by Michael Satterfield

I am all about taking the long way when I am on a road trip. So on a recent trip between Albuquerque and Santa Fe, I opted to take a little detour to the small town of Madrid, New Mexico. Instead of taking Interstate 25, head east on Interstate 40/ Route 66 to New Mexico State Road 14, known as the Turquoise Trail. The route is about 75 miles and is a National Scenic Byway that snakes its way through the Ortiz Mountains.

Madrid was originally a coal-mining town, the mines opened in the mid-1830s and while the growing number of houses and shops was called Madrid, the town was always owned by the mining companies and never officially incorporated. By the 1950s, the coal mine was shut down taking the majority of the jobs and residents along with it. The whole town was listed for sale in the Wall Street Journal in 1954 for the sum of $250,000, however, there were no takers and the small community slowly became a ghost town.

In the 1970s the family that owned Madrid began to sell some of the old company houses as cabins and began promoting the area to people from Albuquerque and Santa Fe as a place to have a weekend home. The lower prices attracted a number of artists from the area and soon the small town became known for its art galleries, boutiques, and several restaurants. There are few lodging options in Madrid as most people simply make a day trip of it, however, a few Bed & Breakfasts are in town as well as options via Airbnb if you are wanting to stay.

The Mine Shaft Tavern & Cantina is one of the most popular places in Madrid to eat and is known for their Santa Fe Green Chile Yak Cheeseburger and a vintage vibe, it feels like it is straight from 1975, frozen in time, but in a good way. For a more modern take on Madrid dining, head over to The Hollar, which was founded by executive chefs Josh & Chelsea Novak. The Hollar blends local New Mexican flavors with the Novak's traditional southern recipes to create something truly unique. Fried Okra, Po Boys, Pork Biscuits, and of course Sweet Tea are all on the menu.

Madrid is the perfects stop on the way to or from Santa Fe, or a nice day trip if you just want to try something different. Also if you are a fan of Turquoise jewelry, local art, or pottery, prices in Madrid tend to be better than Santa Fe. 

For more info on Madrid visit the town's official website HERE

This trip was made possible by Toyota and the 2018 RAV4