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The Five-Point Weekend Escape Plan

Get Adrenaline and Culture in Taos


5. Oddball Day

Religious symbols left by the faithful at Santaurio de Chimayo.  

Get out of town and make a roughly 100-mile scenic loop on the High Road to Taos, known for its expansive vistas, which are impressive year-round. Wake up for your road trip with a meticulously pulled shot of espresso ($2) from Elevation Coffee in Taos, then head south on Highway 68 through the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. After about 27 miles, make a pit stop in Embudo at Sugar’s BBQ (1799 New Mexico 68; 505-852-0604) for the much-lauded smoky brisket tacos. Continue on for another nineteen miles and then swing through Española, the "Lowrider Capital of the World," keeping your eyes peeled for the tricked-out vehicles. Head east about ten miles to the famous Santaurio de Chimayo, which draws as many as 300,000 believers each year for its supposedly healing dirt. (Evidence of miracles—abandoned crutches and medical equipment—lines the walls.) Continue on 76-N another ten miles to Truchas, a little village boasting huge views of the Rio Grande Valley and the High Road Marketplace, an artists’ co-op where dozens of locals sell artwork and crafts. Proceed another eight miles to Trampas, well known for its old mission church, which is considered one of the best examples of its kind. (Note the spatters of blood on the ceiling from Los Hermanos Penitentes, Spanish missionaries and priests who whipped themselves to feel closer to God.) Finish your loop at Ranchos de Taos, where you’ll see the boxy, almost modern-looking San Francisco de Asis Mission Church, famously painted by Georgia O’Keeffe and photographed by Ansel Adams. End your day at the newly opened Taos Mesa Brewing Company with a green chile cheeseburger ($11) or a portobello mushroom sandwich ($10) and one of their new in-house brews, which are introduced to the draft lineup every ten days. Try a pint of Hopper IPA (named after Dennis; $4) or one of the session beers, which are lower in alcohol ($4) and easier on anyone feeling wobbly at Taos’s 7,000-foot elevation. If you’ re not exhausted, get out on the dance floor—which is built on top of old tires, in keeping with the brewery’s green ethos—and get down in high-desert style to a rotating selection of live bands most nights of the week.

Published on Jan 17, 2013 as a web exclusive.

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