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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!
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.
Here is our door.
And here is our garage.
And here is our neighbor’s garage.
And another view of our neighbor’s garage. I could go on showing these all day!
Just like other motels, the Blue Swallow has a room with a microwave, ice-maker, refrigerator, and a washer and dryer.
And they have a nice water gun stash.
As the sun goes down, be sure to make some time to walk around and enjoy the neon lights.
Or spend some time at the picnic tables.
Blue Swallow Motel: Our Room
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.
We had everything we needed for the night. The air conditioning worked well, just like the sign out front said.
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.
The bathroom is also cute with a surprisingly spacious shower.
I even liked the view from the front window. It felt like home.
Exploring 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
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.
The city has a few murals around town. Tee Pee Curios happens to have this one on the side.
Later, when we took a walk at dusk, the shop was lit up in all its neon glory.
Oh, and there’s this next to the store.
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.
We arrived for an early dinner on a Monday, so we didn’t have to deal with waiting for a table.
You have to love a place with this guy in the dining room.
Also, if you’re feeling lonely, choose a booth. You’ll have some friends to dine with you. They’re pretty friendly.
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.
I had some of the best enchiladas I’ve ever had!
Jeff had a tasty chicken fried steak.
And Kristin went with her favorite–chicken strips.
For dessert, my dinner came with a sopapilla with honey. Yum!
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.
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.
As the sun went down, we even got to see several jackrabbits coming out for an evening nibble.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.