Posted by: wingstravel | June 13, 2012

Experience New Mexico

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The Bohemians of Taos

By: Globus

Thanks to its otherworldly landscape, Historically, New Mexico has long attracted artists. Perhaps the most famous is the painter Georgia O’Keefe, who worked for decades in Ghost Ranch outside Santa Fe (a town that today boasts 300 galleries). But a number of more eccentric shrines lie scattered around the town of Taos, which in the early 1900s attracted a flood of visual artists, writers, playwrights, philosophers and socialists. The town’s bohemian social life was led by the free-spirited New York heiress and patron Mabel Dodge Luhan, who moved here in 1917 and fell in love with the colorful desert scenery and the rich Native American culture of the Pueblo. Mabel’s guest list was international: In 1922, she invited the notorious English writer D. H. Lawrence, author of the banned erotic work Lady Chatterly’s Lover, to live in Taos with his formidable wife Frieda. Lawrence was stunned by New Mexico, and called his visit “the greatest experience of the outside world that I have ever had.”

Today, memories of the illustrious writer can be found all over the area. In Taos’ main plaza, the historic Hotel La Fonda displays Lawrence’s “Forbidden Art” – a dozen paintings, supposedly pornographic, which were once banned by the Vice Squad in London, causing a huge scandal. (Few people would be shocked today by the images, which are kept in a special studio). Mabel Dodge Luhan’s grand adobe mansion, which was once the scene of riotous partying, is now a quiet bed-and-breakfast. Owned for an interval in the 1970s by the actor Dennis Hopper, the house still retains an aura of creativity, and you can still see the paintings Lawrence did in the windows of the upstairs bathroom. Finally, in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, lies the humble log cabin where Lawrence and his wife lived for several months after they left Mabel’s house. Lawrence’s ashes actually lie there, beneath a crude statue of a phoenix. Before his death in Italy in 1930, he asked for his remains to be sent back to this once-remote corner of New Mexico – the landscape he loved best.

The story of D. H. Lawrence is just one of many waiting to be discovered in the majestic Southwest. Experience another or write your own with escorted vacations from Globus and Wings Travel!

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