El Rancho de las Golondrinas is a living museum that offers insight into eighteenth-century life in New Mexico. Established in the early 1700s, this ranch was originally a paraje, or stopping point, along the El Camino Real. For those who might not know, the El Camino Real was a Spanish Colonial trading route that extended from Mexico City to Santa Fe. Today, it figures as part of the greater United States National Historic Trail system and is overseen by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management and the National Park Service. As for the Ranch of the Swallows, it is owned by the El Rancho de las Golondrinas Charitable Trust, though its conversion into a museum is credited to the Curtin-Paloheimo family. This family acquired the property in the 1930s with the intent of making it into a historic attraction that everyone could enjoy. El Rancho de las Golondrinas is less than twenty miles south of Santa Fe's central plaza, and you can easily reach it via Interstate 25. The address is 334 Los Pinos Road.
El Rancho de las Golondrinas is set on 200 scenic acres in a rural farming valley, and the buildings that you will find on it include renovated edifices that existed on the site and other historic buildings that were moved from other parts of the state. There is an old schoolhouse, a village shop, and a hacienda, and visitors can check out a working molasses mill. Wine enthusiasts might find the winery and vineyard to be the most interesting attractions at this historical ranch in Santa Fe, and animal lovers will be happy to know that a variety of farm animals call the property home.
At El Rancho de las Golondrinas, visitors can get a true idea of how people from the region lived during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Villagers dress in period clothing to drive the historic theme home, and you can watch them do tasks of old such as grind flour and shoe horses. The best times to catch volunteer demonstrations such as these are during the main Ranch of the Swallows festivals. These festivals include the Spring Festival, which is held over the first full weekend of June, and the Harvest Festival, which takes place the first full weekend of October.
It is possible to enjoy self-guided tours of this wonderful historical ranch in Santa Fe between the months of June and September. From April through October, the ranch offers guided tours only, and these tours must be arranged in advance. Other tours that revolve around a fictional Hispanic girl that grew up on the ranch can also be enjoyed. These are geared toward younger girls and are offered on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday mornings between the months of June and September. Reservations must be made in advance.
Should you be wondering about the food and drink options at El Rancho de las Golondrinas, there is an eating area that is open on the weekends. On weekdays, snacks and drinks are available at the Museum Shop. It is also possible to picnic on the ranch grounds, so you might bring your own food and beverages. If you'd like to stay or dine nearby, you can look to nearby hotels and resorts. Dining at the Sunrise Springs Resort is a great option. This upscale eco-resort at 242 Los Pinos Road is close by, and its public restaurant and bar is open Thursday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Image: DaveTBear (flickr)