Abiquiu, New Mexico
Assuming that it would be too small to justify a stop during my aggressive trip schedule, I almost skipped this charming, unincorporated village during this go-around. And while Abiquiu is small, there is no question that what it does have to offer warrants a trip -either a day trip or a retreat –especially if you find yourself in Santa Fe or northern New Mexico.
Situated approximately 50 miles north of Santa Fe, Abiquiu is most familiar as the place where artist Georgia O’Keefe made her home from 1949 until her death in 1986. Inspired by the poignant beauty of the southwestern landscape, O’Keefe’s renderings have continued to inspire generations of artists, beckoning them to the area so that now there is a large and thriving artist’s community flourishing in this magnificent desert crossroads. Tours of O’Keefe’s home and studio are available on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, mid-March – November, with additional tours on Wednesdays and Saturdays, June-October. It is strongly advised to make reservations well in advance, as the tours are limited to 12 people. To experience the works of more than 60 local artists, you might consider attending the Abiquiu Studio Tour in early October.
But Abiquiu has much more to offer than its outstanding arts scene. The natural beauty and cultural history that source such inspirations cry out from every corner. With 17,000 acres of hiking trails and a dinosaur quarry, Ghost Ranch (former home of O’Keefe, now owned by the Presbyterian Chruch ) offers easy, close-by access to many hours of beautiful hikes. Abiquiu is also surrounded on all sides by Carson National Forest, which supplies some of the most scenic landscape in the country for hiking, biking, horseback riding, fishing, skiing, and snowshoeing, and nearby Abiquiu Lake offers boating, camping, fishing and swimming, with public restrooms and shower buildings. With the Rio Chama running right through Abiquiu, kayaking, canoeing, fishing and all other river delights are readily available.
While Abiquiu and the surrounding area offers abundant opportunities for artists, outdoorsy-types, and those seeking time for reflection and rejuvenation, it should be noted that there are very few dining options in the village itself. If you are happy to hunker down with limited (though good) choice, or are willing to travel between 20 and 50 miles in search of variety, you will not be disappointed by a stay in Abiquiu. However, should you prefer shopping and dining choices within a walkable distance, this desert hamlet should probably be limited to a day-trip.
Elevation: 6154 ft
Avg Temp in January: 42/17
Avg Temp in July: 88/55
Known for: Arts, Georgia O’Keefe home and studio, hiking,fishing, mountain recreation