Easy breezy summers
By Ellen Miller-Goins
Thousands come back to Red River, year after year, to the same small cabin by the river, the same motel where the owners still know them by name. Mom and pop operations are still the rule here “Ya’ll” is still spoken here. Chicken fried steak is still served alongside enchiladas and green chile burgers. Folks still do-si-do at the Community House, anglers still cast lines up and down the river. Generations still come year after year, to enjoy the cool summer days with an average temperature of 72 degrees.
During a brief mining boom, Red River’s population soared to 3,000. The town was formally platted in 1895, but by the early 1900s, Red River was almost deserted. In the 1920s tourists began coming to Red River to escape the Dust Bowl and heat of the panhandle. The addition of the ski area in the late 1950s and a thriving panhandle oil economy changed Red River to a year-round community.
Shopping may be one of the favorite activities here, perhaps because of the many shops on and off main street. Explore miles of terrain by horseback riding, mountain biking, 4×4 touring or hiking. Camp in the high country, fish local lakes and streams, rent “surrey-style” bicycles. Check out rock climbing, mechanical bull riding, go-karts, bingo, roller skating, miniature golf, a large arcade, pool, tennis and playgrounds in one of the town’s two parks.
Red River Ski & Summer Area offers summer mountain tubing, the Pioneer Flyer zip line, Hidden Treasure Aerial Park, Walk with a Ranger mountaintop hikes scenic summer chairlift rides, Music on Top at the Tip Restaurant and Deck, and disc golf at the summit.
Red River Community House has a packed summer schedule with 400 family and children activities including daily guided hikes, line dancing lessons, Chill! Teenage Nights, S’mores and Story Telling, Movies on the Lawn, Nature Discovery Camp, music concerts, and more. redrivercommunityhouse.org.
And there is no shortage of music filling the air in this town. Iconic singer/songwriter Michael Martin Murphey (“Wildfire,” “Carolina in the Pines” and “Geronimo’s Cadillac,” just to name a few of his hits) calls Red River his “spiritual home,” and for the fifth consecutive year will return to perform at his Chuckwagon Shows at the Rocking 3M Amphitheater located at the historic Lazy H Guest Ranch on Bitter Creek Road. The live performances and chuckwagon-style dinners are scheduled from late June through Labor Day weekend. For more information, visit michaelmartinmurphey.com.
The Little Red Schoolhouse on Jayhawk Trail behind the Red River Library educated local children until the early ’40s. Today, as a museum, it houses school desks, memorabilia, photos and lots of artifacts from Red River’s past. Next door, the Brigham John Young house, which is owned and operated by former Red River resident Harold Young of Albuquerque, houses Young family memorabilia and artifacts dating back to when the family first came to Red River in 1892.
Memorial Day Motorcycle Rally, May 25-29.
Classic Car Show, June 2-3.
Art & Wine Festival, June 16-18, in Brandenburg Park.
4th Of July Parade & Celebration. The day begins at 10 a.m. with the largest parade in Northern New Mexico, followed by a full day of family-friendly activities all over town.
Wags & Wine, July 28- 29, will celebrate two of our favorite things, our furry friends and wine!
“Hot Chili Days, Cool Mountain Nights” Music Festival & Cook-off, Aug. 17-20.
Dulcimer Festival, Aug. 5-6, Red River Community House.
Enchanted Circle Century Bike Tour, Sept. 10. A 100-mile ride around the Enchanted Circle that includes a short trip through Angel Fire to Black Lake and back.
Bluegrass Festival, Sept. 14-17, Red River Community House.
Aspencade Arts & Crafts Fair and Folk Music Festival, Sept. 22-23.
Oktoberfest, Oct. 6-8, featuring authentic German food and music, arts and crafts exhibitors, microbreweries and wineries, food vendors, and family friendly activities.
Red River Chamber, 575.754.2366 or redriverchamber.org; Red River Conference Center, 575.754.1708 or redriver.org.