Taos Architecture Tour: Diverging from the Blue Trail - Heading East to Kit Carson

So the historic walking tour doesn't have anything much to offer on Quesnel and Des Georges, but I do, so I am taking you there... for those that want the full tour. Head east on Camino de la Placita towards Paseo del Pueblo. You'll see the restaurant La Cueva on the northeast corner at the light. Cross this (ridiculously underprepared for pedestrians) intersection and head east on Quesnel.

The building on your left, behind La Cueva, is the Guillermo Baca house, which dates from about 1915. These tiny little spaces are really cute in their own right.


Keep walking, and note the next buildings on the north, with their awesome murals and outdoor spaces. This is some of Taos at its most inspiring, for me.


Across the way, on the south, are some of Taos Historic District's most creative Spanish Pueblo Revival buildings. You can tell they were designed by artists because they don't follow any of the  rules, which is what makes then really neat. Architectural elements overlap and overextend and there are giant windows on the NORTH for goodness' sake! Which is actually a trick ALL the artists of Taos used, to get that awesome, even north light. Look for these windows and you'll find historic artists' studios, every time!


Ahead on the left is the home/studio of our (in)famous modern painter Ed Sandoval. Some days you'll see him painting, or prepping for his early morning horseback ride around town dressed as Zorro, or cleaning his classic vehicle. And if you catch him painting in town, you'll enjoy that experience, I'm sure. He's a Taos legend in his own right now. ; )


Behind his house is the old Joseph Henry Sharp Studio, which is rarely but sometimes open for visitors.

Beyond that, at the intersection of Kit Carson, is the Couse-Sharp Historic site (Taos Blue Trail Site #20), another of Taos' architectural treasures. It's actually two connected structures - the first, a one story elevated historic chapel built in 1835 known as the (Juan de) Luna chapel, raised above the ground plane by 3' and connected on the south to the other main feature of the site - an extensive compound of attached additions that started as a one room home and eventually expanded. The chapel is a Spanish Pueblo Revival/Mission style structure with mission bell entrance and tall "horned" ends at the parapet. It is separately listed but included within the Couse site of which it is has been a part since Couse's time. If you happen to be in town when it is open, DO NOT MISS VISITING!!! It is an exquisite piece of Taos history, including a fabulous collection of old-world style spaces and furnishings and an even more fabulous portale on the southeast that overlooks the last remaining viewshed of Taos' agricultural past that you can see from the historic district. 

If you've got extra time, head due northeast from the Couse home along Kit Carson to Morada lane, towards Blue Trail sites #21 and 22, and check out the wonderful Mabel Dodge Luhan House, the Victor Higgins home, and some crazy buildings and great sculpted wall murals (at #218) along the way! If Hensington Fine Art is till open by the time you read this, it's gardens are well worth a walk.

Head back to Kit Carson and towards town.  For yet another great little walking foray, head north on Dragoon Lane for some of the cutest, simplest little houses in Taos. This will take you "the back way" to Kit Carson Park and the historic cemetery.