The Local Scene: Things To Do After Your Trip
Here in our sleepy, mountain town of Rinconada, one would think it to be just a town to pass through (or to meet and go rafting!), but it’s so much more. Rich with eateries, galleries, and local watering holes that offer locally-made craft beer and wines, Rinconada and it’s surrounding neighborhoods hold a treasure trove of places to visit and explore after your day on the river.
Nearby tasting rooms and breweries are the first stop! Starting closest to NMRA’s headquarters (conveniently located across the street), The Blue Heron Brewery not only has their finest beers on draft- including their homemade root beer, they also serve fantastic local wine as well. They hold “Trivia Night” on Friday evenings for those who love a friendly competition of the minds, and live, local music on Saturday evenings. A little over a mile South on Highway 68 is Vivac Winery, who also host live music on Saturday nights in conjunction with their Happy Hour. Known for their award-winning wines, they also serve local beers on tap; for the chocolate connoisseur, a decadent array of fresh, handmade chocolates and truffles to pair wines with. La Chiripada Winery is Northern New Mexico’s oldest winery, and their tasting room and vineyard is located in the heart of Dixon, just off of State road 75, and open every day. The Black Mesa Winery is seated at the very bottom of the Rio Grande Gorge in Velarde, NM and is open for tasting every day except for Wednesday. Stop in at Black Mesa and ask to taste their Black Beauty!
Galleries and showrooms are scattered throughout the local neighborhoods, perfect to stop in and peruse the inspiration provoked by the beauty of the river, landscape, and unique culture of the area. Manifestation is right next door to our headquarters. Featuring studio art jewelry, custom furniture, salvage art, and antiques, they welcome visitors every day except Sunday and Monday. Just a half mile North on Highway 68, you will find The Rift Gallery, Southwest Stoneworks, and Sax Stone-Carving Workshops. Stephen Kilbourn Pottery is located in Pilar, just off of Hwy 68 on St Rd 570. At the corner of Hwy 68 and St Rd 75, right next to Vivac Winery, is an amazing little gallery called Joya Escondida, and every first Friday of the month, they hold a show that features local artists and live music. Heading up St. Rd. 75 into the center of Dixon, the beautiful Le Metier Gallery also offers local artists’ wares.
On your way back to Santa Fe, we love to recommend Sugar’s Burgers in Embudo on Hwy 68. They have the best burgers, hotdogs, and barbecue. If you’re headed up to Dixon, stop in at Zuly’s Cafe and enjoy some tacos or ice cream! They serve breakfast and lunch, and Saturdays they stay open later to serve dinner as well. The Dixon Market has a deli with scrumptious wraps, salads, and organic foods, and they serve pizza too! It’s a great place to stop for groceries if you’re camping up in Pilar, but don’t pass up the Pilar Yacht Club, located at the corner of Hwy 68 and St Rd 570- a perfect spot to get a breakfast burrito or cup of espresso.
Camping in Pilar is one of the most popular choices, with campsites ranging from very primitive, to ones with showers and shelters. Or, you can rent an 18′ Airbnb Tipi, nestled on the bank of the Rio Grande in Pilar. In Dixon, we have the historic Embudo Mission, which offers rooms and casitas. No matter your choice, it’s sure to be a night to remember… a perfect end to a perfect day!