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Madrid: Cozy N.M. Town Is Even More Inviting Around Christmas

December 15, 2011

By Laurie Clark / Mountain View Telegraph on Thu, Dec 15, 2011

The town of Madrid is a town built on memories, and those memories are especially on display at Christmas time.

Driving into town from the south, you are surrounded by piles of earth, some of it black — remnants of coal mining from long ago. To the right is the Mine Shaft Tavern, years ago a gathering place for miners, and more recently tourists, to have fun and maybe even a few drinks. Then there’s a theater where old-fashioned melodramas are performed. Just past that is a huge train car, looming on a hill over the street, a reminder of the days when the town was bustling enough to need a train stop.

Walking down main street there are quaint little buildings on both sides — old houses converted into shops, colorfully painted and decorated on the outside, but still with a homey feel on the inside.

Friendly shop owners, sitting outside to enjoy the chilly night air, ask if you’d like to roast some marshmallows with them over their fires.

The canine representatives of the town wander around to greet you. When dusk comes, the Christmas lights come on, with a snow covered mountain as the backdrop. There is that wonderful scent in the air of wood burning in fireplaces, along with the coziness that this implies.

Christmas is the perfect time of year to build your own memories of Madrid, whether you are interested in the history or the shopping, or just passing through on your way to Santa Fe.

And, there is the added benefit of crossing some gifts off the “to buy” list — especially when you need something for that hard-to-please person.

“This is a good place to go when you just need to find a gift,” said Vicky Harvey, who was taking a day trip to Madrid from Albuquerque.

The stores offer just about anything you can think of, from antique to new, from handmade crafts to dug-up artifacts, from the beautiful to the strangely intriguing. There are clothes, jewelry, pottery, art glass, paintings and more, for all kinds of tastes and price ranges.

Christmas is a fun time of year for those who work in Madrid, too.

Christmas is “an excuse to get together around the fire and drink wine … a chance to touch base with people and have a good time,” said Janice Lindemuth, owner of Eclectique de Madrid, a shop that sells boots, among other things.

To make sure you can make the most of Madrid at Christmas time, the town’s shops are staying open late on weekends during December. Madrid is on N.M. 14, just south of Santa Fe. To find out more, go online to

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