Saturday, April 13, 2013

Aztec, New Mexico: Almost Got Me

Aztec, New Mexico

When I wheeled into Aztec last weekend, my first impression was:  "Oh, why didn't I know about this town before?" And I felt a spark of "maybe another year in New Mexico - here."

Although the lust was transient, Aztec does have a seductive charm.

First impressions

Deer grazed in the river bottoms at the edge of town.

You can enter the historic downtown area via an old metal bridge.

Handsome park benches downtown, though I do wonder if they get mighty hot in the summer.

Aztec, New Mexico

Not only is the downtown district photogenic, city planners and business owners have done some good design things to make the area accessible to people of all abilities, including those who are blind (chirping street crossing) or who rely on wheels for mobility (generous curb cuts and many businesses with main-entrance ramps). Parking seems plentiful in front of the stores and there's also a free, public parking lot.

Aztec, New Mexico

I think it's possible to say one could enjoy both the New Mexico and the Colorado vibes in Aztec, as the town is less than an hour from Durango, Colorado.  Nearby Farmington, New Mexico, though it doesn't enjoy the upscale trendiness of Durango, is a not-unattractive town of 45k-ish. Nearby natural attractions include Shiprock, Chaco Canyon, Navajo Dam, Mesa Verde, and other cool places.

Aztec, New Mexico

Damn, though, for a small town, Highways 526/550, which go through, seemed congested to me.

A little music

Aztec, New Mexico
A couple opened up a music venue in town - Crash Music - it happened that I saw an ad for a
performance in the local paper when I was in Farmington waiting to get two new rear tires. Currently, they're in a storefront space - and it's kind of cool - just a very straightforward set-up of folding chairs, with refreshments in the back. A little space for dancing. A corner stage up by the front. The Assortment performed when I was in town. It'd been ages since I heard live music - the wicked harmonica and guitar picking and sliding .... like a long drink of water.

Aztec, New Mexico
Crash has proved so popular that the owners are moving (hoping to move?) to the vacant Aztec Theater down the street. Based on the plans I heard, sounds similar to Ragtag Cinema in Columbia, Missouri, but with music at its core instead of movies.

Although it appears shut down, Aztec also sports a Route 66ish venue:

Aztec, New Mexico

 Spring peak

I was in Aztec the first weekend of April. The flowering trees must have been at their peak for this neck of the woods. Bradford pears, flowering plums, forsythia, and maybe crabapple. There was also a non-flowering tree with a graceful shape and light-green, new leaves that cascaded a bit from their long stems. I have yet to identify these. Stunning. 

Aztec, New Mexico

A slide show:



Anonymous said...

The Assortment would just like to say "y'all come back now!"

This honkey rides a zonkey said...

I grew up there, but I've grown older and moved away. I remember thinking it was so terrible, but I find myself more often than not longing to go back. It's a beautiful place to live, I miss it very much.

Anonymous said...

Moved here on a whim 16 years ago. The town is nice, very friendly people for the most part, but they have acquired a definite problem within the past few years of noise in the form of barking dogs. Most days it is much like living beside a kennel! Random dogs town wide start barking in the early mornings and it pretty much continues throughout the day. Evenings are much the same, sometimes well into the late night and early morning hours. It would be nice to sleep with the windows open during the summer evenings but the constant barking prohibits this if you are sensitive to this type of noise at all. They have a noise ordinance for this problem but it does little good overall. I do like the area, the weather is great, but if you don't enjoy the sound of barking dogs, I would hesitate to recommend living here and that is a shame.

Mzuri said...

Thanks for checking in, Anonymous! Jeez, a shame about the barking dogs. That can drive one mad. What the heck do you think they're barking about, anyway? I used to have a dog that reportedly barked all day when I was at work, disturbing my next-door neighbor. Gosh, it was so hard - and stressful - to help my dog learn not to bark so much. No easy fixes.