As it continues, the main road toward the ski area eventually makes a hard right, and the so-called “rim road” heads to the left. It runs the length of a canyon edge, overlooking Valle Valdez below, where tidy farm plots are set along Rio Hondo and the traditional acequia irrigation model that has been used here for more than four centuries. In typical modern real-estate distribution, the not-so-well-off native Taoseños value their fertile soil, while wealthy arrivistes (Julia Roberts, most famously) have claimed the swoon-inducing views on the rim road, which was developed only in the later part of the 20th century. On the north side of the valley, the ritzy Turley Mill development is built on the site of a still that produced the powerful bootleg hooch known as “Taos lightning” from the 1700s to 1847. It’s now home to Donald Rumsfeld and other occupants of million-dollar casitas.