QUESTA Hiking, camping, artistry — undiscovered bliss

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THIS HISTORIC COMMUNITY is almost fully surrounded by protected wilderness, including the Río Grande del Norte National Monument and the Carson National Forest, all of which offer some of the best hiking and camping in Northern New Mexico. The village is also surrounded by artists who have found their bliss in affordable real estate and inspiring views. Questa Creative Council has become an important part in the revitalization of this often undiscovered destination.

New this summer is the finalized Questa History Trail. This ongoing project of the Questa Creative Council is an 0.6-mile self-guided walking trail. It offers a true microcosm of Río Grande Valley history, from rare geologic features, Hispano and multicultural settlements and conflicts, Native life and a lot more. A welcome map of the trail along with a timeline of 5,000 years of human population is located right at the single traffic light in town.

The heart of the walking trail is the restored San Antonio de Padua Church on Questa’s hidden Historic Plaza. This adobe structure dates to the mid-1800s. The trail route is rough in spots, though much of it can be driven.

Another project of the Creative Council is the always-much-anticipated Questa Studio Arts Tour. As of press time, the tour is still going to happen. This event on the third weekend of August kicks off the art-tour season in Northern New Mexico and highlights the work of over 45 area artists.

The tour route is a scenic drive itself and the planners have made life easy by gathering the more remote artists together into easy-to-find hubs. These stretch from the mountainside of Lama south of the village, to the edge of the Carson National Forest on the east, and the dramatic Sunshine Valley to the north. The tag line of this project says it all: “Where artistic traditions meet.” Questa has a long history of crafting its own art and essentials, whether rooted in necessity, creativity or devotion. A new generation of artists carry on these practices and add sophisticated, modern mediums as well.

Once lockdown lifts again, area creatives can often be found at the Tuesday afternoon art sessions hosted by the Creative Council and held at the Questa Youth and Family Center, on the north side of the village. Clay work is a favorite focus, with printmaking and figure drawing also planned, depending on the rotating cast of local artists hosting. Check the Creative Council’s frequently updated online calendar of events.

Complementing all of the above are ongoing activities at the new gathering spot of La Sala, just across the main road from ArtQuesta gallery, on the south end of the village. With yoga and dance classes and intimate music concerts, this is fast becoming a valuable asset for the community.

Another beloved institution here is the farmers market every Sunday from June to September. Located on the History Trail, and across from the visitors center, the Sunday market features local musicians, traditional cuisine and continuity to an agrarian lifestyle with a centuries-old history. Questa Farmers Market is an EBT/Double-up-authorized market and at least 50 percent of goods sold must be from local (within an 80-mile radius) New Mexico farms and gardens, and the remaining portion can be prepared foods and crafts. The market is authorized to accept WIC and Senior Nutrition checks. For more information visit QuestaFarmersMarket.org.

A Questa Creative Council calendar of events can be found at QuestaCreative.org.

The Questa History Trail has a rich, well-researched website at QuestaTrail.org.

Detailed information about the Questa Studio Arts Tour is at QuestaArtsTour.com.

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