Today was a road trip day. We drove 1.5 hours north from ABQ sanctuary in the interesting mountain town of Chimayo to visit the lovely old sanctuary, on the National Historic Register, dating back to the early 1800s (which we somehow missed on our first visit there a few years ago). A major Catholic shrine, it gets thousands of visitors during its annual Good Friday pilgrimage.
We also chanced upon another small adobe church, Santo Nino Chapel , circa the mid-1850s that I hadn’t visited before – devoted to the Holy Child. In a small room off the small chapel, small children’s shoes left by pilgrims line the spaces between the ceiling beams and photos of young children line the walls.
Then on to the also famous 50+ year-old Rancho De Chimayo restaurant, in an old country house set back from a winding road, the 2016 James Beard Foundation’s “America’s Classics Award” winner (awarded to locally distinctive restaurants that have withstood the test of time), with its famous New Mexican food, red spicy pork adovado, very hot red chile salsa, fluffy sopapillas served with local honey, perfect flan, prickley pear frozen lemonade, eaten in a lovely old dining room with heavy wood ceiling beams and antiques, near a fire burning in an adobe fireplace. Across the road is its hacienda/country inn, inside a century-old adobe home. We also dropped in at Ortega’s to check out the locally made woven rugs.
Continuing on the famous “high road to Taos” (all the more spectacular with the mountains dusted with snow, but the winding two-lane road was thankfully snow-free), we stopped in Truchas, a farm town/artists haven where the film “Milagro Beanfield Wars” was shot, perched on the edge of a mountain looking down across another valley with distant mountains. We stopped at Hand Artes Gallery, where we bought a painting by a local years ago, located in a private home with a view of the distant peak where Georgia O’Keefe lived and painted. Good to see its still going and still has great stuff (this time, we were struck by the wood and glass handiwork of local furniture makers).
Instead of continuing to Taos to the north, we drove west about 10 miles north of Truchas, turning onto tiny winding highway 225 through Dixon to Highway 68 south, which dovetails the narrow Rio Grande, bordered by ranchland and dusty barns, with cattle grazing in brown fields. Highly recommend the drive!