Freedom and Apple Pie – Pie Town, NM
The long, lonely road to the West
Leads to more than just one kind of open space.
This is not just a different town,
It’s the kind of place where
A whole different kind of person settles down.
You either love it or you hate it,
And if you stay long enough,
You may just stay for life.
Nina Fussing, May 2011
Rather poetic, is it not?
I have to admit inspiration is just the kind of thing that happens around here. We’re deep in the midst of 8,000-foot mountains in the dead center of a very remote part of New Mexico. Here the wild open views and western land roll ad infinitum to the horizon, and you can literally feel the spirit of freedom ooze through your body. This place is the reason people went West and it still attracts the same kind of folks. People looking to stake their claim to the land and live a different life on their own terms.
And, of course…those who like to bake.
It all started with a Texan named Clyde Norman. He was a man’s man with an interesting side-penchant for making pie. So, in the 1920’s he settled a little rocky ridge in New Mexico and did what he did best. Word got around, the pies became famous and a town got its name. Pie Town hasn’t changed much since Clyde’s day. It’s still a sleepy little western town, small enough that you might miss it if you blink, and it’s still famous for its pies.
This, of course, was something we couldn’t miss. We took a day-trip to the original spot, the Pie Town Cafe to meet with the locals and sample the fare. The cafe draws a regular crowd with people from 40 miles away coming together for a slice and a chat. And it did not disappoint. The lunch was great, the pies sumptuously delicious (we went for the New Mexican Apple…highly recommended) and the local color was just as bright. We met the artist who moved from civilization to write a book, the couple from San Diego who were now building a house in the boonies, and the sheriff, a great big burly fellow (with an equally impressive gun) who was probably the most social of them all.
It’s rather a romantic tale, but nonetheless true and I’m not the only one to have been drawn in by this place. Russell Lee photographed over 600 shots of the town just after the depression, and the Smithsonian wrote a brilliant article on the place in 2005 (a must-read before you go).
So, to those who take the different path in life our bellies thank you for the meal and our minds thank you for the spirit. This is most definitely the kind of place I could end up staying for a very, very long time.
Post Edit Note: While enjoying ourselves out here in the boonies we’ve increased our camping budget by a whopping 25% to stay in a gorgeous BLM site near the VLA and Pie Town. Costs have thus exploded from $4/night to $5/night. Despite the strain to our wallets and the risk of budget cuts, we’ve resolved to bear the burden and will review this wonderful spot next on the blog….stay tuned…SPONSORED LINK:
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We LOooVE Comments, So Please Do
Sue Malone says
I love New Mexico, but I am seeing so many new parts of the area I had no clue existed thanks to your wonderful blog. Definitely going to have to check out Pie town! Although I’m not sure I can handle the expense. 🙂
We’re hanging around NM a lot longer than we originally planned, so it’s
allowing us to see so many more interesting spots. So happy
I can show some new ones to the experts out there.
But…the expense is heavy indeed 🙂
Love it, Nina! Paul definitely looks like he’s enjoying the pie–but wait–is it gluten free? Busting the budget in more ways than one!
Indeed it was not…and we paid for it dearly later that evening (I won’t
give details). It was sacrifice for a good cause, at least for a day 🙂
Another place we just didn’t have time to hit. Next time for sure.
You better start cutting back…$4 to $5 is getting out of hand…LOL
It’s definitely getting rough out here..hehe
jil mohr says
someone else just told us about pie town so I have put it on my list…we had to race through NM this year…just left Clovis this am and now in Amarillo…but it is a state I want to explore more of next year hopefully…..glad you are enjoying it..
You guys ARE motoring! Pie Town is definitely worth a stop when you come back.
I think you’d both enjoy the place and the local characters.
Loved the article, thanks. Just added Pie Town to my bucket list but I’ll probably have to sleep in my truck. $5 is getting out of line and besides, I’m thinking it’ll be better spent on more pie.
Indeed you’ll need all the savings you have to sample those pies.
Enough flavors to keep you busy for days…perhaps even weeks 🙂
Jerry and Suzy LeRoy says
Pie Town? Never heard of it until today. Gotta go there and try the apple pie, then go back and try two or three other pies until I burst!
Oh there are SOOOO many good flavors…Apple, Berry, Fudge, Peanut-Butter, Pecan
Can’t wait to get back to NM to try this spot out!
Definitely the kind of stop you guys would enjoy, no doubt.
Christy @ Technosyncratic says
Pie Town would be the death of me. But at least it would be death by over-consumption of too much delicious pie! I think that’s an okay way to go, personally.
A very tasty way to go, indeed 🙂 Nina
Mark S says
Love the B&W shot with the pie color splash!
Cheers. I had alot of fun with that one 🙂