From what I’ve gathered, Taos is a Magical Place. Natalie made a trip there not so long ago and came home breathless with tales of beauty and enlightenment. She was especially enthralled with the story of Mabel Dodge Luhan and the Mabel Dodge Luhan House.

Her experience inspired a new series of workshops called Weekend Away.

Natalie wrote in the introduction to this series:

I had the opportunity to visit Taos not so very long ago and, as much as I was looking forward to the trip, nothing could have prepared me for the experience. In a word: incredible. My stay at the Mabel Dodge Luhan House, my time in Taos, the breath-taking mountain backdrop, all left me feeling rested, energized, inspired.

I have always felt that our workshops have a sort of healing property and, while we love hosting weekend workshops in our home @The Factory, we also feel that it is beneficial to visit the “homes” of others for an extended stay. We are beginning to seek destinations that nourish the soul and calm the mind. Taos seems the perfect place to begin.”

We will be staying in the Mabel Dodge Luhan House guest rooms and the workshop events will take place in the common rooms that have such a rich artistic history.

I spoke with Dorothy from the Mabel Dodge Luhan House yesterday morning, asking if there might be a chef on staff who could prepare some regional recipes during our retreat.

“Oh yes, one of the chefs on staff just completed a beautiful cookbook called, From Taos with Love”…

“Are there trails or guided hikes nearby?”

“Walking distance, just in the Plaza,” Dorothy speaks to me as though I know the area. Her tone and quick answers make me feel familiar with the grounds already. She describes points of interest and assures me there will be no shortage of beautiful things to experience.

“Can guests come early or stay late?”

“Of course, but they should call. We can give them a 10% discount if they call and mention they’re with Alabama Chanin.”

And now I’m certain that Taos must exist in a parallel universe, one where reservations aren’t made online and you can sense that the person on the other end of the receiver is smiling.

I feel compelled to tell Dorothy about the yoga sessions and guided meditation we have planned. I tell her that this is our first weekend away, what we’re looking for, and how excited we all are.

“I’ll send you some things,” she says before we end the call. I have already received one package from Dorothy at the Mabel Dodge Luhan House, filled with pictures and info, and a copy of a hand-drawn layout map of the grounds. I’ve been studying it, dreaming of arriving in June.

I also ordered Edge of Taos Desert: An Escape to Reality. I am eager to learn more. I am considering it my Taos primer.

The final details are falling into place, but we always love to hear your suggestions. Feel free to comment here or email me at june(at)alabamachanin.com if you have any tips or suggestions for our stay in Taos.

This will be the first of many weekends away. Meals, lodging, and a beautiful custom project will just be parts of the experience. Join us, as we design the rest of our journey.


Below you find some information taken directly from the Mabel Dodge Luhan website. I can’t imagine saying it any better:

“She was a woman of profound contradictions. She was generous. She was petty. Domineering and endearing. She was Mabel Gansen Evans Dodge Sterne Luhan – salon hostess, art patroness, writer and self-appointed savior of humanity.
 Today as you approach the house of Mabel Dodge Luhan, it’s easy to see why some of the greatest minds of the 20th century were inspired here. Situated at the end of a quiet road not far from the center of town, the house appears much as it did in the days when Mabel admired her views of the sacred Taos Mountain from the third-story solarium. One can only imagine the tantalizing conversations that must have taken place within these walls. After all, Georgia O’Keeffe stayed here. So did D.H. Lawrence, Ansel Adams, Martha Graham and Carl Jung, among many other notables. As an historic inn and conference center which offers retreat-style meetings and artistic, literary, and personal growth workshops, the Mabel Dodge Luhan House continues to build on its 80-year history of personal, intellectual and artistic ferment. 
As a guest of the house expect to enjoy warm adobe charm, early century elegance, historic relevance. Herringbone vigas, traditional arched doorways, kiva fireplaces, and carved pillars. A welcoming hearth and relaxed ambiance. Panoramic view. Quiet patios and a tree-lined acequia. A full gourmet breakfast will start each day of your stay with us.”


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Click to read 4 comments
  1. Narra Gross Tsiagkouris


    I am both a AC fan, a fiber artist, and a New Mexican living less than an hour from Taos. I can’t agree more that the MDL house is a perfect retreat setting. I would love to share ideas with you regarding great stuff to do while in Taos. I would also love to take the retreat. I need to confirm travel plans and my teaching schedule for the summer then I can commit to a registration.

    Are you familiar with Terrie Mangat Hancock? She is a fiber artist, fabric designer and art quilt maker living in Taos. She has a fabulous studio near Taos Mtn. and Taos Ski Valley? That could be an event worth looking into.

    One of my most favorite places is, Ojo Caliente Hot Springs. They offer oodles of spa treatments and offer a wide selection of soaking options. Patrons may choose from private casitas with their own fireplace and tub, to an outdoor swimming pool, and a variety of indoor and outdoor, public and private mineral pools. During the warm months there is an urn of mud, a deck where one may lie in the sun while the mud dries, next to the urn is a mineral pool to soak off the mud and outdoor showers to rinse clean under. There are hiking trails nearby and an on site Yurt that houses Yoga classes. They have a website worthy of checking out.

    Common Thread, Uncommon Fabric is a beautiful, tiny fabric store in Taos. They offer natural fiber fabrics, and a lucious variety of silks. They sell a few patterns, notions, and an eclectic selection of accessories, buttons, ribbons and trims.

    There are many more areas of interest in Taos that I would love to share, but it is very early in the morining and I need to get some sleep so that I can be a nice person later today.

    I think an Alabama Chanin retreat in Taos would be outstanding.

  2. Diane Ericson

    Hi there, I would love to receive your blog…I appreciate what you are sharing your creativity and the materials you spend your time with. …. it speaks to my own experiences and feelings about making with our hands. Thank you for what you are doing. I also do a retreats and love my time at Mabel Dodge as well!
    I hope our paths cross in the future. enjoy the day, Diane Ericson

  3. Laurel Guerrero

    I have been at Mabel Dodge Luhan’s house with Fritz Scholder when he was alive. Once I spent a weekend in Tony ‘s room just so I could experience her bathtub. I am a professional chef now and would be willing to work the kitchen during one of your workshops. I lived in Tesuque for a long time and know some good Pueblo people who could make Indian bread and Chile stew for us. Please let me know when you are having a workshop, as I would also love to attend along with a friend as well. My e-mail is not working, but you can reach me on facebook
    Laurel Bolesky Guerrero. I would like to be in touch with someone who adores Taos like I do. Thanks!