In the past, Route 66 was a bustling road. Winding its way through the small (and large) towns of America, it introduces travelers to places many would never have visited.
Bright Neon lights lit up The Mother Road, inviting visitors to linger and enjoy what the town had to offer. Bars and restaurants overflowed with laughter, food, drinks, and music. Shiny cars sparkled as they cruised up and down the route, showing off for all to see.
The streets were lined with small businesses, each vying for travelers' attention and their pocketbook. Local businesses that contributed to their community. But then the interstate came and pretty much crushed the heart of many of these small towns. Some are trying to recapture days long past, attracting a new (and old) generation of Mother Road travelers, some just let the road wither away.
Albuquerque has been successful in merging its past while creating a present that attracts young and old to enjoy Route 66 the way it is meant to be.
Neon lights brighten the skyline for miles, showing off the Route in all its glory. Bars, restaurants, small businesses, and renovated theaters, are all seeking to capture the attention of locals and tourists. Some of the motels that once lined the route have been renovated into small businesses or small apartments, keeping some of their lusters and preserving their iconic history. Gas stations no longer line the route, replaced by newer chains, but the feel of the old stations, now converted into some other form of business, still remains.
Albuquerque is a Foodie haven and Route 66 embraces its history, offering delectable dishes in true New Mexico fashion. Everywhere you go, the smells of Route 66 entice you to enjoy a good meal.
It was a Friday night in downtown Albuquerque when we visited. The historic Kimo Theatre was having a grand reopening to show off its new updates and renovations. The sides streets were closed off to crossing traffic and Route 66 turned on the lights. Cruisers slowly make their way up and down Central, just like they did in the past. The sidewalks are lined up with pedestrians, all dressed up for an evening out on The Mother Road. Music was dancing out of the bars or out of the cars cruising the avenue. The smell of New Mexico dishes captured the attention of people walking by, tickling the senses to come inside. Route 66 was ALIVE and HAPPENING, just like it used to be.
Locals said that Albuquerque had done a great job of renovating downtown and Central Ave (Route 66) bringing back its vitality for many to enjoy. They were right.
As we walked along Route 66 in Nob Hill, I could see much of its 66 nostalgia, now mixed in with hip new businesses creating a hipster vibe and an invitation for the younger generation to create the next 66 legacies.
We then visited Old Town, now surrounded by new and old, hanging onto much of its history, giving visitors a view into the past. Little Alleys draw you in to explore and shop. A variety of small businesses vying for attention line the plaza and alleyways. But it was the beauty and colors that captured my attention — and my camera.
Albuquerque embodies the past of Route 66
while retaining its history for all generations to enjoy.
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As we roam the roads and highways, looking for that next fantastic stop, keep track of our travels in our Airstream - Betty Jo