Santo Niño Cemetery
On my last day in New Mexico, I had nearly a full day since my flight back to New York wasn't until after 11pm. I drove 2.5 hours east to Tucumcari, a place so perfect that I'm still too overwhelmed by it to even attempt to look at the obscene amount of photos I took in the short time I spent there. I can sometimes be obsessive about getting places on time—especially the airport—but I left enough time on the way back to squeeze in two cemeteries.
Santo Niño Cemetery is located just south of old Route 66, east of the Albuquerque city limit. It's located on a site that was once home to an Anasazi Pueblo village from A.D. 1100-1600 and a historic Hispanic settlement. It contains less than 300 interments and the oldest recorded burial dates from 1899.
I found the Santo Niño Cemetery via the Find A Grave App, which I've mentioned before. Sometimes I find the lack of information (and especially photos) frustrating, but it really is invaluable when I'm visiting a new place and I want to make sure I don't miss an interesting cemetery nearby. Cemeteries are usually just off the beaten path and I never want to find out after the fact that I missed out on a great one.
This cemetery was considerably smaller than the Rehoboth Mission Cemetery, but it was similarly picturesque with the mountains in the background. In a souvenir shop in New Mexico we saw a postcard that referred to Albuquerque as the "other mile-high city," and at 5312 feet, its elevation is higher than Denver. Also like Rehoboth, this desert cemetery was full of tiny little lizards darting around the grave markers (and scaring the shit out of me in the waning dusk light).
The cemetery is surrounded by a fence and a sign on the gate says that it's private but I don't think any of the residents minded that I poked around for a few minutes. I love how personal and unique each grave marker feels, especially compared to the uniform granite subdivision-like cemeteries that are now common in the northeast. The flowers, trinkets and in some cases handwritten names, help to remind you that these markers represent actual people who in death are being lovingly cared for, and remembered, by the living.
Santo Niño Cemetery
GPS Coordinates: 35.5422, -105.5847