On this journey through Southwestern New Mexico there were many gems. The plains landscapes were gorgeous, the people were so nice, and the activities were endless! Not having traveled this area of state before, I didn’t know what to expect, but MY, was I in for an eye-opening experience.
So much of this area is undeveloped, so when you’re driving you just get enamored by the vast terrain - especially on US Hwy 60. Which brings me to one of my most anticipated stops…The VLA.
The Very Large Array is a radio astronomy observatory located between the towns of Magdalena and Datil off of US Hwy 60. You’ll know you’re there when you start seeing little white antennas (I thought they were satellite dishes, but I was informed the accurate term for them are antennas) popping up everywhere, as far as the eye can see. They look small from afar, but if you make your way up to the visitor center you will see that they are massive. I mean, you pretty much have to look straight up to see the whole thing.
The VLA is most notably remembered because of its iconic portrayal in the movie, “Contact,” with actress Jodie Foster. Nowadays people come to learn about the mind-boggling discoveries being made here in regard to the qualities of deep space and of the universe as a whole. A MUST SEE if you or your kids are science buffs.
Oh, and when you get hungry at the VLA, one of the best stops you can make is stopping in Pietown to see Kathy at Pie-O-Neer Pies. They hands-down have some of the best pie I have ever had in my life.
Our stop in Silver City was where we got to meet some of the warm people of the Southwest. It is also where I learned about the thriving art community in this part of the state. Everywhere you look there is color! From the walls of buildings, to the large murals made by children of Silver City, this town has no short supply of eye candy. To take in all this art, be sure to follow The Red Dot Tour.
And if you like to knit like me, head to Yada Yada Yarn to pick up your next scarf project. This place is a stop on the Fiber Arts Trail, which brings people directly to the fiber artists of rural New Mexico.
Our last stop was at the seemingly prehistoric City of Rocks. This NM State Park is like a boulder playground in the middle of the desert. It was a lot of fun to do some yoga and lose myself in this randomly assembled field of massive boulders. If you are in the area, it’s a great place to camp. Plus, with little to no light pollution, they have some of the best skies for stargazing.