I'm not sure what the Virgin Mary has to say the topic; didn't ask when we visited the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi and the oldest representation of the Madonna in the US. The statue came to Santa Fe from Spain in 1625, was saved during a Pueblo revolt against the mission in the 1680's, and over the years has been called the Queen and Patroness of the ancient kingdom of New Mexico, Our Lady of the Rosary and La Conquistadora. (So now we've seen the oldest Marian shrine and that with the highest number of representations of Mary.)
After hours exploring the city- church and grounds, plaza and antique car show, library and countless gallery windows, we began a quest for the refreshments that would see us through the evening- ice cream and coffee. A little deli advertised both- Haagan Dazs and espresso but disappointed with their selection and clientele. Another tour round the city center and we found a well-pulled, single, iced americano at the Father Sky-Mother Earth Gallery where we shared an enlightening political/history conversation with a guy who recommended a gelato shop back across the plaza. We passed on the black sesame and strawberry-habenero in favor of lemon-basil, raspberry and the classic vanilla. Thumbs up for the shop I can't name. It's across the street from the library, several blocks from Georgia O'Keeffe's Grey Blue and Black- Pink Circle. Still processing O'Keeffe's blue sky as seen through pelvic bones, we would have bypassed the Museum of Fine Arts if it we're for the busker. "It's free and we have snacks. Let me say it again, it's free and we have snacks." She pointed the way to the cheese and grapes and we did an abriviated tour of the How the West is One exhibit.
"I'm not sure I can handle a hostel," Ukiah warned us. After camping a few nights in the hard wind, the comfort of a hostle, if it's anything like the horrid Eugene hostle, is nothing to look forward to. To our relief, the Mercedes shrine/SF hostel surpassed our expectation. Three meals culled from Whole Foods and Trader Joe's rejects, a gift of Channel sun glasses for Aslin, directions to hot springs and an multiple cups of J Garcia cherry tea made for an entertaining stay.
It's no small miracle to find a brewery that does root beer. Eske brewpub in Taos isn't concerned with sugar ruining their lines for future beer production. It's not quite as spicy as the kids would like and we found the chili beer a bit muted too. The vegetarian green-chili stew carried the flavor of the afternoon, a recipe we'd like to recreate. A second mixed review, Cafe Tazza serves a fine short americano with an unfortunate double shot of attitude. And since I left my brand-spanking new sun hat, I have to go back. At least they serve Cafe Vita, helping me feel at home!
Arroyo Seco is home to Taos Cow, maker of a remarkable version of a standard flavor. Strawberry. Aslin opted for a berry-malt-oreo cone and Brad and I recommend the cafe ole- with a touch of cinnamon and chocolate. Sitting by the river, we ate, played and considered how similar this little town feels to Makawao, Maui.
Driving through the earthship community, we saw all too many Range Rovers parked next to the tire and earth walls. And then there was the stretch Hummer. Really. Passive solar, water harvesting, grey-water reclaiming and it we found ourselves in the midst of an upper-class subdivision. Word from the inside tells a story of concerns with tires leaching energy and potential toxins while the developer borrowed against homes with out informing buyers. If you'd like to learn more for yourself, a half-hour consultation is available for $100. The bubble was burst but reblown in meeting a home owner/builder who took 8 years to build a hybrid-ship. A spectacular kitchen that I'm sure could brew fine coffee.