Posted by: sunnyharvy | April 22, 2014

ABQ, Mountainaire and Madrid

We spent a couple of days in Albuquerque, NM (ABQ) taking advantage of city offerings such as Trader Joe’s and a laundromat. We also enjoyed a walk around historic Old Town and a peddle on the Paseo de Bosque Trail alongside the Rio Grande. Thanks to Boondockers Welcome hosts we camped for free in the nearby towns of Belen and Sandia Park. Thank you Rex & Patryka.

We took a scenic route from Belen to Sandia Park, which took us through the tiny town of Mountainaire. We had lunch in the dining room of the historic (1923) Shaffer Hotel, where much of the unusual “Pueblo Deco” styling has been preserved.



Did you know that the German swastika was copied from an American Indian design?


 Light fixtures, painted ceiling, and stained glass are all original from 1923.



We then headed north on the Turquoise Trail (Route 14), which is designated as a scenic and historic route. We were cruising along enjoying some nice views and a few very small villages when we suddenly came upon Madrid (pronounced Mad-rid). Once a historic coal mining town and ghost town, Madrid is now a creative community with over 40 shops and galleries, a few restaurants, and a historical museum. We had no prior knowledge of this town, so it was quite a pleasant surprise to find. We spent more than 4 hours perusing the galleries where we were astonished at the depth of creativity on display. Turns out that a bunch of hippies took over the town in the 70’s and never left. 


Just a few of the 40+ shops and galleries full of creative work.


 My favorite stop – the chocolatier.



 The original soda fountain.


 An opportunity just waiting for your investment – right on Main Street!


Former miner’s shacks now inhabited by artisans.


The same miner’s shacks in 1968 when my sister visited the then abandoned town.


 Entrance to Mine Shaft Tavern.


Home Sweet Home







  1. Wish I read your post before we visited Madrid. It looks like we missed the original soda fountain and chocolatier. 🙂 Or, maybe this shop is now something else. I see you took the same photo as us, the “real estate” wooden building in the middle of town. Still looking exactly like that. Your comparison of the miner houses is interesting as well. Lovely place to visit! Thanks for telling us about it!

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