"SOLITUDE AND QUIET IS WHAT WE SELL HERE,” explains Eric Vom Dorp, who owns the 40-acre Taos Goji Eco Lodge Retreat with his wife, Elizabeth. “It’s easy to zone out.” After 10 hours of sleep on fluffy white bedding in one of the farm’s cabins, accompanied only by the chirp of crickets and the occasional howl of a coyote, I agree with him.
Opened in 2010 as Taos Goji Farm & Eco-Lodge Retreat, the property’s 10 historic and newly built cabins—each named for an artist—include solar panels, kitchens, luxury bedding, and Southwestern boho-chic decor. (Think brightly colored woven rugs and leather furnishings.)
Even my three-year-old daughter seemed to chill out during our two-night stay. “Mommy, can we feed the animals now?” Esther pleaded each morning. After my husband prepared breakfast in the cabin’s kitchenette, we’d rustle through her snack bag in search of carrots or an apple hunk to share with our new furry and feathered friends. Guests are invited to take part in morning animal feedings with volunteers from Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms (WWOOFers for short), who live in the bunkhouse behind the cabins. (Esther insisted on sharing her own food.)
Although her interest was piqued by walking Pink Delicious, the pygmy goat, and scratching the snout of Doris Day, an adorable miniature donkey, our daughter was most smitten with the chickens. She spent a whole five minutes—an eternity in toddler time—watching them vie for the nosh she carefully pushed through the wire.
After zooming down the vintage metal slide, we set off to find more adventures. Discovering an old red-and-white tricycle in the barn—now a handsome event space for weddings—Esther took that for a spin. We had imaginary high tea in the vine-covered gazebo, played hide-and-seek around the luxurious tepees, and went on safari down the rows of goji berry shrubs. (During the summer, the couple sells the ruby-colored fruit and goji berry tea at the Taos Farmers Market.)
At night, we parental folks had some playtime, too. After our daughter’s bedtime, my husband and I alternated soaking in the Japanese-style cedar hot tub underneath a dense tapestry of stars in the inky black sky. “We are not like hotels in Taos or Santa Fe,” Eric says. “Ours is more bucolic—reminiscent of New Mexico when we first came, in the seventies.”
The land was once a 1920s-era homestead with a trading post, post office, and blacksmith’s forge, plus cabin rentals. Surrounded by the Sangre de Cristo Mountains and bordered by Carson National Forest, the cabins became a hotspot for D.H. Lawrence, Aldous Huxley, and other luminaries to hole up and write. The original outhouse Huxley built still stands, along with other monuments of the past, including an old gas pump and trading post, now converted to a three-bedroom adobe cabin.
Nearly a half-century later, newlyweds Elizabeth and Eric rented one of the cabins and eventually bought the property from the original homesteader, Elmira Mackie. Over the next 30 years, they transformed the chicken coop and dairy barn to cabins.
Each cabin, whether it’s a studio or one with up to three bedrooms, is equally charming and unique. But if Elizabeth had to pick a favorite, she’d choose the Artist’s Retreat, with its sunporch, garden, and private cedar soaking tub. “It’s so secluded,” she says. “The view of the mountains is magnificent. It’s like a fairyland.”
WHILE YOU’RE THERE
Highlights of the 160-acre D.H. Lawrence Ranch, where the author and his wife, Frieda—also a writer—lived on and off in the 1920s, include a Lawrence memorial and a behemoth pine tree painted by guest Georgia O’Keeffe.
A local favorite for fine dining and craft cocktails, Medley plates a globe-trotting culinary tour, from Nashville hot fried frog legs and lamb Bolognese to local favorites like tinga tacos.
No doubt, Taos’s Río Grande Gorge Bridge wins the Academy Award for best performance by a bridge. But John Dunn Bridge is nearly as famous for phenomenal trout fishing on the Río Grande.