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Visiting New Mexico's Madrid Community

Madrid New Mexico


If you ever find yourself caught between Albuquerque, Santa Fe and Taos, you may want to take a nice little detour to the famous self-sustaining artists' community known as Madrid.

A very proud and dignified Bronze Sculpture
Jill Shwaiko Bentz, Indigo Gallery

First and foremost, do not confuse it with the other Madrid in Spain as the pronunciation is very different in northern New Mexico. If you are ever caught saying it the wrong way, be prepared to have one of the locals correct you immediately as they take pride in their own unique identity. You should consider this little community a staple in your monthly, seasonal or yearly travels as the atmosphere of Madrid changes with the seasons in all manner of wonderful ways.

Originally a mining town, it has grown into a major tourist attraction with shops, galleries and cafes of all types offering original works of art, handmade jewelry and unique clothing that exude the local essence of what's known as the Turquoise Trail while serving as a hallmark for broader regional representation of the southwestern United States.

While there, take your time visiting each of the places and absorb the nuances of the environment itself. Although you could spend an entire week taking in Madrid's many wonderful places to visit, here are ten suggestions for first-time visitors to the area.

1.RANGE WEST with Stone Artist Joshua Gannon - Madrid, New Mexico seems to be magnet for artists that are ready to remove themselves from the urban setting. Maybe it's the allure of the surrounding hills...the location (we're centered b/w Santa Fe and Albuquerque) ... or the quirky and often bizzare locals – made up of musicians, painters,writers, actors, builders, craftsmen, nurses, vagabonds and more. This makes for a deep well of talent from which Range West is able to pull the most prolific and established artists to exhibit in our gallery.

All the artists Range West showcases are Madrid residents and friends. The work is very diverse and the materials, even more so. Each artist has a story, and we help them tell it.

The avant-garde multi-artist John Cage has said "The best way to work is to empty out your head, to aim at nothing, to become the medium of a process that is almost outside of oneself." When artists get themselves out of the way, they make very authentic, instinctive work. We've tried to have the artists in the gallery represent this visceral kind of art. Something not coming from within but through the artist. The mood in the gallery is unpredictable because we follow the changing works of our artists. We hope you relate to their work and are surprised and moved in some way.

Do not forget to check out the beautifully sculpted wind chimes. You cannot possibly miss them as you walk into the gallery area itself. The harmonizing tones of the chimes will stop you dead in your tracks, making you pause to think twice about what is truly important in life within the spiritual matrix that is Madrid.

2. MAGGIE'S DINER from the movie "WILD HOGS" - When "WILD HOGS" came to Madrid, about half of the shots in Madrid were inside or outside Maggie's Diner. Maggie (Marisa Tome) is an independent woman running her diner as her only means of support. When the Wild Hogs stumble in bringing the Del Fuegos behind them everything spins out of control.

Maggie's is now a permanent part of Madrid though what to do in the building is not yet decided by it's new owners. Maggie's is the only Wild Hogs movie set still on main street. It is located next to the Great Madrid Gift Emporium, so come visit and enjoy.Come and see what Disney built.

3. JAVA JUNCTION - Enjoy one of many kinds of coffee, tea, or delicious bakery items and the one-of-kind ambiance that makes Madrid so special. This quaint Victorian Bed & Breakfast is located in a beautifully restored mining home in the heart of Madrid above the Java Junction gift and coffee shop.

Your night stay includes breakfast and coffee in the morning. Their continental breakfast offers fresh croissants, muffins, breads or breakfast burritos (a local New Mexican favorite) and, of course, fabulous coffees, espresso drinks and juices, all from our shop downstairs. And, of course, they have wireless internet.

Remember, "Bad Coffee Sucks" as they say at JAVA Junction. So take in the vast array of colorful hot sauces and novelty coffee mugs. Order a steaming cup of aromatic fresh brew and a warm chocolate croissant. Browse the t-shirts and western hats before choosing a patio table in the high desert sunshine. Just sit back and enjoy being part of the funky, eclectic, historic small-town atmosphere of Madrid.

4. THE GREAT MADRID GIFT EMPORIUM - Carrying the motto "Cheapest Silver West of the Pecos," this store features a huge selection of Navajo and Santo Domingo jewelry, Kachinas, pottery, and story tellers. Many gifts include ladies accessories and clothing. Soap rocks and collectibles are available seven days a week.

5. GHOST TOWN TRADING POST & LODGING - The store offers a great selection of Navajo, Santo Domingo, and Zuni jewelry along with rugs, kachinas, pottery, clothing and Russian boxes. Also available are Navajo bows & arrows, purses, hats, and soap rocks. Ghost Town Trading Post was "Frontier Gas Station" in the Disney movie production of "Wild Hogs" which was filmed here in Madrid in 2006.

Offereing Talvera, Native American Jewelry & Pottery, Clothing, it also has unique lodging services. Ghost Town Lodging is ideally located in the heart of Madrid and only 30 minutes from Santa Fe and 45 minutes to Albuquerque. It is situated behind Ghost Town Trading Post on a quiet side street, just off main street. The Lodging offers 800 sq.ft. of tiled floors and wood. Full kitchen/dining/lounge area, Satellite TV and a beautiful bedroom. The apartment also has a serene, quiet, secluded courtyard with private parking. A 2-minute walk to restaurants, shops and galleries.

6. COLOR & LIGHT - Located in Gypsy Plaza right across from the Mineshaft Tavern, COLOR & LIGHT is a gallery filled with the work of 38 artists whose works reflect the magic of life. The artists in the gallery are all living in New Mexico (except for one). Paintings, pottery, jewelry, The Best Selection of Cards, New Mexico Made Soap, prints, collage, and photography are included in this whimsical mix.

Artists exhibiting their works include the Hand Painted Photographs of Marilyn Conway, Norma Kwestel's Acrylic on Canvas, Peggy Engel's Assemblages of "found objects," Susan M. Kelly's series of Mixed Media and Collage, the Crystalline Glaze Pottery of Sunny Bueck with functional art at its very finest, just to name a few.

The name "color & light" was chosen because "this is why I moved here to New Mexico", states Suzy Kelly, owner. "There is a magic and special quality of light to simply BEING in New Mexico. The wide open spaces, the intense warmth of light that brings out all the colors of the rainbow, and the earth, this exquisite earth that is always around us - all of this has captured my heart!" We could not have said it better. It's captured our hearts too, Suzy.

7. GYPSY GEM - Located on the left side of Gypsy Alley around the corner from the Mineshaft Tavern, this "gem" of a find has very rare, native and collectable jewelry, pottery, iron, wood and more.

8. INDIGO GALLERY - If you are craving original Oil Paintings and Bronze Sculpture, then Jill Shwaiko is the artist you want to see. Featuring her amazing bronze rams posed in very proud yet comical scenarios, Indigo Gallery is located on the Turquoise Trail National Scenic Byway in Madrid, New Mexico, featuring nationally and internationally known artists in painting, sculpture, and jewelry.

You will not be able to avoid admiring the stout, mythical, spirited and humorous qualities characterized in this unique collection of bronze sculptured rams positioned strategically among the beautiful contemporary artwork and painting on display. Don't forget to visit the outer meditative scene in the back of the gallery. It's as if the rams themselves are communing with you in a state of tranquility and peace.

9. A WANDER OUT YONDER - Located on Gallery Row, it's as if Anne Marie Coughlin and Shelly Johnson were travelling cross-country, hit New Mexico and ran out of gas in Madrid. that may not be the total truth but you'll be very glad that they set up shop here in Marid. Anne Marie's tribal adornments and folk art mixed with the pop art enamel paintings of Shelly Johnson make for an original eclectic atmosphere.

Shelly Johnson's pop art enamel paintings feature twentieth century icons, political figures, musicians, spirituality, local characters, and imagery from her many travels. She has been painting since the late 80's and has shown throughout the country in various galleries, including canyon road in Santa Fe.

Anne Marie created a nomadic lifestyle for herself that included a practical, though alternative, livelihood as artist and trader. As a result of her experience and travels, she gained an understanding of the art of business. Over the years, she's expanded her journeys to include Africa and SE Asia. Anne Marie has contributed much of her energy into designing, creating and collecting her items. There have been many hours collaborating with her Balinese carvers and their families, with their cottage industries. These people have truly become her family as well as her partners. While her sense of adventure has never wavered, she has developed a deeper focus along her travels, a mission; To share culture thru art, to create a cross cultural experience, an understanding and a sense of connection between folks half way around the world.

Shelly and Anne Marie have been off-grid neighbors, friends and playing music together as the "Mailbox Roadrunners" for a number of years. Both very passionate about travel and art, decided that opening a gallery together was a way to combine their passions and to sustain their alternative livelihoods. Their gallery vision is original, eclectic, vibrant and welcoming. They both live their passions of painting, creating and playing music each day as they greet Madrid's many visitors from around the world. "A Wander Out Yonder" is a living gallery which will continue to transform and grow throughout the years to come.

10. HEAVEN BOUTIQUE - Featuring many lines of romantic and nostalgic clothing, hats and jewelry along with an array of magical angelic and fairy gifts and cards, you can find clothing with luscious details in burnt out silks, burnt out velvet, chiffon, velvets, hand beaded and hand crocheted.

Float through a romantic event or interlude in an ensemble by one of our many designers such Nataya, Sweet Romance, Kamarov, Citron, Papillon, Aris.A, Spencer Alexis, Claire Pettibone, Hanky Panky, Angie, Vonda D's, Tianello, Sacred Threads, Sterling Styles and Young Essence.

Drape your body in exquisite jewelry from ornate necklaces, dangling earrings and unique bracelets. The gems glow and catch the light and the magic. Divine jewelry always makes an event special, makes you feel heavenly and makes the moment memorable as this place carries Sweet Romance and many other deliciously decadent brands.

Step back in time to a romantic and heavenly era where you will find many beautiful dresses, wraps and scarves made of velvets, silks, nets and laces, fabulous hand made hats and Victorian jewelry, angelic gifts and fairy treasures. Whether you are looking for a gift for yourself or a perfect gift to give, it is sure to be found at Heaven Boutique in Madrid, New Mexico. If you are planning a wedding, Heaven Boutique should definitely be on your list to find your dream dress.

Remember, these and many unique shops and galleries can be found at these two great resources:
Visit Madrid NM

Turquoise Trail National Scenic Byway

Feel free to send us your feedback and leave your comments about your own visits to Madrid as well as the many other magical and enchanting places within New Mexico. After all, where else are you going to have mountains with personality and color in your own backyard. It only happens here, folks. Have a great trip and enjoy yourselves.