I always love a colorful and welcoming sign!
I especially loved seeing this sign when we arrived in Taos, since the "NO" was not lit. Don and I didn't have reservations because we had expected to stay in an historic 4-room hotel in Creede, CO. Wild fires ended up closing the only highway to get to our little Colorado town, so we headed for Taos.
I'm surprised we got a room at all. The 2-lane road in front of the Inn was bumper to bumper with traffic and many of the rooms were already being given out to firefighters...who looked exhausted.
Only in the early morning could I get a good look at the cute building without cars. This wonderful little inn has a curious history. In the late 1800's Dr. Thomas "Doc" Martin and his wife bought the adobe house you see on the left. He was the first doctor in the county and he and his wife became popular and well respected in the community. After Doc's death his wife used their home and other nearby adobe houses to create the Inn in the late 1930's.
The Lobby area was hopping in the evening. Locals and guests gathered in numerous cozy seating areas to enjoy the live music. The lobby was once a courtyard in the center of a gathering of adobe homes. After Doc died, his wife enclosed the courtyard and connected the buildings to create the inn. The well is now a fountain with wooden pillars rising up to a stained glass cupola.
The thick, white adobe walls were nicely accented with colorful paintings and woven rugs. The fireplace corner was in demand in the evening. The only time I found it empty was when I grabbed an early morning coffee.
Live music plays at the Inn every night and there is never a cover. Inn guests and locals enjoy a variety of artists who play jazz, bluegrass, flamenco and folk. This group with sax, bass, keyboard and percussion squeezed into a tiny space near the hall entrance. People seated on the outdoor patio and in the adjoining restaurant were able to enjoy the festive vibe, as well.
We ended up staying two nights and our second night was in the Sandoval House. One of the perks about the place is they have a wide range in prices. You can stay in a room for anywhere from $79. to about $275. That means the guests are a little more varied, which to me is a good thing.
The courtyards and green spaces were nice. We took wine and snacks out to a quiet table one evening. We got to watch the firefighters returning from their shifts. We were actually beginning to smell smoke in the air, since the fires were no longer just in Colorado. I would have liked to have heard some stories from the firefighters, but they looked too weary to be bothered with questions.
Our first night was in the main building, which is a little nicer, but also a little noisier. It was fun to just walk a few steps from our room to dinner or to the Adobe Bar for music.
Too bad we weren't allowed to use the fireplace. But it looked cute.
The award winning Doc Martin restaurant, which is connected to the lobby, was the original home of the Martins.
In the daylight you can see the wooden ceiling and colorful chairs and art. At night I wish I would have gotten a photo of our waiter. He was quite festive in his black vest and bowler hat.
Food and Drink!
We had to sample some "cowboy Buddha" margaritas to go with our grilled rattlesnake and jackrabbit appetizer. The house special of corn-beer battered chile rellenos with pumpkin seeds and goat cheese was perfection! I would say our meal was the highlight of our stay!
We will always remember the cozy, casual feel of this inn. The colorful mix of visitors and locals made for some good people watching. Almost anyone you noticed looked like they might have an interesting story to tell. Oddly enough, with so many curious folks around we did not have any real people encounters in the inn itself. That's unusual for us. The staff was welcoming, but the guests seemed to keep to themselves. All in all, the location, charm and history was excellent. But we lacked a good "connection" to seal the deal. Return? Sure, we'd like to.
My New Year's Resolution for 2014 was to start documenting some of the memorable overnights I've had in some very odd and curious motels and hotels. Like the adventures in my Dining Blog, I have learned to enjoy the surprises that happen when you step out of the comfort zone, far away from the well-known chains.
I began with a few entries recalling my very first home away from home memories from my youth. Then, I started sharing about some of the quirky and unforgettable motels, hotels and inns that my husband and I have discovered in recent years.
The best part about this challenge was making some lists with Don and getting on the road in search of new overnight adventures. I gave myself a 2-year goal to write up 90 stories and the goal was met. Now we just keep on adding!