Yesterday I wrote about one of Santa Fe’s oldest landmarks. Today’s topic is the newest attraction in this correctly blended town, the oldest capital city in the United States. Santa Fe has always done a great job of combining the old and the new, and Railyard proves it.
In 1880 the Santa Fe Railway Company’s first train chugged into Santa Fe’s new depot. In no time, this urban railyard was the center of activity in a new neighborhood. Since this town was a terminus, a turntable rotated engines. Jump to the 1980s. As was typical of railyards in an Interstate and airport era, it was in decline. By 1987 it was declared a blighted area. Now its a people magnet. By 2008, it had been transformed into an arts and shopping district that I knew nothing about until I asked Rick Gonzales, long time local resident and expert advisor at the New Mexico Tourism Department Visitor Center, “What’s new?”
Luckily, it was Saturday. Every Saturday year-round, The Railyard, which is best accessed via Guadalupe Street, becomes the Santa Fe Farmers Market from about 7 am until past noon. On Tuesdays, it operates from 8 to 1 pm. Ruth bought a scarf and browsed lots of reasonably priced handmade items crafted by New Mexico artisans. We both sampled local berries and delighted in the happy crowd listening to music or buying tomatoes or….. On the other days of the week, The Railyard’s new stores are selling pottery, pet accessories, furniture, trendy clothing, sporting goods (REI), and lots of handicrafts. Visitors are looking at posters outside the new cinema or taking cooking classes or, like me, taking photos of the trains, etc.
The Railyard’s original function has been updated with the New Mexico RailRunner Express, a commuter service that we didn’t have time to figure out, this time. The Santa Fe Southern Railway offers day trips, private chartered trains, etc. metrojacksonville.com says, “Railyard Park is the perfect example of a stagnant and obsolete industrial area being brought back to life with the help of rail connectivity.” Well said.
The Railyard’s a 5 Compass experience.