When I first heard the name Pie Town I wondered how the town could have received its name—certainly not from the kind of Pie you bake and eat.
However, that was exactly the case. It’s all about the Pie in Pie Town, New Mexico: apple, berry, cherry, peach, and plum. Plus, every other kind of Pie you can think of, including single crust, double crust, and crumb. The “frosting on the Cake,” or should I say the “icing on the Pie,” is the people of Pie Town. This eclectic assemblage of residents share a common bond, and it is all about Pie, lots of Pie!
What a premise for a town! Pie makes me think of a bounty of prosperity, good cheer, and smiles a plenty.
It’s almost a sin to be in a bad mood in this town. It’s like going to a fair with a frown on your face. The Pie makers and Pie Queens of Pie Town see to it that tradition carries on with all the fun and laughter due the American constitution of Pie.
The Town came by its name in the early 1920s when Clyde Norman made Pie from dried apples. One of today’s favorites is New Mexican Apple Pie with Green Chili and Pinon Nuts. (Click here for recipe link.)
The 186 residents, and that includes the far out land owners (some of these folks live as far as 25 miles out dirt roads), have come up with dozens of Pie expressions and sayings, like: “Have a Peace of Pie!” – Terri Brown (not sure if this is her quote specifically; if not, she brought it to my attention), or “If you bake it, they will come.” – Kathy Knapp
Kathy Knapp is the head Pie baker at the Pie-O-Neer, (here we go again with Pie puns), and she is an award winning Pie maker. I thought that my mother and grandmother made the best Pie on earth, but I finally found someone who makes Pies to rival theirs.
Nita has been making Pies for 35 years, and is known around town as “THE” PIE QUEEN. I was lucky enough to receive one of her Pie making lessons. I never realized there was so much to making Pie Town – Pie! Not only does she make Pies, she also runs a hostile for hikers and bicyclist, called The Toaster House, and yep, there are toasters all over the fences.
Pie Town is right on the Continental Divide and attracts many hikers, bicyclist, and camping groups. A veritable mother-earth goddess, Nita is on her way to Oregon to receive the Martin D Papendick Award for Trail Angel of the Year, which will be awarded by the ALDHAWest 20th group gathering being held the 25th of Sept in Mt. Hood, Oregon. “I am the award,” Nita said of her long standing roll (35 years to be exact) in making all who visit Pie Town feel welcome.
Besides the Pie, Pie Town sits on top of the world at a few feet shy of 8,000 feet. The sky is the bluest ever and the pine and cedar scented air is so fresh I couldn’t breathe it in deep enough. We parked by a stretch of BLM land and took hikes daily through what was surely an elfin forest. I was always seeing things darting about from the corner of my eye that I couldn’t quite capture with straight-on vision.
The few buildings that dot the main street of town have seen their share of changes, but currently the “Pie hub” of town is the Pie-O-Neer, and Pie eaters travel great distances to come and eat the Pies that Kathy makes. A quaint post office boasts the name Pie Town that had to be argued for with the Postal authorities. The Gettin’ Place also has cute little breakfast Pies, good for anytime, of course. The Gettin’ Place is a gathering place/gift shop/saddlery, with FREE coffee served from 7:30 a.m. until 6 p.m. at night, seven days a week. They have a breakfast and lunch wagon and will soon host a café. It was the first place we frequented when we arrived in town. Janine and/or Janet greet guests with friendly smiles and will be happy to tell you all about the annual Pie Festival.
There are also a couple of other places to eat Pie, like the Pie Town Café and a coffee bar by the Windmill Museum. Plan to sample the Pie at all of the places in town. It’s not only expected, it’s a real sweet treat!
Tal and I attended the 35th Pie Festival and it is held annually the second Saturday of every September. I was lucky enough to help the Pie ladies of Pie Town prepare for the festivities by . . . you guessed it, making Pies! Over 1,000 Pies (if you count the Pies made by the community, stores, and Pie eateries) were made for the event. It’s a good old fashioned shindig with plenty of activities for children and adults alike. There is even a hoe-down dance that night!
To say I lost my heart to Pie Town, and for sure my stomach, is an understatement. Tal and I made many good friends, and I ate so much Pie I’m sure I gained five pounds. I hope that there are many more trips in store for us to Pie Town, New Mexico.
I wasn’t able to thank Ajo enough (a fellow traveler we met near Flagstaff), for inviting us to follow him to Pie Town. He also introduced us to Nita who took us under wing like she does so many Pie starved souls.
I have to say that being in Pie Town was one of the best summers yet! How can one not feel simply delicious when there is Pie involved?
Pie Town, certainly put a slice of smile on my face!