Located on the edge of the Colorado Plateau, Farmington is about as close to Colorado as New Mexico gets. This conifer-ringed hilltop town sits at the junction of the San Juan, the Animas and the La Plata rivers. Needless to say, there is plenty of fishing and rafting (rainwater and snow melt allowing) to be had and lots of businesses named “Three Rivers.” (The annual Riverfest, taking place in late May, features music, arts, food, fun runs, raft rides, trail walks and wiener dog races.)
Farmington is close to Aztec, just down the road from Shiprock and a stone's throw across the Colorado border from Durango. (Hello, Purgatory Ski Resort!) Industry in the surrounding San Juan county relies overwhelmingly on the mining and production of petroleum, natural gas and coal. This gives the area a cyclical “boom and bust” economy. Certain businesses may open and close (the traditional Native jewelry and crafts industry seems to have retreated from Farmington for the time being), but long-standing, high-quality restaurants and hotels make Farmington a favorite destination for in-the-know New Mexicans looking for a place to cool off.
The “Four Corners” section of New Mexico was settled by Ancestral Pueblo peoples as early as the 7th century. Today, you can visit such historical archeological sites as Salmon Ruins and the Aztec Ruins. The Navajo Nation is west of Farmington and the Ute Mountain Indian Reservation sits to the northwest. (If you're in a gambling mood, be on the lookout for the Northern Edge Navajo Casino, The SunRay Park & Casino and the Ute Mountain Casino, Hotel & Resort.)
Billed as the place “where outdoor lovers and active families thrive” the city is currently in the throes of its “Jolt Your Journey” ad campaign. This allows Farmington to show off its hiking, biking, fishing, off-roading, golfing and geocaching activities. Favored annual events include the Connie Mack World Series (early August), the Four Corners Storytelling Festival (mid October), Four Corners 4x4 Week (early September) and Riverglo (late November). With just a bit of driving (or biking or bicycling or whatever you like), you can access some of our readers' favorite day trips: the Bisti Badlands and Chaco Canyon.
Local businesses are working hard to revamp Farmington's downtown area. The classic Totah and Allen movie theaters may no longer play films, but they do host special events as multi-use public venues. The popular Three Rivers Eatery (named as our reader's favorite dining choice) has eaten up an entire block of Downtown thanks to its tap room, pizza parlor and newly minted distillery. The so-called “Brewstillery Lounge” is a comfortable, wood-and-leather space that features craft cocktails using Three Rivers' own line of locally distilled liquors. A creative menu of charcuterie shipped in straight from New York (and made by a former Farmington fellow) is paired with some surprisingly traditional shoyu-flavored Japanese ramen. So, be sure and check all the menus at Three Rivers before you settle down to eat. ()