The Dobson House

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. 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. (505) 776-5738;