Living in Corrales
Nestled on the western bank of the Rio Grande, Corrales is a true New Mexican village.
Just minutes north of Albuquerque, this hidden gem offers residents and visitors alike a glimpse into the past with its restored hacienda and historic mission church. Its beautiful acequia (ditch bank) trails provide walking, jogging, biking and horse-riding paths among treasured cottonwood trees. Visit unique shops, fine restaurants and wineries. Stay in a B&B that evokes a genuine sense of place, attend a concert, and visit art galleries. Corrales is close to everything, yet far away in spirit from the big city. It is an oasis.
CORRALES IS NEW MEXICO – Real. Historic. Unique.
Nestled in the middle Rio Grande valley; nearly ten thousand residents call Corrales home. For some it is the land of their ancestors. For others it is the land of their dreams.
Corrales is one of those rare places that straddles the past and the present. Hitching posts are set up alongside parking spaces at many of the local businesses and government offices. Miles of hiking, biking and horseback riding trails encourage an active lifestyle. Unique local shops offer an ever changing array of locally produced goods. Residents gather at the local restaurants, coffee shop or pubs to catch up.
Spanish style architecture is prevalent throughout the village. Most homes sit on lots of an acre or more and are situated to take advantage of the glorious views of the ever-changing Sandia mountains. Seeing the mountain glow red at sunset is a sight most residents never tire of seeing. With no street lights, the night skies in Corrales are a treat for any star gazer.
Corrales offers more than just a peaceful lifestyle in a beautiful setting. Citizens are active in the many varied organizations and Village committees. Examples of some of the local organizations include:
- Corrales Historical Society maintains the old San Ysidro Church and has an ongoing speaker series to promote the history and traditions of the Village.
- Corrales Cultural Arts Councilkeeps music alive in Corrales with their Music in Corrales series. Once just a gathering of local residents interested in preserving New Mexico’s musical and cultural heritage; it has grown into an organization that brings exceptional musical talent from all over the world to the Old San Ysidro church.
- Corrales MainStreetorganization supports the Village of Corrales through economic development, promotion of village events and assisting in maintaining the unique lifestyle of the village.
- Corrales Society of Artistshost art shows and studio tours throught the year.
- CHAMPS, Corrales Horse And Mule People are dedicated to keeping Corrales a horse friendly village.
With all that Corrales is, it is easy to see why so many of us love to call it home.
- Annual Events
Corrales Art Studio Tour – Held every year on the first weekend of May. For two days each May, Corrales art studios and galleries share with the public their original work in paint, prints, ceramics, glass wood, fiber, furniture, jewelry and photography. This is your chance to discuss, learn and shop face to face with the artists of Corrales. Visit the studio tour website at www.corralesartstudiotour.com.
July 4th Parade – Corrales presents family friendly 4th of July celebration! The annual parade has something for everyone; horses, synchronized scarecrows, a spirited kazoo band, you’ll never know what you’ll see in our parade!
Corrales Harvest Festival – This Village -wide annual event is held on the last weekend in September and celebrates Corrales’ agricultural roots. Buy farm fresh produce at the growers market, pick up unique gifts and works of art at the arts and craft show. Lose yourself in the themed corn maze at Wagners. Visitors to the event ride hay wagons to the various venues. A food court with continuous live entertainment provides an opportunity to rest and refuel. Visit the Harvest Festival website at www.corralesharvestfestival.com.
Corrales Holiday Art Fest – Get your holiday shopping off to a good start at the Corrales Holiday Art fest. You will find affordable and collectible art and crafts including handcrafted jewelry, pottery, photography, sculpture, oil, acrylic and pastel paintings by local artisans. Free admission and parking. Learn more by visiting www.corralesartists.org.
Starlight Parade – The annual Starlight parade kicks off the holiday season in Corrales. Lighted floats and vehicles meandering along Corrales Road brings out the wonder of childhood in all of us. A bonfire, cider, cookies and a visit from St. Nick follows at the Rec Center.
Corrales’s fertile floodplain has attracted settlers for hundreds of years. For centuries it sustained Pueblo farms and villages. For centuries before the Spanish settled permanently in New Mexic in the late 1600s, Corrales was home to several Indian pueblos. These pueblos were abandoned well before the Spanish settled in this area.
The Alameda Land Grant (which included present day Corrales) was given in 1710 to Francisco Montes Vigil, a soldier in the Spanish army. Vigil was unable to settle on his grant as required by Spanish law, so sold it in 1712 to Captain Juan Gonzales Bas who was then living in Bernalillo. Fray Francisco A. Dominguez in his 1776 report on the missions of New Mexico stated that Corrales was divided into Lower and Upper Corrales: Lower Corrales, a farming village, was located “above Atrisco to the north” and Upper Corrales, site of the present center of Corrales, is described as opposite the mission of Sandia, on “not very good lands.” Existence was precarious, but the hardy population multiplied and the land was divided among the descendants of Juan Gonzales and his relatives into long, narrow strips, stretching from the river to the sandhills. The more fertile and irrigable land in the river bottom was used for raising chile, corn, beans, fruits and vegetables, while the sandhills were used in common for the pasturing of sheep, cattle and horses.
Little is recorded of Corrales during the first 150 years of its existence since it was not on the major trade routes along the river from Santa Fe; even by 1870 the census records only 141 households with 687 residents. Nearly all were farmers, ranchers or laborers. For generations, the bell of the little adobe church of San Ysidro had called people to mass throughout the week and neighbors had gathered to help each other and to enjoy themselves at the annual fiesta de San Ysidro in May. European immigrants, mainly from France and Italy, settled in the Village after 1879; many grew grapes and Corrales became known for its vineyards. By the late 1930s most of the vineyards were gone, replaced by acres of orchards.
After World War II Corrales began to attract a share of Albuquerque’s population boom. Many of the newcomers were artists attracted by the village’s slower pace, old adobes, and verdant landscape. The newcomers were active in creating a volunteer fire department and a municipal library and joined with some of the long time residents to incorporate the Village in 1971. Corrales has grown three fold in the last 30 years and residents continue to work and plan to retain the assets of the village’s long history and balance these with the demands of rapid growth.