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The Merc is a supermarket owned and operated by Homesteads developers Orville and Judy McAllister and their son, John. They have created a pleasant, low-key commercial plaza that offers services most wanted by the locals. The plaza has a branch of First Community Bank (with banking hours from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 6 pm on Fridays). La Bonne Vie Day Spa is a chic beauty salon, where facials and relaxing massages are available in addition to the normal salon services for hair and nails. There is Placitas Computers, the repair shop of a greatly appreciated ex-Intel computer whiz with extraordinary de-glitching powers. The Merc's plaza also houses an environmentally sound dry cleaner, a video rental store, and a lovely café with covered outdoor seating under a shady portal. Wine tasting every Friday afternoon at The Merc is becoming a favorite event for locals to meet one another, mingle, and share in the friendships engendered by a community starting to realize itself.purple

Placitas in the late 90's was bursting with new possibilities for me. My daughter and her husband bought a house in Enchanted Hills, which is at the northernmost edge of Rio Rancho near Bernalillo. The 6-mile distance between our houses takes us past a new shopping center on Highway 528, complete with a Walgreens, Raley's Supermarket, and several other prominent businesses previously located only in Albuquerque. Santa Ana Pueblo just recently built the magnificent Hyatt Regency Tamaya Resort and Spa north of the Star Casino. It offers a 16,000 square foot full-service spa and fitness center. Santa Ana has an 18-hole golf course, and a new one is planned for the Tamaya Resort. Jackalope, with its exotic imported furnishings and pottery, dominates the western bluff overlooking the Rio Grande. The renowned Range Café in downtown Bernalillo is where my friends and family often meet. It's open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, 7 days a week; having a meal there feels like coming home.

I am pleased with the few new subdivisions that have sprung up in the 40 square miles of Placitas territory which loosely define this unincorporated town. The new houses blend nicely into the landscape, and there seems to be a lot of elbow room on the spacious lots. I appreciate the southwestern architectural style found throughout the newly developed areas. Paved roads replace most of the dirt roads of the past, and underground electrical lines keep the views from becoming cluttered.

I joined the Water Board in my own subdivision, Trails, to participate in the operation of our community’s water supply. Though rumors of water shortages in Placitas have cycled from time to time like the spring winds, they have proven to be a lot of hot air. The Santa Fe Aquifer is the source of most of the water supply, and that is where Albuquerque gets its water, too. Walled courtyards throughout Placitas hide lushly xeriscaped gardens complete with colorful varieties of cacti, flowering sages, yuccas, and penstemmons, all being enjoyed by the residents in the privacy and peacefulness offered to them by this charming area.

Retirement has provided the opportunity for many people from out of state who have enjoyed visiting Placitas for years to actually become residents of their own dream destination. Several couples I know first discovered Placitas over 30 years ago while visiting, and they never let go of the hope of living here someday. Retired life for a Placitan could mean time to pursue interests in the arts, volunteering in local organizations or homeowners associations, or exploring the many US Forest Service nature trails that surround Placitas. Being near good hospitals and just 25 minutes from the Albuquerque International Airport are two reasons many retired people choose to make Placitas their home. Seniors, baby boomers and children alike share in the good life of this diverse community and peaceful hideaway.about 5

From any vantage point it is obvious that Placitas sits on the very edge of the wilderness. I have encountered some of the wild horses and coyotes that share this habitat with the "two-leggeds." I am convinced that there is a magnetism that attracts certain people to live in Placitas. For some, this will be merely a place to pitch a tent for a season or two, but for others, like me, it will be the place to forge deep roots for generations.

pepiThe Author Pepi StrahlThis e-mail address is being protected from spambots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it , is a writer and a real estate broker, currently associated with eXP Realty and resides in Placitas, NM.
Contact Pepi at 505-440-6003 (cell phone) and 505-431-7011 (direct office line) to learn more about the Placitas Collection- The Fine Art of Real Estate Land and Homes for sale in Placitas.

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