In a previous life I lived in and worked for Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park. Thousands of people visited Big Sur every month during the summer, but I think most of them didn’t know why they were visiting. They have heard that they should go to Big Sur if they are ever in the area, and off they go. I was in the entrance station one day when a car pulled up, a man leaned out the window and asked “What is there to see around here?” Different rangers have different responses to this question, most of which boil down to “Nothing.” On this day, I said “Just the redwoods and the coastline.” The man nodded and then pointed at one of the towering sequoia sempervirens alongside the road leading to the little kiosk. “Is that a redwood?” he asked.
All this is to set the stage for this post from Taos, New Mexico. Taos is a Big Sur, a Carmel, a Todos Santos, a Monhegan Island. A place with an interesting name, some big-time celebrity homes, and beautiful scenery. Artists settle into these places because the natural beauty of the places draws them there. They produce wonderful works, some become well-known, and a few have showings in New York or London. A chef who can both correctly spell and make bouillabaisse opens a cafe. The celeb is photographed having a meal and there goes the neighborhood.
This small adobe house is a private residence on Ledoux Street, home to the Harwood and Blumenschein museums. There’s no telling who was here first, but the sign on the gate makes it clear this house is not for touring.
Do not get me wrong. Taos is a beautiful place. Just be sure to leave your preconceptions in Albuquerque.