Friday, July 13, 2012

The Flavor Of Albuquerque Old Town

Once in a while we get visitors who want to see the local sights. It's a chance to see our hometown with fresh eyes and appreciate the finer points. You get to taking a place for granted, and forget that some folks are willing to pay money to see what you pass by every day.

Old Town Albuquerque is like a little museum. A small sample of what once was. There are quite a few original buildings, almost all having been converted to shops. I'm not the least interested in the shopping, so we let our people wander at will, and I was free to do my own townie tour.

At heart, The San Felipe Church, 1706.

Brick is a much later era. But I just liked this old wall.

This restored original building is Territorial style. The big hint-- the pediments over the windows and doors. Pueblo style, which is earlier, doesn't have them, and also has those round posts sticking out at the roof line.

New Mexico is a drab color in general. Especially in winter. Lots of brown, brown, brown. The early structures were all mud colored (since they were made with adobe brick), and in keeping with tradition many newer ones are the color of dried mud too. Because of the arid climate, there is not a lot of lush or colorful vegetation. Old Town tries to dress things up, and isn't completely reflective of the rest of Albuquerque.

But today I'm a tourist, and it's the color that is catching my eye.

Storefronts are pretty cheerful and inviting. Cool air, and often a wonderful scent, spills from the open doors.

Chili strings hang to dry outside buildings. This one has a refreshing whitewash exterior!

My favorite aspect of Old Town is all the nooks and alleys to explore.

Don't adjust your screen, the doorway is just wonky. The whole place is all round surfaces and wavy lines like everything just grew up from the ground here. It kinda did.


Native American vendors have been selling their wares on the plaza just like this for three hundred years.

I meandered behind a shop to find this shady spot of grapevine and apple trees; an obvious bird sanctuary. The difference in temperature is impressive.

Wine making in America began with the friars of New Mexico.

Blue is traditionally painted around doors and windows to keep out bad spirits. It's pretty cheery too. This is a cafe courtyard, but there are also residences tucked in here and there in Old Town as well.

A dooryard garden often contains a small religious sanctuary or saint.

I wanted to show the wavy walkway here. Nothing seems very level or straight in the old parts of town. My own house included.

I had the luxury of shooting in pretty quiet lanes and streets. The Chamber of Commerce probably wouldn't like me to mention just how many vacancies, going out of business signs, and steep discounts are happening here. Just more signs of the times. . . .

A prickly pear town. This cactus grows near an old well.

The plaza gazebo is a popular spot to gather. Lovely at night.

The restored church on the plaza.

This old postcard looking place accepts the full brunt of a hot summer sun. That's light haze at the roof line.

I like window shots old or new. The double panes reflect blue skies and a bit of local color.

Iron gates protect a weathered double door.

The Zia, or sun sign, a New Mexico symbol, is displayed on the state flag. Perfectly logical.

Well, there it is. The micro mini Albuquerque Old Town tour from a local native. Here's a link to Old Town at Christmas if you like. Now lets go find the margaritas! Thanks a bunch for  tagging along! Maybe you'll take in some local summer color too!



Angie said...

I love hanging out in Old Town - the ABQ/Corrales area was my home for over 20 years (family still lives there) and I appreciate it so much more now when I come back to visit (we've lived in MO/Il for the last 8 years).

I love the old buildings, the colors, the sites and the sounds of mariachi musicians playing. I even love the touristy shops. I love seeing the Native American vendors selling their wares on the sidewalks and I REALLY love sopapillas. or green? ;0) Green only here!

Angie @ Knick of Time

Snap said...

Thank you! It's been 10 or more years since I've been back *home*. I love Old Town Albuquerque. When everyone was going to Santa Fe, I was very happy prowling Old Town.

Olive Cooper said...

I find the stucco and the brown very soothing. I was introducing my friend Fancy to blogs yesterday and I picked yours to show her because she loves china/vintage and she loved your blog. I am not sure she understands us bloggers but she got your appreciation of beauty. Have a splendid weekend, Olive

Blondie's Journal said...

This is such a great post, Jacqueline since we will be visiting next spring. I'm really looking forward to it and this is a good taste of what to expect!


Bella said...

Hi J,
Thanks for taking me around town today! Your Old Town is beautiful and although I have only visited briefly, I remember it makes a great impression! It is wonderful to see a town embrace it's history and culture, there is far to much newer is better and plastic in the world. Good eats too :-) My house is crooked too, haha!
Happy Weekend to you...

marty (A Stroll Thru Life) said...

Great tour. I've been there a couple of times and it is always fun. Hugs, Marty

Michele @ The Nest at Finch Rest said...

Oh how delightful! Thank you so much for the tour!!

I loved it extra much because I could see your awesome town in the comfort of my air conditioned home!

I hate heat but sure do love to see it like this!

Very charming. Thank you!

michele said...

omg so many moments of brilliance here. truly took my breath away.

when you have a moment to swing by, i'd love to have you:

smiles and wishes for a happy weekend.


Marlis said...

Totally love old town! And through your lens, it's magical. Great photos! Love seeing the ristras hanging about. I think there are closings everywhere, not just in ABQ. I noticed a few more in SF last trip and even around here, it's becoming a habit.. Have a great weekend and thanks very much for this lovely virtual trip! xo marlis

Honey at 2805 said...

Thanks for the extraordinary tour! What gorgeous photos!

Helen said...

My husband's old, old family comes from New Mexico. I'm talking 1700's here.(isn't that even before it was part of the US?) I love the feel of the old towns, the flavors, the smells.

Kay said...

Loved the tour! I remember when I moved to ALB in November so many years ago, I thought it was the brownest place I had ever seen. I had come from Memphis. But I grew to love it, especially the colorful sunsets and open spaces! So beautiful! I moved to OR and changed brown landscape for gray skies. And the houses were all painted the ugliest browns and greens ever!!! So I painted my house yellow to get some cheer going on!! Just three doors down, my neighbor is growing a large plot of prickly pear cactus and they are in full bloom of pretty yellow flowers. Don't know how they survive all the rain here! Thanks for a lovely tour! Photos are all fabulous!! Kay

Gypsy Heart said...

It's been a long time since I've been there ~ thanks so much for the photos and the memories they invoked. I love that area, especially the Native Americans selling silver and turquoise jewelry. So many good times!


Gypsy Heart said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Pamela Gordon said...

That was a lovely tour of your town. I like the turquoise and colourful flowers to brighten up the brown landscape. I would find that hard to get used to - all the brown buildings. Thanks for showing us your downtown Jacqueline.

Rosewalk Cottage said...

Thanks for the great tour. I love the photos and the Hat Boutique.

SizzleandZoom said...

This was a wonderful visit of your charming town. Very colorful and quaint and it looks like a great place to shop.

Sarah said...

Well, that was fun! You have a wonderful eye behind the lens of that camera. The Chamber of Commerce should hire you for their visitor publications.
Thanks for the tour........Sarah

Vickie @ Ranger 911 said...

Gorgeous historical old buildings, especially those with the bright blue painted trim. Thank you for the tour of your home town which is so different from mine, but beautiful in it's own unique way! It is sad to see all the shops that have closed, but it's happening everywhere.

Jen said...

I have to go there--I know I'd love it! Thanks for sharing.

val's alentejo said...

Dear Jaqueline,
Thank you so much for the tour of old Albuquerque.
Albuquerque, has been on my wishlist for some time now. I have old friends who live there.
JoAnne Brown and her family. she is always inviting me.
Our husbands worked together for in the oil industry.
Your photos are stunning. So very typical mexican yet with a little Americana.. How wonderful that you can buy from the local indians.. I would love to own some of their artwork and jewlery.
-great post Jaqueline.
happy weekend

On Crooked Creek said...

Hm~m~m...never knew why windows and doors were painted blue before...very interesting fact! You are "The Perfect" Tour Guide...let's do it again some time soon, dear friend!

jeanetteann said...

I love old towns like this, they have real character. I enjoyed the tour. xx

Gail @ Faithfulness Farm said...

I LOVE old town Albuquerque -- my Mom and her family are from Albuquerque -- lots of summer visits there my entire life. Mom and Dad retired to Rio Rancho in 2000 and last year moved to AZ to be near my brother -- guess I won't have a reason to visit NM as much but it still is a favorite place for me. I think the drab and brown REALLY show off just how BLUE the sky is there :)


P.S. LOVE seeing all the luminaria's in old town at Christmas :)

Dianne said...

I love Old Town. My sister lived in New Mexico years ago. I love the colors and the light and your photos capture such charming details. Dianne

A Super Dilettante said...

My dear Jacqueline, What a love of detail and what charming surprises (such as a serene statue of a saint wearing long rosary beads) you keep in store for us in this post.

Thank you so much for this delightful tour of the old town of Albuquerque. This is the part of the world that I've never been before and I've always loved to visit one day. In the meantime, I thoroughly enjoy this exclusive tour. Have a good weekend.

June said...

I loved this tour Jacqueline! I have never been to your beautiful town, so this is truly a treat to see it through someone's lens who lives here. It is so different from the mountain towns I live near. But one thing is the same...many businesses and galleries going out of business or just hurting.
hugs from here...

lynn said...

what a great tour, jacqueline:) its beautiful, but, sad about the businesses--too much of that going around.

Priscilla said...

Love, love, love Albuquerque! Your mini-tour was just perfect.

Cozy Little House said...

Maybe I should paint some blue around my doors... Have I ever told you how much I enjoy the pics on your sidebar? Well, I do.

Anne said...

What a lovely tour! Beautiful bright colors and scenery.

Linda said...

As I have never been to Mexico, I especially enjoyed my private tour with you!!!!
Great photos...would love to get my hands on some of that silver jewellery...I am a sucker for bracelets!!!

Enjoy your week
Linda :o)

Haworth said...

Those colors are amazing, Jacqueline. And I can almost feel the heat rising off your blog there. It seems the sun really is punishing in your part of the world, and yet there are those lovely shaded areas and bursts of color that must be like an oasis.... figuratively and literally!

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