On the northern outskirts of Albuquerque, located on the original historic route 66 is the small historic town of Bernalillo. Tucked in, off the main road, down a narrow rural lane is a 300 year old treasure called La Hacienda de la Luna. This property was previously known as La Hacienda Grande Bed and Breakfast, which was said to be the oldest inn in the United States. Prior to it becoming a bed and breakfast in 1993, it was known as the historical Montoya-Gallegos House.
Discovering La Hacienda de la Luna becomes a journey back in time. As one sits under the portal of this low-slung, territorial style ancient adobe fortress, there is an overwhelming sense of antiquity and folklore. Built in 1711, this charming earthen abode still stands, bearing witness to decades and centuries of change. Prior to it’s incarnation as a stagecoach stop in the 1800’s, La Hacienda de la Luna has long been a place of rest and renewal for travelers, explorers, seekers and sojourners.
Long before Spanish explores set foot on this continent, this site was known as sacred land to the Tiguex tribe. In 1541 and 1542, Francisco Vasquez de Coronado came across this area in search of the legendary seven cities of Cibola. While charting out this unexplored territory, it is believed that Coronado and his party spent two years on the site of La Hacienda de la Luna.
From 1581 to 1880, the Spanish explorers and missionaries used El Camino Real to travel between the Spanish stronghold of Mexico City and the New Mexico colonies. For almost 300 years, El Camino Real was the main thoroughfare for missionaries, colonists, soldiers, and commerce to New Mexico. Until the opening of the Santa Fe Trail in the 1800s, El Camino Real was the only road to the outside world for the province of Mexico. This historic route passes through the grounds of La Hacienda de la Luna.
In 1694, the governor of provincial New Mexico, awarded the married militia captain, Diego Montoya, a vast 35,084 acre Spanish Land Grant that included the property that is now La Hacienda de la Luna. Around 1712, Elena Gallegos, a distant relative through marriage and widowed with a young son, came into possession of the entire land grant and property when Diego died, leaving 5 living heirs. It is unknown whether Elena purchased or was given the land. Elena Gallegos remained unmarried and became the first female rancher in New Mexico to get her own brand, which has been resurrected in our logo.
The original adobe structure, built in the early 1700’s was the beginning of the Gallegos/Montoya Estate. Before Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic church was built in Bernailillo in 1856, the estate served as a Chapel for Catholic worship. The Hacienda soon became the center of the Spanish village growing around what is known today as Bernalillo. The estate served as the economic, cultural and political center for the surrounding community. What now functions as the kitchen was once the old chapel. The dinning area operated as the winery and grainery. The front room was a stable, while the courtyard area provided shelter and a safe place for livestock.
During the Civil War, Confederate soldiers were ransacking churches in New Mexico. When news spread that they were headed toward Our Lady of Sorrows, the church transported its Spanish gold, other sacred icons and treasures to the Montoya-Gallegos chapel and buried them under one of the floors of what is now La Hacienda de la Luna. Our Lady of Sorrows was spared when the soldiers were cut off by the Union army, but for unknown reasons the treasures were left in the chapel. Their exact location was lost, and over the years, many tried different methods to locate the vanished treasure.
Included among the stories of the Hacienda is the family that kept a black bear in the courtyard and a “witch” and “warlock” who briefly inhabited the hacienda. Then, a man known to be interested in the lost church treasures, In 1986 or 1987, rented the estate from the Montoya's for several months. The landlords stopped by to collect unpaid rent and found an eight-foot hole in the floor in one of the rooms. The man had disappeared and was never seen again. Many yet wonder if the gold is still there or if he recovered and escaped with it.
In 1993 the property was purchased and rehabilitated by Shoshana Zimmerman who opened it as La hacienda Grande Bed and Breakfast. Two other consecutive owners continued to operate La Hacienda Grande as a Bed and Breakfast as well as a venue for weddings and other events until 2010. In 2011, we purchased, repaired, and renovated the estate, giving her a new look and upgraded amenities.
The grounds and the walls here at La Hacienda de la Luna hold many stories. If you listen carefully, you might hear the voices of yesterday’s residents and visitors. Some people who have spent time here will tell you that they have had sensory experiences of spirits from the past. From the bride that likes to look out one of the windows, to the playful presence in the courtyard….the spirits here are all welcoming and non-offensive. If you don’t want to be bothered, they will leave you be. However, if you want to have an ethereal encounter, you just might get your wish when you least expect it.
There is definitely a unique energy and electromagnetic field that even the most skeptical notice. Walking in through the front door into the art gallery, you can feel the 2 feet thick hand made adobe walls surround you in a blanket of comfort and wellbeing.
Whether you come for one of our signature treatments in the soothing tranquil Sanctuary, for a self- empowerment class, or a private retreat, it is certain that the ambiance and vitality of this old place will enhance your experience. Welcome to the Hacienda de la Luna!