Back in the beginning of October, 2013, my husband and I went to New Mexico for the balloon festival in Albuquerque. Our kids were all in college at the time, so we were first-time empty nesters.
We saw the balloons in Albuquerque, stayed in Santa Fe, and drove up to Taos. If you've never heard of the place, I'd recommend visiting there at some point, especially if you're a writer.
The area is filled with artists, so to me, the pace was a bit slower. People seemed to slow down to appreciate life. The 2010 census put the population of Taos at less than 6,000 people. We were there during a festival, so it was a big crowded on the streets.
We looked at artwork, checked out local shops, and ate lunch in Taos. It's located in the mountains, and the skiing is wonderful in the wintertime.
What was so cool was that this is the place for the Taos Hum. From what I understand, some people hear a humming sound that no one can explain.
Regardless, if you want an ideal setting for a book, especially one that includes a small-ish town with artsy people who seem to have a calm and fun life, then look into Taos. I thoroughly enjoyed our visit there.
Have a great day!
Taos, New Mexico