The Hi Road

You can easily get between Taos and Sante Fe via the freeway, but there is something special about the leisurely and scenic hi- road.  You will find yourself winding through small quaint little towns, some with some history and some with little art galleries.  And of course, the views!

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Our first stop was Santuario de Chimayo.  This holy place that many believe holds a miracle associated with a crucifixion and possesses curative powers.  Two chapels, built in 1816 and 1857, are part of a yearly Easter pilgrimage site.  It was started by U.S. soldiers as part of the Bataan Death March and is continued today by thousands.

The Hi Road to Taos by

The Hi Road to Taos by

The Hi Road to Taos by

Going to Taos?? Take the scenic Hi- road. Click To Tweet

As we continued onward, we were welcomed with the view of Trucha Peaks.  In June, you can still see snow in the mountains.

Side note:  I purposely left the wires in the corner of this photo.  This was a “drive by shooting”, meaning I take pictures while my husband is driving.  If we pulled over for every photo I wanted to take, we would never get to where we are going. 😆

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The Town of Taos

Unlike many ski towns, the town of Taos and the ski resorts are not next to each other.  The town is located in the valley and is easy to get around.  Taos reminded me of Sedona, Arizona with its artsy vibe and good eats.  Everywhere you look, there is an art gallery and restaurant.  So, what do you do when you are hungry and there are 100 different choices for food?  You ask a local, of course.  When we asked one of the owners of a shop where to go, he said The Gorge Bar and Grill.

This place has something for everyone and did not disappoint.  I’m a sucker for a good club sandwich so I passed on having a salad and went all out for their Club.  As you can see, the portions are plenty and the looks do not lie.  We were fortunate enough to sit outside on their balcony which overlooks the Historic Plaza.  Check out their website to make reservations.

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Just Outside of Taos

After leaving Taos, we drove a short distance to the Rio Grande Gorge.  Water coming straight from Colorado sweeps under this amazing bridge.  Coming from Taos, drive across the bridge to the other side to park.  You can walk back to the bridge to look down from it or you can park on the left-hand side of the road in the rest area and walk a short distance to get this view.  There is a lot less people with this option and it is a get chance to use the clean bathrooms.  If you like geology, this is an excellent stop. You can read about the geology here, by Linda Thompson.

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After leaving the picnic area and getting back onto the road, we were welcomed by this flock of Big Horn sheep.  I had never seen wild ones before so it made for a fun surprise, especially seeing how easily they could jump right over the fence. I probably could have taken better pictures had it not been for the one tourist that started walking toward them.  Please, don’t be that tourist. They are wild animals and you end up ruining it for everyone. Plus, you look dumb.

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Not too far from the gorge is an interesting group of homes within the Earthship Biotecture.  I had never heard of these types of houses before visiting this place.  They are a group of private homes and nightly rental homes.  Apparently, these types of houses exist all over the world.  They are highly sustainable and use recycled materials such as bottles and cans to build.   They also provide electricity, potable water, contained sewage treatment and sustainable food production. Truly amazing!  We passed on the tour because of timing but the visitor center taught us so much about the whole process.

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Ojo Caliente

On our way back on the 285, we stopped off at Ojo Caliente, a resort and hot springs.  I really wish we had done some planning and brought our suits because this place looks amazing.  They have many different types of pools and the resort looks very nice.  I could easily see making this place a separate weekend vacation spot.  Girls trip anyone??

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The last stop on our trip was Gabriel’s.  Again, this place was recommended by a local.  Just on the outskirts of  Sante Fe, this lovely place offers wonderful Southwestern cuisine.  Again, we were happy with our meal, especially the tableside guacamole.  Be sure to make reservations because as big as it was, it was packed.  Which is always a good sign, right?  The only thing I was not impressed with was the tortilla soup.  I admit I am used to Mexican tortilla soup which is more creamy resembling enchilada sauce.  This soup was like actual broth soup and tasted nothing like what I am used to.  Other than that,  we left with full bellies and happy with our first tasting of sopapillas.

The Hi Road to Taos by

The Hi Road to Taos by

The Hi Road to Taos by

Day trip to Taos?? This is a map of our stops. Click To Tweet

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Another Cliché Sunset | Fab Photo Friday

When I first read the quote “The biggest cliche in photography is sunrise and sunset”,  by Catherine Opie, I just laughed.  No matter how many times I have photographed either of the two, it never gets old. Every single one of them is a different process, different colors, different setting.  And even in the same setting, like this beach I have been to many many times, the result is always new.

So, are they really cliché?

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To me, selfies are more cliché.  You’ve seen one you’ve seen them all.

But take this photo for example.  It is a process of about an hour and I started photographing on the shores of the lake. Because… sunset over water; that’s where it’s at.  Yes, many times, it is.  But this time, after the sun had actually fallen below the mountain line, the sunset still wasn’t right for photographing.

There were still people on the beach.

A bench was in the way.

My angle wasn’t right.

As I wandered around waiting for the colors to come, I was drawn to the flowers up above the beach line.  Behind all the tall grass was a beautiful view of the mountains, some still with snow.  The marshy foreground was trying to grandstand the show with some reflection.  And the birds timed their flight perfectly, enjoying the same view I am.

Behind all the tall grass was a beautiful view of the mountains, some still snow covered. And the marshy foreground was trying to grandstand the show with some reflection. Fab Photo Friday Click To Tweet

The band Phish had it right, with their song Lawn Boy.  The olfactory senses working in cohesion with your visuals.  Just perfectly.

Throughout the night when there’s no direct light

and a thin veil of clouds keeps the stars out of sight

I can smell the colors outside on my lawn

The moist green organic that my feet tread upon

And the black oleander surrounded by blues

I’m soon overwhelmed by olfactory hues


THIS.  This is where is at.  Enjoying the moment when these beautiful photos are taken.  Isn’t that what we feel when we see a sunrise or sunset.  Anyone’s sunrise or sunset photos.  We all share the feeling of waiting and anticipation that goes along with actually taking the photo, and I think we empathize with a feeling of gratitude.  That is a pretty special connection that a photograph is able to produce and to me, doesn’t feel cliché at all.

If you want to check out some AMAZING sunrises from all over the world, check out this photo essay, New Beginnings.

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Swanky Meets Casual at The Lake House Restaurant | How to Eat Like A Local, South Lake Tahoe

There is a relatively new restaurant in town that is all the rage.  Open for about 9 months, The Lake House Resturant is turning heads.  Being a part time local, I finally had a chance to dine here and I was very much impressed.  Having recently visited a couple other fine dining options that once held the title of “my favorite”, I was pleased to have a new contender. The Lake House was nothing short of excellent in food, atmosphere, and staff so you could imagine my excitement when the owner, Jeff Sparrow agreed to be interviewed.

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Swanky Meets Casual at the Lake House Restaurant, Lake Tahoe Click To Tweet

The Details

Owners: Jeff & Misty Sparrow, also owners of Lake Tahoe Catering Company

Executive Chef: Jimi Nakamatsu

Opened: October 31, 2016, after a 9 month remodel of the building.

Business Hours:  5pm-9pm, Happy Hour 4pm-6pm

Seating: dinner for 2 up to large groups


The Lake House offers a full menu that is “fine dining without the pretension”, says Jeff.  You will find an array of dishes that are wonderfully devised and know exactly what the ingredients are.  You won’t find any words you cannot pronounce and at the risk of sounding gauche, I like knowing what I am ordering.  You can find their dinner menu here.  We had a hard time deciding what to order, as most everything on the menu sounded fabulous.  In their appetizer section, the chef prepares a “daily risotto” and they also have a rotating seasonal salad.  The main portion of the menu remains fairly consistent, but both the owners and chefs are constantly bouncing ideas off of one another to create new items.  Vegetarian??  They had an eggplant dish on the menu while we were there.  Jeff also said that he would be happy to help you out with other things you see on the menu that could be put together to make a dish.  They also offer a wide selection of beer and wine.


You will find comfortable seating with a classy vibe.  Everything from the stained concrete floors to the rustic chandeliers to the bluesy mellow music are all very welcoming. The wall of antique gold mirrors against a neutral textured wall is prime example of its homey feeling.  On the walls are large canvases of Lake Tahoe prints to round it all out.


Address:  1181 Emerald Bay Road, South Lake Tahoe, California

Phone: 530-541-3433


The Lake House Restaurant | How to Eat Like a Local by

First Course:

We started with an assortment of Calamari, Escargot, and the Wedge Salad.  We decided sharing is caring.  My son ate most of the calamari but of what I could steal, it was excellent.  The escargot I would order again in a second, giving way to the perfect combination of garlic and butter.  I typically order the wedge salad in many restaurants and have never had one with candied walnuts before.  It was an excellent addition and I will probably add this touch to the one I make at home.

The Lake House Restaurant | How to Eat Like a Local by

The Lake House Restaurant | How to Eat Like a Local by

The Lake House Restaurant | How to Eat Like a Local by

Main Course:

After revising our plan a few times, the kids decided they would order off the happy hour menu.  Just a note, there is no kids menu but mine are older and have no problem with “adult dining”.  If you have little ones, my suggestion is to have a date night.

I decided to go with the Chicken Marsala because I had not had it in so long. As you can see, it was a large portion.  My husband decided on the Scallops and Prawn Chimichurri, which he was beyond thrilled with and convinced the people sitting next to us to order as well when they asked him about it.

The Lake House Restaurant | How to Eat Like a Local by

The Lake House Restaurant | How to Eat Like a Local by


Ever since we visited Italy, my kids have been obsessed with gelato.  When they found it on the menu, they were just delighted.  We also ordered the creme brulee, which had a touch of what I thought was lemon, but after looking at the menu again discovered it was Grand Marnier.  Even better.

After our dessert was a little surprise of chocolate peppermint bliss.  It is sweet and salty and I am so glad I don’t have a sweet tooth because I would buy this by the pound.  When I asked Chef Jimi about this creation, he just smiled as if he knew this “crack” confection would have us coming back for more.

Side note:  When your bill arrives, it will come in a guest book.  Please sign it, the owners do take the time to read it.

The Lake House Restaurant | How to Eat Like a Local by


Ate at the best restaurant last night. Can’t wait to share the details with you. #yummy #dessert #laketahoe #beingalocal #newrestaurant

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I am so excited for the future of this place.  Jeff and Misty have future plans for outdoor patio seating and for a food truck.  I spend part of my time in Phoenix and have grown to love food trucks.  They are no longer the beat up, unsanitized boxes they once were.  Today, some of them are top of the line gourmet.  I believe Tahoe would benefit from a Lake House food truck for town events, or just to run some of that chocolate over to our house.

I had a great time meeting everyone at The Lake House.  If you would like to support a great “local” restaurant, give them a visit.

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