dancing with architecture: cloudcroft, new mexico

Back in September we spent a week in Cloudcroft, New Mexico, to escape the Texas heat, partake in massive amounts of chile, see relatives, and check out the local scene. We're checking out the scene since we are considering building a cabin in the hills of New Mexico to live in during the summer months after we retire.

Retire?!?! It's coming quicker than we think. A recent realization that I'm a mere 1.5 years away from first becoming eligible has prompted marital discussions over what our retirement goals are. We still have 10 to 15 (or more?) years of working before we actually retire (being eligible and actually being able to retire are two different things...); nonetheless, now's a good time to think about it.

We've thought about leaving Texas after we retire and heading to northern New Mexico. However, we do love Austin, and leaving the Austin urban oasis would be difficult (these urban amenities are addicting...). So what's the middle ground? Well, maybe a cabin in the New Mexican mountains to live in during the summer!

To check the mountain living scene out, we rented a cabin in Cloudcroft for a week, partook of the sites and area towns, and looked at lots/land in the area.

In short: we really liked it. We thoroughly got our shinrin-yoku on. 

The town is small, about 800 permanent residents, with the summer population growing to about 2,000 due to others (many of them Texans) with the same idea as us. That makes the town a wee bit touristy, but nothing like Ruidoso. Nonetheless, it's tiny with nary a stop sign nor stoplight to cause passing-through traffic to risk stopping.

Through traffic passes through on a pass-through road parallel to the downtown area, which allows a place for the bikers to park (this town definitely caters to bikers). There's also about a dozen restaurants, which is nice. Sadly, no grocery store, although the local Allsup's convenience store stocks a few staples. The weekly farmer's market is small but uber-cute. Fortunately, a short 20 to 30 minute drive down the mountain takes you into Alamogordo where you can find pretty much whatever you need. 

Cloudcroft is an old railroad town, with the railroad built to harvest the pine trees in the area. The old railroad hotel is still here and quiet the painted lady (with a resident ghost, of course). 

We stayed in a relatively newly built cabin (house really) that faced east with an ample, 10-foot deck out the front. The deer (elk?) ate just outside the kitchen door, and stars greeted us every night.

Architecturally, there's quite a few small cabins built around the 1950s as well as a number of newer built cabins made of logs (Lincoln would be proud!). And there's a local builder/architect husband/wife team that are building some contemporary houses. Hmmm... Nothing straight up Modern, though.

Can't see it, but an octagon house is behind them trees.

So there you have it! We found and are considering buying a lot. A mountain cabin (or at least a piece of property) could be in our future.

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