"On the Turquoise Trail" Top 5 Page for this destination Madrid by toonsarah

Madrid Travel Guide: 23 reviews and 66 photos

Madrid may be categorised as a ghost town, but its inhabitants and its many visitors looked very much alive to us!

Nearly every one of the old houses lining the town’s main street seems to be a gallery, and the few that aren’t are restaurants. We spent a very pleasant few hours here, dipping in and out of the shops, enjoying a pleasant lunch (and a great coffee), and taking lots of photos.

Madrid (pronounced with the stress on the first syllable, MAD-rid) was once a coal-mining town and was founded in 1869. In its heyday the town supplied coal for the Santa Fe Railroad, local customers and even the US Government. But when coal use declined the town fell silent and became a ghost town. In the early 1970's, artists and craftspeople began to discover it, converting the old company stores and houses into shops and galleries. Today it is the main destination on the scenic byway known as the Turquoise Trail.

Anyone driving between Albuquerque has a choice of three possible routes. The quickest is the Interstate (I25), and the slowest the long loop via Jemez and Los Alamos on Highways 550 and 4, but we chose this pretty scenic byway, the Turquoise Trail. Named for the former turquoise mines in the region, this road (Highway 14) takes you through a series of one-time boom mining towns which, with the exception of Madrid, are for the most part now very small and sleepy.

Other stops along the way are sleepy Los Cerrillos, with its ramshackle bar and “antique” shop and attractive church, and somnolent Golden.

So to continue with us on our road trip through New Mexico, please visit my Los Cerrillos page

  • Last visit to Madrid: Sep 2011
  • Intro Updated Dec 24, 2011
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Reviews (6)

Comments (4)

  • HORSCHECK's Profile Photo
    Mar 26, 2012 at 12:48 PM

    Another fascinating page about your adventures in New Mexico. I didn't know that besides the Spanish capital there is another town called Madrid in the world. Good to read that it is pronounced differently.

  • Nemorino's Profile Photo
    Dec 21, 2011 at 5:53 AM

    For a ghost town this does indeed look quite lively. I think I would have gone to the coalmining museum, because ever since I read Zola’s Germinal I have been fascinated (and horrified) by the way they used to get coal out of the ground.

  • LoriPori's Profile Photo
    Nov 30, 2011 at 2:12 PM

    I think I would love this little "Ghost" town especially its "artiness" as you call it. Love Indian crafts.

  • Trekki's Profile Photo
    Nov 22, 2011 at 10:33 PM

    Turquoise Trail, what a beautiful name! Haha, I am wondering if they'll think over the pronounciation when they come to the original :-) That sounds like a marvellous café and I know exactly what you mean with the coloured water, especially now that I am faced with "coffee making issues" in my own life.... They all must have dug the ground to find these marvellous ghost accessoires, and I love the mailboxes :-))

toonsarah

“I slept on the strange pillows of my wanderlust”

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