Every area in the United States has its own special character, a result of the social and historic forces that have shaped it. The southwestern state of New Mexico is no exception. Here, tourists staying in vacation homes in New Mexico can see for themselves the vast influence that Spain and Mexico have had on the development of this area of the nation.
All across New Mexico, one of the dominant forms of architecture is the Spanish pueblo style. This involves buildings being constructed of adobe bricks. These bricks, made of dried mud, make up both interior and exterior walls, but the exterior walls of a pueblo house are typically at least a foot thick. Sometimes, they are as much as three feet thick. This provides a heavy layer of insulation to keep the house cool even in the heat of the New Mexican summer. Pueblo houses are covered in stucco and topped with red tile roofs, though because of their weight, some houses are now replacing those roofs with metal ones that look almost exactly the same.
The largest cities in New Mexico, including Santa Fe and Albuquerque, have whole neighborhoods designed in this style. Even the McDonald's restaurant in Taos is made of adobe and stucco, a sight that makes many tourists do a double take when they visit this city near Santa Fe, which features a thriving artists' colony. For those who appreciate art, another popular attraction in the state is the Georgia O'Keefe museum in Santa Fe, which presents visitors with a retrospective of her life's work.