The area near the foot of El Salto Mountain is a small village called Arroyo Seco just 7 miles north of Taos along State Road 150, the main road to Taos Ski Valley.
El Salto (“waterfall”) is revered as a holy site, which is steeped in religious folklore and christened by seven waterfalls. Arroyo Seco is a more than 200-year-old village first settled by two brothers who cultivated the land. It has been the home to many eclectic people, from historians and politicians to film actors and hippies.
Seco is also home to the well-publicized cooking classes held by James Beard Nominated Chef and working actor Chris Maher. Cooking Studio Taos offers weekly classes that are 100 percent hands on. After class, you sit down as a group to enjoy your magnificent meal. Visit cookingstudiotaos.com.
You can always feel the sense of community and creativity in the shops, boutiques, galleries and eateries that line the main street of this picturesque village.
Sol Food Market and Café
Market open daily 8:30 a.m.-8 p.m.
Café open daily 8 a.m.-3 p.m.
Located inside a country-style natural foods market, the Sol Food Café has an informal, friendly atmosphere and aims to use natural, organic and local ingredients whenever possible. The cafe is perfect for a healthy meal and an excellent cup of coffee. The market sells food and trendy boutique items. Weekends, however, are for brunch at the café with a menu that includes dishes such as the macadamia nut pancake and a smoked salmon omelet. The award-winning baklava and assortment of other baked goods are staples.
Abe’s Cantina y Cocina
Mon.-Fri. 7 a.m.-5:30 p.m.; Sat. 7 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
This decades-long, family-owned and operated establishment is a local and visitor favorite serving up some of the best enchiladas, chicharrones, empanadas (especially the pumpkin) and tamales in Northern New Mexico. The tavern is also a great watering hole and place to hear some gossip, if you’re into that sort of thing.
Open for dinner 5-9 p.m. daily.
This modern neighborhood restaurant that consistently gets rave reviews presents an interpretation of comfort food and utilizes the best in local, wild and farm-fresh ingredients. The menu, featuring tasty and technique-driven dishes, includes contemporary takes on old classics, house-made specialties and decadent desserts that change with the seasons.
Open for dinner Wed.-Mon. 4 p.m.; closed Tuesdays
Sabroso is American and global cuisine, a fully-stocked bar and wine cellar with live music and a value-priced menu in the piano bar. The bar is often referred as “Seco’s living room.” Dine fireside in the over 150-year-old adobe with fresh-squeezed margaritas, wood-grilled steaks and salmon.
The Wake & Take Café
Mon.-Fri., 7 a.m.-3 p.m.; Sat. and Sun., 8 a.m.-4 p.m.-ish
Check out Seco’s newest establishment. Vegan foods, specialty coffee drinks, events and consulting. Menu features healthy breakfast and lunch fare such as superfood bowls.
Mon.-Sun., noon-5 p.m.
Serving all-natural made in New Mexico ice cream plus coffee, bagels, burritos and more from their new food truck. Find on Facebook.
Arroyo Seco Mercantile
Mon.-Sat. 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m.; Sun. 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
The building that houses a plethora of goods including antiques, American West vintage items, gifts, santos, Indian trade blankets and much more was built around 1895 and was a general store until the mid-1950s.
Daily 10:30 a.m.-5 p.m.
Owner and award-winning sculptor (and painter) Claire Haye converted her talent into making jewelry in sterling silver, bronze and gold. Her pieces are embedded with symbolism and spirituality that “speak universally to women of all ages and walks of life.”
Fine Art New Mexico
Mon.-Fri. 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sat. 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
After years of writing, producing and directing in the film industry, Jack Leustig was searching for “a new, smaller creative journey.” The artistry of printing an image became his passion. In 1998, he opened his print studio and has been producing prints for local artists in small to large formats ever since, becoming a premier publisher of Southwest art and photography. The collection of works for sale is inspiring and impressive.
Francesca’s Clothing Boutique
Daily 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m.
Francesca’s offers a surprisingly large selection of one-of-a-kind women’s clothing and accessories considering how the store looks more like a small home upon first glance. Clothes are stylish and trendy with something for every body type. There is definitely something for all ages and customers notice — Francesca’s has topped the “Best Women’s Clothing Boutique” category in the Taos News’ “Best of Taos” survey for over 10 years.
Logan Wannamaker Pottery
Mon.-Fri. 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sat. 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
“Logan Wannamaker stands at a whirling pottery wheel and effortlessly shapes a ball of black clay into a cup in seconds. That moment — throwing a pot — is probably the easiest part of his creative process. Behind it are hours of digging, sieving, mixing, hammering, chopping and burning that finally culminate in a one-of-a-kind work of art that uses native materials to mirror the dramatic Northern New Mexico landscape,” wrote J.R. Logan for the Taos News.
Parse Seco is an experimental creative space that provides a platform for artists, musicians and creators to present experiences in an intimate setting or in other words, “using art to reform the social norm.” The venue has hosted live concerts, open mic nights, art openings, poetry readings and more. Check its events calendar on Facebook.
Daily 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
Rottenstone Pottery specializes in unique ceramic art made in the ancient tradition of wood-firing. Scott Rottenstone’s wares combine an Eastern Wabi Sabi aesthetic with the functional formal considerations of American folk craft pottery.
Santos y Mas
Daily 9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m.
Santos y Mas is where to go for the area’s best selection of handcrafted Northern New Mexico folk art and colorful, whimsical gifts and collectibles. You can’t help but smile.
Scott Carlson Pottery
“Open every day”
Brightly colored pottery made for the home and for everyday use. Check out Carlson’s signature colors salmon, blue and green. Custom place settings are his specialty. Cups, mugs, small vases and citrus juicers (great for making margaritas) are common items found here.
Offering authentic Northern New Mexican accommodations such as the adobe brick home Casa Miguel and Casa Kachina in Arroyo Seco’s distinct residential community Los Altos. Premiere has over 100 upscale properties located in the greater Taos area.
Sometimes referred to as a ski lodge with campsites, the concept of the SnowMansion is based on the hostel — a popular, inexpensive type of lodging conceived in Europe that consists of sociable accommodations where guests can rent a bed in a dormitory-style room and share a bathroom, lounge and sometimes (as guests do at the SnowMansion) have use of the kitchen. For many years, the SnowMansion has been a popular, comfortable and cozy, budget-friendly place to stay for skiers, boarders and winter’s weary travelers.
— Staff report