Even the most streetwise Albuquerquean would be surprised by a ramble along Fourth Street Northwest as it passes through Alameda and the Village of Los Ranchos de Albuquerque.
The street's traditional Antique Mile has been given a dose of glamour, with new destinations existing side by side with family businesses that have been around a half-century or more.
"We're bringing commerce back to the North Valley," says Cherie Austin, a Los Ranchos resident whose family goes back 300 years in the area. "Now you can go shopping, get your hair cut, and have dinner without having to go very far. Which is the way it used to be."
Austin is a partner in La Parada de Alameda (closed Mon-Tue; 8917 Fourth St. N.W.; 505/897-8203), a charming new mercantile with Mexican and Moroccan imports. Situated beside acres of alfalfa fields in an adobe hacienda said to be a former stagecoach stop, La Parada is typical of the new businesses springing up in the area.