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If you’re taking a road trip in the Southwest, and you’re traveling along Route 66 or nearby, why not stay at a historic Route 66 roadside motel, like the Blue Swallow Motel in Tucumcari, New Mexico? For this road trip, we opted for unique and nostalgic lodging, and we couldn’t have had more fun taking in the details and imagining what it used to be like to travel America’s iconic highway just a few decades ago.

Blue Swallow Motel: The Property

The lobby of the Blue Swallow is like a time capsule. You’ll see all kinds of details from yesteryear, and if you look closely, you’ll see items from other locations along Route 66. I was surprised to see a pop bottle from Cozy Dog Drive-In in Springfield, Illinois. The fireplace is fun to check out, too. So cozy!

Blue Swallow Motel

The property is intimate and adorable. When the neon comes on in the evening, the atmosphere of the motel becomes even more inviting. The rooms even have a garage for your vehicle, as long as your vehicle isn’t too large.

Blue Swallow Motel

Here is our door.

Blue Swallow Motel

And here is our garage.

Blue Swallow Motel

And here is our neighbor’s garage.

Blue Swallow Motel

And another view of our neighbor’s garage. I could go on showing these all day!

Blue Swallow Motel

Just like other motels, the Blue Swallow has a room with a microwave, ice-maker, refrigerator, and a washer and dryer.

Blue Swallow Motel

And they have a nice water gun stash.

Blue Swallow Motel

As the sun goes down, be sure to make some time to walk around and enjoy the neon lights.

Blue Swallow Motel

Or spend some time at the picnic tables.

Blue Swallow Motel

Blue Swallow Motel: Our Room

Blue Swallow Motel

The room was certainly a throwback…in the best way! I loved the bedspreads. You don’t see them like that much anymore. The room was a little smaller than contemporary hotel rooms, but rooms used to be smaller. We didn’t feel too crunched, but we’re a party of three. We were able to fit three full-size suitcases and a large cooler in the room with no problem.

Blue Swallow Motel

We had everything we needed for the night. The air conditioning worked well, just like the sign out front said.

Blue Swallow Motel

I loved the little details in the room, too. We thought there might have been a small refrigerator in this cabinet. We laughed when we opened the doors.

Blue Swallow Motel

The bathroom is also cute with a surprisingly spacious shower.

Blue Swallow Motel

I even liked the view from the front window. It felt like home.

Blue Swallow Motel

Exploring Tucumcari, New Mexico

Tucumcari,New Mexico

We didn’t know anything about Tucumcari before this trip. Well, except that the city is on Route 66. So, after a day of driving, it was time to explore.

Shopping for Souvinirs

Tee Pee Curios Tucumcari, New Mexico

If you’re looking for that special something, you can’t pass this place up. We couldn’t, anyway. We needed a magnet. Just so you know, there’s just a little bit of everything in here.

Tee Pee Curios Tucumcari, New Mexico

The city has a few murals around town. Tee Pee Curios happens to have this one on the side.

Tee Pee Curios Tucumcari, New Mexico

Later, when we took a walk at dusk, the shop was lit up in all its neon glory.

Tee Pee Curios Tucumcari, New Mexico

Oh, and there’s this next to the store.

Tee Pee Curios Tucumcari, New Mexico

Eating at a Local Restaurant

After talking with a few people, we decided to try out the Pow Wow Restaurant and Lizard Lounge. The place promised authentic Mexican food for me and some down-home American favorites for my picky travel companions.

Pow Wow Restaurant and Lizard Lounge

We arrived for an early dinner on a Monday, so we didn’t have to deal with waiting for a table.

Pow Wow Restaurant and Lizard Lounge

You have to love a place with this guy in the dining room.

Pow Wow Restaurant and Lizard Lounge

Also, if you’re feeling lonely, choose a booth. You’ll have some friends to dine with you. They’re pretty friendly.

Pow Wow Restaurant and Lizard Lounge

We started our dinner with chips, salsa, and queso. We asked for the queso to be plain for Kristin, and they were able to do it.

Pow Wow Restaurant and Lizard Lounge

I had some of the best enchiladas I’ve ever had!

Pow Wow Restaurant and Lizard Lounge

Jeff had a tasty chicken fried steak.

Pow Wow Restaurant and Lizard Lounge

And Kristin went with her favorite–chicken strips.

Pow Wow Restaurant and Lizard Lounge

For dessert, my dinner came with a sopapilla with honey. Yum!

Pow Wow Restaurant and Lizard Lounge

Exploring the Great Outdoors

When visiting Tucumcari, you can’t help but notice a feature on the edge of town–Tucumcari Mountain. On a historical marker we saw along the road, we learned that the mountain has been a marker throughout the ages from Indigenous people to modern travelers. We couldn’t resist taking a little evening drive after dinner.

Tucumcari Mountain

Evening is the perfect time to explore. Since this environment is very different from the woods of the Ozarks, we had a great time noting the differences of the area.

Tucumcari

As the sun went down, we even got to see several jackrabbits coming out for an evening nibble.

Tucumcari

Taking a Walk Down Old Route 66

After our evening drive, we took a walk to see what else glowed with Route 66 nostalgia in Tucumcari.

Tucumcari

There are a couple of other Route 66 motels in Tucumcari if you can’t score a reservation at the Blue Swallow Motel. Motel Safari looked like a fun choice.

Tucumcari

I mean, there’s a camel in the lobby. Sounds like a win to me.

I also loved the ad in the sitting area of this motel.

Tucumcari

It was a great evening for a walk, but soon it was time to head back for some rest. After all, we had more driving the next day as we made our way to Holbrook, Arizona, and Petrified Forest National Park. Click here to read more about our experience in Petrified Forest National Park.

Tucumcari

When we returned to the Blue Swallow Motel, we noticed mood music playing on a speaker as we walked to our room. It was the perfect touch to end the evening.

We had a great stay at the Blue Swallow Motel, and I hope you’ll consider making Tucumcari, New Mexico, part of your Southwest road trip or Route 66 adventures.

Blue Swallow Motel
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15 Comments

  1. I need to drive down Route 66. So much nostalgia! It reminds me of Disney’s Cars. Except I’m old enough to actually remember some of those things from my childhood. I love the cute garages at your motel!

  2. This is so cool – I want to stay at the Blue Swallow!! I love places like this, definitely adding to my road trip list, thanks!

  3. What a fun blast from the past! That looks like a fun, nostalgic, hotel and town to visit! Thanks for sharing!

  4. Blue swallow hotel looks so unique and fun. Very nostalgic. The rest of New Mexico looks like a great place to explore and find amazing adventures.

  5. What a great retro motel. I think my kids would really get a kick out of the refridgerator and the TV. The garages are super cool too. Route 66 is certainly an iconic route across America and everyone should drive some part of it.

  6. I would totally stay at this motel and spend a couple of days in this town…lots of fun roadside attractions!

  7. Cindy Mailhot Reply

    We are looking at a Route 66 trip if travel restrictions continue into next year. This will be on the list.

  8. Oh wow! This looks like so much fun! My son is obsessed with the movie “Cars” so he would love to visit a place like this. Thank you for sharing!

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