Taos, New Mexico

New Mexico - Land of Enchantment. No place exemplifies that feeling better for me than Taos and the surrounding area. Taos Pueblo - oldest continuously inhabited structure in the USA. 

The Rio Grande Gorge is dizzily spectacular - walking across is not for the vertigo prone!! 

The gorge is just a few miles outside of town. For several months of the year, Taos Ski Valley provides for winter sports (currently undergoing expansion and renovation under new ownership). 

This sparsely populated state is great for peaceful hiking. You can wander all day and not see a soul. 

Hiking up to the mesas or hills rewards you with some spectacular vistas. Nearby Ojo Caliente Spa is THE place to soak your bones after hiking or skiing (lift ticket gets you a discount) in the natural hot springs - used for centuries by the Native Americans. They have several types of pools, cabins & suites, a gourmet restaurant and you can just start hiking from trail that come right up to your door. If you don't stay there, you can just get a day pass. Hanging out by the fire is the place to hang in the evenings. 

About 1 1/2 hours drive away is Bandelier National Monument - historical Native American settlement. There are many ladders for climbing up the cliff faces to get a close look the ancient dwelling areas. For accommodation in the area - house rental is recommended. There's a lot of funky / artsy places to choose from like the above - complete with tree house that has electricity and beds!