Traveling the Turquoise Trail


I’m still thinking about November as a month to remember the dead, and that reminded me that I wanted to post about a place that has a really fascinating cemetery.  Jumping from a Kansas City, Missouri Day of the Dead exhibit to a Madrid (pronounced “MAD-rid”) New Mexico cemetery is but the work of a second for my brain, so zip along with me, and I’ll show you the best cemetery I’ve ever seen in my life.
No, wait.
The problem I face with blogging is that I have so many places I’d like to show you, and  they all seem to need a bit of background information. Putting all this information plus the cemetery in one post seems excessive,  so today I will give you a general overview of the town, and save the cemetery pictures for next time.
In a nutshell, Madrid  is an old coal mining town from the 1850’s. It turned into a ghost town for a while, but in the 197o’s it reincarnated as a tourist trap, I mean haven for artists and creative hippie types.

Travel the scenic Turquoise Trail and experience the village of Madrid nestled in a narrow canyon in the Ortiz Mountains. Once a historic coal mining town and ghost town, Madrid is now a creative community with over 40 shops and galleries, several restaurants, a spa and museum.

It really is beautiful, and small enough that you can walk it and see all the old houses and shops in an afternoon. And during high season, it seems like almost everyone for miles around has chosen to do just that. (All the others are north in Santa Fe.)

IMG_1478Dare to come by before the end of May, though, and some businesses are not yet open for the season. Especially places to stay overnight.

IMG_1480Old miner’s cabins are remodeled into shops.

IMG_1481Lots of really picturesque buildings from the old days.

IMG_1534I love this lavender house with the sunflowers around the windows.


IMG_1474Some haven’t yet been remodeled into shops. Most of these are on the edge of town where it’s more difficult to get a photo.

IMG_1475Seriously, though, this is a great little town  and there’s a museum about the coal mining days and a tavern that both seem to be very popular. The art shops have all sorts of original arts and crafts, as well as some imports. Some of it is really great, and some of it is the same old thing, but overall it’s high quality work by local artists.

IMG_1483I don’t recall the name of this shop on the east side of the road, but it had lots of unique sculptures made from recycled materials, aka trash, which I found appealing. Also, the shop owner was friendly and gave me information I needed about the condition of the road up to the cemetery.

IMG_1485All the shops are on the main street, Hwy 14, part of the Turquoise Trail, which extends from Santa Fe along the Cerillos Hills and the Ortiz Mountains, ending at I-40 in Albuquerque. It’s a lovely drive.

This blog, by author Midori Snyder, presents a wealth of her own family history from Madrid and fascinating photos  from the mining years, including photos of the stupendous Christmas decorations that were a tradition in the past. All I can do is show you a few present-day photos, but to really get a glimpse into the history of this place, take a look here:

Now you know what 99% of the public sees when they visit Madrid. Next, the cemetery, which I think  is the most unique thing about this town.



7 responses to “Traveling the Turquoise Trail

  1. I love little places like this, creative, colourful and often we experience moments of meaning and magic there.

  2. I love a good hodge-podge made pretty! I can’t wait to see the cemetery.

  3. This is a wonderful tour, Jeanne. Reminds me of the little town I arrived in when we arrived in Canada from Europe.

  4. Reblogged this on So Far From Heaven and commented:
    If I were 20-30 and the year was 1965-1975 I might figure out a way to spend a lot of time in that area doing things that no longer could be done by the ’90s. Jack

  5. It looks like there’s something for everybody.

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