Mabel Dodge Luhan House

Mable Dodge Luhan House

Among the magnetic forces attracting creative geniuses to Taos, New Mexico, besides the land itself, were author and heiress Mabel Dodge Luhan and her Native American husband Tony Luhan.  Mabel invited innovative artists and writers to Taos and, once they were there, many of them, such as Georgia O’Keeffe and D.H. Lawrence were smitten and came back often or moved there altogether.

Some arrived, as I did, in the midst of life changes.  One author observed that “many who came to the Luhan House were at a critical point in their lives, physically, psychologically, or vocationally.  For them the house functioned as a kind of life crisis center breaking down and healing (Lois Rudnick, Utopian Vistas).”  Three weeks after my surgery, my husband drove me down a narrow road to the creative vortex known as the Luhan House peeking out from the trees, a place to hear Mabel and Georgia and any muses who may yet linger.

The ninety-year-old home was handmade by people from Tony’s pueblo and is now an inn and historic site.  I entered the white double Dutch front door, passed through a small living room and up some steps into the Rainbow Room.  This is where the magic came alive.  The cozy, shabby chairs looked to me as if Mabel and Tony had only left the room for a moment and would be back bearing treats from the kitchen.  We would surely have fascinating conversations by the kiva fireplace (also handmade by the craftsmen of Taos Pueblo, with bits of hay showing through the clay).  We would foster a creative culture right here in northern New Mexico!

After I soaked up the atmosphere of the House, I went outside to a labyrinth made of stones.  Carrying a pretty green stone and a sparkling white one, I made my way to the center, winding back and forth on the artfully laid path.  Because my husband was waiting in the car, I walked as briskly as I could with my incisions still tender.  Mabel Dodge Luhan wrote in her book, Edge of Taos Desert, “Now I had come to the place where one life ends and another may begin.”  I left my stones in the center of the labyrinth along with prayers for my new journey, breaking down and healing.

Mabel and Tony Luhan

2 thoughts on “Mabel Dodge Luhan House

  1. monicadevine

    I love New Mexico and will be visiting the Mabel Dodge Luhan house as well as Ghost Ranch this September. I am drawn to this part of the country time and time again; because of its beauty, because of it’s compelling landscape (raw & wild, like my home in Alaska). Lovely post.

    1. bwterao Post author

      Have a wonderful visit to New Mexico! Quite a change from your northern digs, I imagine. Luhan House was my favorite place, though it is very limited what you can do there. I liked the drive to Ghost Ranch because you can see Pedernal and other sites that Georgia O’Keeffe painted. The D.H. Lawrence Ranch seems to be closed for some reason, so we had no luck getting in there. Have fun!


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