On the way to Santa Fe - Madrid, NM
Nothing says Southwest like the historic city of Santa Fe, NM. I had been there before and at the time stated "I have found the place I want to retire to", so I wanted to take my husband there as well. Meanwhile, I have found another place where I will some day retire (Scottsdale, AZ), but I am still in awe of the beauty of Santa Fe.
Southwest flew us to Albuquerque where we hopped in a rental car and drove North. We had done a full 10 minutes of research via YouTube for this trip and had heard about a town called Madrid that was on the way to our final destination. We didn't really have a clue what the town was all about, how far it was from Albuquerque, but we enjoy a bit of the unknown for a good road trip. You have to keep an open mind and be ready for some flexibility, right?
What a lovely surprise the town of Madrid was! An old Southwest coal mining town that is now home to a lively artist community and plenty of places to eat, drink and listen to live music. It has more than 40 stores/galleries. It reminded me a bit of Cave Creek, AZ, but more colorful and quirky. We landed in a lunch place called The Hollar, where we had unexpected good food (fresh local fried green tomatoes on a plate loaded with other greens). Washed down with a Stella Artois and accompanied by some live country music, it was a relaxing outdoor lunch.....in about 100F :)
After lunch, we walked around to explore the local stores that all had interesting products, from paintings to pottery, jewelry, Southwest decor, ice cream and chocolate, art glass, vintage cameras and clothing. All around us was color, as well as beautiful blue skies. We walked into a local store only to find out that the lady at the desk was an Arizona native who had adopted this town as her new home. She said "we all take care of each other over here". We could certainly feel the community spirit in Madrid.
Maggie's Diner was also the place where part of the movie Wild Hogs was filmed...sheepishly have to admit that I had not even heard of that movie and still haven't seen it. For movie buffs, this will need to be a must-visit. I was personally more interested in a store basement full of antique and vintage goodies, but you would be able to find something that strikes someone's fancy.
I highly recommend this lovely town as a lunch stop on the way in between Albuquerque and Santa Fe....or just stop there for an ice cream cone.
Bring some cash to tip the live musicians and go early. Both sides of the main road were packed with parked cars or motorcycles so if you don't want to walk far, you will need to hit Madrid early. Early bird gets the worm (or in this case, a parking spot right by the Hollar restaurant).
You can find the website for the town of Madrid here: