Filed under: Family Camping, Family Day Trips, Historic Places & Landmarks
The Lighting of Ledoux
In July of this year I wrote and published a post about Taos, New Mexico’s historic Ledoux Street. Named after one of the area’s first French trappers, Paul Ledoux, the street houses the oldest galleries, shops and studios in Taos. A treat to visit in the summer months, when camping in the Taos area, Ledoux Street is even more of a treat to visit during the holidays if you can get yourself to this small southwestern community.
The Lighting of Ledoux occurs the first Saturday in December every year. The street is illuminated with thousands of farolitos, small paper bags containing sand and a lighted votive candle. Father Winter, aka Santa, in an antique fire truck, leads the townspeople in a parade down Ledoux Street, preceded by a trumpeter playing Christmas carols. He proceeds to the Harwood Museum at the very end of Ledoux Street, where he gives each child who confides their holiday wish a small gift.
In addition, the shops and galleries build bonfires, called luminarias, around which guests may warm themselves and toast marshmallows. Many businesses also provide hot cider, soup, Christmas cookies and candies and posole, a New Mexican hot dish made up of corn, pork and spices. Carolers add to the festive atmosphere after Santa arrives. The lighted farolitos will line the streets through the holiday season so shoppers and visitors may be guided in their shopping journey throughout the Christmas season.
Interestingly Spanish settlers started the tradition of the farolitos in The Taos area several hundred years ago upon their arrival from Spain. The tradition has persisted. Interestingly, in Santa Fe, just to the south of Taos, the names are reversed. The bonfires are called farolitos and the candles in paper bags, referred to as luminarias. Either way, it is a warm and lovely holiday tradition that is a delight to behold.
And, lest you think you would not be able to camp while attending this event, let me reassure you the Taos RV Park is open year round and very accommodating. I profiled them about a year and a half ago after we spent a week there in our camper. Temperatures can drop to the teens and 20s at night, but nothing your camper furnace can’t handle. And due to the dryness of the atmosphere, it actually feels warmer out doors than the humid Midwestern winters I have come to know in my 54 years.
In Wisconsin, I was always cold. In New Mexico, we are out hiking every weekend wearing only a fleece top with a base layer underneath. So consider camping in New Mexico early next December to catch the “Lighting of Ledoux”. It is a magical experience you will not soon forget.
To find your home away from home when visiting New Mexico browse Woodall’s listings of New Mexico RV camping resorts.