• Carmen Medrano

It's Not All About The Destination

Updated: Jul 7, 2021

Don't get too focused on the destination. Don't get me wrong, if your destination is Taos, you are in for a treat. Unless you fly into Taos, the road to Taos can become tiresome. Especially when you have been driving for miles and miles. I suggest taking a few breaks in the canyon to take in the beauty, food, and good wine.

When entering the canyon going north from Santa Fe, you must stop at The Fruit Basket in Velarde. There you will find pears, cherries, plums, apricots, apples and much more. When you first arrive you will walk under the beautifully arranged Chile Ristras hanging from the porch just to find yourself looking at delicious fruits and vegetables in colorful baskets. It doesn't stop there, you will walk into a store that holds New Mexican products such as blue corn mixes, chile powder, and even moonshine jelly. I had some of the best cherries there.

Less than a mile away you must take a pit stop at Black Mesa Winery. On Fridays between 3-6pm they have a small farmers market with various venders. Sit outside and have yourself a glass of wine and enjoy the some live music.

Just a hop and a skip away, you need to stop at Casa Cristal Pottery. They have a variety of New Mexican and Native American art. They carry several metal yard sculptures, pottery, and much more. If you don't stop on your way into Taos make sure to stop on your way out.

As you continue on, you will find yourself in Embudo. This would be a perfect time to get some food. Stop at Sugars and have some BBQ or Burgers, they also have you covered with ice cream for dessert.

Now that your tank is full, you will see Johnnie Meier's Classic Gas Museum. Johnnie Meier retired from the nearby Los Alamos National Laboratory. Over 25 years ago, he started collecting travel and gas station paraphernalia. It's a great stop for any photographer. Johnnie lives there too and does not have set hours. So if he is home the museum, is pretty much open. The museum is free, but donations are welcomed.

As the saying goes you can never have too much wine. As you continue on around 2.5 miles up the road is Vivac Winery. Vivac Winery is owned by, and is the creation of two brothers Jesse and Chris Padberg. I loved hearing the attendant speak about them as the "boys". It gave the quaint hometown feel, but don't be fooled, I had a Malbec that was delicious.

If you decided to skip getting food at Sugars, you have a second chance in Pilar at the Yacht Club and then swing over to Shed Rio and pick up some gear for your future adventures and souvenirs for your friends and family.

There is one last stop and it is a breathtaking one as you are coming out of the canyon you will see the Rio Grande Gorge. This is a definite photo opp. There is a rest stop with picnic tables off to the side.

Like I had said before don't get too focused on the destination. Make sure to take in the journey.


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