ItchyFeetTraveler

The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page.
Saint Augustine

New Mexico

Old Town Albuquerque Walking Tour - Settled by a group of Spanish families in the early 18th century, historic Old Town Albuquerque has been the heart of the city’s culture for more than 300 years. One of the best ways to learn about the city’s early history and some of its famous and infamous characters is to join a walking tour led by one of the city’s knowledgeable and entertaining docents. Here are some of the stops along the walking tour including La PlacitaAmbrosio Armijo House, Our Lady of Guadalupe Tree CarvingHerman Blueher House, Our Lady of the Angels School, Church Street Café, Jesus Romero HouseSan Filipe de Neri Church, Manuel Springer House, Old Town Plaza, and Casa de Armijo House, and the Old Town Plaza.

American International Rattlesnake Museum -
The American International Rattlesnake Museum, a squat adobe building just off the Old Town Albuquerque’s main square, boosts the world’s largest collection of living rattlesnake species – more than the San Diego Zoo, the Bronx Zoo, the Washington, DC National Zoo, the Philadelphia Zoo, the San Francisco Zoo, and the Denver Zoo, all combined. The museum’s collection includes are both venomous and nonvenomous species. Don't worry, they're all enclosed behind safety glass.
Boca Negra Canyon - After thousands of years of sun, rain, heat, freeze-thaw cycles, and action by microorganisms, a thin layer of desert varnish, or patina, formed on the basalt caprock along the face of the West Mesa escarpment near Albuquerque, NM. The region’s early Indian people found that they could produce high-contrast images on the rocks by carefully chipping off the desert varnish with a hand-held rock or chisel stone to expose the lighter color of the rock’s interior. These images are known as petroglyphs. There are more than 25,000 of these carved images along the trails in Boca Negra Canyon.
 Along the Turquoise Trail - If you’re in a hurry to go from Santa Fe to Albuquerque, then take Interstate 25. On the other hand, if you’re not in a rush and want to really get a sense of what makes New Mexico the Land of Enchantment, then take the 52 mile Turquoise Trail (Route 14), one New Mexico’s 26 historic Scenic Byways. The distance is about the same on both routes. But the combination of rolling hills, grassy prairies, red sandstone rock formations, breathtaking mountain scenery, old mining towns, and interesting people along the route may make you wish that the Turquoise Trail went on forever.


Tinkertown Museum
In the 1960s and ‘70s, Ross Ward began setting up his miniature towns at county fairs and carnivals then broke them down at the end of the event. When his collection became too big for the touring carnival display, Ross chose to permanently display it in what began as a five room cabin in the Sandia Mountains and grew into today’s 24 room museum. Ross has gone on to greater things, but the Tinkertown Museum is brimming with his passionate pursuit of living life to its fullest.
Underground in an Earthship - Earthships are a growing form of alternative housing that makes use of indigenous materials that occur naturally in the local area. Indigenous materials may be the stones, reeds, trees, or mud that humans have used for centuries to create safe havens from the elements and wild animals. Indigenous materials may be also defined as the “natural resources of the modern humanity” such as automobile tires, glass bottles and aluminum cans. The creative use of these materials can result in a comfortable home that operates totally off the utility grid.

Albuquerque Museum of Art Sculpture Garden - The Albuquerque Museum Sculpture garden near Albuquerque's Old Town has more than 60 outdoor sculptures. Many of the artists are from the American southwest and their pieces recognize the rich history of the region. A piece not to be missed is "La Jornada 1598" which depicts an epic seven month journey of the first  600 European colonists along with 7,000 head of livestock from Mexico to New Mexico.

 Ken Wolverton's Studio - Anyone driving on the Turquoise Trail about ten minute south of Cerrillos can't help but notice Ken Wolverton's Studio 3115. What will attract your attention is a colorful amalgamation of graphic art that appeared to be a cross between a theatrical stage prop and graffiti. Ken Wolverton, the studio's namesake, is an accomplished international artist with 40 years experience as a public artist. During that time he has become quite adept at creating sculptures from wood, cement, ceramic tiles, and anything else he can find. A lot of it is in his studio, sculpture garden and workshop - and it's all for sale.
 Los Cerrillos - If you turn onto County Road 57 from the Turquoise Trail, the pavement quickly gives way to wide, dry, dusty graveled streets in front of a few adobe and wood-plank buildings. These building are the town’s only saving grace from being the true ghost town that many believe it to be. Los Cerrillos's history began 1500 ago. It hit its  heyday in the late 19th century when miners poured into town to extract gold, silver, lead, zinc, and turquoise from the surrounding mountains. Los Cerrillos or Little Hills was a boomtown with 21 saloons, four hotels and five brothels. These days Cerrillos, most people don’t bother with the Los, seems to be stuck in a time warp and barely hanging on to life.

 
Old Coal Mine Museum - The giant red chili peppers towering over the museum’s weather worn walls are a little misleading relative to the dusty treasures found inside the Old Coal Mine Museum on the Turquoise Trail in Madrid, NM (State Highway 14). As the name implies, the museum holds a collection of mining, railroad and non-mining relics that were used by the Albuquerque & Cerrillos Coal Company while mining coal from the hills surrounding the town. It provides a tangible link to the past for anyone who never worked in or lived near a coal mine.

Madrid - When natural gas surpassed coal in the 1950s as the preferred alternative for home heating, Madrid's last big employer ceased operation. The town fell on hard times. In 1954, the town was advertised for sale in the Wall Street Journal for $250,000. There were no buyers.  Madrid languished until the early 1970s when free-spirited souls began moving in and formed a niche community of artists, craftsmen and others nonconformists. They refurbished the old miners’ residences into homes, art galleries, boutiques, theatres, cafes, restaurants, and bed & breakfasts. Today Madrid is doing a thriving tourist business.
Hieroglyphs, Petroglyphs, Geoglyphs - Definitions - Hieroglyphs, petroglyphs and geoglyphs are the earliest forms of written communication. They were created many centuries ago and continue to exist in many places throughout the world. Although many of these forms of early pictographic communication have been lost due to harsh weather, erosion and human encroachment or destruction, many of them still exist for us to admire, explore and wonder about their meaning. These historic ‘glyphs’ left on the face of boulders, rock walls of caves, stone sides of canyons, and rocky ground beneath our feet provide the only remaining details of a lost culture.














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