John Dunn House Shops
Hours: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. daily
Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) is alive and kicking at this fun, artsy shop. Inside you’ll find skeletons, sugar skulls, jewelry, pottery, clothing and folk art. And that’s just scratching the surface. Much of the inventory is handpicked in Mexico, Peru and from local artists.
103 Bent Street
After looking around in this cool, hip little shop, it quickly becomes a hands-down favorite place to find gifts. Here you’ll find locally made jewelry and artworks, fun clothing, books and eclectic items — too many to mention. Locals consistently vote fx18 the best “funky” store in town in The Taos News’ annual “Best of Taos” poll.
Made in New Mexico
104 Taos Plaza, west side
Hours: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. daily
Everything here is made in the Land of Enchantment. It’s the only store in the state that can state that claim. Red and green chile powders, pods, salsas, sauces, jams, jellies, biscochitos, piñon coffee, wood carvings, Native American jewelry, T-shirts, ornaments, fetishes, clocks, Day of the Dead items, ristras, wreaths, farolitos and books.
Overland Sheepskin Company
At Overland Ranch, 1405 Paseo del Pueblo Norte
Hours: 9 a.m.- 7 p.m. Mon.-Thur.; 9 a.m.-8 p.m. Fri.-Sat.
In 1973, 19-year-old Jim Leahy moved to Taos with a dream of designing and making sheepskin coats. In tow he had a sewing machine and a bale of sheepskins. His beautiful, functional and rugged Western creations — including coats, slippers, hats and mittens all cut and stitched by hand — were soon in demand and alongside other Taos artisans, the business became Overland Sheepskin Company.
This year marks Overland’s 45th year in Taos. Three generations of the Leahy family have followed in Jim’s footsteps and own and operate Overland today. From humble beginnings in Taos, Overland has grown to include a website and 16 locations and has become a trusted source for quality sheepskin, leather and natural fabric outerwear, accessories and home décor. Overland’s family-style way of doing business has remained its backbone, a passion for quality matched with highly rated service.
The original building now houses the sheepskins, cow hides and buffalo robes (the term “robes” is used out of respect). The rest of the store was added in 1984. Numerous artifacts are peppered throughout. On display is a dog sled made from wood, animal bones and sinew used in the late 19th century to deliver vaccines to a small town near Red River. Antique traps, harnesses, saddles, farm tools and even an old wooden apparatus that once held a punching bag are incorporated into the “Old West” atmosphere.
In the past, Overland supplied most of the sheepskin coats for the Marlboro Man ad campaign. More recently, many of the coats and hats worn by the character Walt Longmire on the Netflix hit show “Longmire” came from Overland in Taos.
The flagship store is the heart of the Overland Ranch complex on Paseo del Pueblo Norte. The property has one of the best unobstructed, full views of Taos Mountain and other Sangre de Cristo peaks in town. Overland Ranch has expanded over the years to include beautiful gardens, a Koi pond and other buildings housing restaurants, galleries and a furniture store to name a few.
131 Bent Street
Hours: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Mon.-Sat. Closed Sundays
Parsons could almost be considered a museum — although it is a gallery — due to its important, impressive and extensive early to mid-19th century collection of works by members of the famed Taos Society of Artists, Taos founders, early Santa Fe and Taos art colony painters, as well as 19th century Navajo weavings and pueblo pottery. Parsons Gallery is located in the historic home of Ferdinand Maxwell (a pioneer landowner and friend of Kit Carson).
Robert Parson’s other gallery in Taos is Parsons Gallery of the West, which features traditional Taos art that reflects historic and contemporary impressions of the American West. It is located at 122-D Kit Carson Road and in the 1920s-’30s, the building was the home and studio of Taos Society of Artists member Victor Higgins.
Taos Adobe Quilting
102 Teresina Lane ( off the northwest corner of Taos Plaza)
Hours: 10:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Mon.-Sat.; Noon-4 p.m. Sun.
When settlers arrived in the New World, they brought with them much of the cultural heritage from Europe, including quilting. Quilt-making flourished in the 19th century, especially in the period between 1825 and 1875. Settlers who began moving West brought quilting with them and eventually, it came to the Great Plains.
Taos Adobe Quilting has a wide assortment of quilting fabrics and feature designs specific to the area, including collections by local artists and others with a distinct Southwestern theme. They also have books, patterns, notions, kits and fat quarters.
Taos Leather Cordón y Cuero
205 Camino de la Placita
Hours: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Mon.-Sat. Closed Sundays and some Tuesdays.
The Knapp family has been crafting original, handmade leather goods and jewelry since the shop’s establishment in 1973. At Taos Leather Cordón y Cuero (Spanish for “lace and leather”) you’ll find braided leather bracelets, necklaces, earrings, bolo ties, hat bands and cord belts. Owner Larry Knapp, who was raised in New Mexico, discovered leather on the Spanish island of Ibiza and fell in love. Early in his leather design career, Knapp made his own tools, which produced a signature style. Some of his most popular creations are “snake belts,” made from cowhide and with very fine braiding to resemble snakeskin. In his Taos home studio, Knapp fine-tuned his specialized skills for lace-making and developed silver buckle sets. He has worked with leather for 40 years. His wife, Jaya, designs and makes leather jewelry on-site, based on the braiding technique and is well-known for her men’s and women’s bolo ties. She also designs most of the silver accents on the bolo ties. Daughter Anyma Kleinsorge makes leather and silver necklaces and also earrings.
Hours: 10:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. daily
The Native American peace pipe was and still is often used in spiritual ceremonies during which each person will smoke from it and say a prayer to the four directions. The peace pipe is not restricted to use by only Native Americans, but it is symbolically spiritual and must be respected by everyone attending a ceremony. Medicine and war pipes were also used in ceremonies. “The Indian that carried the peace pipe was often allowed to pass through enemy territory out of respect,” according to information at indians.org. “The war pipe had red feathers symbolizing blood and was smoked before going into battle.”
Owned and operated by Dean “Little Lake” Johnson. His handcrafted peace pipes are made to be used, but the beautiful craftsmanship and time involved also makes each pipe a work of art. The shop also sells American Indian music and gifts.
3956 State Highway 68, Ranchos de Taos (look for the giant tepees just south of Taos)
Hours: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Mon.-Fri.; 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sat.; 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sun.
Every Native American drum is crafted from natural materials and renewable resources on site by two drum makers. The drumheads are made from either cow or buffalo hides (sometimes goat) and are all formed in-house. The hides take two days to naturally dry. They also hand make teepee lamps and shades from hides. Drum shells are created from wood native to Northern New Mexico — mostly cottonwood, and some aspen or pine. They come painted (also by hand) and natural. Many sizes and shapes to choose from (more than 100), plus a plethora of other Native-made, one-of-a-kind gift, jewelry and home decor items such as an extensive selection of Zapotec textiles. Visitors are welcome to tour the workshop. Be sure to see the “Thunder Drum,” made for the rock group Fleetwood Mac.
Taos Spice Merchants
226-B Paseo del Pueblo Norte (across from The Taos Art Museum at Fechin House)
Hours: 10 a.m.- 6 p.m. Mon.-Sat.; 11 a.m.- 4 p.m. Sun.
Sourcing the finest and freshest whole and organic spice (more than 200 varieties) from around the world, including traditionally harvested sustainable salts with certified provenances, organic certified extra-virgin olive oils from California and crisp, bold balsamic vinegars from Texas. Also offering rubs, blends, cuisine packages and specialty culinary items. Every spice is displayed in crystal clear jars that fill floor to ceiling shelves and infuse their wonderful scents throughout the shop. Create your own blends or have master spice blender Keith Lane create something special for you. Classes on cooking with spices are also offered.
Tony Whitecrow’s Deerskin Art & Design
108-A Doña Luz Street, near Taos Plaza
Hours: 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Mon.-Sat.; 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday or by appointment
Tony Whitecrow specializes in one-of-a-kind, custom-made Western clothing, bedding, jackets and accessories. His work is all handcrafted, and he designs all of his own patterns. Custom orders are a specialty, such as “sexy” woman’s clothing, men’s gambler frocks, and Buffalo Bill Cody coats. He also creates full-length dresses, skirts, halter-tops, long coats, jean jackets, bags and purses. A perfected technique of hand-cut twisted fringe has become Whitecrow’s trademark.
225 Camino de la Placita (another entrance is just off the northwest side of Taos Plaza)
Hours: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. daily
An experience in itself, thanks to its magical layout and artistic touches. This play and discovery space offers high-quality educational toys, games, crafts and activities that inspire play-based learning in the home and encourage positive parent/child interaction. There’s also a wonderful playground out back.
The 150-year-old adobe building was once the residence of actor Dennis Hopper and earlier of painter Agnes Martin.
— Compiled by Scott Gerdes