Saturday, July 19, 2014

On the Turquoise Trail in New Mexico

Twenty years ago The Amazing Ms. D and I took our first vacation together. It was a two week trip to the Southwest. This year we are getting the chance to retrace some of that trip together.

The Turquoise Trail

The first part of this trip is taking The Turquoise Trail. This is a fantastic day trip from Albuquerque or Santa Fe (about 150 miles round trip). What drew us 20 years ago was the chance to see the ghost towns of Golden, Madrid and Cerrillos.   Well things have really changed in 20 years.

None of the towns are ghost towns anymore, and there are some really interesting places to stop, shop and eat along the way.

Madrid NM

Madrid is a former coal mining company town. The mine operated through the 1950's and provided major amounts of coal to Los Alamos and the Manhattan Project. When the mine closed the company tried to sell off the entire town, but was unable to. So the town was abandoned and became a ghost town. In the 1970's the started selling off individual parcels and this led to the rebirth of Madrid.

Downtown Madrid on a busy Thursday

Madrid has made a place for itself by becoming home to artists and galleries. The town is full of places to by art, jewelry and pottery by local artists and also native artists. One fine gallery is the Dream Gallery owned by Pamela Ellsworth

The garden at Dream Gallery
Pamela is a wonderful photographer and she has filled her shop and the garden in front with beautiful work by her and other artists

recycled iron plates made into beautiful pieces 

There are several pieces like this, with beautiful stones at their center

The Amazing Ms. D spending some time with Pamela Ellsworth

The garden
Connected to Dream is Chumani Gallery. 
Here Owner Jesse, is friendly and outgoing. He has wonderful high end pieces, and also jewelery that everyone can afford.

The Amazing Ms. D Models one of Chumani Galleries pieces

For lunch we stopped in at Momma Lisa's No Pity Cafe. Lisa is an excellent chef and also an excellent potter. We had a dish she calls zucchini linguine, in which the zucchini is cut into long strips and serves instead of pasta. We also had an Asian strip steak salad. Both were delicious. The best, though, was the home-made pistachio ice cream.

Cerrillos NM

From Madrid we continued north to Cerrillos NM. Of the towns on the Turquoise Trail, Cerrillos is the most unchanged from 20 years ago.

Main Street

The other half of Main Street
The cultural center of Cerrillos?
In town is the Casa Grande Trading Post.

Casa Grande is a great source for rocks, minerals, bottles, and other things that you might find around. They also sell prints of historic maps and jewelry.

In addition to  the Trading post is a museum of turquoise and and a petting zoo.

If you are in New Mexico the Turquoise Trail is worth the trip.


  1. Jon, I just got back to Manhattan and checked out your blog. It brought back wonderful memories of going along the Trail. Ah, the art galleries and stores in Madrid are fantastic and so much to learn about from store to store!!
    I'm enjoying your blog entries.

  2. Haha, so glad to see that the Casa Grande is still the same small store. I learned all about geodes there and purchased a few.

  3. Hey, Jonathan, what in the world is a hackey-sacker? Pic of Flagstaff shows 3 hackey-sackers.....???

  4. A hack-sacker plays hacky-sack - a game that involves keeping a small bean bag in the air using any part of your body except your hands