Inn of the Month: Dobson House

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Taos, New Mexico

Visitors to Taos, N.M., often speak of feeling "at one" with Mother Earth. Stay at the Dobson House and you'll definitely experience that sensation. This 6,000-square-foot adobe bed & breakfast on the Rio Grande Gorge is environmentally friendly and solar-powered.

It was designed by Michael Reynolds, a Taos architect renowned for a style of homes called "earthships," which are built with recycled materials. "We were attracted to Reynolds' softly curving interior shapes, and the fact that we could build the house ourselves," explains Joan Dobson, who owns the inn with her husband, John.

Over three years, the Dobsons shaped 20,000 recycled aluminum cans, 2,000 old tires, 34 tons of Colorado sandstone and 28,000 pounds of dry cement into a striking, low-slung structure that blends seamlessly with its surroundings. At the inn's heart is the "round room," a 1,600-square-foot common area with sandstone floors, ponderosa pine columns and walls of glass that provide 270-degree views of the mountains. It's furnished with a combination of European antiques and Southwestern-style furniture. There's also a baby grand piano, a Russian spyglass and an eclectic library.

The wide, 100-foot-long stairway "gallery," lined with the Dobsons' impressive art collection (shown above), makes for a graceful descent to the inn's two guest suites. Southwestern in style, both suites feature stone floors, colorful Mexican tile, Ralph Lauren bed coverings, a separate sitting area and private baths.

Prior to making the easy 40-minute drive to the Taos Ski Valley ("no school buses, just one stoplight"), guests are treated to Joan's bountiful breakfasts¿chicken-apple sausage, Texas pecan biscuits, locally roasted coffee and fresh fruit, for example. Après-ski, enjoy a selection of homemade appetizers and wine. Afterwards, take a trip to Manby Hot Springs just down the road. Soak, and feel at peace with the world.

Rates are $98 a night ($130 during holidays), based on double occupancy. Contact: Dobson House, Post Box 1538, El Prado, N.M. 87529; (505) 776-5738; www.newmex.com/dobsonhouse .