New Mexico November 03, 2017
Day Trip To This Delightful New Mexico Town For An Exquisite Fall Day
Tucked in northern New Mexico, bordered by two National Forests, is the tranquil village of Dixon. With deep Native American and Spanish beginnings, the area has evolved into a community of writers, artists, organic farmers, and winemakers. The combination of atmosphere, food, wine, and galleries makes a day in Dixon a prime adventure, especially as the season turns toward fall.
The Dixon area has a long history beginning with the Picuris Pueblo people. Later, in 1725, Spanish settlers were granted the land and took up farming. Originally called El Puerto del Embudo de Nuestro Señor San Antonio, (later shortened to Embudo), this area got its name from the shape of the land that funnels the Embudo River through the valley.
Embudo is Spanish for funnel.
In the early 1900s, when a post office was established, the town was renamed Dixon after local resident, Collins Dixon. By the way, "Dixon" is one of the few American town names in northern New Mexico. Most town names come from Spanish or Native American words.
A lot of Dixon residents can trace their roots to the Embudo Land Grant settlers. However, in the 1960s, artists and craftspeople began moving to the area. Though smaller and less well known than places like Santa Fe and Taos, the Dixon of today is a solid and respectable arts community.
The Rift Gallery, a few minutes away, in Rinconada, shows many of the artists who live and work in the Embudo Valley.
As well as a thriving arts community, the city has a schedule of seasonal events, from a fireman's pancake breakfast to a farmer's market that runs from June to October.
In late August it's time for the Fiestas de Santa Rosa. This beloved community event comes complete with a parade, music, and local food.
The biggest event of the year is the Dixon Studio Tour. During this two-day event that take place the first full weekend in November, the local artists spruce up their studios and invite the public to visit.
Even business and farms invite visitors to wander through and pursue the wide array of fine art and crafts. A fall tradition for more than 30 years, the
Dixon Studio Tour
is oldest continuously run studio tour in the state.
Due to its productive farmland, the Embudo Valley is dense with organic farms. Plus, there are two wineries, La Chiripada Winery & Vineyard and Vivac Winery.
The family-run La Chiripada Winery has been producing award-winning wines for more than 35 years, making it the oldest winery in New Mexico.
Vivac Winery, on the other hand, is a relative newcomer to the wine business. Run by two brothers from Dixon and their wives, Vivac's wines have received raves in the wine community. Both wineries have tasting rooms.
There are dining options in Dixon too. Among the favorites is Zuly's Cafe. This spot serves up all types of food, from omelets to wings, but it is their authentic their New Mexican dishes that really shine.
Their breakfast burritos have people from around the state making long drives for breakfast and their burgers get top marks too. Zuly's is only open for breakfast and lunch, with extended dinner hours Friday and Saturday.
After all the food, wine, merriment and art, you might just decide to stay in Dixon overnight. The closest traditional hotel is 30 minutes away, in Taos, but several vacation rentals are available in the Valley. From riverfront cabins to casitas, most folks will find lodging that suits their style.
You can even stay in a tower guesthouse on an organic garlic farm. Once used as a writing studio, the
Tower Guest House
is a mile and a half from the center of Dixon. This cute little abode is equipped with WiFi, and a TV and DVD player and more. The beauty of the farm is just a bonus.
If You Go: Dixon is located in Rio Arriba County on New Mexico Highway 75, just east of New Mexico Highway 68 in the north-central part of the state.
Have you been to Dixon or the Embudo Valley? Ever shopped at their long-running studio tour? Tell us about your experiences in the comments.