New Mexico January 24, 2017
The Unique Town In New Mexico That’s Anything But Ordinary
If you travel across New Mexico, you’ll find that most of the state is tied together by a web of
small towns, each with its own identity. Tucumcari is unique because it takes you back to the heyday of Route 66. Few other spots in the Land of Enchantment offer such an authentic array of motor courts, neon signs, and diners from this era.
Tucumcari (population 5,363) is located in Quay County, off I-40, in the eastern part of the state.
It was established as a railroad town in 1901 and the settlement had several different names before it officially became Tucumcari.
At one point, the town was called Six Shooter Siding, a nod to its lawless reputation.
In 1902, during one shootout between cowhands and railway workers, between 9 and 13 people died.
To learn more about Tucumcari’s tumultuous history, stop by the Historical Museum. (416 S Adams Street)
Check out Tucumcari's vintage buildings, like the Odeon Theater… (123 S 2nd Street)
… And browse through stores that have been serving travelers along the Mother Road for decades.
Tee Pee Curios opened in the 1940s and has been selling jewelry, pottery and knickknacks ever since. (924 E Route 66 Boulevard)
The Route 66 Welcome Center and Gift Shop is another great place to pick up memorabilia. (901 E Route 66 Boulevard)
View classic cars, gas pumps, a large photo display portraying images from the Mother Road, and a vintage diner display at the Route 66 Museum.
Then refuel at an actual diner.
Kix on 66 serves classic American fare. Grab a burger then slurp your way through a thick shake while listening to hits from the 1950s and 1960s. The outdoor patio is pet-friendly - there’s even a menu for pets! (1102 E Route 66 Boulevard)
Admire Tucumcari’s many ornate murals.
Commemorate your trip to Tucumcari with your own, one of a kind family portrait. (Mother Road Old Time Photos is located at 824 E Route 66 Boulevard.)
There’s also a wedding chapel next door…
Valentine's Day is coming up!
For the full retro experience, stay overnight. That way you can appreciate the glow of the neon signs at night and sleep in a real motor court like the iconic Blue Swallow Motel, which opened in the 1940s. It offers rooms so authentic that they come with rotary phones…
…And some even have a garage for your car! (815 E Rt 66 Boulevard)
Alternatively, try Motel Safari, which has been in business since 1959.
Enjoy all of the comforts you’d expect to find in a modern hotel, with a side of history.
Once you’ve satisfied your thirst for all things Route 66…
…Cruise 24 miles out of town to Ute Lake State Park. Boating, fishing, and swimming are popular activities at this 13-mile long lake.
Have you been to Tucumcari?
Here are some other
retro places in the Land of Enchantment that will take you back in time.