San Miguel Church is known as the oldest church in the US. Built between approximately 1610 and 1626. It has 16th century animal hide paintings and 18th century wooden altar screen. It has been rebuilt and restored several times over the last 400 years.
The bell inside the church was formed in the ground. They poured the metal into the ground and used a carved tree trunk in the center to form the bell. The inscription on the bell is “SAN JOSE ROGAD POR NOSOTROS AGOSTO 9 DE 1356/1856″. This translates to “St. Joseph Pray for us August 9th, 1356/1856”.
El Santuario de Chimayo was built in 1813 just outside of Chimayo. It was built in response to the discovery of a crucifix, Nuestro Señor de Esquipulas, in 1810 and subsequent miraculous occurrences.
The story is that a friar was performing penances when he saw a light bursting from the hillside. He discovered a crucifix when digging at the site.
The crucifix is still on the chapel altar, but its healing powers have been overshadowed by El Posito, the “sacred sand pit” from which it came. You can take sacred dirt from the pit in the floor of a tiny room off of the main sanctuary. Just outside the door is a prayer room with a wall lined with discarded crutches of those who were healed by the sacred power of the sand, and photographs of hundreds of people lining the stone walls needing prayers and healing.
There is much more to the story, which is fascinating, and as many as 300,000 people travel to this tiny chapel every year. It is a main destination for pilgrimages every year.
Silverton Colorado was one of the places we visited when traveling to Durango in October. It was truly a step back in time. Established in 1882, the town is very small, around 630 people. Silverton is one of the highest towns in the United States at an elevation of 9,318 feet.
The first time we visited the town, we took the Durango-Silverton train from Durango. The train started traveling here in 1882. It pulls into town, past the depot, and into the center of town. The way I understood it, they did this to make the arrival more grand. The locomotives are coal-fired, steam-operated and are original from 1923-1925.
This is the first time I had been on a train and the scenery was truly spectacular. I highly recommend taking the train. We rode in one of the glass top cars and it was amazing. They also have really good hot chocolate! It was really cold when we went, and it gets even colder on the ascent to Silverton.
The train ride follows along the Animas River and through the mountains. We were there after the aspens had already lost their leaves, but it was still beautiful. I definitely plan to go back to catch the changing colors.
Visiting Silverton Colorado is a step back in time. There is only one paved road and it is the main road through town.
The main hotel in town is the Grand Imperial Hotel. It was completed in 1883. It was purchased in 2015 by the owners of the Durango-Silverton Railroad and completely restored.
Silverton Colorado is also the only place you can find Astorite. It is a beautiful pink gemstone with grays and whites blended throughout. Check out K & C Traders if you are in town.
Here are some images from our time there.
Baker’s Bridge is about 15 miles north of Durango. This area was used in the famous jump scene in the 1969 movie – ‘Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid’ .
Even though the area itself is small, it is very picturesque. It was named after Charles H. Baker led a group of prospectors here looking for gold in 1861. The marker is pictured below.
My husband may be the only one that knows this, but I LOVE Highland fuzzy cows. Driving down a back road outside of Durango early one morning, these cuties were grazing along the road (pause for screeching tires).
Of course, I had to stop to take a photograph!
Someday, I will be close enough to snuggle one…I hope!