Last Saturday my husband and I went up to see Ghost Ranch, NM, where Georgia O'Keeffe lived and painted. I have always read about the greatness, and the vast and unique beauty of NM, and how many famous artists and writters have settled here (DH Lawrence, Mabel Lodge, and more recently, "celebrities" such as Julia Roberts and Val Kilmer). So I was excited to see what the look and feel would be.
I have lived in NM for 13 years, but because I grew up in WY, I think the impact of coming to NM was less than if I had lived in the eastern United States. I have always lived in the west, and when I moved here from the bay area (Fairfield, CA) and my husband and I drove up to Santa Fe, we kept waiting for the "magic" to hit us. (It didn't.)
Then we drove up to Taos, and when we hit the summit, coming into the valley, and town of Taos, we were struck with the beauty everyone talks about. There really was a unique quality to the atmosphere and light. (But who could say that walking around Jackson Hole, WY, surrounded by the Tetons, or on top of the Rocky Mountains in Vail, CO, or swimming in the surf at Stinson Beach, or even anywhere in HI, is any less beautiful?) Each place is beautiful!!
So having said all that, I find it hard, if not impossible to choose one place in our country that is the most beautiful. NM has grown on me over the past 13 years though, and I really do love it here! Now I am struck with NM's beauty every day! Just looking out my window at the Sandia Mountains, and the deep blueness of the sky, it really is awesome!! (I even enjoy the trip up to Santa Fe.)
When we went to Ghost Ranch, (2 hrs from Albuquerque) the most amazing thing to me was to stand where Georgia O'Keeffe stood and painted, and seeing the exact landscape as in her painting. The guide (yes we went on the tour) would hold up a picture of a painting, and then we'd look up and there it was, exactly as she saw it. That to me was incredible!!
The only disappointing thing about the whole trip was not seeing Georgia's house. We could see it through the fence at the driveway, but other than that it is fenced off, and there are no tours through it. You can tour her house in Abiquiu, but we chose not to take that tour. (It is $40.00 each.)
Ghost Ranch itself is like an old hippie commune. They hold all kinds of classes that include many different arts and writing clinics. People wander around, and they can hike, paint, read, etc. They can even spend the night, and there is a dining hall to eat. I would think people from the "big cities" would love it. (They even filmed City Slickers there, and some of 3-10 to Yuma.)