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Places to Visit near North Central New Mexico

The Loretto Chapel

This holy site is a Roman Catholic parish containing a miraculous staircase attributed to the intercession of St. Joseph. The story of the miraculous staircase: When the Loretto Chapel was completed in 1878, there was no way to access the choir loft twenty-two feet above. Carpenters were called in to address the problem, but they all concluded access to the loft would have to be via ladder as a staircase would interfere with the interior space of the small Chapel. Legend says that to find a solution to the seating problem, the Sisters of the Chapel made a novena to St. Joseph, the patron saint of carpenters. On the ninth and final day of prayer, a man appeared at the Chapel with a donkey and a toolbox looking for work. Months later, the elegant circular staircase was completed, and the carpenter disappeared without pay or thanks. After searching for the man (an ad even ran in the local newspaper) and finding no trace of him, some concluded that he was St. Joseph himself, having come in answer to the sisters' prayers. The stairway's carpenter, whoever he was, built a magnificent structure. The design was innovative for the time and some of the design considerations still perplex experts today. The staircase has two 360 degree turns and no visible means of support. Also, it is said that the staircase was built without nails—only wooden pegs. Questions also surround the number of stair risers relative to the height of the choir loft and about the types of wood and other materials used in the stairway's construction. Over the years many have flocked to the Loretto Chapel to see the Miraculous Staircase. The staircase has been the subject of many articles, TV specials, and movies including "Unsolved Mysteries" and the television movie titled "The Staircase.

Museum of International Folk Art

Largest collection of international folk art in the world, and home of the International Folk Art Market in July. A division of the State of New Mexico's Department of Cultural Affairs, a diverse organization comprised of Museums, Libraries, Historic Preservation, Arts Division, Archaeological Studies and State Historic Sites devoted to sharing and preserving New Mexico's cultural treasures. Florence Dibell Bartlett founded the world's first international folk art Museum in Santa Fe, New Mexico. As a witness to two world wars, Florence Bartlett believed that encouraging people to interact with folk art and with one another would help promote cultural understanding. Since the opening in September 1953, the Museum of International Folk Art has gained national and international recognition as the home to the world’s largest collection of folk art». The collection of more than 135,000 artifacts forms the basis for exhibitions in four distinct wings: Bartlett, Girard, Hispanic Heritage, and Neutrogena. In 2003, the Museum celebrated 50 years» of documenting, collecting, preserving and interpreting the creative works of traditional artists from cultures around the world.

New Mexico History Museum

The New Mexico History Museum began as the development of a storage facility for collections at the Palace of the Governors decades ago and has evolved into a first-class museum project, spurred by the national rethinking of the role history museums play in communities. They are no longer attics or basements full of long-forgotten objects. They are now places that partner in education, civic engagement, and social change. Hours 10 am 5 pm Tues. through Sun. Open Mondays Memorial Day–Labor Day. (Open til 8 pm on Friday) Admission $9 out-of-state visitors; $6 New Mexico residents Free on Sunday to New Mexico residents  Free on Wednesday to New Mexico senior citizens Free to Museum Members and children under 17  Free Friday Evenings, 5 to 8 pm

San Miguel Mission

Constructed in 1610 by the Tlaxcalan Indians of Mexico, who came to New Mexico as servants of the Spanish, this is the oldest church still in use in the country.

Campgrounds and RV Parks near North Central New Mexico

Spruce Lodge

outdoorsmen will be right at home

Spruce Lodge sits on the banks of the Chama River, encircled by the gorgeous woodlands of the valley.  Scott Cole purchased the lodge in the year 2000, giving the 1950’s cabins a complete overhaul.  Now the place has all the rustic charm it started with, but with an updated edge. The facilities are perfect for family reunions, vacations, or a solo weekend getaway.  Guests can enjoy a seat beside the outdoor fire pit and watch the river go by.  A scenic path runs along the back of the lodge.  Each of the twelve cabins has a covered porch and a cozy feel.  Each comes with access to a barbeque grill and most have a full kitchen. Spruce Lodge is nestled along the highway into Chama.  Everything one would need is within a mile of the lodge, including restaurants, shops, and a grocery store. Outdoorsmen will be right at home with the hiking, fishing, hunting, snowmobiling, mountain biking, and rafting in the area.  Best of all, it's just a hop, skip and a jump away from the Cumbres and Toltec narrow-gauge scenic railroad.

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Ghost Ranch Retreat

A Landscape of Vast Vistas!

After leaving Santa Fe, New Mexico and driving about an hour, you enter the landscape of vast vistas, table-topped mesas, tall cliffs, winding rivers bordered by huge old cottonwood trees, mountains in the distance and more and more beauty around every bend in the winding road. “It is not a country of light on things,” said Georgia O’Keeffe. “It is a country of things in light.” The light, the air and the land are what bring visitors back time and again to Northern New Mexico and 21,000 acres of Ghost Ranch. Artists and adventurers, poets and philosophers, writers, hikers, visionaries and pilgrims of faith of all ages have come to this place seeking what they can find nowhere else. Since 1955 Ghost Ranch has been an Education and Retreat Center of the Presbyterian Church and is open to all. Come for a day to hike about Ghost Ranch, bring your camera or your paints and easel. Come for a week to take one of over 200 classes offered each year, bring your family to study and relax, or book a number of rooms and a large space in which to meet and bring your group or club for their annual meeting. Come and learn about Ghost Ranch.

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Thor Industries

Parent of brands like Airstream®, Thor Industries owns companies that together represent the world’s largest RV manufacturer.

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Road Bear RV

From 1980, when they built their first Camper Van, to today, Road Bear has been on an unquestioning quest to 'be the best for the customer'.



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