DH Lawrence Ranch & Memorial


The ranch and memorial containing the ashes of the late novelist D.H. Lawrence, known for writing Lady Chatterley's Lover (1928) and The Rainbow (1915), is located 20 miles north of Taos on a mountain slope. Fans all over the world visit the remote location to pay respects to one of the greatest writers of the 20th century. (Photo by Kim Kulish/Corbis via Getty Images)
DH Lawrence Ranch & Memorial

Kim Kulish/Getty

In 1924, Mabel Dodge Luhan gave DH Lawrence's wife, Frieda, this 160-acre ranch, now administered by the University of New Mexico, where the Lawrence-obsessed can pay their respects to the famed author of such classics as Lady Chatterley's Lover. Opening hours change if the weather is bad, so call before visiting. It's 20 miles north of Taos. Don't rely on Google maps. Take Hwy 522 north to marker 10. Turn right at Rd B009 and drive 5½ miles, bearing right at the Y.

Lawrence and Frieda lived here for only a few months in 1924–25 along with artist Dorothy Brett, who accepted Lawrence's invitation to create 'Rananim,' a utopian society. Lawrence spent his time repairing the cabins, chopping wood, hiking the trails and (with the help of Frieda) fighting off the attentions of Dorothy and patron Mabel Dodge Luhan. He also managed to complete the novella St Maw, his biblical drama David, parts of The Plumed Serpent and other works in between. Relax beneath the Lawrence Tree, which brings in the O'Keeffe fans (yep, it looks just like her painting) and contemplate what he called 'the greatest experience I ever had from the outside world.'

Lawrence returned to Europe in 1925 and succumbed to tuberculosis in 1930. After Frieda moved back to Taos in 1934, she ordered his body exhumed and cremated, and had the ashes brought here. Luhan and Brett both showed up uninvited to help scatter said ashes, which, according to legend, prompted Frieda to finally dump the remains into a wheelbarrow full of wet cement. According to one story, the cement was used to make the memorial's altar – and his personal symbol, the phoenix, rises therefrom.

Ascend the meandering paved walkway to the memorial, designed by Frieda's third husband, where the lump of concrete has been inscribed with Lawrence's initials and green leaves and yellow flowers. It's heartwarming, with a scandalous giggle, just like Lawrence would have wanted.