I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: the hidden gems on New Mexico’s roadways astound me. It’s not something I can get used to, it’s something that continues to surprise and excite me. It’s kind of like when babies play peek-a-boo… even though I know there’s a chance of something intriguing coming, it still just thrills me to death to actually see it. We went to Taos on the same day that we drove the Turquoise Trail, so I was in complete and total cool-stuff heaven.
Our original plan was to spend some time walking around Taos, but when we arrived on the very outskirts of town we found that our plans would have to be changed. Traffic was stop and go from the very beginning to the very end of the city. There was some sort of funky festival going on that day or something… it became obvious that if we wanted to stroll around town we would have to do it while throwing elbows to navigate the crowd. We opted out of that one.
I knew there was an old church in/around the area, so we made that our next goal. Oh how I love Mexican/Spanish influenced adobe structures. After driving past the turn four different times we finally found what we were looking for in Los Ranchos de Taos (just a wee bit south of real Taos). The abandoned plaza was a welcome relief-there was literally NO ONE else there, it was kind of strange… I guess everyone else was busy overpopulating the town up the street. Either way, it was the perfect way to experience the St. Francis de Asis church. The church was built between 1772 and 1816… in case you were wondering, that’s OLD. Old and beautiful… don’t take my word for it, observe:
The church is nestled in a plaza surrounded by what I can only imagine used to be lively shops and galleries… but I’m not kidding when I say that it was abandoned. It was just the most peculiar thing, it felt like a ghost town. All of the windows had for sale or for rent signs posted on them. While many of the buildings had fallen into complete and total disrepair (i.e. caved in roofs and broken windows), the rest were actually still in incredible and colorful shape. Not totally sure what the deal was.
Obviously this is one of the buildings that has sunk into decrepitude. Obviously. And it was right next to…
Really beautiful and well kept, but abandoned all the same. What is going on in this crazy mystery plaza?
Well apparently they still hold services here ever Sunday, and nothing happens on any of the in-between days.
Still doesn’t explain to me why everything is for sale.
To sum this all up for you, the St. Francis de Asis church and the plaza it resides in are just another shining example of what I love about New Mexico. Here, we can live and walk amongst fantastic color that applies not just to the unique architecture, but also to the unique history of this place.