The outlaw charm remains, but new fine-art galleries and high-end boutiques make northern New Mexico's Madrid a real discovery. "We're not Santa Fe, and we're never going to be," vows David Snow, owner of Fuse Gallery in Madrid. True enough, but even Snow would have to admit that the old coal-mining town turned artist colony has grown―just a little―tony.
After perusing the village's trove of trinkets, duck into the cluster of more polished studios on the north end of Main Street. Madrid can be characteristically low-key about the holidays, so check on the status of the Christmas open house. And to sound like a local, by the way, pronounce it Mah-drid―not like the Spanish capital.