The early Spanish Conquistadors believed the mountains behind MMR would be the perfect place for growing apple trees. Not only was the climate right but the altitude and the soil reminded them of the areas in Spain that produced the best apples.
The Spaniards planted an orchard of apple trees in a small community at the base of mountains now called Manzanos. They named both the community and the mountains after the Spanish word for apple, manzano. The trees flourished and remnants of those original trees can still be found today in and amongst houses of Manzano. They might be the first apple trees ever planted in America.
Though the trees from that era have since gone, the Spanish chose one of the most ideal regions in New Mexico to plant apples. Many people might speculate that growing apples on the side of a mountain would be “fruitless”, but apple trees love the mountain climate. Apples thrive with sharp changes in temperature, which enhances the taste of the fruit. While orchards lower in elevation may seem less likely to freeze than those on the mountainside, heat rises up the mountainside and provides the higher orchards a greater success ratio in surviving freezes than those located lower in the valley. For over 40 years the property of Manzano Mountain Retreat has been producing some of the best apples and most delicious apple cider in New Mexico.
In 1995 the historic apple orchards became the host to a new summer camp, Apple Wood Camp, brought about by the owner of Darnell Apple Orchard. The owner, being an architect and builder, designed and constructed the main dining hall, activity hall, and five group cabins as “summer only” buildings. A year later Scott and Spencer Garrett, the developers of New Mexico Sports and Wellness recreational clubs, purchased the Apple Wood Camp and renamed it Apple Mountain Camp. Their goal was not only to create a summer camp facility but to develop a high altitude sports training facility. Their dream reached reality when in 1997 and 1998 swimming gold medallists Tom Jager and Janet Evans used Apple Mountain to host their Gold Medal Swim Camp. In 1999 the Garrett’s sold their recreational clubs to a national chain but retained ownership in Apple Mountain Camp. In 2000, Scott Garrett and his family purchased all remaining shares of AMC and commenced a significant remodeling and expansion effort, renaming the facility Manzano Mountain Retreat. It is the vision of the owners to make Manzano Mountain Retreat into a world class corporate and sports training facility.
The history of Manzano Mountain Retreat is just a beginning…