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Mon Jan 18, 2016, 12:25 PM

Hi..I have a question for NM DUers..Anyone here live in or around Taos?

If so, can you tell me what the differences between Taols and Santa Fe might be in terms of people, atmosphere, etc?

I've been to Santa Fe a couple of times, and I liked it, but it's a little too 'dry and desert-like" for me, if you will.

Judging from pictures only, Taos seems to have more trees and greenery?...Am I correct?

Thanks for your time.

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Reply Hi..I have a question for NM DUers..Anyone here live in or around Taos? (Original post)
whathehell Jan 2016 OP
TygrBright Jan 2016 #1
whathehell Jan 2016 #2
PasadenaTrudy Jan 2016 #3
whathehell Jan 2016 #4
PasadenaTrudy Jan 2016 #5
SheilaT Jan 2016 #6
whathehell Feb 2016 #7
SheilaT Feb 2016 #8
whathehell Feb 2016 #9
pamela Feb 2016 #10
whathehell Feb 2016 #11
pamela Feb 2016 #12

Response to whathehell (Original post)

Mon Jan 18, 2016, 12:48 PM

1. It really depends on where you are in both places.

There are parts of Santa Fe that have a lot of trees and greenery, there are parts of Taos that are very desert-like.

Overall, though, the Taos foothills area is a somewhat different climate zone than the Santa Fe plateau.

In terms of people, atmosphere, etc., Taos is much smaller than Santa Fe.

Keeping in mind that all parts of El Norte deal with the challenge of welding together a community, from very disparate sub-communities, including Native peoples who have been here the longest, Hispanic peoples who've been here for centuries, first wave Anglos who've been here going on a century and a half, later waves of Anglos and immigrant Latinos. All of them have their own perceptions about community and how/whether we should share resources and look after one anothers well-being, and they don't necessarily mesh cleanly. The power dynamics are layered, with many being very subtle, almost invisible, but they greatly affect community life and the sense of "people and place."

To begin with, both communities are heavily dependent on tourists for our economic structure. In winter, it's ski/sport driven. In other seasons it's more variable, but includes outdoor activity folks (hike/bike/tour/ecology), arts (many forms- performance, visual, etc.), history/culture (Native, wild West,) and counter-culture (spiritual quests, new age connection, alternative healing, etc.)

Taos has a smaller, more closely-knit community. It also has a very strong recovery community, if you're in recovery you might like it. But because it *is* smaller, and because tourism is the overwhelmingly strongest, almost the only real economic driver, it's very much structured around that. There is a bit less diversity of day-to-day economic focus and fewer services, activities, etc.

Santa Fe has more economic diversity, between state government, services to surrounding communities, the growing film industry, etc. It's got more diversity of services, activities, etcetera.

If you like the small-town sense of knowing everyone and everyone knowing (or at least recognizing) you, the everyone sharing each others' business, the homeiness of a 'small pond', you'll probably like Taos better. If you want occasional surprises, diversity, the sense of there being a larger/more diverse community around you, you may like Santa Fe better. It's a "large town" rather than a small city, but it has some small city sense to it.


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Response to TygrBright (Reply #1)

Mon Jan 18, 2016, 12:58 PM

2. Thanks so much for this information, Bright

I'm an old hippie from the Sixties, and I definitely sense that vibe in Santa Fe, and figured it might be the same in Taos...Since I'm close to retirement age, I thought one or the other might be a good place to settle in. Thanks again.

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Response to whathehell (Reply #2)

Sun Jan 24, 2016, 03:38 PM

3. I'm an aging hippie too

I love NM. I go to Santa Fe and Albuquerque a couple times a year. Would love to retire in Santa Fe, but rental housing is $$$ in my favorite parts of town. May end up in ABQ, who knows. Taos is way too desolate for me, and it is getting very pricey. For now, I'll enjoy my travels. Best wishes!

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Response to PasadenaTrudy (Reply #3)

Sun Jan 24, 2016, 08:38 PM

4. Hey Trudy..

Thanks for checking in!

I see you're in California... My happiest of old hippie days were spent in San Francisco.

I love California even more than NM, but talk about rents and real estate! I would have thought most in California would surpass those in Santa Fe, but I'm sure you have more likely cal knowledge and experience than me. Peace.

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Response to whathehell (Reply #4)

Sun Jan 24, 2016, 09:25 PM

5. Oh yeah

Still much more expensive here. Crazy expensive.

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Response to whathehell (Original post)

Sun Jan 31, 2016, 10:33 PM

6. I live in Santa Fe, and I've been to Taos on occasion.


Taos is greener because they get a lot more moisture there, even though it's a bit higher than Santa Fe, and if you go up to the ski valley you are several thousand feet higher. A year and a half ago I spent two weeks of July in Taos, and I was surprised to learn that it rains almost every day in the summer.

If you simply are a visitor in either city, you'll have a very different experience from those who live there, even those who work in the tourist industry. In both places there's a lot of art and galleries, and most of that stuff is bought by tourists. Some does go to the wealthy residents of either place, but most of us aren't that wealthy. And the majority of residents have ordinary jobs, hang out with friends, and so on, just as they do everywhere. However, in both cities we have amazing views, and especially in Santa Fe, amazing night skies. Taos gets a lot more cloud cover, so their night skies aren't quite as star-filled.

Santa Fe keeps on getting a bad rap for being so expensive, and I honestly don't get what people are talking about. Partly it's because they've never been to a really expensive city, like maybe NYC or San Francisco or Honolulu just to name three, but it's also because they only look at the high rent part of town. When I moved here from Overland Park, KS, considered generally to be a lower cost of living area (although the people on the Missouri side of the border think it's too expensive for anyone to live there) I rented a two bedroom, two bath (and three skylight) apartment for $850/month, what I would have paid for a comparable place in OP, only I wouldn't have had the skylights.

After a year I bought the place I'm in, similar size, and likewise two bedroom, two bath, and three skylights. I also have a million dollar view of the Sangre de Cristo mountains across my backyard. I live on the never popular, supposedly high-crime south side of the city, off Airport Road. It takes about fifteen minutes, max, to get anywhere in this city by car. I can walk a quarter mile and take the bus downtown, which I like to do, especially when any one of our fiestas are happening, so I don't have to hassle trying to find a parking space.

A lot of workers commute in from Albuquerque because they say they can't afford to live here. Although right now the cost of gas is way down, there's still a cost to commuting, and then there's the question of what is your time worth? Of course, if they all tried to move here, housing really would go through the roof.

Both cities are small. Santa Fe's population is about 70,000, Taos around 6,000. In both places everyone knows everyone else, it seems, and a lot of people are related to each other, which in Santa Fe at least is part of our political corruption. Plus, when I first moved here I had several people tell me not to even bother to apply for a job with the city, and maybe not even the state government, as I was not related to anyone and so stood very little chance of being hired. I never bothered to test that assumption, but at the local hospital, where I worked for four years, I saw an awful lot of employees who were related to each other.

But back to your question about dry and desert vs green. While that difference is mainly a factor of the difference in precipitation, both cities are at relatively high altitude, and that's a huge thing. If you're coming from sea level, you want to be very aware of being at high altitude and adjust your activity level accordingly. Plus, drink lots of water. Lots. You'll also be peeing a lot, but that's good. You need the water because it helps your body to produce more red blood cells which is what you need more of when at altitude.

I moved here in 2008, after a divorce. I looked at several other parts of the country, but as I like to say, Santa Fe kept calling my name. I may not live here the rest of my life. I have two grown sons, and I've warned them that I may well relocate to be nearer to one of them some day in the future. I know how difficult it was when my own mother was in what turned out to be her final illness, and none of her six children lived within 800 miles. I tell them I'll make it easy for them to go to the nursing home and sign the DNR orders. But for now, I'm quite happy here. I no longer work, I write, I cruise the internets, I get together with friends, I travel. It's a good life.

A lot of people wind up stuck in a city or part of the country they're not really crazy about. I know what that's like and I'm so glad I was able to move to a place where I really wanted to be.

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Response to SheilaT (Reply #6)

Mon Feb 1, 2016, 06:43 PM

7. Hey Sheila

Thanks for all your good information! I appreciate, in particular, your explaining the Taos-Santa Fe differences. I've been to Albuquerque and Santa Fe, and experienced that high altitude effect -- Got drunk on my first Marguerita! Oh well -- I was warned.

I agree with you regarding Santa Fe's reputation for 'high rent's'. Coming from the east coast, I know what rents are like in cities like Boston, New York. and Washington D.C, and those in your area are modest by comparison.

It certainly sounds like you're happy and living the good life -- I hope to be doing the same soon, maybe in Taos or Santa Fe. Thanks again for your great post.

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Response to whathehell (Reply #7)

Mon Feb 1, 2016, 07:31 PM

8. Glad I could be of help.


On the other hand, getting sloshed so easily at high altitude makes drinking less expensive here, not such a bad thing.

I would not want to be a young person in Santa Fe. I came her at age 60, after a divorce, and I tell people this is a great place for an older person to reinvent herself. Another problem is that the public schools just aren't very good, so if you have young ones, a private school becomes almost a necessity. Unless you live in Los Alamos, which has phenomenally good public schools, but that's because of the presence of the Labs, and so many adults with PhDs.

If you want to think about getting together next time you come out here, just let me know.

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Response to SheilaT (Reply #8)

Tue Feb 2, 2016, 09:43 AM

9. Very nice...and I appreciate your interesting perspective

on drinking at high altitudes.

I think I know what you mean about Santa Fe being less than ideal for young people. One of the things that appealed to me when I was there was the number of people my own age I saw. Old hippies need a place too!

I'd be happy to get together with you the next time I'm in NM, Sheila...I'm planning on something on the spring...Will pm you when my plans firm up so we can arrange things. Good talking to you.

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Response to whathehell (Original post)

Wed Feb 10, 2016, 03:22 AM

10. Here are some pictures I took in Taos a few months ago

And this one I took about 30 miles North of Taos in Questa

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Response to pamela (Reply #10)

Wed Feb 10, 2016, 07:21 AM

11. Beautiful!

Thanks, Pamela...Do you live in Taos?

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Response to whathehell (Reply #11)

Wed Feb 10, 2016, 02:09 PM

12. No but I spend a lot of time in the area.

My husband and I are fulltime RVers-we live and travel fulltime in a motorhome. We spend most of our time in New Mexico because we love it here and the State Parks are super cheap to camp in and have beautiful, spacious sites. We travel to other states, too, but always end up back in New Mexico.

If I were going to settle in one place again, and my choices were Santa Fe and Taos, I would choose Taos, but mainly because it's smaller. Both are great!

Here's a link to a blogpost I did last Fall when I was in that area. It has those three pictures plus a few more. http://postcardsfrompamandlarry.blogspot.com/ I'm going to do another post soon with more pics from when we drove the Enchanted Circle but I have to wait until I have a better Internet connection. That post would give you a better idea of the beauty of the area surrounding Taos.

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