The perfect day trip
With spring nearly over and good weather ahead, it is time to put those garden tools down long enough to get out and enjoy a day trip. There are many wonderful places to visit within a short distance of Santa Fe. If you haven’t been out on N.M. 14, aka the Turquoise Trail, lately, you owe yourself a treat. Most people are familiar with Madrid, but Cerrillos, Madrid’s sleepy neighbor, gets less attention and deserves a new look because it’s currently enjoying a renaissance. This small western town of around 200 residents with scenery so authentic that it’s a perennial favorite location for Hollywood moviemakers. All you need to do is stop traffic long enough to shoot the scene.
A mining boom town of the 19th century, Los Cerrillos (Spanish for “the little hills”) had thousands of miners filling the town’s 21 saloons, four hotels, and five brothels. The true heart of the Turquoise Trail is Cerrillos, where the turquoise mining history goes back to 1000 A.D.— the oldest mining community in the Unit- ed States. Tiffany & Co. was so enamored of turquoise that in 1845 Charles Lewis Tiffany thought the robin’s-egg turquoise blue hue so elegant that it became the company’s official color. The company had extensive mining interests in Cerrillos and in the 1880s deemed the local turquoise to be of the highest quality; the price of Cerrillos turquoise rose to a level that at one point was higher than gold.
These turquoise hills now are known as the Cerrillos Hills State Park and serve as a playground for the adventurous, offering more than five miles of trails for hiking and mountain biking. The trails have spectacular views of the Sangre de Cristo, Jemez, Ortiz, and Sandia mountain ranges. If you want to get a real taste of Cerrillos and the old west, Harold at the Broken Saddle Riding Company will take you and your friends out for a memorable horseback ride.
In town, you can simply park your car and walk around. The oldWhat Not Shop, which was in the Mitchell family for generations, has changed hands and has undergone an impressive renovation. Known now as Cerrillos Station, this iconic building serves as a multipurpose space with retail for unique shopping as well as studio space for dance and yoga. The newly opened Black Bird Café is a great stop for lunch and then you can head over to the always enjoyable petting zoo at the Casa Grande Trading Post.
If living in a modern ghost town sounds like your cup of tea, the real-estate market in Cerrillos offers some interesting opportunities. One example is the old rail house. Located on the corner of 3rd and Main, this historic residence dates back to 1897 and was used as a boarding house for over 30 years. It hosted notable guests includingThomas Edison, who used the shed (which is still there) as a workshop. The boarding house, listed at $569,000, sits on a little less than an acre and includes a main house, guest house, and casita. This would be a great opportunity for somebody looking to open a bed and breakfast.
If you’re feeling the need to get out of town for the day, Cerrillos is well worth the trip.
Roger and Melissa are Realtors at KW and Melissa is the president of the Santa Fe Association of Realtors. Call them at 505699-3112, email twicethesellingpower@ gmail.com, or follow them on Twitter@ CarsonandCarson and at www.facebook. com/carsonandcarson.santaferealestate