Still home to one of the longest-established Native American populations in the USA, though transformed by becoming first a Spanish colonial outpost and more recently a hangout for bohemian artists, Hollywood exiles and New Age dropouts, TAOS (which rhymes with “mouse”) is famous out of all proportion to its size. Not quite six thousand people live in its three component parts: Taos itself, around the plaza; sprawling Ranchos de Taos, three miles to the south; and the Native American community of Taos Pueblo, two miles north.
Beyond the usual unsightly highway sprawl, Taos is a delight to visit. Besides museums, galleries and stores, it still offers an unhurried pace and charm and the sense of a meeting place between Pueblo, Hispanic and American cultures. Its reputation as an artists’ colony began at the end of the nineteenth century, and new generations of artists and writers have “discovered” Taos ever since. English novelist D.H. Lawrence visited in the 1920s, while Georgia O’Keeffe stayed for a few years soon afterwards.