British author D.H. Lawrence described his connection to New Mexico as "the greatest experience I ever had from the outside world. It certainly changed me forever." The rustic ranch northwest of Taos where he spent a brief part of his life during the 1920s recently reopened to visitors.
How did the author of "Women in Love" and "Lady Chatterley's Lover" wind up in the Land of Enchantment? He had been invited by socialite Mabel Dodge Luhan, a woman who counted Georgia O'Keeffe, Alfred Stieglitz and Ansel Adams among her circle.
It was Luhan who subsequently gave the Lawrences the 160-acre ranch that sits at 8,500 feet in elevation, according to a University of New Mexico ranch history. (It's also known as the Kiowa Ranch, named for the Native Americans who once lived there.)
Of three buildings that remain at the site, the couple moved into what's called the Homesteader's Cabin. It was a simple but rundown three-room affair, the history says. Lawrence worked to fix it up with the help of locals. He wrote beneath a large pine tree at the front of the house that O'Keeffe would make famous in her painting aptly called "The Lawrence Tree."
Now the University of New Mexico, the D.H. Lawrence Ranch Alliance and the Taos Community Foundation have reopened the site for the first time since 2010. Buildings and features at the ranch have been restored, including a memorial shrine to Lawrence, who died in 1930.
Admission is free and, though there are no formal tours of the property, a docent will be present during opening hours. The organizations are still working to preserve the historic buildings at the ranch as well as Lawrence's legacy.
Opening hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays until the end of October. The ranch is 20 miles from Taos off Highway 522 just south of San Cristobal. Visitors should look for mile marker 10 and make a right.
Info: D.H. Lawrence RanchCopyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times