For a small, bucolic, originally agrarian community spread out along a 10-mile stretch of the Rio Grande, there is a lot going on in the Village of Corrales. The village sits on the middle Rio Grande Valley floor, it's lush silty soil a boon for the small farmers & corrals of horses that dot the valley. The community of over 8,500 residents is bounded immediately on three sides by the cities of Albuquerque & Rio Rancho, & is flanked by the 22,000+ acre Pueblo of Sandia across the river to the east. Combined with Bernalillo & Placitas, the South Valley, Los Lunas/Belen & the East Mountain area, this population center creates the largest human density in the state--with well over 900,000 residents: the MetroABQ.
What is going on in Corrales? A lot, it seems. Starting six years ago, Corrales began installing solar panels on village municipal buildings--the Senior Center, Firestation & Village Hall. The Village estimates it will have saved in excess of $30,000 at the end of 20 years from those three solar photovoltaic arrays. Since then, there are others, notably the creation of a large carport solar array over the Parks & Recreation parking area, seen above. The benefits of the carport solar array are twofold: the town gets solar power to use, & the shade created by the panels minimize the summer heat for the vehicles under them.
At Silver Leaf Farms,
the two brother-owners utilize solar panels to run the extensive evaporative cooling system in their Corrales greenhouses. This enables their produce to be grown year-round; immediately below is their butter lettuce seen in March, found at
La Montañita Coop.
Or you can buy their produce within walking distance from where they were picked, at the Corrales Growers' Market, which basically runs year-round--Winter Market ends April 7, when the space transitions from monthly to weekly, starting April 28th. Most of the MetroABQ Growers' Markets also start in April.
Greenspaces & parks abound: adjacent to the Growers' Market are the Corrales Soccer fields, which is connected to the skatepark & more fields behind that at the Corrales Parks & Recreation Center. Plus, there are about two dozen bike trails & cycling courses scattered throughout the village, along with walking paths & horse trails, wending along the arroyos & acequias toward the mesa or the river.
The vast majority of the approx. 250 businesses in the village are located along the main thoroughfare of Corrales Road, & with good reason: The ten-mile stretch of that road--from Alameda on the south & up to the Rio Rancho community of River's Edge to the north--is designated one of America's Scenic Highways by the National Parks Service. A Scenic Byway-designated road is based on one or more of these inherent qualities: architectural, cultural, historic, recreational or scenic importance. The Corrales Road Scenic Byway embodies all of these qualities.
Directly above is an adobe wall along Corrales Road with a hand-made metal cross, sporting a skull lain on top. Made of earth mixed with water & often with organic material such as straw (or dung), adobe blocks are used liberally throughout New Mexico, & often with relish by Corraleños. Adobe blocks are usually set level/flat to form the wall; however, the blocks in the wall above are set in a diagonal formation--even the wall cap blocks lay at an angle--drawing the eye toward the scene from across the street.
Further on up the road, other interesting scenes line the scenic byway, like the undulating steel barn scene, above, or the cut steel sculpture outside Frontier Mart, one of over 40 galleries in town. A town clock, above, was crafted in a Pueblo Revival style, & has the requisite extruding viga beams & (faux) lintels, which are the exposed beams usually only over windows & doors. Spanish Pueblo Revival is a very popular style in Corrales.
Corrales is home to numerous festivals & other public events, like the annual Corrales Wine & Cheese Pairing at three wineries that runs for two days April 6-7th; Corrales Historical Society occupies & continuously restores the historic 1868 Old San Ysidro Church with regular events; the Corrales MainStreet Chili Challenge was last month; there's the monthly Music In Corrales series; the Growers Market Harvest Festival, etc.
Walking/biking or driving along Corrales Road, or along the main acequia on Loma Larga Road, are instant scenic adventures, worth the short drive/pedal from the more trafficked areas of the MetroABQ. The image directly below was taken during one such Corrales adventure...