a pendant necklace.

Two Graces 10-5 Daily 105 Barela Lane, Taos 575-758-4101
There are many antique shops, curio shops, vintage shops and thrift shops, this is not any of those. Two Graces is a shoppers experience in its own world. The tag line here is Art, Books and Curios but it’s an explorers paradise. Interested in art in Taos, this place has it covered. Want to learn more about the southwest and what you’re looking at, they’ve got it covered. Need a little retail therapy, if you can’t find something unique and wonderful here, then you aren’t actually looking. Holly Sievers & Robert Cafazzo showcase the things they love here in their Taos shop, recently located to this location just off Kit Carson Road.
Interior view of Two Graces new space

pre-1970's Vintage Hopi Kachina Dolls (at far right is a contemporary 'old style' doll)

*Hot Tip: The best collection of vintage Hopi & Zuni Kachina dolls in Taos. Cafazzo also specializes in restoring these and other wooden objects.

Chokola Bean to Bar 11-6 Daily 100-198 Juan Largo Lane 575-779-6163 
This award winning chocolate shop is the Taos destination you’ve been looking for. A variety of Whipped and Hot Chocolates will make you swoon. During summer months the rich chocolate ice cream selection will make you feel like a kid again. Deborah Vincent and Javier Abad are always working in ‘the factory’, where you can see them grinding beans and tempering chocolate right in plain sight. 
The most beautiful blackboard in Taos with bags of Cacao Beans waiting to be turned into chocolate

A selection of Chocolate Cream Mousse and candy bars in artists designed packaging

*Hot Tip: The package designs on their bar chocolates are by local Taos artists,  ask about the occasional signed editions by Larry Bell.

Reneux Consignment Boutique 10-5 Daily 126 Camino de Santa Fe (Southwest corner of Taos Plaza) 575-758-4460 
You want a consignment clothing store to be selective and that’s exactly what you get with Shelia Ross and her Reneux Boutique. The selection of denim jeans and jackets put this shop on my hipster list for women’s clothing stores in Taos. If you’re in need of something fancy to wear and don’t want to break the budget, shop here. Looking for something to wear anytime, shop here. My only regret is that she doesn’t carry menswear. 
Denim Jackets and Jeans

Jewelry and handbags

*Hot Tip: Check out the selection of vintage costume and southwest jewelry, bling, bling.

Six Hand Hat Company 11-7 Wednesday - Sunday 133 North Taos Plaza 575-751-3186
If you choose to walk by this shop without going in to explore, that’s a big mistake. Peer in the windows, there’s more than the finest hand made hats made by Mikel Robinson right there on site. Rows of those little cactus and succulents that are on everyone’s radar right now, cases and tables stocked with items such as metal ‘findings’, turquoise nuggets and framed reliquary imagery.
The best sign in Taos

A tiny display inside Six Hand Hats
*Hot Tip: Purchase a few of the best bandanas and dish towels that you’ll find anywhere in Taos.

Jones Walker Of Taos 10-6 Daily 127 Bent Street 575-758-7965
Hands down two of the sweetest shop owners in Taos. Max Jones (the painter) & Tony Walker (front of house) curate a warm and welcoming atmosphere. Showcasing local art they love and vintage finds that pull this shop together with tastefully articulated rooms.
Entryway to Jones-Walker featuring Taos blue accents

Max Jones paintings and products on display

*Hot Tip: Buy it when you see it is mandatory here, one minute they’ve just gotten something new in, the next minute it’s been purchased. 

The Underground Taos 10-5:30 Daily 107b Bent Street 575-770-
A hip menswear shop is the last thing you’d expect to find in Taos,
New Mexico, yet here it sits smack dab in the middle of town.
Simply the best selected of current trends in Men’s fashion, along 
with the coolest T-Shirts available in Taos. Owner Stuart Brown
completes the picture with his lovely British accent and enthusiasm
for what he does. 
Stuart Brown proud Taos Shop-owner

The Hippest t-shirts

*Hot Tip: Ladies invited, just please try not to swoon too much over the proprietor, (he’s married).

Dwellings Revisited 10:30-5:30 Daily 107 Bent Street 575-758
With an overwhelming amount of businesses in Taos that come and
go on a regular basis, Dwellings has been the standard bearer of 
how to get it right. More than a souvenir shop, there’s regional and 
international Folk Art along with useful items for your home decor.
Cam Martin shares her knowledge of a broad range of merchandise 
in this eclectic Taos shop. 
Dwellings displays are ever changing

Folk Art from around the world

*Hot Tip: Cam’s been in business for over 30 years, for this sort of longevity she must be doing something right.

Taos Blue 9-5 Daily 101 Bent Street 575-758-3561
Another of the shop owners who have been in business seemingly forever, Sue Westbrook changes things up as the seasons sway. Local contemporary craftsmanship at it’s finest. Here’s where you’ll find artist made pottery that will make your table settings sparkle. Featuring sculpture, mixed media assemblage and glass artworks. Simply the best window displays in Taos, they’ll mesmerize and draw you in to shop.
Leather Bound Journals and jewelry cases

Vintage style cushioned stand for the end of your bed

*Hot Tip: Try to resist asking what the actual color Taos blue is. Oh, alright go ahead and ask, after all she’s the expert.

Taos & Tribe110 Paseo Del Pueblo Norte suite a,(575) 613-2831 
A specialty boutique of thoughtfully curated fashion. One of a kind handmade jewelry, vintage south western silver and turquoise pieces, and indigo serape's. Plein air oil paintings by Taos artists. Style and vibe..Artsy, chic, boho, edgy, grunge. “A little bit of everything good”

People of the Valley108 Kit Carson Rd Suite 108A, (575) 737-8288
High Desert Boutique selling vintage & retail

Magpie, 218 Paseo Del Pueblo Norte Unit B, (781) 248-0166 
An impressive variety of locally made arts & crafts, specializing in small, affordable and functional art.

A Taos bench

Consider this list as a Walking Guide, it is quite walkable within a few hours of your time. There are many other shops along the route here, if you see someplace that looks intriguing take a look and see what they too have to offer. These are primarily the types of shops which we seek out when visiting other cities & towns when on vacation. Enjoy the list, it's not a competition. If you have disagreements or wonder why your favorite merchant isn't on the list, try creating your own. It's not all that easy, it's actually quite a lot of work for a non-monetary thing to do, but I encourage you to do so.
Most but not all of these shops are owned by the proprietors themselves, you'll find them running their own shops on a day to day basis, seven days a week. These owners purchase, curate,  stay ahead of trends and make many of the items you'll find displayed and arranged impeccably. Hip shops in Taos are an unexpected treat. You may not have realized or expected to find such wonderful places to enjoy in a town catering to tourism of the southwest region of the U.S., but they do exist. Take the time to explore an unexpected aspect of a village full of artists and creators. Some people may think of Taos as quaint and arty, it even appears to have not kept up with the times in some aspects, this list will prove otherwise. Taos may not be the hippest place in the world but there are local businesses here that make inroads towards surprising you on just how cool it can be. Explore them all and tell them we (Two Graces) sent you.

Feather your nest from any of these lovely Taos shops

*Please note: With these shops being operated by their owners there will be discrepancies in regular hours. If you find a shop closed during stated operating hours, try to take the time to go back and see them. If you find yourself running late and truly want to visit a particular store, please call them, most will try to accommodate your visit, even if it's after posted hours.

**As per business websites, these may give a sampling of what the store carries, not necessarily a complete inventory. Expect many happy surprises once you do actually visit these brick and mortar stores.

***My experience is that far too many people who actually live here don’t shop and explore Taos. Neither do the 'marketing' people staff, Chamber of Commerce or Visitors Center staff, who are supposed to be knowledgeable about what exists here.

****Disclaimer, Two Graces is my partners and my own shop. This list was created by me and is of my own opinion. No one has paid me to include any of the stores listed here.

*****While putting the new updated list together I walked to each of these
stores in the Taos Historic District. If you were to start with the first shop
listed here and follow them in order of appearance on the list you can cover
all of them in a few hours with time for a lunch break.

******Lastly I will admit that this article has been edited and updated from a
previous one which was posted 2 years ago and which I absently deleted
(senior moment) and have not been able to retrieve. The previous article
had close to 5,000 views doing that two year time frame.

Thursday, December 12, 2019

A Taos Christmas, Winter in Taos what to do in Taos during the winter

Winter in Taos to many is known as ‘ski season’. A few years ago while attending a promotional event in Los Angeles people asked about Taos’ busy season, meaning Winter. Time and time again I found myself explaining to travel writers that Taos is actually an ‘art colony’, that busy season is actually July, August, September, and a bit of October. 

Winter Storm over Taos Mountain

There are four ski resorts within 30-50 minute drives from the Taos Historic District. This is quite a large tourism industry for Taos County during the winter months of December through March with a bit of April. Many visitors to the ski resorts rarely take time to visit the multitudes of shops and galleries located in the town of Taos. 

Two Graces Taos Truck

Through the years there’s been less and less interaction between businesses in the town of Taos and the 4 ski resorts. In the 80’s various Taos art galleries sponsored a shuttle bus to take ski patrons into town several times a week and drop them off at the galleries along Kit Carson Road. Once they’d arrived and gotten off the bus the thirsty and hungry skiers would rush off to local bars & restaurants rather than shop or look at art. Even with the new ownership of the Taos Ski Valley it’s still the same, winter in Taos means it’s a time when skiers ski. Yet if you are one of those rare people who can handle both, ski time and shopping time, welcome and thank you for taking a look at the unique and wonderful shops of Taos.

Taos Ski Valley 

Eighteen ways to tell it’s Winter in Taos

1.) People from Santa Fe ask, “Is that ‘Taos’ mud on your jeans?”
2.) Brown paper bags with candles or electric lights line the walkways and roof lines.
3.) How high your firewood is stacked becomes a sense of pride.
4.) Black Ice on Cantu Hill warnings become Facebook post norm.
5.) Taos Ski Valley becomes a ‘hot spot’.
6.) Suddenly everyone you meet has a part time job at the Ski Valley.
7.) Half the population hibernates, while the other half enjoys skiing.
8.) You attend at least one of four ceremonial events at Taos Pueblo.
9.) You check ski conditions even though you don’t ski.
10.) Your car is covered in snow instead of mud.
11.) Bald Eagles return to nest along the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument.
12.) Posole with Hatch Green Chile becomes the soup of choice on every menu.
13.) Snow on adobe rooflines brings you to tearful reminiscences. 
14.) A good book becomes invaluable.
15.) A cup of Hot Cocoa with a sprinkle of cinnamon and red chile is once again the best thing you ever drank.
16.) The aroma of Pinon wood, burning in fireplaces.
17.) Everyone agrees that their grandmother makes the best Biscochitos.
18.) Friends, Neighbors and Strangers are greeting each other with warm smiles and Holiday Cheer.

 Eagle in Flight photograph courtesy of Gak Stonn, Taos Print & Photography Services

“The winter evening came quickly all about us in the village street, even while the west held its color for a long time. Then there was a magical, hushed feeling in the air and people’s voices, out-of-doors, dropped to a lower key in unconscious reverence for nightfall.” ‘Edge of Taos Desert’ Mabel Dodge Luhan 1937

Winter in Taos photograph courtesy of Gak Stonn, Taos Print & Photography Services

What to Do in Taos for the Holidays 2019

33rd annual Yuletide Tree Lighting in Taos Plaza
Dec. 6, Friday 4-7PM

Taos Festival of Trees at El Monte Sagrado
Dec. 6, Friday 6:30-9:30PM

22nd Annual Millicent Rogers Museum Holiday Fiesta
Dec. 7, Saturday 11AM-3PM

Lighting of Ledoux
Dec. 7, Saturday 5-7PM

Annual Taos Inn Christmas Tree Lighting
Dec. 7, Saturday 6-7PM

Robert Mirabal Christmas Show at TCA
Dec. 13 & 14 7PM

Bonfires on Bent Street & John Dunn Shops
Dec. 14, Saturday 4-7PM

Las Posadas at San Francisco de Asis Church
Dec. 16-24 5PM

The Nutcracker at TCA
Dec. 20-22, 2PM & 7PM

Kit Carson Road Winter Solstice Holiday Farolito Walk
Dec. 21, Saturday 4-7

Taos Pueblo Procession of the Virgin & Bonfires
Dec. 24, Tuesday begins at 4PM, Vespers Mass 5PM

San Francisco de Asis Church Midnight Mass
Dec. 24, Tuesday 11:30PM

Our Lady of Guadalupe Church Midnight Mass
Dec. 24, Tuesday 12midnight

Taos Pueblo Matachina Dance 2019
Dec. 25, Wednesday begins at 11AM throughout the day

Town of Taos New Years Eve Celebration w Michael Hearne, Taos Plaza
Dec. 31, Tuesday 7:30-10PM

Taos Ski Valley New Years Eve Torchlight Parade
Dec. 31, Tuesday 5:30PM

Taos Pueblo Turtle Dance
Jan. 1, Wednesday begins at 9AM

Los Comanches Celebration of Las Mananitas
Jan. 1, Wednesday 9-12 Ranchos de Taos 

Taos Pueblo Deer Dance 2020
Jan. 6. Monday 1PM (usually more like 2:30-ish)

Church Steeples in Snow photograph courtesy of Gak Stonn, Taos Print & Photography Services

“Never shall I forget the Christmas dances at Taos. Twilight, snow, the darkness coming over the great wintry mountains and the lonely pueblo. Then suddenly, again, like dark calling to dark, the deep Indian cluster-singing around the drum, wild and awful suddenly rousing on the last dusk as the procession starts. And then the bonfires leaping suddenly in pure spurts of high flame, columns of sudden flame forming an alley for the procession.” ‘New Mexico’ D.H. Lawrence 1931

Helen Blumenschein etching of Taos Pueblo in Winter

Luminarias and farolitos are everywhere enhancing the glowing atmosphere of the Holidays in Taos this season. Luminaria refers to a bonfire, while the paper bags or plastic bags with electric lights are known as farolitos or ‘little lamps’. 

Rooftop view of Farolito installation

This Yuletide the Taos Main Street project has worked with over 50 merchants to install farolitos to rooflines of the various Taos Historic District businesses. 

Taos Main Street Board Members setting up Farolitos at Casa Benavides

Several historic areas in Taos have set aside weekend celebrations during the month of December. Each Saturday one after another section will provide unique shopping experiences for locals and visitors. The first of these is Lighting of Ledoux with an annual farolito walk, then Bent Street Bonfires and on the last Saturday before Christmas, the Winter Solstice Farolito Walk along Kit Carson Road takes place. 

Wreath with Kokopelli at Copper Moon Gallery on Kit Carson Road

In the snow-filled air of Taos, Church bells will be ringing on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Wherever you are this winter, create magic and keep Taos in your heart. Have a blessed Holiday season.

Taos is all Heart, always

Kit Carson Road Annual Winter Solstice Holiday Celebration 
Visit these stores, museums, galleries and B&B’s for Holiday shopping.

Couse-Sharp Foundation,138 Kit Carson - Visitors can view the ‘construction site’ interior of the forthcoming Taos Society of Artists Lunder Research Center. Enjoy cookies & hot cider.

Casa Benavides B&B, 137 Kit Carson - Taos Roots (Taos Tree Project) offering T-shirts benefiting those in need and refreshments. 

Untitled Fine Art & Untitled Editions 125 - 133 Kit Carson - Refreshments & Music.

DAFA/David Anthony Fine Arts, 132 Kit Carson Road - Local and International Art.

OptiMysm, 129E Kit Carson - 20% discount all day, Holiday cookies & hot apple cider.

Palaski Fine Art, 129 Kit Carson - Fine Art Photography serving refreshments.

Bryans Gallery, 121 Kit Carson - Old Pawn & Contemporary Indian Jewelry and Art.

Parsons Gallery of the West, 122 Kit Carson - Traditional Taos Art.

Heritage Fine Arts, 122 Kit Carson - All Gallery Holiday Christmas Show.

Benedictine Monks of Taos 108 Kit Carson at Cabot Plaza - serving Benedictine Coffee and good Holiday Cheer.

The Ranch at Taos, 119A Kit Carson - An all artist show with Christmas gifts and stocking stuffers. Discounts available all day on everything in the gallery.

Wilder Nightingale Fine Art, 119 Kit Carson - ‘Embracing Winter’ Exhibition of New Pastels by Kathleen Smith. Beverages & Refreshments sponsored by Coffee Apothecary.

Angie Coleman Studio, 117 Kit Carson - Visit with Angie serving refreshments in her studio.

Kit Carson Home & Museum, 113 Kit Carson - Serving hot chocolate around a bonfire in the courtyard, the gift shop will be open.

Fine Art Atelier & Gallery, 108 Kit Carson - Light refreshments.

Dragonfly Blue, 109 Kit Carson - An evening of Ekphrasis. 

Greg Moon Fine Art, 109 Kit Carson - Don’t forget that art makes a great gift that gets passed down for generations, reward yourself with what you desire.

Taos Print and Photography Services, 107 Kit Carson - We will serve warm tea and cold cookies and cool cards and hot art.

Copper Moon Gallery, 105 Kit Carson - Refreshments.

Two Graces, 105 Barela Lane at Kit Carson - 20% off stocking stuffers & carefully curated inventory featuring a selection of Pozzi Franzetti rusted metal sculptures. Open the entire day.

Window Display at Parsons of the West gallery on Kit Carson Road

“May you find yourself in Taos, before the devil knows you’re there.” An old wise tail phrase about Taos from the early 1900’s.

The Sanchez Building at the corner of Barela Lane and Kit Carson Road, 
home to Two Graces, Copper Moon Gallery, and Gak Stonn Taos Print & Photography.

Please note photographs are by Robert Cafazzo of Two Graces, 105 Barela Lane unless otherwise stated as photographs by Gak Stonn.

I will be offering a Winter Solstice Petroglyph tour on Saturday morning December 21, 2019, check my Facebook status for upcoming details.

This article is courtesy of Robert Cafazzo who is solely responsible for content.