Nestled in the Frijoles Canyon within the Jemez Mountains, about an hour’s ride northwest of Santa Fe, this historical site likely housed and fed humans 11,000 years ago. But about 2,000 years ago, the Ancestral Pueblo People (earlier identified as Anasazi) took up a more permanent residence in the canyon and the volcanic tuff cliffs.
Wandering about Madrid you’ll find shops that supply medicinal herbs, pottery, handcrafted jewelry, reiki practitioners, and tarot readings. It’s reported that Hollywood celebs occasionally meander about the town, like Drew Barrymore who purchased boots at one of Madrid’s boutiques. (I’m sure that was the talk of the town for months!) Fear not, however, that Madrid will be the next Rodeo Drive as it’s the kind of town where old west funk married bohemian style and stayed.
I’m an off-season, weekday traveler, and this visit to Columbia, a state historic park, was void of tourists, but somewhat busy with school field trips. Not every shop was open, but the doors to saloons and eateries and other tourist-friendly businesses were unlocked and welcoming.
How flakes and nuggets of gold found in the South Fork of the American River forever changed California and its people, fascinates me. Several books of history, written by and from the Native American point of view, has educated me beyond what I was taught in mid-20th century state board of education-approved history books. Those books made mild mention of the native peoples, while devoting chapters to the amazing men of the 1849 California gold rush.