Jemez Springs, deep in the heart of the spectacular Jemez Mountains, is a cultural hub that has the potential to become a cultural destination attracting people from all around the world. A rich intersection of culture, history, and natural beauty, Jemez Springs is a place where Native, Spanish, and Anglo cultures mingle and co-exist, creating a unique destination of galleries, restaurants, outdoor activities, and religious retreats. As you explore Jemez Springs you may even find yourself thinking you’re in a high mountain village in the Himalayas with the prayer flags that hang off some of the establishments. And, given the various spiritual centers in Jemez Springs – including the Bodhi Manda Zen Center and the Handmaids of the Precious Blood – you wouldn’t be far off.
And there’s more: the village is located on the Jemez Mountain Trail – a National Scenic Byway, is home to ancient ruins that are now designated as the Jemez State Monument and is just south of the world-renowned Valles Caldera National Preserve. And with the historic Native Pueblo of Jemez bordering the village nearby, Jemez Springs is a cultural tourism mecca.
It’s not just the natural beauty that makes the Jemez Valley spectacular, but that it is home to three significant cultures – Native American, Spanish, and Anglo – which makes it a natural hub for cultural entrepreneurs like Tanya Struble and Therese Councilor.
Tanya and Therese fell in love with the Jemez area and had a dream to run their own business. In 1995, when the prospect came up to purchase the former springs they jumped on the opportunity. Tanya commented, “we wanted to keep the history of this place alive so instead of bulldozing and starting over, we renovated using similar materials or reusing materials.” After two years, they finished the renovation and opened what is known today as the Giggling Springs, a destination for those looking for solitude and relaxation. Continue reading
My travels in Jemez Springs continue to provide fodder for my posts on cultural tourism. As I walked up to the Jemez Fine Art Gallery: An Artist Collective, a local artist, sitting outside selling his paintings, greeted me. Inside I was immersed in a collection of paintings and sculptures, from traditional to eclectic –reflecting a mix Native American, Hispanic and Anglo cultures. Here I met Troy Williams, a founder of the Gallery. I found Troy to be just as passionate towards his community, as he is his sculpting. Continue reading
After a full day of mountain biking through a maze of single track and pinon trees on the La Tierra trails in Santa Fe and bouldering at the Santa Fe Climbing Center, I find myself venturing up to Jemez Springs to soak at the Giggling Springs.
The drive up the Jemez Valley was just as therapeutic as the hot springs themselves and is one of the most scenic drives in New Mexico. The deep red and orange sandstone cliffs that tower high above the valley floor stand out like giant sand castles against the bright blue sky. Continue reading