The best town in New Mexico

I am in no position whatsoever to make this declaration, but qualification is such a silly thing to stand in a person’s way. So I’m going to say it: Madrid (pronounced with a short a, first syllable emphasis) is the best town in New Mexico. A former coal mining town that was essentially taken over and revived by artists, Madrid is in no way fancy. It’s just totally amazing. It’s like a Wild West town with a Willy Wonka makeover: dirt streets, haphazard buildings and random interestingness everywhere. And NICE, LOVELY, DARLING people. Everyone we met was so engaging and friendly. We even met a little girl who was selling jewelry and baked goods to finance her People to People trip to Washington D.C. For those who don’t know, which might be all of you besides Mom, I was a teacher on a People to People trip in 2002. My friend Allene and I took 40 8th and 9th graders to England, Ireland and Wales for three weeks. It was one of the most challenging, inspiring, beautiful trips I will ever take.

Here I am on the PtoP trip. Much, much younger, blonde and mocking the signage at Warwick Castle.

Anyway, Mom bought some jewelry, of course, and then we talked to the little girl for a while about why she was taking the trip (“Because it’s for kids who have leadership POtential.” Adorable.)

Madrid is too wonderful to belabor with words, so I took some pictures. And you should go. Forget Santa Fe.

We found these magnificent homemade (by children, it seems) stuffed animals at the first shop in town.

At the Mercantile, I took this photo of the sort of convenience store wares unique to New Mexico. They're unique only because of the green and red chiles of course. But still. We also ate some delicious home-baked wedding cookies at the Mercantile.

The best store in the best town in New Mexico.

The sorts of things you can buy at the best store in the best town in New Mexico. Some of you got Christmas/Chanukah presents from this store. Just so you know.

Coffee. Because the best town in New Mexico must have coffee.

A look down a street on the Turquoise Trail (Madrid, Main Street).

And I need this car. Anyone know what it is?

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3 thoughts on “The best town in New Mexico

  1. I wouldn’t say to forget Santa Fe, but I would definitely say Madrid is a must-see! Beautiful artwork, upscale second hand stores, beautiful hand woven rugs! I am so sorry we didn’t get a photo of Ulyssias who sold us a silver ring on the street across from the mercantile. He looked like an old gypsy with long dark locks weighted down by a black hat. He wore a black frock coat and thick silver and gold rings and he had an accent I couldn’t identify but it was formal and sophisticated for an apparently wandering maybe homeless maybe not jewelry maker. We don’t know how good that coffee was because I stepped out of line to ask a question and lost my place. The line immediately grew to the door filled in by what I could only figure was a vanload of family members out to enjoy the day after Thanksgiving. Neither Juli nor I had the patience to wait so we liked the shop whose t-shirts said bad coffee sucks but we didn’t get to test it. We would have gotten Juli a shirt, but they didn’t have her size, so sad because that is truly one of her mantras. The drive down the Turquoise Trail was beautiful only slightly dampened by the blinding afternoon sun. Maybe I need sunglasses.

  2. In that last photo I’m pretty sure that rig is an early 1960’s Chevy Suburban. And yes, you need it. Benji needs an older brother.

  3. From the looks and sounds of it, this place sounds Fan-Tastic & quite enchanting. I’m sorry you didn’t get a chance to try the coffee, although I’m sure the experience did not suffer from its absence. I love the idea of a small town centered around art, coffee, dogs, cool cars and handmade goods. I don’t know what kind of car you have there, but I do think you should join the station wagon club with me. They are truly the most handy kind of car to have and that one looks uber cool. Can’t wait to see you and hear about your travels first-hand.

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