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While eating breakfast at downtown Silver City’s Tre Rosat Cafe, I overheard a couple chatting at a nearby table. “Twenty years ago they were calling this town the next Santa Fe,” said a woman who

","version_id":"59f8ebb5648901d6cd7260a1","author":{"_id":"58b4b2404c2774661570f187","name":"Andrew Collins","image_id":"59139dd6da8f9b60115b37c5","created":"2017-02-27T23:12:00.226Z","blog":"magazine","_name_sort":"andrew collins","updated":"2017-05-10T23:10:20.308Z","image":{"_id":"59139dd6da8f9b60115b37c5","original_public_id":"clients/newmexico/AC_BW_e8f801c1-2f30-4955-b5dd-d7b115268b85","title":"Andrew Collins","resource_raw":{"public_id":"clients/newmexico/AC_BW_e8f801c1-2f30-4955-b5dd-d7b115268b85","version":1494457812,"signature":"451c9c0b132a549712f3cbb2a93abc75c6df8065","width":2482,"height":2482,"format":"jpg","resource_type":"image","created_at":"2017-05-10T23:10:12.000Z","bytes":1055023,"type":"upload","etag":"8e5857dd66cfa4317fb2b4cbae5943e3","url":"http://res.cloudinary.com/simpleview/image/upload/v1494457812/clients/newmexico/AC_BW_e8f801c1-2f30-4955-b5dd-d7b115268b85.jpg","secure_url":"https://res.cloudinary.com/simpleview/image/upload/v1494457812/clients/newmexico/AC_BW_e8f801c1-2f30-4955-b5dd-d7b115268b85.jpg","exif":{"Copyright":"JURRIAAN TEULINGS"},"original_filename":"file"},"alt_text_raw":"Andrew Collins","content_owner":"magazine","title_sort":"andrew collins","updated":"2017-05-10T23:10:14.757Z","deleted":false,"created":"2017-05-10T23:10:14.763Z","resource":{"raw":{"resource_type":"image","format":"jpg","public_id":"clients/newmexico/AC_BW_e8f801c1-2f30-4955-b5dd-d7b115268b85"}},"id":"59139dd6da8f9b60115b37c5","type":"image","inAssetRequest":false,"alt_text":"Andrew Collins"},"_totalPosts":38,"id":"58b4b2404c2774661570f187","title":"Andrew Collins","slug":"andrew-collins","url":"/nmmagazine/articles/author/andrew-collins/58b4b2404c2774661570f187/","commentsUrl":"/nmmagazine/articles/author/andrew-collins/58b4b2404c2774661570f187/#comments","totalPosts":38},"categories":[{"_id":"58c834b11f16f9392cf0992a","title":"Travel","blog":"magazine","_title_sort":"travel","updated":"2017-03-14T18:21:37.155Z","created":"2017-03-14T18:21:37.156Z","_totalPosts":188,"id":"58c834b11f16f9392cf0992a","slug":"travel","url":"/nmmagazine/articles/category/travel/58c834b11f16f9392cf0992a/","commentsUrl":"/nmmagazine/articles/category/travel/58c834b11f16f9392cf0992a/#comments","totalPosts":188},{"_id":"58b4b2404c2774661570f2a3","blog":"magazine","title":"Features","_title_sort":"features","updated":"2017-02-27T23:12:00.492Z","created":"2017-02-27T23:12:00.504Z","_totalPosts":208,"id":"58b4b2404c2774661570f2a3","slug":"features","url":"/nmmagazine/articles/category/features/58b4b2404c2774661570f2a3/","commentsUrl":"/nmmagazine/articles/category/features/58b4b2404c2774661570f2a3/#comments","totalPosts":208},{"_id":"58b4b2404c2774661570f2ee","blog":"magazine","title":"March 2015","_title_sort":"march 2015","updated":"2017-02-27T23:12:00.568Z","created":"2017-02-27T23:12:00.575Z","_totalPosts":12,"id":"58b4b2404c2774661570f2ee","slug":"march-2015","url":"/nmmagazine/articles/category/march-2015/58b4b2404c2774661570f2ee/","commentsUrl":"/nmmagazine/articles/category/march-2015/58b4b2404c2774661570f2ee/#comments","totalPosts":12}],"teaser":"

While eating breakfast at downtown Silver City’s Tre Rosat Cafe, I overheard a couple chatting at a nearby table. “Twenty years ago they were calling this town the next Santa Fe,” said a woman who

","description":"While eating breakfast at downtown Silver City’s Tre Rosat Cafe, I overheard a couple chatting at a nearby table. “Twenty years ago they were calling this town the next Santa Fe,” said a woman who looked to be in her mid-fifties. “It never happened.” Her husband nodded in agreement. “Too far from the interstate,” he added. Amen, I thought to myself. Don’t get me wrong—I love my former home city of Santa Fe. But one thing that makes New Mexico special is the diversity and singularity of its communities. From Albuquerque to Zuni, no town is quite like any other. Silver City was founded 150 years ago, on the heels of a silver-mining boom. Many who live in this sunny hilltop town of about 10,000 on the fringes of the Gila Wilderness still work in the mining industry, but Silver City and surrounding Grant County also claim a sizable number of artists, entrepreneurs, retirees, educators, students, and outdoorsy individualists who love it here precisely because it’s unlike any other place in the Southwest—or the world, for that matter. I fell hard for Silver City the first time I visited, about 15 years ago. Entranced by the slowgoing drive through the Black Range along breathtakingly circuitous N.M. 152, I quickly delighted in the remarkable variety of one-of-a-kind restaurants and funky boutiques along downtown’s colorful commercial drag, Bullard Street. Adjacent to a minimally inhabited national forest nearly the size of Connecticut, Silver City might just be New Mexico’s ultimate destination for getting away from it all without actually having to forgo exceptional dining, distinctive accommodations, and top-notch arts and cultural attractions. My hope is that predictions about Silver City’s imminent transformation into the next this or that prove forever incorrect. Here are 25 attributes of Silver City that make it such a charmed place to live and visit.","id":"58b4b2814c2774661570f9f4","url":"/nmmagazine/articles/post/25-reasons-to-love-silver-city-90256/","commentsUrl":"/nmmagazine/articles/post/25-reasons-to-love-silver-city-90256/#comments","absoluteUrl":"https://www.newmexico.org/nmmagazine/articles/post/25-reasons-to-love-silver-city-90256/","metaTitle":"25 Reasons to Love Silver City","metaDescription":"

While eating breakfast at downtown Silver City’s Tre Rosat Cafe, I overheard a couple chatting at a nearby table. “Twenty years ago they were calling this town the next Santa Fe,” said a woman who

","cleanDescription":"While eating breakfast at downtown Silver City’s Tre Rosat Cafe, I overheard a couple chatting at a nearby table. “Twenty years ago they were calling this town the next Santa Fe,” said a woman who looked to be in her mid-fifties. “It never happened.” Her husband nodded in agreement. “Too far from the interstate,” he added. Amen, I thought to myself. Don’t get me wrong—I love my former home city of Santa Fe. But one thing that makes New Mexico special is the diversity and singularity of its communities. From Albuquerque to Zuni, no town is quite like any other. Silver City was founded 150 years ago, on the heels of a silver-mining boom. Many who live in this sunny hilltop town of about 10,000 on the fringes of the Gila Wilderness still work in the mining industry, but Silver City and surrounding Grant County also claim a sizable number of artists, entrepreneurs, retirees, educators, students, and outdoorsy individualists who love it here precisely because it’s unlike any other place in the Southwest—or the world, for that matter. I fell hard for Silver City the first time I visited, about 15 years ago. Entranced by the slowgoing drive through the Black Range along breathtakingly circuitous N.M. 152, I quickly delighted in the remarkable variety of one-of-a-kind restaurants and funky boutiques along downtown’s colorful commercial drag, Bullard Street. Adjacent to a minimally inhabited national forest nearly the size of Connecticut, Silver City might just be New Mexico’s ultimate destination for getting away from it all without actually having to forgo exceptional dining, distinctive accommodations, and top-notch arts and cultural attractions. My hope is that predictions about Silver City’s imminent transformation into the next this or that prove forever incorrect. Here are 25 attributes of Silver City that make it such a charmed place to live and visit.","publish_start_moment":"2015-02-17T17:00:00.000Z","publish_end_moment":"2017-12-16T23:32:53.728Z"},{"_id":"58b4b2814c2774661570f9f0","author_id":"58b4b2404c2774661570f187","title":"Let There Be Light","slug":"going-places-carlsbad-89980","image_id":"58ffd8e1e1efff4c9916433e","publish_start":"2015-02-04T13:00:00.000Z","enable_comments":true,"categories_ids":["58c834b11f16f9392cf0992a","58b4b2404c2774661570f2b4","58f5533b46da1c146c0fc752","58b4b2404c2774661570f2ee"],"tags_ids":["59090e46e1efff4c9916fb37","59090ce8e1efff4c9916fa49","59090ca9e1efff4c9916fa20","59090d5ee1efff4c9916fa9f"],"cms_tags_ids":["58b061ec6a2b0936c34a23ea"],"enabled":true,"custom_tagline":"One of the most surprising things about Carlsbad: all there is to see and do above ground.","created":"2015-02-04T13:33:09.000Z","legacy_id":"89980","blog":"magazine","_title_sort":"let there be light","updated":"2017-10-31T21:31:34.225Z","active":true,"description_raw":"
\r\n\r\n
NEED TO KNOW
\r\nBlue House Bakery 609 N. Canyon St.; (575) 628-0555 Cactus Cafe 26 Carlsbad Cavern Hwy., White’s City; (575) 785-2291
\r\nCarlsbad Museum and Art Center 418 W. Fox St.; (575) 887-0276; cityofcarlsbadnm.com/ museum.cfm Carlsbad Caverns National Park
\r\n727 Carlsbad Cavern Hwy., off U.S. 180/62; (575) 785-2232; nps.gov/cave
\r\nCarlsbad Chamber of Commerce 302 S. Canal St.; (575) 887-6516; carlsbadchamber.com Hampton Inn & Suites Carlsbad
\r\n120 Esperanza Cir.; (575) 725- 5700; hamptoninn3.hilton.com
\r\nLa Quinta Inn & Suites Carlsbad
\r\n4020 National Parks Hwy. (U.S. 180/62); (575) 236-1010; lq.com
\r\nLiving Desert Zoo and Gardens State Park 1504 Miehls Road; (575) 887-5516; www.emnrd. state.nm.us/SPD
\r\nPecos River Walk Good
\r\naccess points include Park Dr. at E. Greene St., Cascades Ave., and E. Church St. Red Chimney Pit Bar-B-Q
\r\n817 N. Canal St.;
\r\n(575) 885-8744
\r\nTownePlace Suites by Marriott
\r\n311 Pompa St.; (888) 236-2427; marriott.com
\r\nTrinity Hotel 201 S. Canal St.; 575-234-9891; thetrinityhotel.com
\r\nYellowBrix 201 N. Canal St.; (575) 941-2749; brixrestaurant.com
\r\n\r\n

WHY GO NOW
\r\nIn March, daytime temperatures hover around 70 degrees in these parts, making Carlsbad a wonderful sunny weekend getaway. The small city of Carlsbad, which lies about 20 miles north of the Carlsbad Caverns National Park, also offers compelling attractions and restau- rants with outdoor dining, all of which afford plenty of opportunities to soak up the rays. Once you absorb your daily dose of vitamin D, descend 755 feet into the park’s famous 8.2-acre “Big Room” cavern and walk through its network of larger-than-life columns and caves. After you get back to the earth’s surface, explore the park’s 46,000 acres—which include backcountry trails through spectacular Chihuahuan Desert wilderness and a nine-mile scenic loop drive.

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WHERE TO STAY
\r\nRates can be steep in Carlsbad, and hotels sometimes book up a few weeks in advance, thanks to high guest-room demand spurred by the oil boom in the region, which is on the edge of the highly productive Permian Basin. Expect rates averaging around $250 for the finer chain properties in town and well over $100 nightly for bare-bones motels.

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Carlsbad’s most distinctive—and romantic—lodging option, the redbrick Trinity Hotel, occupies a stately 1892 former bank building with tall arched windows and a prime location within walking distance of the downtown river-front. Guests check in through the ground-floor lobby, which contains one of the best gift-food-and-wine shops in town, then walk back outside to access the nine rooms, most of which are reached via a staircase to the second floor. These swanky accommodations have high-thread-count linens, leather sofas, wine-chilling machines, and travertine-tile bathrooms with glass walk-in showers.

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On the south side of downtown, the Hampton Inn & Suites Carlsbad is a top choice among the several chain hotels in town. Features of this four-story, 85-room property include an indoor pool room, and in-room microwaves and refrigerators. Additionally, La Quinta Inn & Suites Carlsbad, just four miles south of downtown and 16 miles north of the national park, opened in early December, and Marriott’s TownePlace Suites Carlsbad is planned to open in the heart of downtown this spring.

\r\n\r\n

FRIDAY
\r\nOn arriving in town, head to the lively and casual Red Chimney Pit Bar-B-Q for dinner. The restaurant occupies a rustic log-cabin building with a vaulted beam ceiling and tables set with red-checked tablecloths, fresh-cut yellow flowers, and walls decked with wagon wheels, mounted moose heads, and other Old West paraphernalia. Dig into a platter of spicy hot links, fall-off-the-bone slow-roasted turkey, or St. Louis–style spareribs. You’ll find a few interesting craft beers on the menu, too.

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SATURDAY
\r\nTwo of the best things to do in Carlsbad are both closed on Sunday, which is why we recommend that you visit them on Saturday and save Carlsbad Caverns for Sunday.

\r\n\r\n

Mingle with locals over lattes, green-chile-and-sausage egg bowls, fluffy croissants, and other soul-warming breakfast fare at the cheerful Blue House Bakery and Cafe, which is aptly situated inside a blue bungalow on a quiet residential street on the north side of downtown. On warm mornings, take a seat on the spacious side patio.

\r\n\r\n

It’s a pleasant 15-minute walk through downtown to reach the free Carlsbad Museum and Art Center, which anchors a grassy square that’s also flanked by the public library. Spending an hour inside the city’s impressive—and actually quite underrated—cultural hub makes for an interesting prelude to visiting the caverns.

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The collection includes fascinating historical photographs of the early explorations of the caverns. You can also view an 1856 Wells Fargo stagecoach that once carried parcels along the Butterfield Overland Mail route through town, plus Navajo rugs and ancient Mogollon and Mesa Verde pottery, a vintage firearms collection, and an art gallery containing many permanent landscape watercolors by acclaimed early-20th-century painter and Carlsbad resident Roderick Fletcher Mead as well as such internationally renowned talents as Roswell-born Peter Hurd, French Expressionist Georges Roualt, and Taos painter LaVerne Nelson Black.

\r\n\r\n

Walk east about eight short city blocks to reach one feature of the community you might not expect in the Chihuahuan Desert: the beautifully landscaped 41⁄2-mile Pecos River Walk. You can rent a canoe or paddleboat at Lake Carlsbad Beach Park and stroll or jog along paved portions of a pedestrian promenade that flanks both sides of the river. Walk back through downtown, passing the stately Eddy County Courthouse, which was built in 1891 as an ornate Victorian but completely redesigned in 1939 in its current adobe Santa Fe style. Across the street, Yellow-Brix Restaurant occupies—you guessed it—a charming yellow-brick house with a large shaded outdoor seating area. “Brix” is also a winemaking term (a measure of sugar content), and the wine choices are correspondingly in the know. It’s a lovely spot for lunch, serving such eclectic fare as fried-catfish sandwiches, poached-pear salads, and chicken tortilla soup.

\r\n\r\n

Spend the rest of the afternoon touring the superb Living Desert Zoo and Gardens, which is set on a hilltop about four miles southwest of town and offers terrific views of the surroundings. After checking out the nature displays in the visitor center, walk outside to the beginning of the park trail, where you’ll encounter a wall bearing this quote from iconic conservationist John Muir: “In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.” You’ll come to appreciate these sentiments as you stroll past the animals and plant life that thrive in the Chihuahuan Desert—expect to encounter everything from adorable burrowing owls and hog-nosed skunks to impressive pronghorn, elk, and black bears, plus an extensive collection of cacti, succulents, and desert shrubs.

\r\n\r\n

With its lofty pressed-tin ceiling, antique chandeliers, and sweeping curtains, the dining room inside the historic Trinity Hotel is the place in town for a memorable dinner. But first stop by the elegant bar to partake of a little wine tasting—you can sample Spirit of Seven Rivers wines from nearby Balzano Family Vineyard (the Tempranillo is a standout) as well as first-rate Italian varietals from Deming-based Luna Rossa Winery. All of these bottles are available for purchase in the extensive lobby shop, where you’ll also discover a variety of diverting gifts, from birdhouses clad in New Mexico license plates to locally made barbecue sauces and jams. In the restaurant, sample exceptional contemporary American and classic Italian fare, including the signature appetizer of local goat cheese topped with sweet-and-spicy blackberry-habanero sauce, and perfectly grilled chicken with a zesty lemon-caper piccata sauce.

\r\n\r\n

SUNDAY
\r\nIt’s not a bad idea to rise on the early side, enjoy a simple breakfast at your hotel, and gain a head start on the day so that you don’t feel too rushed during your exploration of Carlsbad Caverns National Park—there’s plenty to see here. A smart strategy is to begin at the visitor center, spending an hour or so checking out the  well-conceived exhibits. It’s perched high on a 6,520-foot escarpment ridge that enjoys stunning panoramic views for miles around. You’ll learn about speleogenesis (the birth of the caves), see detailed models that explain the formation of stalagmites and stalactites, and view a fantastic diorama of the caverns, which gives a remarkable sense of just how extensive and deep they are. And you’ll learn about the park’s “most famous resident,” the Brazilian free-tailed bat—it’s the most prevalent of the 17 bat species in the caverns. About 400,000 of these insect- eating mammals swoop into the cave on spring and summer evenings, where they take shelter and raise their young.

\r\n\r\n

You can enter the Big Room cavern either by elevator or by walking down a steep 11⁄4-mile switchback trail that descends from just outside the visitor center. I recommend taking this well-maintained path into the cavern and then returning at the end of your visit by eleva- tor. However you reach the Big Room, once inside it you’ll follow a well-lit, one-mile paved walkway that meanders through this enormous cavern, revealing a fascinating wonderland of bizarre geological formations. A highlight is the fabled Hall of Giants, where the 62-foot-tall “Giant Dome” column rises above the floor—it’s the result of calcite in water that’s slowly dripped from the ceiling over the eons, and it’s surrounded by dozens of impressive stalagmites. You’ll also pass the old wire ladder that early spelunker Jim White built in 1924 to explore the caverns, the year after they became part of the national park system.

\r\n\r\n

Dining options are quite limited at the park—you might consider buying picnic supplies or takeout lunch in town and bringing it along with you. Additionally, there’s the cafeteria-style Carlsbad Caverns Trading Company restaurant in the visitor center as well as a snack bar in the Big Room, and just outside the park entrance you’ll find a handful of services in the tiny village of White’s City, including the Cactus Cafe, a rambling adobe building that serves burgers, steaks, Mexican fare, and more.

\r\n\r\n

Contributor Andrew Collins also wrote “25 Reasons to Love Silver City,”.

","teaser_raw":"
NEED TO KNOW
Blue House Bakery 609 N. Canyon St.; (575) 628-0555 Cactus Cafe 26 Carlsbad Cavern Hwy., White’s City; (575) 785-2291
Carlsbad Museum and Art Center 418 W. Fox St.; (575) 887-0276;
","version_id":"59f8ebb6648901d6cd726101","author":{"_id":"58b4b2404c2774661570f187","name":"Andrew Collins","image_id":"59139dd6da8f9b60115b37c5","created":"2017-02-27T23:12:00.226Z","blog":"magazine","_name_sort":"andrew collins","updated":"2017-05-10T23:10:20.308Z","image":{"_id":"59139dd6da8f9b60115b37c5","original_public_id":"clients/newmexico/AC_BW_e8f801c1-2f30-4955-b5dd-d7b115268b85","title":"Andrew Collins","resource_raw":{"public_id":"clients/newmexico/AC_BW_e8f801c1-2f30-4955-b5dd-d7b115268b85","version":1494457812,"signature":"451c9c0b132a549712f3cbb2a93abc75c6df8065","width":2482,"height":2482,"format":"jpg","resource_type":"image","created_at":"2017-05-10T23:10:12.000Z","bytes":1055023,"type":"upload","etag":"8e5857dd66cfa4317fb2b4cbae5943e3","url":"http://res.cloudinary.com/simpleview/image/upload/v1494457812/clients/newmexico/AC_BW_e8f801c1-2f30-4955-b5dd-d7b115268b85.jpg","secure_url":"https://res.cloudinary.com/simpleview/image/upload/v1494457812/clients/newmexico/AC_BW_e8f801c1-2f30-4955-b5dd-d7b115268b85.jpg","exif":{"Copyright":"JURRIAAN TEULINGS"},"original_filename":"file"},"alt_text_raw":"Andrew Collins","content_owner":"magazine","title_sort":"andrew collins","updated":"2017-05-10T23:10:14.757Z","deleted":false,"created":"2017-05-10T23:10:14.763Z","resource":{"raw":{"resource_type":"image","format":"jpg","public_id":"clients/newmexico/AC_BW_e8f801c1-2f30-4955-b5dd-d7b115268b85"}},"id":"59139dd6da8f9b60115b37c5","type":"image","inAssetRequest":false,"alt_text":"Andrew Collins"},"_totalPosts":38,"id":"58b4b2404c2774661570f187","title":"Andrew Collins","slug":"andrew-collins","url":"/nmmagazine/articles/author/andrew-collins/58b4b2404c2774661570f187/","commentsUrl":"/nmmagazine/articles/author/andrew-collins/58b4b2404c2774661570f187/#comments","totalPosts":38},"categories":[{"_id":"58c834b11f16f9392cf0992a","title":"Travel","blog":"magazine","_title_sort":"travel","updated":"2017-03-14T18:21:37.155Z","created":"2017-03-14T18:21:37.156Z","_totalPosts":188,"id":"58c834b11f16f9392cf0992a","slug":"travel","url":"/nmmagazine/articles/category/travel/58c834b11f16f9392cf0992a/","commentsUrl":"/nmmagazine/articles/category/travel/58c834b11f16f9392cf0992a/#comments","totalPosts":188},{"_id":"58b4b2404c2774661570f2b4","blog":"magazine","title":"Going Places","_title_sort":"going places","updated":"2017-02-27T23:12:00.493Z","created":"2017-02-27T23:12:00.506Z","_totalPosts":78,"id":"58b4b2404c2774661570f2b4","slug":"going-places","url":"/nmmagazine/articles/category/going-places/58b4b2404c2774661570f2b4/","commentsUrl":"/nmmagazine/articles/category/going-places/58b4b2404c2774661570f2b4/#comments","totalPosts":78},{"_id":"58b4b2404c2774661570f2ee","blog":"magazine","title":"March 2015","_title_sort":"march 2015","updated":"2017-02-27T23:12:00.568Z","created":"2017-02-27T23:12:00.575Z","_totalPosts":12,"id":"58b4b2404c2774661570f2ee","slug":"march-2015","url":"/nmmagazine/articles/category/march-2015/58b4b2404c2774661570f2ee/","commentsUrl":"/nmmagazine/articles/category/march-2015/58b4b2404c2774661570f2ee/#comments","totalPosts":12}],"image":{"_id":"58ffd8e1e1efff4c9916433e","original_public_id":"clients/newmexico/CarlsbadCaverns_31_a381ac82-c947-4579-96e1-3dfaf81cb963","title":"Carlsbad Caverns National Park","resource_raw":{"public_id":"clients/newmexico/CarlsbadCaverns_31_a381ac82-c947-4579-96e1-3dfaf81cb963","version":1493162177,"signature":"a29134e9d69c53e476a032acbeb48ad0412c4ce9","width":800,"height":593,"format":"jpg","resource_type":"image","created_at":"2017-04-25T23:16:17.000Z","bytes":141995,"type":"upload","etag":"38e632003308c6ec40550bacc95b93d3","url":"http://res.cloudinary.com/simpleview/image/upload/v1493162177/clients/newmexico/CarlsbadCaverns_31_a381ac82-c947-4579-96e1-3dfaf81cb963.jpg","secure_url":"https://res.cloudinary.com/simpleview/image/upload/v1493162177/clients/newmexico/CarlsbadCaverns_31_a381ac82-c947-4579-96e1-3dfaf81cb963.jpg","original_filename":"file"},"alt_text_raw":"Carlsbad Caverns National Park","credits":"Kevin Garrett","content_owner":"magazine","title_sort":"carlsbad caverns national park","updated":"2017-04-25T23:16:49.791Z","deleted":false,"created":"2017-04-25T23:16:49.792Z","id":"58ffd8e1e1efff4c9916433e","type":"image","resource":{"raw":{"resource_type":"image","format":"jpg","public_id":"clients/newmexico/CarlsbadCaverns_31_a381ac82-c947-4579-96e1-3dfaf81cb963"}},"inAssetRequest":false,"alt_text":"Carlsbad Caverns National Park"},"tags":[{"_id":"59090ca9e1efff4c9916fa20","title":"Events","blog":"magazine","_title_sort":"events","updated":"2017-05-02T22:48:09.170Z","created":"2017-05-02T22:48:09.171Z","_totalPosts":62,"id":"59090ca9e1efff4c9916fa20","slug":"events","url":"/nmmagazine/articles/tag/events/59090ca9e1efff4c9916fa20/","commentsUrl":"/nmmagazine/articles/tag/events/59090ca9e1efff4c9916fa20/#comments","totalPosts":62}],"teaser":"
NEED TO KNOW
Blue House Bakery 609 N. Canyon St.; (575) 628-0555 Cactus Cafe 26 Carlsbad Cavern Hwy., White’s City; (575) 785-2291
Carlsbad Museum and Art Center 418 W. Fox St.; (575) 887-0276;
","description":"NEED TO KNOW Blue House Bakery 609 N. Canyon St.; (575) 628-0555 Cactus Cafe 26 Carlsbad Cavern Hwy., White’s City; (575) 785-2291 Carlsbad Museum and Art Center 418 W. Fox St.; (575) 887-0276; cityofcarlsbadnm.com/ museum.cfm Carlsbad Caverns National Park 727 Carlsbad Cavern Hwy., off U.S. 180/62; (575) 785-2232; nps.gov/cave Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce 302 S. Canal St.; (575) 887-6516; carlsbadchamber.com Hampton Inn & Suites Carlsbad 120 Esperanza Cir.; (575) 725- 5700; hamptoninn3.hilton.com La Quinta Inn & Suites Carlsbad 4020 National Parks Hwy. (U.S. 180/62); (575) 236-1010; lq.com Living Desert Zoo and Gardens State Park 1504 Miehls Road; (575) 887-5516; www.emnrd. state.nm.us/SPD Pecos River Walk Good access points include Park Dr. at E. Greene St., Cascades Ave., and E. Church St. Red Chimney Pit Bar-B-Q 817 N. Canal St.; (575) 885-8744 TownePlace Suites by Marriott 311 Pompa St.; (888) 236-2427; marriott.com Trinity Hotel 201 S. Canal St.; 575-234-9891; thetrinityhotel.com YellowBrix 201 N. Canal St.; (575) 941-2749; brixrestaurant.com WHY GO NOW In March, daytime temperatures hover around 70 degrees in these parts, making Carlsbad a wonderful sunny weekend getaway. The small city of Carlsbad, which lies about 20 miles north of the Carlsbad Caverns National Park, also offers compelling attractions and restau- rants with outdoor dining, all of which afford plenty of opportunities to soak up the rays. Once you absorb your daily dose of vitamin D, descend 755 feet into the park’s famous 8.2-acre “Big Room” cavern and walk through its network of larger-than-life columns and caves. After you get back to the earth’s surface, explore the park’s 46,000 acres—which include backcountry trails through spectacular Chihuahuan Desert wilderness and a nine-mile scenic loop drive. WHERE TO STAY Rates can be steep in Carlsbad, and hotels sometimes book up a few weeks in advance, thanks to high guest-room demand spurred by the oil boom in the region, which is on the edge of the highly productive Permian Basin. Expect rates averaging around $250 for the finer chain properties in town and well over $100 nightly for bare-bones motels. Carlsbad’s most distinctive—and romantic—lodging option, the redbrick Trinity Hotel , occupies a stately 1892 former bank building with tall arched windows and a prime location within walking distance of the downtown river-front. Guests check in through the ground-floor lobby, which contains one of the best gift-food-and-wine shops in town, then walk back outside to access the nine rooms, most of which are reached via a staircase to the second floor. These swanky accommodations have high-thread-count linens, leather sofas, wine-chilling machines, and travertine-tile bathrooms with glass walk-in showers. On the south side of downtown, the Hampton Inn & Suites Carlsbad is a top choice among the several chain hotels in town. Features of this four-story, 85-room property include an indoor pool room, and in-room microwaves and refrigerators. Additionally, La Quinta Inn & Suites Carlsbad , just four miles south of downtown and 16 miles north of the national park, opened in early December, and Marriott’s TownePlace Suites Carlsbad is planned to open in the heart of downtown this spring. FRIDAY On arriving in town, head to the lively and casual Red Chimney Pit Bar-B-Q for dinner. The restaurant occupies a rustic log-cabin building with a vaulted beam ceiling and tables set with red-checked tablecloths, fresh-cut yellow flowers, and walls decked with wagon wheels, mounted moose heads, and other Old West paraphernalia. Dig into a platter of spicy hot links, fall-off-the-bone slow-roasted turkey, or St. Louis–style spareribs. You’ll find a few interesting craft beers on the menu, too. SATURDAY Two of the best things to do in Carlsbad are both closed on Sunday, which is why we recommend that you visit them on Saturday and save Carlsbad Caverns for Sunday. Mingle with locals over lattes, green-chile-and-sausage egg bowls, fluffy croissants, and other soul-warming breakfast fare at the cheerful Blue House Bakery and Cafe , which is aptly situated inside a blue bungalow on a quiet residential street on the north side of downtown. On warm mornings, take a seat on the spacious side patio. It’s a pleasant 15-minute walk through downtown to reach the free Carlsbad Museum and Art Center , which anchors a grassy square that’s also flanked by the public library. Spending an hour inside the city’s impressive—and actually quite underrated—cultural hub makes for an interesting prelude to visiting the caverns. The collection includes fascinating historical photographs of the early explorations of the caverns. You can also view an 1856 Wells Fargo stagecoach that once carried parcels along the Butterfield Overland Mail route through town, plus Navajo rugs and ancient Mogollon and Mesa Verde pottery, a vintage firearms collection, and an art gallery containing many permanent landscape watercolors by acclaimed early-20th-century painter and Carlsbad resident Roderick Fletcher Mead as well as such internationally renowned talents as Roswell-born Peter Hurd, French Expressionist Georges Roualt, and Taos painter LaVerne Nelson Black. Walk east about eight short city blocks to reach one feature of the community you might not expect in the Chihuahuan Desert: the beautifully landscaped 41⁄2-mile Pecos River Walk . You can rent a canoe or paddleboat at Lake Carlsbad Beach Park and stroll or jog along paved portions of a pedestrian promenade that flanks both sides of the river. Walk back through downtown, passing the stately Eddy County Courthouse, which was built in 1891 as an ornate Victorian but completely redesigned in 1939 in its current adobe Santa Fe style. Across the street, Yellow-Brix Restaurant occupies—you guessed it—a charming yellow-brick house with a large shaded outdoor seating area. “Brix” is also a winemaking term (a measure of sugar content), and the wine choices are correspondingly in the know. It’s a lovely spot for lunch, serving such eclectic fare as fried-catfish sandwiches, poached-pear salads, and chicken tortilla soup. Spend the rest of the afternoon touring the superb Living Desert Zoo and Gardens , which is set on a hilltop about four miles southwest of town and offers terrific views of the surroundings. After checking out the nature displays in the visitor center, walk outside to the beginning of the park trail, where you’ll encounter a wall bearing this quote from iconic conservationist John Muir: “In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.” You’ll come to appreciate these sentiments as you stroll past the animals and plant life that thrive in the Chihuahuan Desert—expect to encounter everything from adorable burrowing owls and hog-nosed skunks to impressive pronghorn, elk, and black bears, plus an extensive collection of cacti, succulents, and desert shrubs. With its lofty pressed-tin ceiling, antique chandeliers, and sweeping curtains, the dining room inside the historic Trinity Hotel is the place in town for a memorable dinner. But first stop by the elegant bar to partake of a little wine tasting—you can sample Spirit of Seven Rivers wines from nearby Balzano Family Vineyard (the Tempranillo is a standout) as well as first-rate Italian varietals from Deming-based Luna Rossa Winery. All of these bottles are available for purchase in the extensive lobby shop, where you’ll also discover a variety of diverting gifts, from birdhouses clad in New Mexico license plates to locally made barbecue sauces and jams. In the restaurant, sample exceptional contemporary American and classic Italian fare, including the signature appetizer of local goat cheese topped with sweet-and-spicy blackberry-habanero sauce, and perfectly grilled chicken with a zesty lemon-caper piccata sauce. SUNDAY It’s not a bad idea to rise on the early side, enjoy a simple breakfast at your hotel, and gain a head start on the day so that you don’t feel too rushed during your exploration of Carlsbad Caverns National Park —there’s plenty to see here. A smart strategy is to begin at the visitor center, spending an hour or so checking out the  well-conceived exhibits. It’s perched high on a 6,520-foot escarpment ridge that enjoys stunning panoramic views for miles around. You’ll learn about speleogenesis (the birth of the caves), see detailed models that explain the formation of stalagmites and stalactites, and view a fantastic diorama of the caverns, which gives a remarkable sense of just how extensive and deep they are. And you’ll learn about the park’s “most famous resident,” the Brazilian free-tailed bat—it’s the most prevalent of the 17 bat species in the caverns. About 400,000 of these insect- eating mammals swoop into the cave on spring and summer evenings, where they take shelter and raise their young. You can enter the Big Room cavern either by elevator or by walking down a steep 11⁄4-mile switchback trail that descends from just outside the visitor center. I recommend taking this well-maintained path into the cavern and then returning at the end of your visit by eleva- tor. However you reach the Big Room, once inside it you’ll follow a well-lit, one-mile paved walkway that meanders through this enormous cavern, revealing a fascinating wonderland of bizarre geological formations. A highlight is the fabled Hall of Giants, where the 62-foot-tall “Giant Dome” column rises above the floor—it’s the result of calcite in water that’s slowly dripped from the ceiling over the eons, and it’s surrounded by dozens of impressive stalagmites. You’ll also pass the old wire ladder that early spelunker Jim White built in 1924 to explore the caverns, the year after they became part of the national park system. Dining options are quite limited at the park—you might consider buying picnic supplies or takeout lunch in town and bringing it along with you. Additionally, there’s the cafeteria-style Carlsbad Caverns Trading Company restaurant in the visitor center as well as a snack bar in the Big Room, and just outside the park entrance you’ll find a handful of services in the tiny village of White’s City, including the Cactus Cafe, a rambling adobe building that serves burgers, steaks, Mexican fare, and more. Contributor Andrew Collins also wrote “25 Reasons to Love Silver City,”.","id":"58b4b2814c2774661570f9f0","url":"/nmmagazine/articles/post/going-places-carlsbad-89980/","commentsUrl":"/nmmagazine/articles/post/going-places-carlsbad-89980/#comments","absoluteUrl":"https://www.newmexico.org/nmmagazine/articles/post/going-places-carlsbad-89980/","metaTitle":"Let There Be Light","metaDescription":"
NEED TO KNOW
Blue House Bakery 609 N. Canyon St.; (575) 628-0555 Cactus Cafe 26 Carlsbad Cavern Hwy., White’s City; (575) 785-2291
Carlsbad Museum and Art Center 418 W. Fox St.; (575) 887-0276;
","cleanDescription":"NEED TO KNOW Blue House Bakery 609 N. Canyon St.; (575) 628-0555 Cactus Cafe 26 Carlsbad Cavern Hwy., White’s City; (575) 785-2291 Carlsbad Museum and Art Center 418 W. Fox St.; (575) 887-0276; cityofcarlsbadnm.com/ museum.cfm Carlsbad Caverns National Park 727 Carlsbad Cavern Hwy., off U.S. 180/62; (575) 785-2232; nps.gov/cave Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce 302 S. Canal St.; (575) 887-6516; carlsbadchamber.com Hampton Inn & Suites Carlsbad 120 Esperanza Cir.; (575) 725- 5700; hamptoninn3.hilton.com La Quinta Inn & Suites Carlsbad 4020 National Parks Hwy. (U.S. 180/62); (575) 236-1010; lq.com Living Desert Zoo and Gardens State Park 1504 Miehls Road; (575) 887-5516; www.emnrd. state.nm.us/SPD Pecos River Walk Good access points include Park Dr. at E. Greene St., Cascades Ave., and E. Church St. Red Chimney Pit Bar-B-Q 817 N. Canal St.; (575) 885-8744 TownePlace Suites by Marriott 311 Pompa St.; (888) 236-2427; marriott.com Trinity Hotel 201 S. Canal St.; 575-234-9891; thetrinityhotel.com YellowBrix 201 N. Canal St.; (575) 941-2749; brixrestaurant.com WHY GO NOW In March, daytime temperatures hover around 70 degrees in these parts, making Carlsbad a wonderful sunny weekend getaway. The small city of Carlsbad, which lies about 20 miles north of the Carlsbad Caverns National Park, also offers compelling attractions and restau- rants with outdoor dining, all of which afford plenty of opportunities to soak up the rays. Once you absorb your daily dose of vitamin D, descend 755 feet into the park’s famous 8.2-acre “Big Room” cavern and walk through its network of larger-than-life columns and caves. After you get back to the earth’s surface, explore the park’s 46,000 acres—which include backcountry trails through spectacular Chihuahuan Desert wilderness and a nine-mile scenic loop drive. WHERE TO STAY Rates can be steep in Carlsbad, and hotels sometimes book up a few weeks in advance, thanks to high guest-room demand spurred by the oil boom in the region, which is on the edge of the highly productive Permian Basin. Expect rates averaging around $250 for the finer chain properties in town and well over $100 nightly for bare-bones motels. Carlsbad’s most distinctive—and romantic—lodging option, the redbrick Trinity Hotel , occupies a stately 1892 former bank building with tall arched windows and a prime location within walking distance of the downtown river-front. Guests check in through the ground-floor lobby, which contains one of the best gift-food-and-wine shops in town, then walk back outside to access the nine rooms, most of which are reached via a staircase to the second floor. These swanky accommodations have high-thread-count linens, leather sofas, wine-chilling machines, and travertine-tile bathrooms with glass walk-in showers. On the south side of downtown, the Hampton Inn & Suites Carlsbad is a top choice among the several chain hotels in town. Features of this four-story, 85-room property include an indoor pool room, and in-room microwaves and refrigerators. Additionally, La Quinta Inn & Suites Carlsbad , just four miles south of downtown and 16 miles north of the national park, opened in early December, and Marriott’s TownePlace Suites Carlsbad is planned to open in the heart of downtown this spring. FRIDAY On arriving in town, head to the lively and casual Red Chimney Pit Bar-B-Q for dinner. The restaurant occupies a rustic log-cabin building with a vaulted beam ceiling and tables set with red-checked tablecloths, fresh-cut yellow flowers, and walls decked with wagon wheels, mounted moose heads, and other Old West paraphernalia. Dig into a platter of spicy hot links, fall-off-the-bone slow-roasted turkey, or St. Louis–style spareribs. You’ll find a few interesting craft beers on the menu, too. SATURDAY Two of the best things to do in Carlsbad are both closed on Sunday, which is why we recommend that you visit them on Saturday and save Carlsbad Caverns for Sunday. Mingle with locals over lattes, green-chile-and-sausage egg bowls, fluffy croissants, and other soul-warming breakfast fare at the cheerful Blue House Bakery and Cafe , which is aptly situated inside a blue bungalow on a quiet residential street on the north side of downtown. On warm mornings, take a seat on the spacious side patio. It’s a pleasant 15-minute walk through downtown to reach the free Carlsbad Museum and Art Center , which anchors a grassy square that’s also flanked by the public library. Spending an hour inside the city’s impressive—and actually quite underrated—cultural hub makes for an interesting prelude to visiting the caverns. The collection includes fascinating historical photographs of the early explorations of the caverns. You can also view an 1856 Wells Fargo stagecoach that once carried parcels along the Butterfield Overland Mail route through town, plus Navajo rugs and ancient Mogollon and Mesa Verde pottery, a vintage firearms collection, and an art gallery containing many permanent landscape watercolors by acclaimed early-20th-century painter and Carlsbad resident Roderick Fletcher Mead as well as such internationally renowned talents as Roswell-born Peter Hurd, French Expressionist Georges Roualt, and Taos painter LaVerne Nelson Black. Walk east about eight short city blocks to reach one feature of the community you might not expect in the Chihuahuan Desert: the beautifully landscaped 41⁄2-mile Pecos River Walk . You can rent a canoe or paddleboat at Lake Carlsbad Beach Park and stroll or jog along paved portions of a pedestrian promenade that flanks both sides of the river. Walk back through downtown, passing the stately Eddy County Courthouse, which was built in 1891 as an ornate Victorian but completely redesigned in 1939 in its current adobe Santa Fe style. Across the street, Yellow-Brix Restaurant occupies—you guessed it—a charming yellow-brick house with a large shaded outdoor seating area. “Brix” is also a winemaking term (a measure of sugar content), and the wine choices are correspondingly in the know. It’s a lovely spot for lunch, serving such eclectic fare as fried-catfish sandwiches, poached-pear salads, and chicken tortilla soup. Spend the rest of the afternoon touring the superb Living Desert Zoo and Gardens , which is set on a hilltop about four miles southwest of town and offers terrific views of the surroundings. After checking out the nature displays in the visitor center, walk outside to the beginning of the park trail, where you’ll encounter a wall bearing this quote from iconic conservationist John Muir: “In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.” You’ll come to appreciate these sentiments as you stroll past the animals and plant life that thrive in the Chihuahuan Desert—expect to encounter everything from adorable burrowing owls and hog-nosed skunks to impressive pronghorn, elk, and black bears, plus an extensive collection of cacti, succulents, and desert shrubs. With its lofty pressed-tin ceiling, antique chandeliers, and sweeping curtains, the dining room inside the historic Trinity Hotel is the place in town for a memorable dinner. But first stop by the elegant bar to partake of a little wine tasting—you can sample Spirit of Seven Rivers wines from nearby Balzano Family Vineyard (the Tempranillo is a standout) as well as first-rate Italian varietals from Deming-based Luna Rossa Winery. All of these bottles are available for purchase in the extensive lobby shop, where you’ll also discover a variety of diverting gifts, from birdhouses clad in New Mexico license plates to locally made barbecue sauces and jams. In the restaurant, sample exceptional contemporary American and classic Italian fare, including the signature appetizer of local goat cheese topped with sweet-and-spicy blackberry-habanero sauce, and perfectly grilled chicken with a zesty lemon-caper piccata sauce. SUNDAY It’s not a bad idea to rise on the early side, enjoy a simple breakfast at your hotel, and gain a head start on the day so that you don’t feel too rushed during your exploration of Carlsbad Caverns National Park —there’s plenty to see here. A smart strategy is to begin at the visitor center, spending an hour or so checking out the  well-conceived exhibits. It’s perched high on a 6,520-foot escarpment ridge that enjoys stunning panoramic views for miles around. You’ll learn about speleogenesis (the birth of the caves), see detailed models that explain the formation of stalagmites and stalactites, and view a fantastic diorama of the caverns, which gives a remarkable sense of just how extensive and deep they are. And you’ll learn about the park’s “most famous resident,” the Brazilian free-tailed bat—it’s the most prevalent of the 17 bat species in the caverns. About 400,000 of these insect- eating mammals swoop into the cave on spring and summer evenings, where they take shelter and raise their young. You can enter the Big Room cavern either by elevator or by walking down a steep 11⁄4-mile switchback trail that descends from just outside the visitor center. I recommend taking this well-maintained path into the cavern and then returning at the end of your visit by eleva- tor. However you reach the Big Room, once inside it you’ll follow a well-lit, one-mile paved walkway that meanders through this enormous cavern, revealing a fascinating wonderland of bizarre geological formations. A highlight is the fabled Hall of Giants, where the 62-foot-tall “Giant Dome” column rises above the floor—it’s the result of calcite in water that’s slowly dripped from the ceiling over the eons, and it’s surrounded by dozens of impressive stalagmites. You’ll also pass the old wire ladder that early spelunker Jim White built in 1924 to explore the caverns, the year after they became part of the national park system. Dining options are quite limited at the park—you might consider buying picnic supplies or takeout lunch in town and bringing it along with you. Additionally, there’s the cafeteria-style Carlsbad Caverns Trading Company restaurant in the visitor center as well as a snack bar in the Big Room, and just outside the park entrance you’ll find a handful of services in the tiny village of White’s City, including the Cactus Cafe, a rambling adobe building that serves burgers, steaks, Mexican fare, and more. Contributor Andrew Collins also wrote “25 Reasons to Love Silver City,”.","publish_start_moment":"2015-02-04T13:00:00.000Z","publish_end_moment":"2017-12-16T23:32:53.728Z"},{"_id":"58b4b2814c2774661570f9ef","author_id":"58b4b2404c2774661570f187","title":"What's Happening","slug":"whats-happening-89974","publish_start":"2015-02-04T11:00:00.000Z","enable_comments":true,"categories_ids":["58b4b2404c2774661570f2ee"],"tags_ids":["59090d5ee1efff4c9916fa9f"],"cms_tags_ids":["58b061ec6a2b0936c34a23ea"],"enabled":true,"custom_tagline":"Start planning a memorable March with these listings of events statewide.","created":"2015-02-04T11:43:40.000Z","legacy_id":"89974","blog":"magazine","_title_sort":"what's happening","updated":"2017-10-31T21:31:33.971Z","active":true,"description_raw":"
\r\n

MARCH 7, 8–21, 28
\r\nSPRING FLAKES
\r\nAdrenaline junkies, rejoice: Red River Ski Area (575- 754-2223; redriverskiarea.com) debuts the new Pioneer Flyer, a hair-raising seated zipline that zooms from the lower slopes clear across Pioneer Road. Hop on during the resort’s spring-break-themed Beach Weeks, which for the first time spans a fortnight, each week featuring fireworks, a rail-jam jib contest, a scavenger hunt, and beach parties (don your finest hula skirt). The slopes light up on March 7 at Taos Ski Valley for Ernie Blake’s Birthday Torchlight Parade and Fireworks—skiers carrying flare “torches” snake down the mountain, creating a splendid light show (575-776-2291; skitaos. org). Bonus fun: The TSV Spring Beer Festival takes place at the Martini Tree Bar and Tenderfoot Katie’s Cafeteria that same day. At family-popular Sipapu, bring your A game—and maybe some bungee cords and a carload of old moving boxes—to partake of Cardboard Derby on March 14. Two weeks later at Sipapu, only the brrrrr...avest skiers and boarders compete in the Pond Skimming Contest. The goal is to “skim” across manmade, three-foot-deep, 75-foot-long Lake Sipapu. (800) 587-2240; sipapunm.com
\r\nSISTER ACTS
\r\nMore than 120 artists, scribes, musicians, and other artsy types represent women’s contributions to Duke City culture at Albuquerque’s monthlong series of programs and presentations called Women & Creativity. To celebrate the event’s 10th anniversary, organizers brainstormed Ten for the Tenth into being. “We’ve worked with our partners to come up with 10 special featured events, organized collaboratively,” says coordinator Julia Mandeville. One example: Albuquerque’s always provocative Tricklock Theatre Company hosts Mnemosyne’s Lounge on March 12 and 13, a “wild, raucous evening” of inspired storytelling and performance. Other highlights include installations and performances at the Albuquerque Balloon Museum and highly popular Creative Salons—informal gatherings ideal for networking—held on Wednesday evenings. womenandcreativity.org

\r\n
\r\n\r\n

MARCH 6–8, 21–22
\r\nHOT/CHOCOLATE
\r\nHere’s a memorable approach to attending Albuquerque’s National Fiery Foods & Barbecue Show at Sandia Resort & Casino: Try finding the product with the most colorful name—perhaps a bottle of Ben’s Smokin’ Hot Razz Booty sauce from PuckerButt Pepper Company, vying for your attention alongside the evocative Earl’s Gone Wild! Habanero Jam. Cookbook author Rachel Rappaport, who penned the spicy page-turner Cooking with Frank’s RedHot Cayenne Pepper Sauce, will share recipes at this “hottest show on earth” (505-873-8680; fieryfoodsshow.com). Later in the month, savor the sweet scent of cocoa (and jolts of java) at the fifth annual Southwest Chocolate & Coffee Fest, held at EXPO New Mexico March 21–22. Cooks from the Santa Fe Culinary Academy will conduct demonstrations, and local blues and jazz bands—as well as the Albuquerque Youth Symphony—perform on stage. New this year: a venti–size coffee-and-wine lounge featuring Cupcake Vineyards’ mobile wine-tasting truck. (505) 510-1312; chocolateandcoffeefest.com

\r\n\r\n

MARCH 7–8
\r\nTRUE WEST
\r\nThe always rowdy and rollicking Cowboy Days return to Las Cruces’ outstanding New Mexico Farm & Ranch Heritage Museum. Both veteran wranglers and budding buckaroos appreciate this high-flying spectacle featuring gunfight demonstrations, authentic chuck- wagon cooking, and stagecoach rides. Don’t miss the roping, riding, and mounted shooting demonstrations. (575) 522-4100; nmfarmandranchmuseum.org

\r\n\r\n

MARCH 12, 15, 22
\r\nHIGH NOTES
\r\nSanta Fe hosts a bevy of concerts in mid-March, beginning with a March 12 performance at Lensic Performing Arts Center by Grammy-winning opera star (and Roswell native) Susan Graham (505-988-1234; lensic. org). On March 15 at the Lensic, 26-year-old rising-star pianist Sean Chen joins the Santa Fe Symphony for a Beethoven Festival that includes the legendary composer’s Piano Concerto No. 2, Symphony No. 6 “Pastoral,” and Symphony No. 2. March 22, to celebrate Johann Sebastian Bach’s 330th birthday, Serenata of Santa Fe presents Bach Mix, featuring harpsichordist Kathleen McIntosh, at First Presbyterian Church (serenataofsantafe.org; 505-989-7988). That evening, distinguished New Mexico musicians present Magnificat and Easter Oratorio at New Mexico Museum of Art’s St. Francis Auditorium. (505) 886-1251; nmperformingartssociety.org

\r\n\r\n

MARCH 19–22
\r\nQUICK HITS
\r\nThe state’s only short-film exhibition, the Taos Shortz Film Fest, returns for its eighth installment in late March. “This year’s festival kicks off with a Native American program,” says festival founder Anna Cosentine, who’s lined up the director of Santa Fe’s Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA), James Lujan, to host a two-hour opening-night screening on March 19. About 150 films from more than 40 countries will screen during the four-day festival, with most of the final day dedicated to New Mexico–based filmmakers. “We call that day the Tamalewood Zia Showcase,” she adds. taosshortz.com

\r\n\r\n
\"Strings
\r\nCourtesy Chamber Orchestra Kremlin
\r\n\r\n

MARCH 27
\r\nSTRINGS ATTACHED
\r\nFamed for its violin virtuosos, the celebrated Moscow-based Chamber Orchestra Kremlin presents an evening of classical music March 27, at Tydings Auditorium in Hobbs. Earlier in the month, on March 8, you can also watch the host performance company, the Southwest Symphony, perform an afternoon concert of iconic Mozart works at First United Methodist Church. (575) 738-1041; swsymphony.org

\r\n\r\n
\"Car
\r\nCourtesy Della Moyer Photograpy
\r\n\r\n

MARCH 27–28
\r\nTHE CAR THAT RUTH BUILT
\r\nIf you’re already headed to Carlsbad for the weekend, make a pit stop along Artesia’s historic Main Street to watch the annual Main Event Car Show & Cruise. The latter takes place on Friday evening, March 27, at 6 p.m., with an auto show the following day at Heritage Plaza. More than 220 vintage roadsters are expected to participate this year. “We’re going to have Babe Ruth’s 1948 Lincoln on display,” says Dorothy Hammond, of the Artesia Car Enthusiasts (ACE) club, which organizes the event. (575) 746-1117; artesiamainstreet.com

","teaser_raw":"

MARCH 7, 8–21, 28
SPRING FLAKES
Adrenaline junkies, rejoice: Red River Ski Area (575- 754-2223; redriverskiarea.com) debuts the new Pioneer Flyer, a hair-raising seated zipline that zooms from the

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MARCH 7, 8–21, 28
SPRING FLAKES
Adrenaline junkies, rejoice: Red River Ski Area (575- 754-2223; redriverskiarea.com) debuts the new Pioneer Flyer, a hair-raising seated zipline that zooms from the

","description":"MARCH 7, 8–21, 28 SPRING FLAKES Adrenaline junkies, rejoice: Red River Ski Area (575- 754-2223; redriverskiarea.com ) debuts the new Pioneer Flyer, a hair-raising seated zipline that zooms from the lower slopes clear across Pioneer Road. Hop on during the resort’s spring-break-themed Beach Weeks, which for the first time spans a fortnight, each week featuring fireworks, a rail-jam jib contest, a scavenger hunt, and beach parties (don your finest hula skirt). The slopes light up on March 7 at Taos Ski Valley for Ernie Blake’s Birthday Torchlight Parade and Fireworks —skiers carrying flare “torches” snake down the mountain, creating a splendid light show (575-776-2291; skitaos. org ). Bonus fun: The TSV Spring Beer Festival takes place at the Martini Tree Bar and Tenderfoot Katie’s Cafeteria that same day. At family-popular Sipapu, bring your A game—and maybe some bungee cords and a carload of old moving boxes—to partake of Cardboard Derby on March 14. Two weeks later at Sipapu, only the brrrrr...avest skiers and boarders compete in the Pond Skimming Contest . The goal is to “skim” across manmade, three-foot-deep, 75-foot-long Lake Sipapu. (800) 587-2240; sipapunm.com SISTER ACTS More than 120 artists, scribes, musicians, and other artsy types represent women’s contributions to Duke City culture at Albuquerque’s monthlong series of programs and presentations called Women & Creativity . To celebrate the event’s 10th anniversary, organizers brainstormed Ten for the Tenth into being. “We’ve worked with our partners to come up with 10 special featured events, organized collaboratively,” says coordinator Julia Mandeville. One example: Albuquerque’s always provocative Tricklock Theatre Company hosts Mnemosyne’s Lounge on March 12 and 13, a “wild, raucous evening” of inspired storytelling and performance. Other highlights include installations and performances at the Albuquerque Balloon Museum and highly popular Creative Salons—informal gatherings ideal for networking—held on Wednesday evenings. womenandcreativity.org MARCH 6–8, 21–22 HOT/CHOCOLATE Here’s a memorable approach to attending Albuquerque’s National Fiery Foods & Barbecue Show at Sandia Resort & Casino: Try finding the product with the most colorful name—perhaps a bottle of Ben’s Smokin’ Hot Razz Booty sauce from PuckerButt Pepper Company, vying for your attention alongside the evocative Earl’s Gone Wild! Habanero Jam. Cookbook author Rachel Rappaport, who penned the spicy page-turner Cooking with Frank’s RedHot Cayenne Pepper Sauce , will share recipes at this “hottest show on earth” (505-873-8680; fieryfoodsshow.com ). Later in the month, savor the sweet scent of cocoa (and jolts of java) at the fifth annual Southwest Chocolate & Coffee Fest , held at EXPO New Mexico March 21–22. Cooks from the Santa Fe Culinary Academy will conduct demonstrations, and local blues and jazz bands—as well as the Albuquerque Youth Symphony—perform on stage. New this year: a venti–size coffee-and-wine lounge featuring Cupcake Vineyards’ mobile wine-tasting truck. (505) 510-1312; chocolateandcoffeefest.com MARCH 7–8 TRUE WEST The always rowdy and rollicking Cowboy Days return to Las Cruces’ outstanding New Mexico Farm & Ranch Heritage Museum. Both veteran wranglers and budding buckaroos appreciate this high-flying spectacle featuring gunfight demonstrations, authentic chuck- wagon cooking, and stagecoach rides. Don’t miss the roping, riding, and mounted shooting demonstrations. (575) 522-4100; nmfarmandranchmuseum.org MARCH 12, 15, 22 HIGH NOTES Santa Fe hosts a bevy of concerts in mid-March, beginning with a March 12 performance at Lensic Performing Arts Center by Grammy-winning opera star (and Roswell native) Susan Graham (505-988-1234; lensic. org ). On March 15 at the Lensic, 26-year-old rising-star pianist Sean Chen joins the Santa Fe Symphony for a Beethoven Festival that includes the legendary composer’s Piano Concerto No. 2, Symphony No. 6 “Pastoral,” and Symphony No. 2. March 22, to celebrate Johann Sebastian Bach’s 330th birthday, Serenata of Santa Fe presents Bach Mix, featuring harpsichordist Kathleen McIntosh, at First Presbyterian Church ( serenataofsantafe.org ; 505-989-7988). That evening, distinguished New Mexico musicians present Magnificat and Easter Oratorio at New Mexico Museum of Art’s St. Francis Auditorium . (505) 886-1251; nmperformingartssociety.org MARCH 19–22 QUICK HITS The state’s only short-film exhibition, the Taos Shortz Film Fest , returns for its eighth installment in late March. “This year’s festival kicks off with a Native American program,” says festival founder Anna Cosentine, who’s lined up the director of Santa Fe’s Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA), James Lujan, to host a two-hour opening-night screening on March 19. About 150 films from more than 40 countries will screen during the four-day festival, with most of the final day dedicated to New Mexico–based filmmakers. “We call that day the Tamalewood Zia Showcase,” she adds. taosshortz.com Courtesy Chamber Orchestra Kremlin MARCH 27 STRINGS ATTACHED Famed for its violin virtuosos, the celebrated Moscow-based Chamber Orchestra Kremlin presents an evening of classical music March 27, at Tydings Auditorium in Hobbs. Earlier in the month, on March 8, you can also watch the host performance company, the Southwest Symphony, perform an afternoon concert of iconic Mozart works at First United Methodist Church. (575) 738-1041; swsymphony.org Courtesy Della Moyer Photograpy MARCH 27–28 THE CAR THAT RUTH BUILT If you’re already headed to Carlsbad for the weekend, make a pit stop along Artesia’s historic Main Street to watch the annual Main Event Car Show & Cruise. The latter takes place on Friday evening, March 27, at 6 p.m., with an auto show the following day at Heritage Plaza. More than 220 vintage roadsters are expected to participate this year. “We’re going to have Babe Ruth’s 1948 Lincoln on display,” says Dorothy Hammond, of the Artesia Car Enthusiasts (ACE) club, which organizes the event. (575) 746-1117; artesiamainstreet.com","id":"58b4b2814c2774661570f9ef","url":"/nmmagazine/articles/post/whats-happening-89974/","commentsUrl":"/nmmagazine/articles/post/whats-happening-89974/#comments","absoluteUrl":"https://www.newmexico.org/nmmagazine/articles/post/whats-happening-89974/","metaTitle":"What's Happening","metaDescription":"

MARCH 7, 8–21, 28
SPRING FLAKES
Adrenaline junkies, rejoice: Red River Ski Area (575- 754-2223; redriverskiarea.com) debuts the new Pioneer Flyer, a hair-raising seated zipline that zooms from the

","cleanDescription":"MARCH 7, 8–21, 28 SPRING FLAKES Adrenaline junkies, rejoice: Red River Ski Area (575- 754-2223; redriverskiarea.com ) debuts the new Pioneer Flyer, a hair-raising seated zipline that zooms from the lower slopes clear across Pioneer Road. Hop on during the resort’s spring-break-themed Beach Weeks, which for the first time spans a fortnight, each week featuring fireworks, a rail-jam jib contest, a scavenger hunt, and beach parties (don your finest hula skirt). The slopes light up on March 7 at Taos Ski Valley for Ernie Blake’s Birthday Torchlight Parade and Fireworks —skiers carrying flare “torches” snake down the mountain, creating a splendid light show (575-776-2291; skitaos. org ). Bonus fun: The TSV Spring Beer Festival takes place at the Martini Tree Bar and Tenderfoot Katie’s Cafeteria that same day. At family-popular Sipapu, bring your A game—and maybe some bungee cords and a carload of old moving boxes—to partake of Cardboard Derby on March 14. Two weeks later at Sipapu, only the brrrrr...avest skiers and boarders compete in the Pond Skimming Contest . The goal is to “skim” across manmade, three-foot-deep, 75-foot-long Lake Sipapu. (800) 587-2240; sipapunm.com SISTER ACTS More than 120 artists, scribes, musicians, and other artsy types represent women’s contributions to Duke City culture at Albuquerque’s monthlong series of programs and presentations called Women & Creativity . To celebrate the event’s 10th anniversary, organizers brainstormed Ten for the Tenth into being. “We’ve worked with our partners to come up with 10 special featured events, organized collaboratively,” says coordinator Julia Mandeville. One example: Albuquerque’s always provocative Tricklock Theatre Company hosts Mnemosyne’s Lounge on March 12 and 13, a “wild, raucous evening” of inspired storytelling and performance. Other highlights include installations and performances at the Albuquerque Balloon Museum and highly popular Creative Salons—informal gatherings ideal for networking—held on Wednesday evenings. womenandcreativity.org MARCH 6–8, 21–22 HOT/CHOCOLATE Here’s a memorable approach to attending Albuquerque’s National Fiery Foods & Barbecue Show at Sandia Resort & Casino: Try finding the product with the most colorful name—perhaps a bottle of Ben’s Smokin’ Hot Razz Booty sauce from PuckerButt Pepper Company, vying for your attention alongside the evocative Earl’s Gone Wild! Habanero Jam. Cookbook author Rachel Rappaport, who penned the spicy page-turner Cooking with Frank’s RedHot Cayenne Pepper Sauce , will share recipes at this “hottest show on earth” (505-873-8680; fieryfoodsshow.com ). Later in the month, savor the sweet scent of cocoa (and jolts of java) at the fifth annual Southwest Chocolate & Coffee Fest , held at EXPO New Mexico March 21–22. Cooks from the Santa Fe Culinary Academy will conduct demonstrations, and local blues and jazz bands—as well as the Albuquerque Youth Symphony—perform on stage. New this year: a venti–size coffee-and-wine lounge featuring Cupcake Vineyards’ mobile wine-tasting truck. (505) 510-1312; chocolateandcoffeefest.com MARCH 7–8 TRUE WEST The always rowdy and rollicking Cowboy Days return to Las Cruces’ outstanding New Mexico Farm & Ranch Heritage Museum. Both veteran wranglers and budding buckaroos appreciate this high-flying spectacle featuring gunfight demonstrations, authentic chuck- wagon cooking, and stagecoach rides. Don’t miss the roping, riding, and mounted shooting demonstrations. (575) 522-4100; nmfarmandranchmuseum.org MARCH 12, 15, 22 HIGH NOTES Santa Fe hosts a bevy of concerts in mid-March, beginning with a March 12 performance at Lensic Performing Arts Center by Grammy-winning opera star (and Roswell native) Susan Graham (505-988-1234; lensic. org ). On March 15 at the Lensic, 26-year-old rising-star pianist Sean Chen joins the Santa Fe Symphony for a Beethoven Festival that includes the legendary composer’s Piano Concerto No. 2, Symphony No. 6 “Pastoral,” and Symphony No. 2. March 22, to celebrate Johann Sebastian Bach’s 330th birthday, Serenata of Santa Fe presents Bach Mix, featuring harpsichordist Kathleen McIntosh, at First Presbyterian Church ( serenataofsantafe.org ; 505-989-7988). That evening, distinguished New Mexico musicians present Magnificat and Easter Oratorio at New Mexico Museum of Art’s St. Francis Auditorium . (505) 886-1251; nmperformingartssociety.org MARCH 19–22 QUICK HITS The state’s only short-film exhibition, the Taos Shortz Film Fest , returns for its eighth installment in late March. “This year’s festival kicks off with a Native American program,” says festival founder Anna Cosentine, who’s lined up the director of Santa Fe’s Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA), James Lujan, to host a two-hour opening-night screening on March 19. About 150 films from more than 40 countries will screen during the four-day festival, with most of the final day dedicated to New Mexico–based filmmakers. “We call that day the Tamalewood Zia Showcase,” she adds. taosshortz.com Courtesy Chamber Orchestra Kremlin MARCH 27 STRINGS ATTACHED Famed for its violin virtuosos, the celebrated Moscow-based Chamber Orchestra Kremlin presents an evening of classical music March 27, at Tydings Auditorium in Hobbs. Earlier in the month, on March 8, you can also watch the host performance company, the Southwest Symphony, perform an afternoon concert of iconic Mozart works at First United Methodist Church. (575) 738-1041; swsymphony.org Courtesy Della Moyer Photograpy MARCH 27–28 THE CAR THAT RUTH BUILT If you’re already headed to Carlsbad for the weekend, make a pit stop along Artesia’s historic Main Street to watch the annual Main Event Car Show & Cruise. The latter takes place on Friday evening, March 27, at 6 p.m., with an auto show the following day at Heritage Plaza. More than 220 vintage roadsters are expected to participate this year. “We’re going to have Babe Ruth’s 1948 Lincoln on display,” says Dorothy Hammond, of the Artesia Car Enthusiasts (ACE) club, which organizes the event. (575) 746-1117; artesiamainstreet.com","publish_start_moment":"2015-02-04T11:00:00.000Z","publish_end_moment":"2017-12-16T23:32:53.729Z"},{"_id":"58b4b2814c2774661570f9eb","author_id":"58b4b2404c2774661570f187","title":"Up, Down, All Around","slug":"going-places-89626","image_id":"58ffd71fe1efff4c99164308","publish_start":"2015-01-12T16:00:00.000Z","enable_comments":true,"categories_ids":["58b4b2404c2774661570f2b4","58c834b11f16f9392cf0992a","58f5533b46da1c146c0fc752","58b4b2404c2774661570f2a6"],"tags_ids":["59090ce8e1efff4c9916fa49","59090e46e1efff4c9916fb37","59090ca9e1efff4c9916fa20","59090cc3e1efff4c9916fa31"],"cms_tags_ids":["58b061ec6a2b0936c34a23ea"],"enabled":true,"custom_photo_credit":"Kevin Garrett","custom_tagline":"Powdery sand and fluffy snow await at Otero County’s dramatically different altitudes.","created":"2015-01-12T16:19:06.000Z","legacy_id":"89626","blog":"magazine","_title_sort":"up, down, all around","updated":"2017-10-31T21:31:33.939Z","active":true,"description_raw":"

\r\n\r\n

 

\r\n\r\n
NEED TO KNOW
\r\n
\r\nCARRIZOZO & TULAROSA Casa de Sueños New Mexican Restaurant & Gift Shop
\r\n35 St. Francis Dr., Tularosa; (575) 585-3494
\r\n
\r\nGallery 408 408 12th St., Carrizozo; (575) 648-2598; gallery408.com
\r\n
\r\nThree Rivers Petroglyph Site U.S. 54 between Carrizozo and Tularosa; (575) 525-4300; blm.gov/nm
\r\n
\r\nThe Tulie Cafe 313 Granado St., Tularosa; (575) 585-3100; on Facebook
\r\n
\r\nALAMOGORDO
\r\nAlameda Park Zoo 1321 N. White Sands Blvd.; (575) 439-4290; ci.alamogordo.nm.us
\r\n
\r\nBrown Bag Deli 900 Washington Ave.; (575) 437-9751
\r\n
\r\nCan’t Stop Smokin’ 900 E. 10th St.; (575) 437-4227; cantstopsmokin.com
\r\n
\r\nFairfield Inn & Suites 300 Panorama Blvd.; (575) 437-4000; marriott.com
\r\n
\r\nMcGinn’s Pistachio Tree Ranch & Arena Blanca Winery 7320 U.S. 54/70; (575) 437-0602; pistachioland.com
\r\n
\r\nNew Mexico Museum of Space History 31 N.M. 2001; (575) 437-2840; nmspacemuseum.org
\r\n
\r\nOliver Lee Memorial State Park 409 Dog Canyon Rd.; (575) 437-8284; emnrd.state.nm.us/SPD
\r\n
\r\nStella Vita 902 N. New York Ave.; (575) 434-4444; stellavit7.wix.com/vita
\r\n
\r\nWhite Sands Motel 1101 S. White Sands Blvd.; (575) 437-2922; whitesandsmotel.biz
\r\n
\r\nWhite Sands National Monument 19955 U.S. 70 W.; (575) 479-6124; nps.gov/whsa
\r\n
\r\nCLOUDCROFT
\r\nBig Daddy’s Diner 1705 U.S. 82; (575) 682-1224; bigdaddysdinercloudcroft.com
\r\n
\r\nThe Lodge Resort in Cloudcroft 601 Corona Pl.; (800) 395-6343; thelodgeresort.com
\r\n
\r\nSacramento Mountains Historical Museum 1000 U.S. 82; (575) 682-2932; cloudcroftmuseum.com
\r\n
\r\nSki Cloudcroft 19201⁄2 U.S. 82; (575) 682-2333; skicloudcroft.net
\r\n
\r\nSki Palace 90 U.S. 82; (575) 682-2045; cloudcroftskipalace.com
\r\n\r\n

Any time of year that I plan a trip in New Mexico, but especially in winter, I find myself torn between the state’s vast valleys and its evergreen-studded high elevations. This three-day road trip embraces both extremes: the temperate valley communities of Tularosa and Alamogordo and the crisp mountain town of Cloudcroft, which at nearly 9,000 feet ranks among the highest towns in the country. In winter, temperatures range from the low teens to the upper sixties, so I always pack layers of clothing.

\r\n\r\n

THE ROUTE
\r\nBegin your journey in Carrizozo, at the northern tip of the Tularosa Basin. Drive south on U.S. 54 for 44 miles (with an optional stop along the way at Three Rivers Petroglyph Recreation Site) to Tularosa and break for lunch. Then continue another 12 miles to Alamogordo, where you’ll spend the first night. The next day, drive 15 miles south on U.S. 54 to visit beautiful (and underrated) Oliver Lee Memorial State Park; then backtrack north on U.S. 54 to Alamogordo and drive west 15 miles on U.S. 70 to White Sands National Monument. After leaving the park, return on U.S. 70 to Alamogordo, then follow U.S. 82 for 20 miles up into the mountains to Cloudcroft, where you’ll spend your second night.

\r\n\r\n

DAY 1: CARRIZOZO TO ALAMOGORDO GALLERY HOP
\r\nBegin your tour with a look around the compact downtown of Carrizozo, an erstwhile railroad hub of about 1,000 residents. You’ll find some handsome late-19th/early-20th-century buildings in the village center, especially along Central Avenue (U.S. 54) and 12th Street. Although many of these buildings are vacant, a few contain small shops and galleries. Of particular note, Gallery 408 occupies a brightly painted pink adobe and displays the works of some 40 artists, from Corey Walker’s striking landscape photography to Ria Neilson’s curvy and colorful fused-glass sculptures.

\r\n\r\n

ROCK OF AGES
\r\nAbout 30 miles south of Carrizozo, stop to explore some of the roughly 21,000 rock depictions at 50-acre Three Rivers Petroglyph Site, where a Mogollon community proliferated for several hundred years. Easy trails lead to representations of bighorn sheep, armadillos, lizards, human figures, and abstract designs.

\r\n\r\n

TOOL AROUND TULAROSA
\r\nThe small, historic, tree-shaded town of Tularosa contains a well-preserved historic district with dozens of handsome 19th-century Victorian and Spanish Colonial adobe buildings. Along the two-block main drag, you’ll find a couple of antiques shops and galleries as well as a fine option for lunch, the Tulie Cafe, which is set inside a sprawling brick-and-adobe structure with a carved-wood bar and a gracious side patio anchored by an ornate fountain. The kitchen turns out reliably good burgers, pistachio chicken salad, red chile enchiladas, and high-octane margaritas. Casa de Sueños New Mexican Restaurant & Gift Shop is another lunch option.

\r\n\r\n

KITSCH AND CANDY
\r\nAs you roll into the north end of Alamogordo, keep an eye out for the 30-foot-tall pistachio- nut sculpture that marks the entrance to McGinn’s Pistachio Tree Ranch & Arena Blanca Winery. Stop in to sample chile-flavored and butter-toffee-glazed pistachios, three-nut (pistachio, pecan, and cashew) brittle, and pistachio fudge, along with some of the fruit-forward sweet wines produced by the ranch’s vineyard.

\r\n\r\n

SPACE ODYSSEY
\r\nAlamogordo’s New Mexico Museum of Space History presents an excellent overview of the state’s eight decades of space explora- tion, which began when Robert Goddard launched rockets in nearby Roswell in the 1930s and continues to this day at Spaceport America, west of White Sands Missile Range. At this five-story glass-cube building perched high in the Alamogordo foothills, you can view everything from aerosol Pepsi and freeze-dried cheese spreads developed for Apollo flights to the 86-foot-tall Little Joe II rocket, in the museum’s John P. Stapp Air & Space Park.

\r\n\r\n

STELLA-AHH!
\r\nEnd your day with dinner at Stella Vita, an elegant, art-filled restaurant decked with Oriental rugs and black napery, where you can tuck into such refined modern American fare as tender rib-eye steaks topped with sautéed mushrooms, and pan-seared duck breast with cherry-chipotle sauce and green-chile cheese grits.

\r\n\r\n

OVERNIGHT
\r\nThe Fairfield Inn & Suites’ large, contemporary rooms come with iPod docks and 42-inch TVs, and there’s an indoor pool and exercise room. Or save a few bucks by nesting at the immaculately clean, retro-cool White Sands Motel, a low-slung tan building with a fabulous vintage sign. The rock-bottom rates include free Wi-Fi and Continental breakfast.

\r\n\r\n

DAY 2: ALAMOGORDO TO CLOUDCROFT
\r\nZOO STORY
\r\nStart the day with a tour of surprisingly large Alameda Park Zoo, right in the center of downtown Alamogordo. The 12-acre zoo is home to more than 250 species, many indig-enous to the region—Harris hawks, Mexican gray wolves, black bears—but quite a few oth- ers from elsewhere around the world.

\r\n\r\n

SHORT STOP
\r\nStop downtown for a quick lunch at Brown Bag Deli, which serves enormous sub sand- wiches overflowing with capicola, pastrami, provolone, and more, or Can’t Stop Smokin’, a casual log-cabin-style joint serving top-notch pulled pork, smoked sausage, and beef-rib barbecue, with berry cobbler for dessert.

\r\n\r\n

PARKS AND RECREATION
\r\nSomewhat overshadowed by nearby must-stop White Sands National Monument, stunning Oliver Lee Memorial State Park is well worth even a short visit. If you’re game for a real adventure, spend the day here following the ribbon of piñon trees that climbs some five miles up into steep, striated Dog Canyon. With an elevation gain of 3,100 feet, it’s a strenuous trek. Walk just a half-mile up the much shorter Riparian Nature Trail, however, and you’ll be rewarded with expansive views west across the Tularosa Basin. A sign at the trailhead warns that you may just cross paths with a Western diamondback rattlesnake— “wear sturdy high boots” and “avoid quick moves” are among the helpful admonitions.

\r\n\r\n

HIGH DUNE
\r\nFirst-timers driving through the region in winter sometimes mistake the powdery dunes of White Sands National Monument for snow. Rest assured that even in February, you can often scamper comfortably around this 275-square-mile sandbox in shorts and flip-flops. Do spend some time in the handsome WPA-era adobe visitor center, where a film and interpretive signs explain how gypsum trapped in the landlocked Tularosa Basin has accumulated over the eons to form one of the Southwest’s most iconic landscapes. Then drive the 16-mile round-trip paved scenic loop through the dunes, stopping here and there to climb and cavort in the sand. To test your sledding skills on one of the monument’s precipitous dunes, rent a waxed-plastic “snow saucer” at the visitor center gift shop.

\r\n\r\n

OVERNIGHT
\r\nManaged in the 1930s by Socorro-raised future hotel magnate Conrad Hilton, the Lodge Resort, in Cloudcroft, has hosted Judy Garland, Clark Gable, and Pancho Villa. These days, the century-old grande dame, with its distinctive red-white-and-blue central tower, contains 59 individually decorated rooms as well as a full-service spa known for its mountain-stone massages, sea-salt glows, and herbal wraps. Dine in the romantic restaurant, Rebecca’s, which is named for the hotel’s resident ghost and serves deftly crafted Continental fare, including escargots with roasted green chiles and garlic butter, seared sea scallops with lemon-chive butter, and bananas Foster prepared tableside.

\r\n\r\n

DAY 3: CLOUDCROFT
\r\nSNOW DAY!
\r\nIf you happen to awaken to a blanket of pure snow out the window— a distinct possibility this time of year—fuel up on the decadent Sunday champagne brunch at Rebecca’s before availing yourself of Cloudcroft’s plentiful winter activities. Downtown’s Ski Palace shop rents just about every imaginable type of winter gear, from long johns to snowboards, and just three miles east of town, family-friendly Ski Cloudcroft offers 25 downhill ski trails of varying levels of difficulty. (The skiing is very snowfall dependent—call ahead.) Additionally, in surrounding Lincoln Forest there’s exhilarating tubing and sledding at Upper Karr Canyon Recreation Area and cross-country skiing and snowshoeing at Little Apache Canyon.

\r\n\r\n

AN UNLIKELY STORY
\r\nVisitors to the Sacramento Mountains Historical Museum are often surprised by how much there is to explore at this pioneer village on the east side of downtown. Cleverly assembled exhibits provide an engaging overview of Cloudcroft’s against-the-odds development into a small but vibrant tourism hub. Along with historic photos, you can also peruse collections of military and Mescalero Apache memorabilia, and visit a sweet 1899 Episcopal chapel surrounded by shimmering aspen trees. In winter, the museum is open only Friday–Sunday, weather permitting.

\r\n\r\n

BURRO STROLL
\r\nSpend the afternoon sauntering along Cloudcroft’s spirited Wild West–inspired retail strip, Burro Street, with its log-cabin storefronts and timber balconies. Funky stores and galleries include the fragrant Cricklewood Candle Company and the kid-approved candy and gift shops inside the bustling Cloudcroft Hotel and Gift Mall. The most celebrated lunch spot in town lies just east of downtown: family-owned Big Daddy’s Diner occupies a rambling wood-frame roadhouse and turns out delicious Tex–New Mex bites, from 18-hour slow-cooked barbecue brisket to hefty cheeseburgers.

","teaser_raw":"

NEED TO KNOW

CARRIZOZO & TULAROSA Casa de Sueños New Mexican Restaurant & Gift Shop
35 St. Francis Dr., Tularosa; (575) 585-3494

Gallery 408 408 12th St., Carrizozo; (575) 648-2598;
","version_id":"59f8ebb5648901d6cd7260c2","author":{"_id":"58b4b2404c2774661570f187","name":"Andrew Collins","image_id":"59139dd6da8f9b60115b37c5","created":"2017-02-27T23:12:00.226Z","blog":"magazine","_name_sort":"andrew collins","updated":"2017-05-10T23:10:20.308Z","image":{"_id":"59139dd6da8f9b60115b37c5","original_public_id":"clients/newmexico/AC_BW_e8f801c1-2f30-4955-b5dd-d7b115268b85","title":"Andrew Collins","resource_raw":{"public_id":"clients/newmexico/AC_BW_e8f801c1-2f30-4955-b5dd-d7b115268b85","version":1494457812,"signature":"451c9c0b132a549712f3cbb2a93abc75c6df8065","width":2482,"height":2482,"format":"jpg","resource_type":"image","created_at":"2017-05-10T23:10:12.000Z","bytes":1055023,"type":"upload","etag":"8e5857dd66cfa4317fb2b4cbae5943e3","url":"http://res.cloudinary.com/simpleview/image/upload/v1494457812/clients/newmexico/AC_BW_e8f801c1-2f30-4955-b5dd-d7b115268b85.jpg","secure_url":"https://res.cloudinary.com/simpleview/image/upload/v1494457812/clients/newmexico/AC_BW_e8f801c1-2f30-4955-b5dd-d7b115268b85.jpg","exif":{"Copyright":"JURRIAAN TEULINGS"},"original_filename":"file"},"alt_text_raw":"Andrew Collins","content_owner":"magazine","title_sort":"andrew collins","updated":"2017-05-10T23:10:14.757Z","deleted":false,"created":"2017-05-10T23:10:14.763Z","resource":{"raw":{"resource_type":"image","format":"jpg","public_id":"clients/newmexico/AC_BW_e8f801c1-2f30-4955-b5dd-d7b115268b85"}},"id":"59139dd6da8f9b60115b37c5","type":"image","inAssetRequest":false,"alt_text":"Andrew Collins"},"_totalPosts":38,"id":"58b4b2404c2774661570f187","title":"Andrew Collins","slug":"andrew-collins","url":"/nmmagazine/articles/author/andrew-collins/58b4b2404c2774661570f187/","commentsUrl":"/nmmagazine/articles/author/andrew-collins/58b4b2404c2774661570f187/#comments","totalPosts":38},"categories":[{"_id":"58b4b2404c2774661570f2b4","blog":"magazine","title":"Going Places","_title_sort":"going places","updated":"2017-02-27T23:12:00.493Z","created":"2017-02-27T23:12:00.506Z","_totalPosts":78,"id":"58b4b2404c2774661570f2b4","slug":"going-places","url":"/nmmagazine/articles/category/going-places/58b4b2404c2774661570f2b4/","commentsUrl":"/nmmagazine/articles/category/going-places/58b4b2404c2774661570f2b4/#comments","totalPosts":78},{"_id":"58c834b11f16f9392cf0992a","title":"Travel","blog":"magazine","_title_sort":"travel","updated":"2017-03-14T18:21:37.155Z","created":"2017-03-14T18:21:37.156Z","_totalPosts":188,"id":"58c834b11f16f9392cf0992a","slug":"travel","url":"/nmmagazine/articles/category/travel/58c834b11f16f9392cf0992a/","commentsUrl":"/nmmagazine/articles/category/travel/58c834b11f16f9392cf0992a/#comments","totalPosts":188},{"_id":"58b4b2404c2774661570f2a6","blog":"magazine","title":"February 2015","_title_sort":"february 2015","updated":"2017-02-27T23:12:00.492Z","created":"2017-02-27T23:12:00.505Z","_totalPosts":10,"id":"58b4b2404c2774661570f2a6","slug":"february-2015","url":"/nmmagazine/articles/category/february-2015/58b4b2404c2774661570f2a6/","commentsUrl":"/nmmagazine/articles/category/february-2015/58b4b2404c2774661570f2a6/#comments","totalPosts":10}],"image":{"_id":"58ffd71fe1efff4c99164308","original_public_id":"clients/newmexico/WhiteSandsNatlMonument_37_66d1eae5-50d2-442b-8889-0f926fa96c2b","title":"White Sands National Monument","resource_raw":{"public_id":"clients/newmexico/WhiteSandsNatlMonument_37_66d1eae5-50d2-442b-8889-0f926fa96c2b","version":1493161702,"signature":"c052fb3726479ab0e2cac47f86fe08c199eed52b","width":1195,"height":532,"format":"jpg","resource_type":"image","created_at":"2017-04-25T23:08:22.000Z","bytes":133542,"type":"upload","etag":"f5cfa05b4fe21fd70eb8d4a90a5e3762","url":"http://res.cloudinary.com/simpleview/image/upload/v1493161702/clients/newmexico/WhiteSandsNatlMonument_37_66d1eae5-50d2-442b-8889-0f926fa96c2b.jpg","secure_url":"https://res.cloudinary.com/simpleview/image/upload/v1493161702/clients/newmexico/WhiteSandsNatlMonument_37_66d1eae5-50d2-442b-8889-0f926fa96c2b.jpg","original_filename":"file"},"alt_text_raw":"The windswept White Sands National Monument","credits":"Kevin Garrett","content_owner":"magazine","title_sort":"white sands national monument","updated":"2017-04-25T23:09:19.573Z","deleted":false,"created":"2017-04-25T23:09:19.589Z","id":"58ffd71fe1efff4c99164308","type":"image","resource":{"raw":{"resource_type":"image","format":"jpg","public_id":"clients/newmexico/WhiteSandsNatlMonument_37_66d1eae5-50d2-442b-8889-0f926fa96c2b"}},"inAssetRequest":false,"alt_text":"The windswept White Sands National Monument"},"tags":[{"_id":"59090ca9e1efff4c9916fa20","title":"Events","blog":"magazine","_title_sort":"events","updated":"2017-05-02T22:48:09.170Z","created":"2017-05-02T22:48:09.171Z","_totalPosts":62,"id":"59090ca9e1efff4c9916fa20","slug":"events","url":"/nmmagazine/articles/tag/events/59090ca9e1efff4c9916fa20/","commentsUrl":"/nmmagazine/articles/tag/events/59090ca9e1efff4c9916fa20/#comments","totalPosts":62}],"teaser":"

NEED TO KNOW

CARRIZOZO & TULAROSA Casa de Sueños New Mexican Restaurant & Gift Shop
35 St. Francis Dr., Tularosa; (575) 585-3494

Gallery 408 408 12th St., Carrizozo; (575) 648-2598;
","description":"  NEED TO KNOW CARRIZOZO & TULAROSA Casa de Sueños New Mexican Restaurant & Gift Shop 35 St. Francis Dr., Tularosa; (575) 585-3494 Gallery 408 408 12th St., Carrizozo; (575) 648-2598; gallery408.com Three Rivers Petroglyph Site U.S. 54 between Carrizozo and Tularosa; (575) 525-4300; blm.gov/nm The Tulie Cafe 313 Granado St., Tularosa; (575) 585-3100; on Facebook ALAMOGORDO Alameda Park Zoo 1321 N. White Sands Blvd.; (575) 439-4290; ci.alamogordo.nm.us Brown Bag Deli 900 Washington Ave.; (575) 437-9751 Can’t Stop Smokin’ 900 E. 10th St.; (575) 437-4227; cantstopsmokin.com Fairfield Inn & Suites 300 Panorama Blvd.; (575) 437-4000; marriott.com McGinn’s Pistachio Tree Ranch & Arena Blanca Winery 7320 U.S. 54/70; (575) 437-0602; pistachioland.com New Mexico Museum of Space History 31 N.M. 2001; (575) 437-2840; nmspacemuseum.org Oliver Lee Memorial State Park 409 Dog Canyon Rd.; (575) 437-8284; emnrd.state.nm.us/SPD Stella Vita 902 N. New York Ave.; (575) 434-4444; stellavit7.wix.com/vita White Sands Motel 1101 S. White Sands Blvd.; (575) 437-2922; whitesandsmotel.biz White Sands National Monument 19955 U.S. 70 W.; (575) 479-6124; nps.gov/whsa CLOUDCROFT Big Daddy’s Diner 1705 U.S. 82; (575) 682-1224; bigdaddysdinercloudcroft.com The Lodge Resort in Cloudcroft 601 Corona Pl.; (800) 395-6343; thelodgeresort.com Sacramento Mountains Historical Museum 1000 U.S. 82; (575) 682-2932; cloudcroftmuseum.com Ski Cloudcroft 19201⁄2 U.S. 82; (575) 682-2333; skicloudcroft.net Ski Palace 90 U.S. 82; (575) 682-2045; cloudcroftskipalace.com Any time of year  that I plan a trip in New Mexico, but especially in winter, I find myself torn between the state’s vast valleys and its evergreen-studded high elevations. This three-day road trip embraces both extremes: the temperate valley communities of Tularosa and Alamogordo and the crisp mountain town of Cloudcroft, which at nearly 9,000 feet ranks among the highest towns in the country. In winter, temperatures range from the low teens to the upper sixties, so I always pack layers of clothing. THE ROUTE Begin your journey in Carrizozo , at the northern tip of the Tularosa Basin. Drive south on U.S. 54 for 44 miles (with an optional stop along the way at Three Rivers Petroglyph Recreation Site) to Tularosa and break for lunch. Then continue another 12 miles to Alamogordo , where you’ll spend the first night. The next day, drive 15 miles south on U.S. 54 to visit beautiful (and underrated) Oliver Lee Memorial State Park ; then backtrack north on U.S. 54 to Alamogordo and drive west 15 miles on U.S. 70 to White Sands National Monument . After leaving the park, return on U.S. 70 to Alamogordo, then follow U.S. 82 for 20 miles up into the mountains to Cloudcroft , where you’ll spend your second night. DAY 1: CARRIZOZO TO ALAMOGORDO GALLERY HOP Begin your tour with a look around the compact downtown of Carrizozo, an erstwhile railroad hub of about 1,000 residents. You’ll find some handsome late-19th/early-20th-century buildings in the village center, especially along Central Avenue (U.S. 54) and 12th Street. Although many of these buildings are vacant, a few contain small shops and galleries. Of particular note, Gallery 408 occupies a brightly painted pink adobe and displays the works of some 40 artists, from Corey Walker’s striking landscape photography to Ria Neilson’s curvy and colorful fused-glass sculptures. ROCK OF AGES About 30 miles south of Carrizozo, stop to explore some of the roughly 21,000 rock depictions at 50-acre Three Rivers Petroglyph Site , where a Mogollon community proliferated for several hundred years. Easy trails lead to representations of bighorn sheep, armadillos, lizards, human figures, and abstract designs. TOOL AROUND TULAROSA The small, historic, tree-shaded town of Tularosa contains a well-preserved historic district with dozens of handsome 19th-century Victorian and Spanish Colonial adobe buildings. Along the two-block main drag, you’ll find a couple of antiques shops and galleries as well as a fine option for lunch, the Tulie Cafe , which is set inside a sprawling brick-and-adobe structure with a carved-wood bar and a gracious side patio anchored by an ornate fountain. The kitchen turns out reliably good burgers, pistachio chicken salad, red chile enchiladas, and high-octane margaritas. Casa de Sueños New Mexican Restaurant & Gift Shop is another lunch option. KITSCH AND CANDY As you roll into the north end of Alamogordo, keep an eye out for the 30-foot-tall pistachio- nut sculpture that marks the entrance to McGinn’s Pistachio Tree Ranch & Arena Blanca Winery . Stop in to sample chile-flavored and butter-toffee-glazed pistachios, three-nut (pistachio, pecan, and cashew) brittle, and pistachio fudge, along with some of the fruit-forward sweet wines produced by the ranch’s vineyard. SPACE ODYSSEY Alamogordo’s New Mexico Museum of Space History presents an excellent overview of the state’s eight decades of space explora- tion, which began when Robert Goddard launched rockets in nearby Roswell in the 1930s and continues to this day at Spaceport America, west of White Sands Missile Range. At this five-story glass-cube building perched high in the Alamogordo foothills, you can view everything from aerosol Pepsi and freeze-dried cheese spreads developed for Apollo flights to the 86-foot-tall Little Joe II rocket, in the museum’s John P. Stapp Air & Space Park . STELLA-AHH! End your day with dinner at Stella Vita , an elegant, art-filled restaurant decked with Oriental rugs and black napery, where you can tuck into such refined modern American fare as tender rib-eye steaks topped with sautéed mushrooms, and pan-seared duck breast with cherry-chipotle sauce and green-chile cheese grits. OVERNIGHT The Fairfield Inn & Suites ’ large, contemporary rooms come with iPod docks and 42-inch TVs, and there’s an indoor pool and exercise room. Or save a few bucks by nesting at the immaculately clean, retro-cool White Sands Motel , a low-slung tan building with a fabulous vintage sign. The rock-bottom rates include free Wi-Fi and Continental breakfast. DAY 2: ALAMOGORDO TO CLOUDCROFT ZOO STORY Start the day with a tour of surprisingly large Alameda Park Zoo , right in the center of downtown Alamogordo. The 12-acre zoo is home to more than 250 species, many indig-enous to the region—Harris hawks, Mexican gray wolves, black bears—but quite a few oth- ers from elsewhere around the world. SHORT STOP Stop downtown for a quick lunch at Brown Bag Deli , which serves enormous sub sand- wiches overflowing with capicola, pastrami, provolone, and more, or Can’t Stop Smokin’ , a casual log-cabin-style joint serving top-notch pulled pork, smoked sausage, and beef-rib barbecue, with berry cobbler for dessert. PARKS AND RECREATION Somewhat overshadowed by nearby must-stop White Sands National Monument , stunning Oliver Lee Memorial State Park is well worth even a short visit. If you’re game for a real adventure, spend the day here following the ribbon of piñon trees that climbs some five miles up into steep, striated Dog Canyon . With an elevation gain of 3,100 feet, it’s a strenuous trek. Walk just a half-mile up the much shorter Riparian Nature Trail , however, and you’ll be rewarded with expansive views west across the Tularosa Basin. A sign at the trailhead warns that you may just cross paths with a Western diamondback rattlesnake— “wear sturdy high boots” and “avoid quick moves” are among the helpful admonitions. HIGH DUNE First-timers driving through the region in winter sometimes mistake the powdery dunes of White Sands National Monument for snow. Rest assured that even in February, you can often scamper comfortably around this 275-square-mile sandbox in shorts and flip-flops. Do spend some time in the handsome WPA-era adobe visitor center, where a film and interpretive signs explain how gypsum trapped in the landlocked Tularosa Basin has accumulated over the eons to form one of the Southwest’s most iconic landscapes. Then drive the 16-mile round-trip paved scenic loop through the dunes, stopping here and there to climb and cavort in the sand. To test your sledding skills on one of the monument’s precipitous dunes, rent a waxed-plastic “snow saucer” at the visitor center gift shop. OVERNIGHT Managed in the 1930s by Socorro-raised future hotel magnate Conrad Hilton, the Lodge Resort , in Cloudcroft, has hosted Judy Garland, Clark Gable, and Pancho Villa. These days, the century-old grande dame, with its distinctive red-white-and-blue central tower, contains 59 individually decorated rooms as well as a full-service spa known for its mountain-stone massages, sea-salt glows, and herbal wraps. Dine in the romantic restaurant, Rebecca’s , which is named for the hotel’s resident ghost and serves deftly crafted Continental fare, including escargots with roasted green chiles and garlic butter, seared sea scallops with lemon-chive butter, and bananas Foster prepared tableside. DAY 3: CLOUDCROFT SNOW DAY! If you happen to awaken to a blanket of pure snow out the window— a distinct possibility this time of year—fuel up on the decadent Sunday champagne brunch at Rebecca’s before availing yourself of Cloudcroft’s plentiful winter activities. Downtown’s Ski Palace shop rents just about every imaginable type of winter gear, from long johns to snowboards, and just three miles east of town, family-friendly Ski Cloudcroft offers 25 downhill ski trails of varying levels of difficulty. (The skiing is very snowfall dependent—call ahead.) Additionally, in surrounding Lincoln Forest there’s exhilarating tubing and sledding at Upper Karr Canyon Recreation Area and cross-country skiing and snowshoeing at Little Apache Canyon. AN UN LIKELY STORY Visitors to the Sacramento Mountains Historical Museum are often surprised by how much there is to explore at this pioneer village on the east side of downtown. Cleverly assembled exhibits provide an engaging overview of Cloudcroft’s against-the-odds development into a small but vibrant tourism hub. Along with historic photos, you can also peruse collections of military and Mescalero Apache memorabilia, and visit a sweet 1899 Episcopal chapel surrounded by shimmering aspen trees. In winter, the museum is open only Friday–Sunday, weather permitting. BURRO STROLL Spend the afternoon sauntering along Cloudcroft’s spirited Wild West–inspired retail strip, Burro Street, with its log-cabin storefronts and timber balconies. Funky stores and galleries include the fragrant Cricklewood Candle Company and the kid-approved candy and gift shops inside the bustling Cloudcroft Hotel and Gift Mall . The most celebrated lunch spot in town lies just east of downtown: family-owned Big Daddy’s Diner occupies a rambling wood-frame roadhouse and turns out delicious Tex–New Mex bites, from 18-hour slow-cooked barbecue brisket to hefty cheeseburgers.","id":"58b4b2814c2774661570f9eb","url":"/nmmagazine/articles/post/going-places-89626/","commentsUrl":"/nmmagazine/articles/post/going-places-89626/#comments","absoluteUrl":"https://www.newmexico.org/nmmagazine/articles/post/going-places-89626/","metaTitle":"Up, Down, All Around","metaDescription":"

NEED TO KNOW

CARRIZOZO & TULAROSA Casa de Sueños New Mexican Restaurant & Gift Shop
35 St. Francis Dr., Tularosa; (575) 585-3494

Gallery 408 408 12th St., Carrizozo; (575) 648-2598;
","cleanDescription":"  NEED TO KNOW CARRIZOZO & TULAROSA Casa de Sueños New Mexican Restaurant & Gift Shop 35 St. Francis Dr., Tularosa; (575) 585-3494 Gallery 408 408 12th St., Carrizozo; (575) 648-2598; gallery408.com Three Rivers Petroglyph Site U.S. 54 between Carrizozo and Tularosa; (575) 525-4300; blm.gov/nm The Tulie Cafe 313 Granado St., Tularosa; (575) 585-3100; on Facebook ALAMOGORDO Alameda Park Zoo 1321 N. White Sands Blvd.; (575) 439-4290; ci.alamogordo.nm.us Brown Bag Deli 900 Washington Ave.; (575) 437-9751 Can’t Stop Smokin’ 900 E. 10th St.; (575) 437-4227; cantstopsmokin.com Fairfield Inn & Suites 300 Panorama Blvd.; (575) 437-4000; marriott.com McGinn’s Pistachio Tree Ranch & Arena Blanca Winery 7320 U.S. 54/70; (575) 437-0602; pistachioland.com New Mexico Museum of Space History 31 N.M. 2001; (575) 437-2840; nmspacemuseum.org Oliver Lee Memorial State Park 409 Dog Canyon Rd.; (575) 437-8284; emnrd.state.nm.us/SPD Stella Vita 902 N. New York Ave.; (575) 434-4444; stellavit7.wix.com/vita White Sands Motel 1101 S. White Sands Blvd.; (575) 437-2922; whitesandsmotel.biz White Sands National Monument 19955 U.S. 70 W.; (575) 479-6124; nps.gov/whsa CLOUDCROFT Big Daddy’s Diner 1705 U.S. 82; (575) 682-1224; bigdaddysdinercloudcroft.com The Lodge Resort in Cloudcroft 601 Corona Pl.; (800) 395-6343; thelodgeresort.com Sacramento Mountains Historical Museum 1000 U.S. 82; (575) 682-2932; cloudcroftmuseum.com Ski Cloudcroft 19201⁄2 U.S. 82; (575) 682-2333; skicloudcroft.net Ski Palace 90 U.S. 82; (575) 682-2045; cloudcroftskipalace.com Any time of year  that I plan a trip in New Mexico, but especially in winter, I find myself torn between the state’s vast valleys and its evergreen-studded high elevations. This three-day road trip embraces both extremes: the temperate valley communities of Tularosa and Alamogordo and the crisp mountain town of Cloudcroft, which at nearly 9,000 feet ranks among the highest towns in the country. In winter, temperatures range from the low teens to the upper sixties, so I always pack layers of clothing. THE ROUTE Begin your journey in Carrizozo , at the northern tip of the Tularosa Basin. Drive south on U.S. 54 for 44 miles (with an optional stop along the way at Three Rivers Petroglyph Recreation Site) to Tularosa and break for lunch. Then continue another 12 miles to Alamogordo , where you’ll spend the first night. The next day, drive 15 miles south on U.S. 54 to visit beautiful (and underrated) Oliver Lee Memorial State Park ; then backtrack north on U.S. 54 to Alamogordo and drive west 15 miles on U.S. 70 to White Sands National Monument . After leaving the park, return on U.S. 70 to Alamogordo, then follow U.S. 82 for 20 miles up into the mountains to Cloudcroft , where you’ll spend your second night. DAY 1: CARRIZOZO TO ALAMOGORDO GALLERY HOP Begin your tour with a look around the compact downtown of Carrizozo, an erstwhile railroad hub of about 1,000 residents. You’ll find some handsome late-19th/early-20th-century buildings in the village center, especially along Central Avenue (U.S. 54) and 12th Street. Although many of these buildings are vacant, a few contain small shops and galleries. Of particular note, Gallery 408 occupies a brightly painted pink adobe and displays the works of some 40 artists, from Corey Walker’s striking landscape photography to Ria Neilson’s curvy and colorful fused-glass sculptures. ROCK OF AGES About 30 miles south of Carrizozo, stop to explore some of the roughly 21,000 rock depictions at 50-acre Three Rivers Petroglyph Site , where a Mogollon community proliferated for several hundred years. Easy trails lead to representations of bighorn sheep, armadillos, lizards, human figures, and abstract designs. TOOL AROUND TULAROSA The small, historic, tree-shaded town of Tularosa contains a well-preserved historic district with dozens of handsome 19th-century Victorian and Spanish Colonial adobe buildings. Along the two-block main drag, you’ll find a couple of antiques shops and galleries as well as a fine option for lunch, the Tulie Cafe , which is set inside a sprawling brick-and-adobe structure with a carved-wood bar and a gracious side patio anchored by an ornate fountain. The kitchen turns out reliably good burgers, pistachio chicken salad, red chile enchiladas, and high-octane margaritas. Casa de Sueños New Mexican Restaurant & Gift Shop is another lunch option. KITSCH AND CANDY As you roll into the north end of Alamogordo, keep an eye out for the 30-foot-tall pistachio- nut sculpture that marks the entrance to McGinn’s Pistachio Tree Ranch & Arena Blanca Winery . Stop in to sample chile-flavored and butter-toffee-glazed pistachios, three-nut (pistachio, pecan, and cashew) brittle, and pistachio fudge, along with some of the fruit-forward sweet wines produced by the ranch’s vineyard. SPACE ODYSSEY Alamogordo’s New Mexico Museum of Space History presents an excellent overview of the state’s eight decades of space explora- tion, which began when Robert Goddard launched rockets in nearby Roswell in the 1930s and continues to this day at Spaceport America, west of White Sands Missile Range. At this five-story glass-cube building perched high in the Alamogordo foothills, you can view everything from aerosol Pepsi and freeze-dried cheese spreads developed for Apollo flights to the 86-foot-tall Little Joe II rocket, in the museum’s John P. Stapp Air & Space Park . STELLA-AHH! End your day with dinner at Stella Vita , an elegant, art-filled restaurant decked with Oriental rugs and black napery, where you can tuck into such refined modern American fare as tender rib-eye steaks topped with sautéed mushrooms, and pan-seared duck breast with cherry-chipotle sauce and green-chile cheese grits. OVERNIGHT The Fairfield Inn & Suites ’ large, contemporary rooms come with iPod docks and 42-inch TVs, and there’s an indoor pool and exercise room. Or save a few bucks by nesting at the immaculately clean, retro-cool White Sands Motel , a low-slung tan building with a fabulous vintage sign. The rock-bottom rates include free Wi-Fi and Continental breakfast. DAY 2: ALAMOGORDO TO CLOUDCROFT ZOO STORY Start the day with a tour of surprisingly large Alameda Park Zoo , right in the center of downtown Alamogordo. The 12-acre zoo is home to more than 250 species, many indig-enous to the region—Harris hawks, Mexican gray wolves, black bears—but quite a few oth- ers from elsewhere around the world. SHORT STOP Stop downtown for a quick lunch at Brown Bag Deli , which serves enormous sub sand- wiches overflowing with capicola, pastrami, provolone, and more, or Can’t Stop Smokin’ , a casual log-cabin-style joint serving top-notch pulled pork, smoked sausage, and beef-rib barbecue, with berry cobbler for dessert. PARKS AND RECREATION Somewhat overshadowed by nearby must-stop White Sands National Monument , stunning Oliver Lee Memorial State Park is well worth even a short visit. If you’re game for a real adventure, spend the day here following the ribbon of piñon trees that climbs some five miles up into steep, striated Dog Canyon . With an elevation gain of 3,100 feet, it’s a strenuous trek. Walk just a half-mile up the much shorter Riparian Nature Trail , however, and you’ll be rewarded with expansive views west across the Tularosa Basin. A sign at the trailhead warns that you may just cross paths with a Western diamondback rattlesnake— “wear sturdy high boots” and “avoid quick moves” are among the helpful admonitions. HIGH DUNE First-timers driving through the region in winter sometimes mistake the powdery dunes of White Sands National Monument for snow. Rest assured that even in February, you can often scamper comfortably around this 275-square-mile sandbox in shorts and flip-flops. Do spend some time in the handsome WPA-era adobe visitor center, where a film and interpretive signs explain how gypsum trapped in the landlocked Tularosa Basin has accumulated over the eons to form one of the Southwest’s most iconic landscapes. Then drive the 16-mile round-trip paved scenic loop through the dunes, stopping here and there to climb and cavort in the sand. To test your sledding skills on one of the monument’s precipitous dunes, rent a waxed-plastic “snow saucer” at the visitor center gift shop. OVERNIGHT Managed in the 1930s by Socorro-raised future hotel magnate Conrad Hilton, the Lodge Resort , in Cloudcroft, has hosted Judy Garland, Clark Gable, and Pancho Villa. These days, the century-old grande dame, with its distinctive red-white-and-blue central tower, contains 59 individually decorated rooms as well as a full-service spa known for its mountain-stone massages, sea-salt glows, and herbal wraps. Dine in the romantic restaurant, Rebecca’s , which is named for the hotel’s resident ghost and serves deftly crafted Continental fare, including escargots with roasted green chiles and garlic butter, seared sea scallops with lemon-chive butter, and bananas Foster prepared tableside. DAY 3: CLOUDCROFT SNOW DAY! If you happen to awaken to a blanket of pure snow out the window— a distinct possibility this time of year—fuel up on the decadent Sunday champagne brunch at Rebecca’s before availing yourself of Cloudcroft’s plentiful winter activities. Downtown’s Ski Palace shop rents just about every imaginable type of winter gear, from long johns to snowboards, and just three miles east of town, family-friendly Ski Cloudcroft offers 25 downhill ski trails of varying levels of difficulty. (The skiing is very snowfall dependent—call ahead.) Additionally, in surrounding Lincoln Forest there’s exhilarating tubing and sledding at Upper Karr Canyon Recreation Area and cross-country skiing and snowshoeing at Little Apache Canyon. AN UN LIKELY STORY Visitors to the Sacramento Mountains Historical Museum are often surprised by how much there is to explore at this pioneer village on the east side of downtown. Cleverly assembled exhibits provide an engaging overview of Cloudcroft’s against-the-odds development into a small but vibrant tourism hub. Along with historic photos, you can also peruse collections of military and Mescalero Apache memorabilia, and visit a sweet 1899 Episcopal chapel surrounded by shimmering aspen trees. In winter, the museum is open only Friday–Sunday, weather permitting. BURRO STROLL Spend the afternoon sauntering along Cloudcroft’s spirited Wild West–inspired retail strip, Burro Street, with its log-cabin storefronts and timber balconies. Funky stores and galleries include the fragrant Cricklewood Candle Company and the kid-approved candy and gift shops inside the bustling Cloudcroft Hotel and Gift Mall . The most celebrated lunch spot in town lies just east of downtown: family-owned Big Daddy’s Diner occupies a rambling wood-frame roadhouse and turns out delicious Tex–New Mex bites, from 18-hour slow-cooked barbecue brisket to hefty cheeseburgers.","publish_start_moment":"2015-01-12T16:00:00.000Z","publish_end_moment":"2017-12-16T23:32:53.729Z"},{"_id":"58b4b2814c2774661570f9d0","author_id":"58b4b2404c2774661570f187","title":"Western NM Road Trip","slug":"w-nm-road-tripgoing-places-89253","image_id":"58b4b24a4c2774661570f51b","publish_start":"2014-11-07T15:00:00.000Z","enable_comments":true,"categories_ids":["58b4b2404c2774661570f2b4","58c834b11f16f9392cf0992a","58f5533b46da1c146c0fc752","58b4b2404c2774661570f291"],"tags_ids":["59090ce8e1efff4c9916fa49","59090e46e1efff4c9916fb37","59090ca9e1efff4c9916fa20","59090c90e1efff4c9916fa0f"],"cms_tags_ids":["58b061ec6a2b0936c34a23ea"],"enabled":true,"custom_photo_credit":"Brian Leddy","custom_tagline":"Traipse across lava fields, find turquoise treasures, and relish the local fare on the scenic route between Grants and Gallup.","created":"2014-11-07T15:54:01.000Z","legacy_id":"89253","blog":"magazine","_title_sort":"western nm road trip","updated":"2017-10-31T21:31:33.687Z","active":true,"description_raw":"
NEED TO KNOW
\r\nGALLUP
\r\n
\r\nBill Malone Trading Company 235 W. Coal Ave.;
\r\n(505) 863-3401; friendsofhubbell.org/malone.htm
\r\n
\r\nEarl’s Family Restaurant
\r\n1400 E. Historic Hwy. 66;
\r\n(505) 863-4201
\r\n
\r\nEl Metate Tamale Factory
\r\n610 W. Mesa Ave.;
\r\n(505) 722-7000
\r\n
\r\nEl Rancho Hotel
\r\n1000 E. Historic Hwy. 66;
\r\n(505) 863-9311; route66hotels.org
\r\n
\r\nGallup Chamber of Commerce
\r\n106 W. Historic Hwy. 66;
\r\n(505) 722-2228; thegallupchamber.com
\r\n
\r\nGallup Comfort Suites
\r\n3940 E. Historic Hwy. 66;
\r\n(505) 863-3445; comfortsuitesgallup.com
\r\n
\r\nGallup Cultural Center
\r\n201 E. Historic Hwy. 66;
\r\n(505) 863-4131;
\r\nmynm.us/ gallupculturalcenter
\r\n
\r\nRed Rock Park
\r\nN.M. 566, Churchrock;
\r\n(505) 722-3839; mynm.us/redrockgallup
\r\n
\r\nGRANTS
\r\nGrants Chamber of Commerce and New Mexico Mining Museum
\r\n100 N. Iron Ave.;
\r\n(800) 748-2142;
\r\ngrants.org
\r\n
\r\nHoliday Inn Express
\r\n1512 E. Santa Fe Ave.;
\r\n(505) 287-9252;
\r\nihg.com
\r\n
\r\nLa Ventana
\r\n110 Geis St.;
\r\n(505) 287-9393
\r\n
\r\nWow Diner
\r\n1300 Motel Dr., Milan;
\r\n(505) 287-3801;
\r\nwowdiner.com
\r\n
\r\nEL MALPAIS TO ZUNI
\r\nAll Tribes Trading Post
\r\n1196 N.M. 53,
\r\nZuni; (505) 782-6272
\r\n
\r\nAncient Ways Cafe (and El Morro RV & Cabins).
\r\nMile Marker 46, N.M. 53, Ramah;
\r\n(505) 783-4612;
\r\nelmorro-nm.com
\r\n
\r\nCimarron Rose B&B
\r\n689 Oso Ridge St., off N.M. 53; (800) 856-5776; cimarronrose.com
\r\n
\r\nEl Malpais National Monument
\r\nInformation Center on N.M. 53;
\r\n(505) 783-4774;
\r\nnps.gov/elma
\r\n
\r\nEl Morro National Monument N.M. 53;
\r\n(505) 783-4226;
\r\nnps.gov/elmo
\r\n
\r\nInn at Halona Pia Mesa at Shalako Dr., Zuni;
\r\n(505) 782-4547;
\r\nhalona.com
\r\n
\r\nInscription Rock Trading & Coffee Mile Marker 46, N.M. 53, Ramah;
\r\n(505) 783-4706; inscriptionrocktrading.com
\r\n\r\n

True West
\r\nTraipse across lava fields, find turquoise treasures, and relish the local fare on the scenic route between Grants and Gallup.

\r\n\r\n

WHY GO NOW
\r\nHoliday shoppers, take note: Unique, handmade, and budget-friendly treasures abound in this route’s trading posts, galleries, and less formal locales (like the dining room of Earl’s Family Restaurant, in Gallup). Although you can take I-40, we recommend noodling along on the charmingly circuitous N.M. 53/N.M. 602 loop between the Historic Route 66 communities of Grants and Gallup. You’ll encounter ancient volcanic features, a sandstone cliff base that’s been etched with graffiti by 17th-century conquistadors and 19th-century U.S. Army troops, and one of the most artistically rich Native communities in the Southwest, Zuni Pueblo.

\r\n\r\n

DAY 1: GRANTS
\r\nBooms and Busts
\r\nArrive in Grants by early afternoon to give yourself time to visit the excellent New Mexico Mining Museum. This town of about 9,000 was established as a railroad outpost in the late 19th century, but its greatest boom period commenced in 1950, when a local Navajo shepherd named Paddy Martinez discovered uranium ore just outside town at Haystack Mesa. For the next three decades, the town thrived as one of the nation’s largest uranium suppliers. In the museum, you can embark on a self-guided tour through a re-created underground mine filled with equipment and tools of the trade, and detailed interpretive displays that tell the tale of the local uranium fortunes. (By the 1990s, the demand for U.S. uranium had slowed to a trickle.) There’s also a fantastic collection of gems and minerals collected from all over the world.

\r\n\r\n

STEAK OUT
\r\nFans of old-time steakhouses will find a beauty in downtown Grants. Darkly lit La Ventana turns out juicy, thick-cut rib-eye steaks and tender prime rib, plus slow-cooked pork adovada, grilled salmon, and chicken fajitas. There’s a well-chosen beer and wine selection, too, as well as a full bar.

\r\n\r\n

OVERNIGHT
\r\nAmong the several reasonably priced chain options in Grants, the clean and contemporary Holiday Inn Express offers spacious rooms with microwaves and refrigerators. Additional perks include an exercise room and indoor pool and complimentary breakfast in the morning. Or spend the night just outside El Malpais National Monument at the stunningly situated, eco-conscious Cimarron Rose B&B, 30 miles southwest of Grants on N.M. 53. The inn’s three rustic-chic suites intersperse knotty pine and earth-tone walls, fireplaces, fully equipped kitchens, and private patios that make for awesome stargazing on clear winter nights. Hearty full breakfasts are delivered to your door each morning, and the on-site Tierra Madre Arts Gallery stocks an impressive selection of fair-trade Zuni and Navajo pottery, carvings, textiles, and paintings.

\r\n\r\n

DAY 2: EL MALPAIS TO ZUNI
\r\nDINER DELIGHT
\r\nIf you spent the night in Grants, fuel up with breakfast in nearby Milan at Wow Diner, a shimmering stainless-steel restaurant with a ’50s-inspired interior. Morning favorites include decadent cinnamon roll pancakes, spicy huevos rancheros, and rich eggs Benedict. Don’t let the prosaic setting behind the Petro truck stop put you off—this is the best breakfast fare in the area, and the friendly servers here greet both locals and outsiders like family.

\r\n\r\n

LAVA LAND
\r\nAs N.M. 53 suddenly curves in a westerly direction about 15 miles south of Grants, the landscape changes dramatically. Here the road skirts the northern edge of El Malpais National Monument, a sweeping 350,000-acre expanse of stark, blackened lava fields and dormant volcanoes. Visible to the north of Grants is soaring Mount Taylor, which rises to 11,305 feet.

\r\n\r\n

El Malpais means “the badlands” in Spanish, and this dramatic landscape does, at first glance, appear rather impenetrable. Stop by El Malpais Information Center for maps and advice, and to check out exhibits on local geology that help explain, for example, the difference between cinder cones and shield volcanoes.

\r\n\r\n

For an up-close look at the volcanic landscape, backtrack a couple of miles along N.M. 53 to the El Calderon section of El Malpais. From the parking lot, it’s just a few hundred feet to a hollowed lava tube called Junction Cave. You can peer deep inside, but note that entering the cave is prohibited November 1–April 1 in order to protect a thriving bat colony. The rest of the year, you can actually scamper through the tube. The longer but still easy El Calderon loop trail winds for three miles past additional intact and collapsed lava tubes, as well as a volcanic crater.

\r\n\r\n

A SCENIC LUNCH BREAK
\r\nJust east of El Morro National Monument, you’ll find a pair of quirky gems nearly adjacent to each other. Ancient Way Cafe occupies a cute red-roofed log-frame cabin and serves fresh and healthy sandwiches, salads, and sweets, with an emphasis on free-range meats and organic produce. Save room for a slice of sweet and spicy Granny Smith apple pie seasoned with green chiles and piñon nuts. This homey cafe is part of El Morro RV Park & Cabins, with a good selection of RV and tent sites plus four adorable, affordable cabins. In the adobe house next door, Inscription Rock Trading & Coffee Co. is a fine option for a bracing espresso drink, a green chile-cheese bagel, or a fresh-fruit smoothie—be sure to browse in the on-site gallery, which represents several talented Native American artists from the area.

\r\n\r\n

SIGN HERE
\r\nOn April 16, 1605, Spanish conquistador Don Juan de Oñate etched his signature into the base of a towering sandstone wall that Zuni Indians had been marking with petroglyphs for centuries prior. The top attraction at El Morro National Monument, Inscription Rock contains dozens of neatly etched autographs and carvings from early Spanish colonists, frontiersmen, and Civil War–era U.S. military troops. When you arrive at the park, stop inside the visitor center to view a 15-minute movie that sheds light on El Morro’s 700-year human history. You may also borrow a free guidebook that provides the backstories to the most prominent inscriptions. Then set out on the short, paved half-mile trail that passes beside the wall. If you have time, it’s well worth continuing along the two-mile Headland Trail loop, which you can access from Inscription Trail. This somewhat rocky trek climbs 250 feet in elevation, rewarding hikers with dazzling views of the surrounding Zuni Mountains.

\r\n\r\n

TRADE ROUTE
\r\nUpon reaching Zuni Pueblo, a bustling community of about 10,000, you’ll notice that the main commercial drag (N.M. 53) is lined with several trading posts. One of the most respected of these shops, All Tribes Trading Post, carries an immense selection of textiles, artwork, fetishes, kachinas, paintings, and jewelry by Zuni, Navajo, and Hopi artists.

\r\n\r\n

OVERNIGHT
\r\nZuni has one of western New Mexico’s most memorable lodging options, the inviting Inn at Halona, which is right in the center of the village and contains eight artfully decorated guest rooms furnished with Pendleton blankets, colorful Mexican folk furniture, and original paintings by noted Zuni artists. The blue-corn pancakes are among the favorite dishes served at breakfast each morning.

\r\n\r\n

DAY 3: GALLUP
\r\nDishes and Deals

\r\nThe largest town in the region and New Mexico’s gateway to the Navajo Nation, Gallup (pop. 21,700) provides visitors with plenty of incentive to linger for an extra day. Start out with breakfast at venerable Earl’s Family Restaurant, which has been serving straightfor- ward American, Mexican, and Navajo fare since 1947. Licensed local Native artists move about the dining room while you eat, proffering their crafts and wares.

\r\n\r\n

THE MOTHER ROAD
\r\nGallup is home to one of the state’s best-preserved and most populous stretches of Route 66. Stroll along downtown’s main drag to encounter numerous examples of handsomely preserved Victorian and Pueblo Revival buildings, some of them decorated with colorful murals.

\r\n\r\n

Visit the imposing El Rancho Hotel, which opened in 1937 and hosted dozens of Hollywood luminaries—Spencer Tracy, Mae West, Ronald Reagan, Lucille Ball—during its first couple of decades in business, when directors started filming westerns in this part of the state. The two-level atrium lobby is festooned with vintage black-and-white celebrity photos, Navajo rugs, mounted wildlife, and Old West oil paintings. The restaurant serves steaks, green chile cheeseburgers, and chicken enchilada platters, but many prefer the dimly lit 49er Lounge, a convivial locals’ joint with a great beer and tequila selection.

\r\n\r\n

Stop by the Gallup Cultural Center, which occupies the city’s grandly restored 1918 railway station and contains exhibits on the town’s rich Navajo, railroad, and Route 66 history. For more than four decades, Bill Malone operated other important trading posts—including the one at Arizona’s Hubbell Trading Post National Historic Site—before opening his own impressive space in Gallup, Bill Malone Trading Company. His close relationships with numerous Navajo artists ensures a steady supply of fine pottery, rugs, jewelry, and art. Prices are exceedingly fair.

\r\n\r\n

Head a few blocks away to a slightly out-of-the-way residential section of town for a delicious, filling lunch of authentic Mexican food at El Metate Tamale Factory, a no-frills local favorite for chile-smothered enchiladas, lengua tacos, and, of course, handmade pork and chicken tamales.

\r\n\r\n

RED ROCK RENDEZVOUS
\r\nWrap up your adventure a few miles east of town with a visit to glorious Red Rock Park. Its popular hiking trails, each between three and four miles, reward trekkers with panoramic vistas of the looming, rusty rose sandstone formations. The first weekend in December, some 200 hot air balloons take to the skies above the park for the 34th Annual Red Rock Balloon Rally.

","teaser_raw":"
NEED TO KNOW
GALLUP

Bill Malone Trading Company 235 W. Coal Ave.;
(505) 863-3401; friendsofhubbell.org/malone.htm

Earl’s Family Restaurant
1400 E. Historic Hwy. 66;
(505) 863-4201

El Metate Tamale
","version_id":"59f8ebb5648901d6cd726070","author":{"_id":"58b4b2404c2774661570f187","name":"Andrew Collins","image_id":"59139dd6da8f9b60115b37c5","created":"2017-02-27T23:12:00.226Z","blog":"magazine","_name_sort":"andrew collins","updated":"2017-05-10T23:10:20.308Z","image":{"_id":"59139dd6da8f9b60115b37c5","original_public_id":"clients/newmexico/AC_BW_e8f801c1-2f30-4955-b5dd-d7b115268b85","title":"Andrew Collins","resource_raw":{"public_id":"clients/newmexico/AC_BW_e8f801c1-2f30-4955-b5dd-d7b115268b85","version":1494457812,"signature":"451c9c0b132a549712f3cbb2a93abc75c6df8065","width":2482,"height":2482,"format":"jpg","resource_type":"image","created_at":"2017-05-10T23:10:12.000Z","bytes":1055023,"type":"upload","etag":"8e5857dd66cfa4317fb2b4cbae5943e3","url":"http://res.cloudinary.com/simpleview/image/upload/v1494457812/clients/newmexico/AC_BW_e8f801c1-2f30-4955-b5dd-d7b115268b85.jpg","secure_url":"https://res.cloudinary.com/simpleview/image/upload/v1494457812/clients/newmexico/AC_BW_e8f801c1-2f30-4955-b5dd-d7b115268b85.jpg","exif":{"Copyright":"JURRIAAN TEULINGS"},"original_filename":"file"},"alt_text_raw":"Andrew Collins","content_owner":"magazine","title_sort":"andrew collins","updated":"2017-05-10T23:10:14.757Z","deleted":false,"created":"2017-05-10T23:10:14.763Z","resource":{"raw":{"resource_type":"image","format":"jpg","public_id":"clients/newmexico/AC_BW_e8f801c1-2f30-4955-b5dd-d7b115268b85"}},"id":"59139dd6da8f9b60115b37c5","type":"image","inAssetRequest":false,"alt_text":"Andrew Collins"},"_totalPosts":38,"id":"58b4b2404c2774661570f187","title":"Andrew Collins","slug":"andrew-collins","url":"/nmmagazine/articles/author/andrew-collins/58b4b2404c2774661570f187/","commentsUrl":"/nmmagazine/articles/author/andrew-collins/58b4b2404c2774661570f187/#comments","totalPosts":38},"categories":[{"_id":"58b4b2404c2774661570f2b4","blog":"magazine","title":"Going Places","_title_sort":"going places","updated":"2017-02-27T23:12:00.493Z","created":"2017-02-27T23:12:00.506Z","_totalPosts":78,"id":"58b4b2404c2774661570f2b4","slug":"going-places","url":"/nmmagazine/articles/category/going-places/58b4b2404c2774661570f2b4/","commentsUrl":"/nmmagazine/articles/category/going-places/58b4b2404c2774661570f2b4/#comments","totalPosts":78},{"_id":"58c834b11f16f9392cf0992a","title":"Travel","blog":"magazine","_title_sort":"travel","updated":"2017-03-14T18:21:37.155Z","created":"2017-03-14T18:21:37.156Z","_totalPosts":188,"id":"58c834b11f16f9392cf0992a","slug":"travel","url":"/nmmagazine/articles/category/travel/58c834b11f16f9392cf0992a/","commentsUrl":"/nmmagazine/articles/category/travel/58c834b11f16f9392cf0992a/#comments","totalPosts":188},{"_id":"58b4b2404c2774661570f291","blog":"magazine","title":"December 2014","_title_sort":"december 2014","updated":"2017-02-27T23:12:00.492Z","created":"2017-02-27T23:12:00.502Z","_totalPosts":14,"id":"58b4b2404c2774661570f291","slug":"december-2014","url":"/nmmagazine/articles/category/december-2014/58b4b2404c2774661570f291/","commentsUrl":"/nmmagazine/articles/category/december-2014/58b4b2404c2774661570f291/#comments","totalPosts":14}],"image":{"_id":"58b4b24a4c2774661570f51b","legacy_id":"89327","title":"Main -road -trip","created":"2014-11-13T17:35:52.000Z","updated":"2017-02-27T23:12:09.861Z","credits":"Henry Lopez","content_owner":"magazine","tags_ids":["58b061ec6a2b0936c34a23ea"],"title_sort":"main -road -trip","resource_raw":{"public_id":"clients/newmexico/main_road_trip_229c9b47-8665-4c81-90fb-421806e3ab3b","version":1488237130,"signature":"95eff0546362e146d2de18c9674bae39e81c594d","width":490,"height":400,"format":"jpg","resource_type":"image","created_at":"2017-02-27T23:12:10.000Z","bytes":48353,"type":"upload","etag":"ad12267ca36eaa4ad0366d54f94dfa1f","url":"http://res.cloudinary.com/simpleview/image/upload/v1488237130/clients/newmexico/main_road_trip_229c9b47-8665-4c81-90fb-421806e3ab3b.jpg","secure_url":"https://res.cloudinary.com/simpleview/image/upload/v1488237130/clients/newmexico/main_road_trip_229c9b47-8665-4c81-90fb-421806e3ab3b.jpg","original_filename":"main-road-trip"},"deleted":false,"id":"58b4b24a4c2774661570f51b","type":"image","resource":{"raw":{"resource_type":"image","format":"jpg","public_id":"clients/newmexico/main_road_trip_229c9b47-8665-4c81-90fb-421806e3ab3b"}},"inAssetRequest":false,"alt_text":"Main -road -trip"},"tags":[{"_id":"59090ca9e1efff4c9916fa20","title":"Events","blog":"magazine","_title_sort":"events","updated":"2017-05-02T22:48:09.170Z","created":"2017-05-02T22:48:09.171Z","_totalPosts":62,"id":"59090ca9e1efff4c9916fa20","slug":"events","url":"/nmmagazine/articles/tag/events/59090ca9e1efff4c9916fa20/","commentsUrl":"/nmmagazine/articles/tag/events/59090ca9e1efff4c9916fa20/#comments","totalPosts":62}],"teaser":"
NEED TO KNOW
GALLUP

Bill Malone Trading Company 235 W. Coal Ave.;
(505) 863-3401; friendsofhubbell.org/malone.htm

Earl’s Family Restaurant
1400 E. Historic Hwy. 66;
(505) 863-4201

El Metate Tamale
","description":"NEED TO KNOW GALLUP Bill Malone Trading Company 235 W. Coal Ave.; (505) 863-3401; friendsofhubbell.org/malone.htm Earl’s Family Restaurant 1400 E. Historic Hwy. 66; (505) 863-4201 El Metate Tamale Factory 610 W. Mesa Ave.; (505) 722-7000 El Rancho Hotel 1000 E. Historic Hwy. 66; (505) 863-9311; route66hotels.org Gallup Chamber of Commerce 106 W. Historic Hwy. 66; (505) 722-2228; thegallupchamber.com Gallup Comfort Suites 3940 E. Historic Hwy. 66; (505) 863-3445; comfortsuitesgallup.com Gallup Cultural Center 201 E. Historic Hwy. 66; (505) 863-4131; mynm.us/ gallupculturalcenter Red Rock Park N.M. 566, Churchrock; (505) 722-3839; mynm.us/redrockgallup GRANTS Grants Chamber of Commerce and New Mexico Mining Museum 100 N. Iron Ave.; (800) 748-2142; grants.org Holiday Inn Express 1512 E. Santa Fe Ave.; (505) 287-9252; ihg.com La Ventana 110 Geis St.; (505) 287-9393 Wow Diner 1300 Motel Dr., Milan; (505) 287-3801; wowdiner.com EL MALPAIS TO ZUNI All Tribes Trading Post 1196 N.M. 53, Zuni; (505) 782-6272 Ancient Ways Cafe (and El Morro RV & Cabins). Mile Marker 46, N.M. 53, Ramah; (505) 783-4612; elmorro-nm.com Cimarron Rose B&B 689 Oso Ridge St., off N.M. 53; (800) 856-5776; cimarronrose.com El Malpais National Monument Information Center on N.M. 53; (505) 783-4774; nps.gov/elma El Morro National Monument N.M. 53; (505) 783-4226; nps.gov/elmo Inn at Halona Pia Mesa at Shalako Dr., Zuni; (505) 782-4547; halona.com Inscription Rock Trading & Coffee Mile Marker 46, N.M. 53, Ramah; (505) 783-4706; inscriptionrocktrading.com True West Traipse across lava fields, find turquoise treasures, and relish the local fare on the scenic route between Grants and Gallup. WHY GO NOW Holiday shoppers, take note: Unique, handmade, and budget-friendly treasures abound in this route’s trading posts, galleries, and less formal locales (like the dining room of Earl’s Family Restaurant, in Gallup). Although you can take I-40, we recommend noodling along on the charmingly circuitous N.M. 53/N.M. 602 loop between the Historic Route 66 communities of Grants and Gallup. You’ll encounter ancient volcanic features, a sandstone cliff base that’s been etched with graffiti by 17th-century conquistadors and 19th-century U.S. Army troops, and one of the most artistically rich Native communities in the Southwest, Zuni Pueblo. DAY 1: GRANTS Booms and Busts Arrive in Grants by early afternoon to give yourself time to visit the excellent New Mexico Mining Museum . This town of about 9,000 was established as a railroad outpost in the late 19th century, but its greatest boom period commenced in 1950, when a local Navajo shepherd named Paddy Martinez discovered uranium ore just outside town at Haystack Mesa. For the next three decades, the town thrived as one of the nation’s largest uranium suppliers. In the museum, you can embark on a self-guided tour through a re-created underground mine filled with equipment and tools of the trade, and detailed interpretive displays that tell the tale of the local uranium fortunes. (By the 1990s, the demand for U.S. uranium had slowed to a trickle.) There’s also a fantastic collection of gems and minerals collected from all over the world. STEAK OUT Fans of old-time steakhouses will find a beauty in downtown Grants. Darkly lit La Ventana turns out juicy, thick-cut rib-eye steaks and tender prime rib, plus slow-cooked pork adovada, grilled salmon, and chicken fajitas. There’s a well-chosen beer and wine selection, too, as well as a full bar. OVERNIGHT Among the several reasonably priced chain options in Grants, the clean and contemporary Holiday Inn Express offers spacious rooms with microwaves and refrigerators. Additional perks include an exercise room and indoor pool and complimentary breakfast in the morning. Or spend the night just outside El Malpais National Monument at the stunningly situated, eco-conscious Cimarron Rose B&B , 30 miles southwest of Grants on N.M. 53. The inn’s three rustic-chic suites intersperse knotty pine and earth-tone walls, fireplaces, fully equipped kitchens, and private patios that make for awesome stargazing on clear winter nights. Hearty full breakfasts are delivered to your door each morning, and the on-site Tierra Madre Arts Gallery stocks an impressive selection of fair-trade Zuni and Navajo pottery, carvings, textiles, and paintings. DAY 2: EL MALPAIS TO ZUNI DINER DELIGHT If you spent the night in Grants, fuel up with breakfast in nearby Milan at Wow Diner , a shimmering stainless-steel restaurant with a ’50s-inspired interior. Morning favorites include decadent cinnamon roll pancakes, spicy huevos rancheros, and rich eggs Benedict. Don’t let the prosaic setting behind the Petro truck stop put you off—this is the best breakfast fare in the area, and the friendly servers here greet both locals and outsiders like family. LAVA LAND As N.M. 53 suddenly curves in a westerly direction about 15 miles south of Grants, the landscape changes dramatically. Here the road skirts the northern edge of El Malpais National Monument , a sweeping 350,000-acre expanse of stark, blackened lava fields and dormant volcanoes. Visible to the north of Grants is soaring Mount Taylor, which rises to 11,305 feet. El Malpais means “the badlands” in Spanish, and this dramatic landscape does, at first glance, appear rather impenetrable. Stop by El Malpais Information Center for maps and advice, and to check out exhibits on local geology that help explain, for example, the difference between cinder cones and shield volcanoes. For an up-close look at the volcanic landscape, backtrack a couple of miles along N.M. 53 to the El Calderon section of El Malpais. From the parking lot, it’s just a few hundred feet to a hollowed lava tube called Junction Cave. You can peer deep inside, but note that entering the cave is prohibited November 1–April 1 in order to protect a thriving bat colony. The rest of the year, you can actually scamper through the tube. The longer but still easy El Calderon loop trail winds for three miles past additional intact and collapsed lava tubes, as well as a volcanic crater. A SCENIC LUNCH BREAK Just east of El Morro National Monument, you’ll find a pair of quirky gems nearly adjacent to each other. Ancient Way Cafe occupies a cute red-roofed log-frame cabin and serves fresh and healthy sandwiches, salads, and sweets, with an emphasis on free-range meats and organic produce. Save room for a slice of sweet and spicy Granny Smith apple pie seasoned with green chiles and piñon nuts. This homey cafe is part of El Morro RV Park & Cabins, with a good selection of RV and tent sites plus four adorable, affordable cabins. In the adobe house next door, Inscription Rock Trading & Coffee Co . is a fine option for a bracing espresso drink, a green chile-cheese bagel, or a fresh-fruit smoothie—be sure to browse in the on-site gallery, which represents several talented Native American artists from the area. SIGN HERE On April 16, 1605, Spanish conquistador Don Juan de Oñate etched his signature into the base of a towering sandstone wall that Zuni Indians had been marking with petroglyphs for centuries prior. The top attraction at El Morro National Monument , Inscription Rock contains dozens of neatly etched autographs and carvings from early Spanish colonists, frontiersmen, and Civil War–era U.S. military troops. When you arrive at the park, stop inside the visitor center to view a 15-minute movie that sheds light on El Morro’s 700-year human history. You may also borrow a free guidebook that provides the backstories to the most prominent inscriptions. Then set out on the short, paved half-mile trail that passes beside the wall. If you have time, it’s well worth continuing along the two-mile Headland Trail loop, which you can access from Inscription Trail. This somewhat rocky trek climbs 250 feet in elevation, rewarding hikers with dazzling views of the surrounding Zuni Mountains. TRADE ROUTE Upon reaching Zuni Pueblo, a bustling community of about 10,000, you’ll notice that the main commercial drag (N.M. 53) is lined with several trading posts. One of the most respected of these shops, All Tribes Trading Post , carries an immense selection of textiles, artwork, fetishes, kachinas, paintings, and jewelry by Zuni, Navajo, and Hopi artists. OVERNIGHT Zuni has one of western New Mexico’s most memorable lodging options, the inviting Inn at Halona , which is right in the center of the village and contains eight artfully decorated guest rooms furnished with Pendleton blankets, colorful Mexican folk furniture, and original paintings by noted Zuni artists. The blue-corn pancakes are among the favorite dishes served at breakfast each morning. DAY 3: GALLUP Dishes and Deals The largest town in the region and New Mexico’s gateway to the Navajo Nation, Gallup (pop. 21,700) provides visitors with plenty of incentive to linger for an extra day. Start out with breakfast at venerable Earl’s Family Restaurant , which has been serving straightfor- ward American, Mexican, and Navajo fare since 1947. Licensed local Native artists move about the dining room while you eat, proffering their crafts and wares. THE MOTHER ROAD Gallup is home to one of the state’s best-preserved and most populous stretches of Route 66. Stroll along downtown’s main drag to encounter numerous examples of handsomely preserved Victorian and Pueblo Revival buildings, some of them decorated with colorful murals. Visit the imposing El Rancho Hotel , which opened in 1937 and hosted dozens of Hollywood luminaries—Spencer Tracy, Mae West, Ronald Reagan, Lucille Ball—during its first couple of decades in business, when directors started filming westerns in this part of the state. The two-level atrium lobby is festooned with vintage black-and-white celebrity photos, Navajo rugs, mounted wildlife, and Old West oil paintings. The restaurant serves steaks, green chile cheeseburgers, and chicken enchilada platters, but many prefer the dimly lit 49er Lounge , a convivial locals’ joint with a great beer and tequila selection. Stop by the Gallup Cultural Center , which occupies the city’s grandly restored 1918 railway station and contains exhibits on the town’s rich Navajo, railroad, and Route 66 history. For more than four decades, Bill Malone operated other important trading posts—including the one at Arizona’s Hubbell Trading Post National Historic Site—before opening his own impressive space in Gallup, Bill Malone Trading Company . His close relationships with numerous Navajo artists ensures a steady supply of fine pottery, rugs, jewelry, and art. Prices are exceedingly fair. Head a few blocks away to a slightly out-of-the-way residential section of town for a delicious, filling lunch of authentic Mexican food at El Metate Tamale Factory , a no-frills local favorite for chile-smothered enchiladas, lengua tacos, and, of course, handmade pork and chicken tamales. RED ROCK RENDEZVOUS Wrap up your adventure a few miles east of town with a visit to glorious Red Rock Park . Its popular hiking trails, each between three and four miles, reward trekkers with panoramic vistas of the looming, rusty rose sandstone formations. The first weekend in December, some 200 hot air balloons take to the skies above the park for the 34th Annual Red Rock Balloon Rally.","id":"58b4b2814c2774661570f9d0","url":"/nmmagazine/articles/post/w-nm-road-tripgoing-places-89253/","commentsUrl":"/nmmagazine/articles/post/w-nm-road-tripgoing-places-89253/#comments","absoluteUrl":"https://www.newmexico.org/nmmagazine/articles/post/w-nm-road-tripgoing-places-89253/","metaTitle":"Western NM Road Trip","metaDescription":"
NEED TO KNOW
GALLUP

Bill Malone Trading Company 235 W. Coal Ave.;
(505) 863-3401; friendsofhubbell.org/malone.htm

Earl’s Family Restaurant
1400 E. Historic Hwy. 66;
(505) 863-4201

El Metate Tamale
","cleanDescription":"NEED TO KNOW GALLUP Bill Malone Trading Company 235 W. Coal Ave.; (505) 863-3401; friendsofhubbell.org/malone.htm Earl’s Family Restaurant 1400 E. Historic Hwy. 66; (505) 863-4201 El Metate Tamale Factory 610 W. Mesa Ave.; (505) 722-7000 El Rancho Hotel 1000 E. Historic Hwy. 66; (505) 863-9311; route66hotels.org Gallup Chamber of Commerce 106 W. Historic Hwy. 66; (505) 722-2228; thegallupchamber.com Gallup Comfort Suites 3940 E. Historic Hwy. 66; (505) 863-3445; comfortsuitesgallup.com Gallup Cultural Center 201 E. Historic Hwy. 66; (505) 863-4131; mynm.us/ gallupculturalcenter Red Rock Park N.M. 566, Churchrock; (505) 722-3839; mynm.us/redrockgallup GRANTS Grants Chamber of Commerce and New Mexico Mining Museum 100 N. Iron Ave.; (800) 748-2142; grants.org Holiday Inn Express 1512 E. Santa Fe Ave.; (505) 287-9252; ihg.com La Ventana 110 Geis St.; (505) 287-9393 Wow Diner 1300 Motel Dr., Milan; (505) 287-3801; wowdiner.com EL MALPAIS TO ZUNI All Tribes Trading Post 1196 N.M. 53, Zuni; (505) 782-6272 Ancient Ways Cafe (and El Morro RV & Cabins). Mile Marker 46, N.M. 53, Ramah; (505) 783-4612; elmorro-nm.com Cimarron Rose B&B 689 Oso Ridge St., off N.M. 53; (800) 856-5776; cimarronrose.com El Malpais National Monument Information Center on N.M. 53; (505) 783-4774; nps.gov/elma El Morro National Monument N.M. 53; (505) 783-4226; nps.gov/elmo Inn at Halona Pia Mesa at Shalako Dr., Zuni; (505) 782-4547; halona.com Inscription Rock Trading & Coffee Mile Marker 46, N.M. 53, Ramah; (505) 783-4706; inscriptionrocktrading.com True West Traipse across lava fields, find turquoise treasures, and relish the local fare on the scenic route between Grants and Gallup. WHY GO NOW Holiday shoppers, take note: Unique, handmade, and budget-friendly treasures abound in this route’s trading posts, galleries, and less formal locales (like the dining room of Earl’s Family Restaurant, in Gallup). Although you can take I-40, we recommend noodling along on the charmingly circuitous N.M. 53/N.M. 602 loop between the Historic Route 66 communities of Grants and Gallup. You’ll encounter ancient volcanic features, a sandstone cliff base that’s been etched with graffiti by 17th-century conquistadors and 19th-century U.S. Army troops, and one of the most artistically rich Native communities in the Southwest, Zuni Pueblo. DAY 1: GRANTS Booms and Busts Arrive in Grants by early afternoon to give yourself time to visit the excellent New Mexico Mining Museum . This town of about 9,000 was established as a railroad outpost in the late 19th century, but its greatest boom period commenced in 1950, when a local Navajo shepherd named Paddy Martinez discovered uranium ore just outside town at Haystack Mesa. For the next three decades, the town thrived as one of the nation’s largest uranium suppliers. In the museum, you can embark on a self-guided tour through a re-created underground mine filled with equipment and tools of the trade, and detailed interpretive displays that tell the tale of the local uranium fortunes. (By the 1990s, the demand for U.S. uranium had slowed to a trickle.) There’s also a fantastic collection of gems and minerals collected from all over the world. STEAK OUT Fans of old-time steakhouses will find a beauty in downtown Grants. Darkly lit La Ventana turns out juicy, thick-cut rib-eye steaks and tender prime rib, plus slow-cooked pork adovada, grilled salmon, and chicken fajitas. There’s a well-chosen beer and wine selection, too, as well as a full bar. OVERNIGHT Among the several reasonably priced chain options in Grants, the clean and contemporary Holiday Inn Express offers spacious rooms with microwaves and refrigerators. Additional perks include an exercise room and indoor pool and complimentary breakfast in the morning. Or spend the night just outside El Malpais National Monument at the stunningly situated, eco-conscious Cimarron Rose B&B , 30 miles southwest of Grants on N.M. 53. The inn’s three rustic-chic suites intersperse knotty pine and earth-tone walls, fireplaces, fully equipped kitchens, and private patios that make for awesome stargazing on clear winter nights. Hearty full breakfasts are delivered to your door each morning, and the on-site Tierra Madre Arts Gallery stocks an impressive selection of fair-trade Zuni and Navajo pottery, carvings, textiles, and paintings. DAY 2: EL MALPAIS TO ZUNI DINER DELIGHT If you spent the night in Grants, fuel up with breakfast in nearby Milan at Wow Diner , a shimmering stainless-steel restaurant with a ’50s-inspired interior. Morning favorites include decadent cinnamon roll pancakes, spicy huevos rancheros, and rich eggs Benedict. Don’t let the prosaic setting behind the Petro truck stop put you off—this is the best breakfast fare in the area, and the friendly servers here greet both locals and outsiders like family. LAVA LAND As N.M. 53 suddenly curves in a westerly direction about 15 miles south of Grants, the landscape changes dramatically. Here the road skirts the northern edge of El Malpais National Monument , a sweeping 350,000-acre expanse of stark, blackened lava fields and dormant volcanoes. Visible to the north of Grants is soaring Mount Taylor, which rises to 11,305 feet. El Malpais means “the badlands” in Spanish, and this dramatic landscape does, at first glance, appear rather impenetrable. Stop by El Malpais Information Center for maps and advice, and to check out exhibits on local geology that help explain, for example, the difference between cinder cones and shield volcanoes. For an up-close look at the volcanic landscape, backtrack a couple of miles along N.M. 53 to the El Calderon section of El Malpais. From the parking lot, it’s just a few hundred feet to a hollowed lava tube called Junction Cave. You can peer deep inside, but note that entering the cave is prohibited November 1–April 1 in order to protect a thriving bat colony. The rest of the year, you can actually scamper through the tube. The longer but still easy El Calderon loop trail winds for three miles past additional intact and collapsed lava tubes, as well as a volcanic crater. A SCENIC LUNCH BREAK Just east of El Morro National Monument, you’ll find a pair of quirky gems nearly adjacent to each other. Ancient Way Cafe occupies a cute red-roofed log-frame cabin and serves fresh and healthy sandwiches, salads, and sweets, with an emphasis on free-range meats and organic produce. Save room for a slice of sweet and spicy Granny Smith apple pie seasoned with green chiles and piñon nuts. This homey cafe is part of El Morro RV Park & Cabins, with a good selection of RV and tent sites plus four adorable, affordable cabins. In the adobe house next door, Inscription Rock Trading & Coffee Co . is a fine option for a bracing espresso drink, a green chile-cheese bagel, or a fresh-fruit smoothie—be sure to browse in the on-site gallery, which represents several talented Native American artists from the area. SIGN HERE On April 16, 1605, Spanish conquistador Don Juan de Oñate etched his signature into the base of a towering sandstone wall that Zuni Indians had been marking with petroglyphs for centuries prior. The top attraction at El Morro National Monument , Inscription Rock contains dozens of neatly etched autographs and carvings from early Spanish colonists, frontiersmen, and Civil War–era U.S. military troops. When you arrive at the park, stop inside the visitor center to view a 15-minute movie that sheds light on El Morro’s 700-year human history. You may also borrow a free guidebook that provides the backstories to the most prominent inscriptions. Then set out on the short, paved half-mile trail that passes beside the wall. If you have time, it’s well worth continuing along the two-mile Headland Trail loop, which you can access from Inscription Trail. This somewhat rocky trek climbs 250 feet in elevation, rewarding hikers with dazzling views of the surrounding Zuni Mountains. TRADE ROUTE Upon reaching Zuni Pueblo, a bustling community of about 10,000, you’ll notice that the main commercial drag (N.M. 53) is lined with several trading posts. One of the most respected of these shops, All Tribes Trading Post , carries an immense selection of textiles, artwork, fetishes, kachinas, paintings, and jewelry by Zuni, Navajo, and Hopi artists. OVERNIGHT Zuni has one of western New Mexico’s most memorable lodging options, the inviting Inn at Halona , which is right in the center of the village and contains eight artfully decorated guest rooms furnished with Pendleton blankets, colorful Mexican folk furniture, and original paintings by noted Zuni artists. The blue-corn pancakes are among the favorite dishes served at breakfast each morning. DAY 3: GALLUP Dishes and Deals The largest town in the region and New Mexico’s gateway to the Navajo Nation, Gallup (pop. 21,700) provides visitors with plenty of incentive to linger for an extra day. Start out with breakfast at venerable Earl’s Family Restaurant , which has been serving straightfor- ward American, Mexican, and Navajo fare since 1947. Licensed local Native artists move about the dining room while you eat, proffering their crafts and wares. THE MOTHER ROAD Gallup is home to one of the state’s best-preserved and most populous stretches of Route 66. Stroll along downtown’s main drag to encounter numerous examples of handsomely preserved Victorian and Pueblo Revival buildings, some of them decorated with colorful murals. Visit the imposing El Rancho Hotel , which opened in 1937 and hosted dozens of Hollywood luminaries—Spencer Tracy, Mae West, Ronald Reagan, Lucille Ball—during its first couple of decades in business, when directors started filming westerns in this part of the state. The two-level atrium lobby is festooned with vintage black-and-white celebrity photos, Navajo rugs, mounted wildlife, and Old West oil paintings. The restaurant serves steaks, green chile cheeseburgers, and chicken enchilada platters, but many prefer the dimly lit 49er Lounge , a convivial locals’ joint with a great beer and tequila selection. Stop by the Gallup Cultural Center , which occupies the city’s grandly restored 1918 railway station and contains exhibits on the town’s rich Navajo, railroad, and Route 66 history. For more than four decades, Bill Malone operated other important trading posts—including the one at Arizona’s Hubbell Trading Post National Historic Site—before opening his own impressive space in Gallup, Bill Malone Trading Company . His close relationships with numerous Navajo artists ensures a steady supply of fine pottery, rugs, jewelry, and art. Prices are exceedingly fair. Head a few blocks away to a slightly out-of-the-way residential section of town for a delicious, filling lunch of authentic Mexican food at El Metate Tamale Factory , a no-frills local favorite for chile-smothered enchiladas, lengua tacos, and, of course, handmade pork and chicken tamales. RED ROCK RENDEZVOUS Wrap up your adventure a few miles east of town with a visit to glorious Red Rock Park . Its popular hiking trails, each between three and four miles, reward trekkers with panoramic vistas of the looming, rusty rose sandstone formations. The first weekend in December, some 200 hot air balloons take to the skies above the park for the 34th Annual Red Rock Balloon Rally.","publish_start_moment":"2014-11-07T15:00:00.000Z","publish_end_moment":"2017-12-16T23:32:53.730Z"},{"_id":"58b4b2814c2774661570f9ae","author_id":"58b4b2404c2774661570f187","title":"Kickin’ Around Cruces","slug":"going-places-las-cruces-87675","image_id":"58ffd583e1efff4c991642c4","publish_start":"2014-08-15T16:00:00.000Z","enable_comments":true,"categories_ids":["58c834b11f16f9392cf0992a","58b4b2404c2774661570f2b4","58f5533b46da1c146c0fc752","58b4b2404c2774661570f287"],"tags_ids":["59090e46e1efff4c9916fb37","59090ce8e1efff4c9916fa49","59090ca9e1efff4c9916fa20","59090c61e1efff4c9916f9f3"],"cms_tags_ids":["58b061ec6a2b0936c34a23ea"],"enabled":true,"created":"2014-08-15T16:18:22.000Z","legacy_id":"87675","blog":"magazine","_title_sort":"kickin’ around cruces","updated":"2017-10-31T21:31:33.407Z","active":true,"description_raw":"

 

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WHERE TO STAY
\r\nWith a sleek rectangular pool surrounded by a cantera-stone wall, gurgling fountain, and outdoor fireplace, the seven-story Hotel Encanto appeals to both families and couples seeking an urban resort vibe. Amenities include a festive Garduño’s restaurant, the swanky Azul Ultra Lounge and Nightclub, a spa offering body wraps and massages, and a good-size fitness room. A few blocks from the captivating Old Mesilla Plaza, you’ll find a more intimate, homey lodging option, the reasonably priced Casa de Rosie. This rambling adobe compound anchored by a redbrick courtyard contains three guest rooms, including a detached casita with a fully stocked kitchen.
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\r\nNEED TO KNOW
\r\nBasilica of San Albino 2280 Calle Principal; (575) 526-9349; sanalbino.org
\r\nBean Cafe 2011 Avenida de Mesilla; (575) 527-5155; thebeanmesilla.com
\r\nBranigan Cultural Center 501 N. Main St.; (575) 541-2154; las-cruces.org/museums
\r\nCasa de Rosie B&B 2140 Calle del Norte; (575) 993-1410; casaderosie.com
\r\nDripping Springs Natural Area Dripping Springs Rd.; (575) 525-4300; blm.gov
\r\nHotel Encanto 705 S. Telshor Blvd.; (575) 522-4300; hotelencanto.com
\r\nJosefina’s Old Gate 2261 Calle de Guadalupe; (575) 525-2620; josefinasgate.com
\r\nLa Nueva Casita Cafe 195 N. Mesquite St.; (575) 523-5434; lanuevacasitacafe.com
\r\nLa Posta de Mesilla 2410 Calle de San Albino; (575) 524-3524; laposta-de-mesilla.com
\r\nLas Cruces Convention & Visitors Bureau (575) 541-2444; lascrucescvb.org
\r\nLas Cruces Farmers Market Main Street; (575) 201-3853; fcmlc.org
\r\nLas Cruces Museum of Art 491 N. Main St.; (575) 541-2137; las-cruces.org/museums
\r\nLas Cruces Museum of Nature and Science 411 N. Main St.; (575) 522-3120; las-cruces.org/museums
\r\nLuLu 1800 Avenida de Mesilla; (575) 523-4747; thisislulu.com
\r\nLuna Rossa Winery & Pizzeria 1321 Avenida de Mesilla; (575) 526-2484; lunarossawinery.com
\r\nNew Mexico Farm & Ranch Heritage Museum 4100 Dripping Springs Rd.; (575) 522-4100; nmfarmandranchmuseum.org
\r\nNMSU Center for the Arts 1000 E. University Ave.; (575) 646-4515; nmsutheatre.com
\r\nSavoy de Mesilla 1800 Avenida de Mesilla; (575) 527-2869; savoydemesilla.com
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WHY GO NOW

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Southern New Mexico’s hub city erupts with activity in early autumn. Fiesta season in Las Cruces starts with the New Mexico Wine Harvest Festival (Aug. 30–Sept. 1) and continues with the White Sands International Film Festival, which kicks off its fiveday run on Sept. 3. Cinephiles can get a head start at the 48-Hour Film Frenzy, Aug. 30–Sept. 1.

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The weekend of Sept. 13, history buffs can salute both sides of the border: At Fort Selden, Frontier Days re-creates life at a 19th-century Army outpost, complete with cavalry horses and artillery demonstrations, while revelers at Mesilla’s Diez y Seis de Septiembre Fiesta celebrate Mexican independence. To wrap up the month—and smother it in chile—check out the Whole Enchilada Fiesta, where booths and a parade spill into the city streets (Sept. 26–28). The Southern New Mexico State Fair & Rodeo kicks up dust and glitter Oct. 1–5, and the Mesilla Jazz Happening (Oct. 4–5) hits some soulful notes.

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Late in the month, the American Southwest Theatre Company’s 2014–15 season raises the curtain at New Mexico State University’s spectacular Center for the Arts, which debuted at the end of 2012. ASTC will present West Highland Way, by accomplished young playwright Meridith Friedman, from Sept. 25 through Oct. 12.

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Beyond all the dynamic festivals and outstanding museums, this fast-growing city and its richly restored Old Mesilla neighborhood offer visitors much to see and do: a dramatically reinvigorated downtown; up-and-coming galleries, wineries, and cafés; and easy access to the nation’s most recently designated national monument, Organ Mountains–Desert Peaks.

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FRIDAY
\r\nBegin your weekend adventure in the Old Mesilla district, which dates to the early 1850s. Its stately brick-and-grass plaza, surrounded by mostly Territorial-style adobe buildings, contains art galleries, gift shops, bars, and restaurants. The 162-year-old Basilica of San Albino casts long shadows upon the north end of the plaza, while a block south and east, you can toast your arrival with margaritas, green-chile-smothered steaks, and rolled tacos at atmospheric La Posta de Mesilla, which occupies an 1840s Butterfield stagecoach station. Alternatively, venture a few blocks north to sample exceptional wines, creative thin-crust pizzas, and house-made gelato at Luna Rossa Winery & Pizzeria, which specializes primarily in old-world Italian varietals, including a much-celebrated Nebbiolo Reserve that pairs perfectly with the Messicana pie (topped with mildly spicy green chiles, prosciutto cotto, and tomato sauce).

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SATURDAY
\r\nIf you haven’t been to downtown Las Cruces in a couple of years, you may be surprised to see that Main Street—which had been awkwardly reimagined as a pedestrian mall following a well-intentioned but ultimately off-putting urban renewal effort in the early 1970s—has been restored to its former glory, with the resumption of auto traffic, the installation of tree-lined sidewalks, and the opening of a state-of-the-art home for the family-friendly Las Cruces Museum of Nature and Science.

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Arrive early on Saturday morning to check out the more than 300 vendors who sell their goods at the Las Cruces Farmers’ & Crafts Market, from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. (The market is also held during these same hours on Wednesdays.) You’ll find everything from handcrafted copper earrings and bracelets at New Mexico Metalwork Art to Kurt Van Wagner’s vibrant framed landscape and still-life photos at Digital Art by Kurt, not to mention local pecans, flowering plants, pumpkin bread, juicy apples, sourdough bagels, and heirloom tomatoes at the food stalls. For a memorable sit-down meal, before or after the market, stroll a few blocks east to La Nueva Casita, a fixture downtown for nearly 60 years. The chile relleno omelets and tacos estrellas (stuffed with seasoned pork and beef) both draw raves.

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Back on Main Street, you could easily spend another two or three hours touring the aforementioned science museum, the Las Cruces Museum of Art, and the adjacent Branigan Cultural Center—the latter two each host engrossing rotating exhibits. The handsome 1935 Pueblo Revival Branigan Center also displays a fascinating permanent collection of photos and artifacts that document the history of the Mesilla Valley. Several art galleries now thrive along or near Main Street, too. If you’re in town the first Friday of the month, attend the Downtown Art Ramble—local shops and galleries hold openings, serve refreshments, and present live music from 5 until 7 p.m.

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Later that afternoon, return to Old Mesilla for more shopping and gallery hopping, followed by a leisurely dinner. Two of the neighborhood’s most alluring businesses occupy a strikingly contemporary complex a few blocks north of Mesilla Plaza. LuLu carries a discerning collection of eye-catching home accessories, jewelry, women’s fashion, kitchenware, and offbeat gifts. Next door, stylish Savoy de Mesilla turns out stunningly plated contemporary American fare, such as pan-seared duck breast topped with a cherry-port reduction, and a showstopping liquid-nitrogen Tahitian vanilla ice cream for two, prepared table-side.

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SUNDAY
\r\nKick off the day in Old Mesilla with either a quick bite to eat (rich, house-roasted coffee, hearty breakfast burritos) at the cheerful Bean Cafe, which occupies a circa-1940s former gas station, or a more substantial morning repast on the landscaped patio of Josefina’s Old Gate café, where a bowl of green-chile posole or a platter of chilaquiles topped with scrambled eggs and red-chile pork will provide plenty of fuel for a day of exploring the region’s wild—as in outdoorsy—side.

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Next, drive five miles east to the New Mexico Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum, whose 47 acres of indoor and outdoor exhibits and demonstration areas appeal clearly to kids of all ages but also capture the interest of adults. Vintage wagons, farm tools, household goods and clothing, and folk art tell the story of Southwestern agriculture during its heyday, from about the mid-19th to -20th centuries. Outside on the museum grounds, you can wander among antique tractors, a pistachio grove, and a soaring 1930s windmill, and visit with dairy and beef cattle, goats, sheep, and other livestock. Pick up New Mexico wines, light lunch fare, and ice cream at the museum’s Eagle Ranch Mercantile and Snack Bar.

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From the museum, continue about nine miles east along mostly unpaved but well-maintained Dripping Springs Road toward the soaring, jagged peaks of Organ Mountains–Desert Peaks National Monument to reach Dripping Springs Natural Area. In these tranquil foothills, stop by the visitor center for maps and advice before embarking on the easy 3.4-mile-round-trip gravel trail that snakes past abandoned but surprisingly intact hotel, sanitarium, and camp buildings. You can enjoy Dripping Springs in a couple of hours, allowing plenty of time to begin your return drive, but if you’re able to, time your hike to end just as the sun is setting—the views to the west from the parking area are stupendous.

","teaser_raw":"

WHERE TO STAY
With a sleek rectangular pool surrounded by a cantera-stone wall, gurgling fountain, and outdoor fireplace, the seven-story Hotel Encanto appeals to both families and couples seeking
","version_id":"59f8ebb4648901d6cd725fa0","author":{"_id":"58b4b2404c2774661570f187","name":"Andrew Collins","image_id":"59139dd6da8f9b60115b37c5","created":"2017-02-27T23:12:00.226Z","blog":"magazine","_name_sort":"andrew collins","updated":"2017-05-10T23:10:20.308Z","image":{"_id":"59139dd6da8f9b60115b37c5","original_public_id":"clients/newmexico/AC_BW_e8f801c1-2f30-4955-b5dd-d7b115268b85","title":"Andrew Collins","resource_raw":{"public_id":"clients/newmexico/AC_BW_e8f801c1-2f30-4955-b5dd-d7b115268b85","version":1494457812,"signature":"451c9c0b132a549712f3cbb2a93abc75c6df8065","width":2482,"height":2482,"format":"jpg","resource_type":"image","created_at":"2017-05-10T23:10:12.000Z","bytes":1055023,"type":"upload","etag":"8e5857dd66cfa4317fb2b4cbae5943e3","url":"http://res.cloudinary.com/simpleview/image/upload/v1494457812/clients/newmexico/AC_BW_e8f801c1-2f30-4955-b5dd-d7b115268b85.jpg","secure_url":"https://res.cloudinary.com/simpleview/image/upload/v1494457812/clients/newmexico/AC_BW_e8f801c1-2f30-4955-b5dd-d7b115268b85.jpg","exif":{"Copyright":"JURRIAAN TEULINGS"},"original_filename":"file"},"alt_text_raw":"Andrew Collins","content_owner":"magazine","title_sort":"andrew collins","updated":"2017-05-10T23:10:14.757Z","deleted":false,"created":"2017-05-10T23:10:14.763Z","resource":{"raw":{"resource_type":"image","format":"jpg","public_id":"clients/newmexico/AC_BW_e8f801c1-2f30-4955-b5dd-d7b115268b85"}},"id":"59139dd6da8f9b60115b37c5","type":"image","inAssetRequest":false,"alt_text":"Andrew Collins"},"_totalPosts":38,"id":"58b4b2404c2774661570f187","title":"Andrew Collins","slug":"andrew-collins","url":"/nmmagazine/articles/author/andrew-collins/58b4b2404c2774661570f187/","commentsUrl":"/nmmagazine/articles/author/andrew-collins/58b4b2404c2774661570f187/#comments","totalPosts":38},"categories":[{"_id":"58c834b11f16f9392cf0992a","title":"Travel","blog":"magazine","_title_sort":"travel","updated":"2017-03-14T18:21:37.155Z","created":"2017-03-14T18:21:37.156Z","_totalPosts":188,"id":"58c834b11f16f9392cf0992a","slug":"travel","url":"/nmmagazine/articles/category/travel/58c834b11f16f9392cf0992a/","commentsUrl":"/nmmagazine/articles/category/travel/58c834b11f16f9392cf0992a/#comments","totalPosts":188},{"_id":"58b4b2404c2774661570f2b4","blog":"magazine","title":"Going Places","_title_sort":"going places","updated":"2017-02-27T23:12:00.493Z","created":"2017-02-27T23:12:00.506Z","_totalPosts":78,"id":"58b4b2404c2774661570f2b4","slug":"going-places","url":"/nmmagazine/articles/category/going-places/58b4b2404c2774661570f2b4/","commentsUrl":"/nmmagazine/articles/category/going-places/58b4b2404c2774661570f2b4/#comments","totalPosts":78},{"_id":"58b4b2404c2774661570f287","blog":"magazine","title":"August 2014","_title_sort":"august 2014","updated":"2017-02-27T23:12:00.491Z","created":"2017-02-27T23:12:00.500Z","_totalPosts":17,"id":"58b4b2404c2774661570f287","slug":"august-2014","url":"/nmmagazine/articles/category/august-2014/58b4b2404c2774661570f287/","commentsUrl":"/nmmagazine/articles/category/august-2014/58b4b2404c2774661570f287/#comments","totalPosts":17}],"image":{"_id":"58ffd583e1efff4c991642c4","original_public_id":"clients/newmexico/reststop_d1455cc5-4304-4c2f-be3b-ff619eab97dc","title":"Roadrunner Statue in Las Cruces","resource_raw":{"public_id":"clients/newmexico/reststop_d1455cc5-4304-4c2f-be3b-ff619eab97dc","version":1493161315,"signature":"2f704c1ff77cee4bd2d3ec2d6f6d2ed93d83e0d4","width":4959,"height":2699,"format":"jpg","resource_type":"image","created_at":"2017-04-25T23:01:55.000Z","bytes":2284120,"type":"upload","etag":"acc30a1afc3ecffc3faa30c86948736c","url":"http://res.cloudinary.com/simpleview/image/upload/v1493161315/clients/newmexico/reststop_d1455cc5-4304-4c2f-be3b-ff619eab97dc.jpg","secure_url":"https://res.cloudinary.com/simpleview/image/upload/v1493161315/clients/newmexico/reststop_d1455cc5-4304-4c2f-be3b-ff619eab97dc.jpg","original_filename":"file"},"alt_text_raw":"Roadrunner Statue in Las Cruces","content_owner":"magazine","title_sort":"roadrunner statue in las cruces","updated":"2017-04-25T23:02:27.798Z","deleted":false,"created":"2017-04-25T23:02:27.799Z","id":"58ffd583e1efff4c991642c4","type":"image","resource":{"raw":{"resource_type":"image","format":"jpg","public_id":"clients/newmexico/reststop_d1455cc5-4304-4c2f-be3b-ff619eab97dc"}},"inAssetRequest":false,"alt_text":"Roadrunner Statue in Las Cruces"},"tags":[{"_id":"59090ca9e1efff4c9916fa20","title":"Events","blog":"magazine","_title_sort":"events","updated":"2017-05-02T22:48:09.170Z","created":"2017-05-02T22:48:09.171Z","_totalPosts":62,"id":"59090ca9e1efff4c9916fa20","slug":"events","url":"/nmmagazine/articles/tag/events/59090ca9e1efff4c9916fa20/","commentsUrl":"/nmmagazine/articles/tag/events/59090ca9e1efff4c9916fa20/#comments","totalPosts":62}],"teaser":"

WHERE TO STAY
With a sleek rectangular pool surrounded by a cantera-stone wall, gurgling fountain, and outdoor fireplace, the seven-story Hotel Encanto appeals to both families and couples seeking
","description":"  WHERE TO STAY With a sleek rectangular pool surrounded by a cantera-stone wall, gurgling fountain, and outdoor fireplace, the seven-story Hotel Encanto appeals to both families and couples seeking an urban resort vibe. Amenities include a festive Garduño’s restaurant, the swanky Azul Ultra Lounge and Nightclub, a spa offering body wraps and massages, and a good-size fitness room. A few blocks from the captivating Old Mesilla Plaza, you’ll find a more intimate, homey lodging option, the reasonably priced Casa de Rosie. This rambling adobe compound anchored by a redbrick courtyard contains three guest rooms, including a detached casita with a fully stocked kitchen. NEED TO KNOW Basilica of San Albino 2280 Calle Principal; (575) 526-9349; sanalbino.org Bean Cafe 2011 Avenida de Mesilla; (575) 527-5155; thebeanmesilla.com Branigan Cultural Center 501 N. Main St.; (575) 541-2154; las-cruces.org/museums Casa de Rosie B&B 2140 Calle del Norte; (575) 993-1410; casaderosie.com Dripping Springs Natural Area Dripping Springs Rd.; (575) 525-4300; blm.gov Hotel Encanto 705 S. Telshor Blvd.; (575) 522-4300; hotelencanto.com Josefina’s Old Gate 2261 Calle de Guadalupe; (575) 525-2620; josefinasgate.com La Nueva Casita Cafe 195 N. Mesquite St.; (575) 523-5434; lanuevacasitacafe.com La Posta de Mesilla 2410 Calle de San Albino; (575) 524-3524; laposta-de-mesilla.com Las Cruces Convention & Visitors Bureau (575) 541-2444; lascrucescvb.org Las Cruces Farmers Market Main Street; (575) 201-3853; fcmlc.org Las Cruces Museum of Art 491 N. Main St.; (575) 541-2137; las-cruces.org/museums Las Cruces Museum of Nature and Science 411 N. Main St.; (575) 522-3120; las-cruces.org/museums LuLu 1800 Avenida de Mesilla; (575) 523-4747; thisislulu.com Luna Rossa Winery & Pizzeria 1321 Avenida de Mesilla; (575) 526-2484; lunarossawinery.com New Mexico Farm & Ranch Heritage Museum 4100 Dripping Springs Rd.; (575) 522-4100; nmfarmandranchmuseum.org NMSU Center for the Arts 1000 E. University Ave.; (575) 646-4515; nmsutheatre.com Savoy de Mesilla 1800 Avenida de Mesilla; (575) 527-2869; savoydemesilla.com WHY GO NOW Southern New Mexico’s hub city erupts with activity in early autumn. Fiesta season in Las Cruces starts with the New Mexico Wine Harvest Festival (Aug. 30–Sept. 1) and continues with the White Sands International Film Festival , which kicks off its fiveday run on Sept. 3. Cinephiles can get a head start at the 48-Hour Film Frenzy , Aug. 30–Sept. 1. The weekend of Sept. 13, history buffs can salute both sides of the border: At Fort Selden, Frontier Days re-creates life at a 19th-century Army outpost, complete with cavalry horses and artillery demonstrations, while revelers at Mesilla’s Diez y Seis de Septiembre Fiesta celebrate Mexican independence. To wrap up the month—and smother it in chile—check out the Whole Enchilada Fiesta, where booths and a parade spill into the city streets (Sept. 26–28). The Southern New Mexico State Fair & Rodeo kicks up dust and glitter Oct. 1–5, and the Mesilla Jazz Happening (Oct. 4–5) hits some soulful notes. Late in the month, the American Southwest Theatre Company’s 2014–15 season raises the curtain at New Mexico State University’s spectacular Center for the Arts , which debuted at the end of 2012. ASTC will present West Highland Way, by accomplished young playwright Meridith Friedman, from Sept. 25 through Oct. 12. Beyond all the dynamic festivals and outstanding museums, this fast-growing city and its richly restored Old Mesilla neighborhood offer visitors much to see and do: a dramatically reinvigorated downtown; up-and-coming galleries, wineries, and cafés; and easy access to the nation’s most recently designated national monument, Organ Mountains–Desert Peaks. FRIDAY Begin your weekend adventure in the Old Mesilla district, which dates to the early 1850s. Its stately brick-and-grass plaza, surrounded by mostly Territorial-style adobe buildings, contains art galleries, gift shops, bars, and restaurants. The 162-year-old Basilica of San Albino casts long shadows upon the north end of the plaza, while a block south and east, you can toast your arrival with margaritas, green-chile-smothered steaks, and rolled tacos at atmospheric La Posta de Mesilla , which occupies an 1840s Butterfield stagecoach station. Alternatively, venture a few blocks north to sample exceptional wines, creative thin-crust pizzas, and house-made gelato at Luna Rossa Winery & Pizzeria , which specializes primarily in old-world Italian varietals, including a much-celebrated Nebbiolo Reserve that pairs perfectly with the Messicana pie (topped with mildly spicy green chiles, prosciutto cotto, and tomato sauce). SATURDAY If you haven’t been to downtown Las Cruces in a couple of years, you may be surprised to see that Main Street—which had been awkwardly reimagined as a pedestrian mall following a well-intentioned but ultimately off-putting urban renewal effort in the early 1970s—has been restored to its former glory, with the resumption of auto traffic, the installation of tree-lined sidewalks, and the opening of a state-of-the-art home for the family-friendly Las Cruces Museum of Nature and Science . Arrive early on Saturday morning to check out the more than 300 vendors who sell their goods at the Las Cruces Farmers’ & Crafts Market , from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. (The market is also held during these same hours on Wednesdays.) You’ll find everything from handcrafted copper earrings and bracelets at New Mexico Metalwork Art to Kurt Van Wagner’s vibrant framed landscape and still-life photos at Digital Art by Kurt , not to mention local pecans, flowering plants, pumpkin bread, juicy apples, sourdough bagels, and heirloom tomatoes at the food stalls. For a memorable sit-down meal, before or after the market, stroll a few blocks east to La Nueva Casita , a fixture downtown for nearly 60 years. The chile relleno omelets and tacos estrellas (stuffed with seasoned pork and beef) both draw raves. Back on Main Street, you could easily spend another two or three hours touring the aforementioned science museum, the Las Cruces Museum of Art , and the adjacent Branigan Cultural Center —the latter two each host engrossing rotating exhibits. The handsome 1935 Pueblo Revival Branigan Center also displays a fascinating permanent collection of photos and artifacts that document the history of the Mesilla Valley. Several art galleries now thrive along or near Main Street, too. If you’re in town the first Friday of the month, attend the Downtown Art Ramble —local shops and galleries hold openings, serve refreshments, and present live music from 5 until 7 p.m. Later that afternoon, return to Old Mesilla for more shopping and gallery hopping, followed by a leisurely dinner. Two of the neighborhood’s most alluring businesses occupy a strikingly contemporary complex a few blocks north of Mesilla Plaza. LuLu carries a discerning collection of eye-catching home accessories, jewelry, women’s fashion, kitchenware, and offbeat gifts. Next door, stylish Savoy de Mesilla turns out stunningly plated contemporary American fare, such as pan-seared duck breast topped with a cherry-port reduction, and a showstopping liquid-nitrogen Tahitian vanilla ice cream for two, prepared table-side. SUNDAY Kick off the day in Old Mesilla with either a quick bite to eat (rich, house-roasted coffee, hearty breakfast burritos) at the cheerful Bean Cafe , which occupies a circa-1940s former gas station, or a more substantial morning repast on the landscaped patio of Josefina’s Old Gate café, where a bowl of green-chile posole or a platter of chilaquiles topped with scrambled eggs and red-chile pork will provide plenty of fuel for a day of exploring the region’s wild—as in outdoorsy—side. Next, drive five miles east to the New Mexico Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum , whose 47 acres of indoor and outdoor exhibits and demonstration areas appeal clearly to kids of all ages but also capture the interest of adults. Vintage wagons, farm tools, household goods and clothing, and folk art tell the story of Southwestern agriculture during its heyday, from about the mid-19th to -20th centuries. Outside on the museum grounds, you can wander among antique tractors, a pistachio grove, and a soaring 1930s windmill, and visit with dairy and beef cattle, goats, sheep, and other livestock. Pick up New Mexico wines, light lunch fare, and ice cream at the museum’s Eagle Ranch Mercantile and Snack Bar . From the museum, continue about nine miles east along mostly unpaved but well-maintained Dripping Springs Road toward the soaring, jagged peaks of Organ Mountains–Desert Peaks National Monument to reach Dripping Springs Natural Area . In these tranquil foothills, stop by the visitor center for maps and advice before embarking on the easy 3.4-mile-round-trip gravel trail that snakes past abandoned but surprisingly intact hotel, sanitarium, and camp buildings. You can enjoy Dripping Springs in a couple of hours, allowing plenty of time to begin your return drive, but if you’re able to, time your hike to end just as the sun is setting—the views to the west from the parking area are stupendous.","id":"58b4b2814c2774661570f9ae","url":"/nmmagazine/articles/post/going-places-las-cruces-87675/","commentsUrl":"/nmmagazine/articles/post/going-places-las-cruces-87675/#comments","absoluteUrl":"https://www.newmexico.org/nmmagazine/articles/post/going-places-las-cruces-87675/","metaTitle":"Kickin’ Around Cruces","metaDescription":"

WHERE TO STAY
With a sleek rectangular pool surrounded by a cantera-stone wall, gurgling fountain, and outdoor fireplace, the seven-story Hotel Encanto appeals to both families and couples seeking
","cleanDescription":"  WHERE TO STAY With a sleek rectangular pool surrounded by a cantera-stone wall, gurgling fountain, and outdoor fireplace, the seven-story Hotel Encanto appeals to both families and couples seeking an urban resort vibe. Amenities include a festive Garduño’s restaurant, the swanky Azul Ultra Lounge and Nightclub, a spa offering body wraps and massages, and a good-size fitness room. A few blocks from the captivating Old Mesilla Plaza, you’ll find a more intimate, homey lodging option, the reasonably priced Casa de Rosie. This rambling adobe compound anchored by a redbrick courtyard contains three guest rooms, including a detached casita with a fully stocked kitchen. NEED TO KNOW Basilica of San Albino 2280 Calle Principal; (575) 526-9349; sanalbino.org Bean Cafe 2011 Avenida de Mesilla; (575) 527-5155; thebeanmesilla.com Branigan Cultural Center 501 N. Main St.; (575) 541-2154; las-cruces.org/museums Casa de Rosie B&B 2140 Calle del Norte; (575) 993-1410; casaderosie.com Dripping Springs Natural Area Dripping Springs Rd.; (575) 525-4300; blm.gov Hotel Encanto 705 S. Telshor Blvd.; (575) 522-4300; hotelencanto.com Josefina’s Old Gate 2261 Calle de Guadalupe; (575) 525-2620; josefinasgate.com La Nueva Casita Cafe 195 N. Mesquite St.; (575) 523-5434; lanuevacasitacafe.com La Posta de Mesilla 2410 Calle de San Albino; (575) 524-3524; laposta-de-mesilla.com Las Cruces Convention & Visitors Bureau (575) 541-2444; lascrucescvb.org Las Cruces Farmers Market Main Street; (575) 201-3853; fcmlc.org Las Cruces Museum of Art 491 N. Main St.; (575) 541-2137; las-cruces.org/museums Las Cruces Museum of Nature and Science 411 N. Main St.; (575) 522-3120; las-cruces.org/museums LuLu 1800 Avenida de Mesilla; (575) 523-4747; thisislulu.com Luna Rossa Winery & Pizzeria 1321 Avenida de Mesilla; (575) 526-2484; lunarossawinery.com New Mexico Farm & Ranch Heritage Museum 4100 Dripping Springs Rd.; (575) 522-4100; nmfarmandranchmuseum.org NMSU Center for the Arts 1000 E. University Ave.; (575) 646-4515; nmsutheatre.com Savoy de Mesilla 1800 Avenida de Mesilla; (575) 527-2869; savoydemesilla.com WHY GO NOW Southern New Mexico’s hub city erupts with activity in early autumn. Fiesta season in Las Cruces starts with the New Mexico Wine Harvest Festival (Aug. 30–Sept. 1) and continues with the White Sands International Film Festival , which kicks off its fiveday run on Sept. 3. Cinephiles can get a head start at the 48-Hour Film Frenzy , Aug. 30–Sept. 1. The weekend of Sept. 13, history buffs can salute both sides of the border: At Fort Selden, Frontier Days re-creates life at a 19th-century Army outpost, complete with cavalry horses and artillery demonstrations, while revelers at Mesilla’s Diez y Seis de Septiembre Fiesta celebrate Mexican independence. To wrap up the month—and smother it in chile—check out the Whole Enchilada Fiesta, where booths and a parade spill into the city streets (Sept. 26–28). The Southern New Mexico State Fair & Rodeo kicks up dust and glitter Oct. 1–5, and the Mesilla Jazz Happening (Oct. 4–5) hits some soulful notes. Late in the month, the American Southwest Theatre Company’s 2014–15 season raises the curtain at New Mexico State University’s spectacular Center for the Arts , which debuted at the end of 2012. ASTC will present West Highland Way, by accomplished young playwright Meridith Friedman, from Sept. 25 through Oct. 12. Beyond all the dynamic festivals and outstanding museums, this fast-growing city and its richly restored Old Mesilla neighborhood offer visitors much to see and do: a dramatically reinvigorated downtown; up-and-coming galleries, wineries, and cafés; and easy access to the nation’s most recently designated national monument, Organ Mountains–Desert Peaks. FRIDAY Begin your weekend adventure in the Old Mesilla district, which dates to the early 1850s. Its stately brick-and-grass plaza, surrounded by mostly Territorial-style adobe buildings, contains art galleries, gift shops, bars, and restaurants. The 162-year-old Basilica of San Albino casts long shadows upon the north end of the plaza, while a block south and east, you can toast your arrival with margaritas, green-chile-smothered steaks, and rolled tacos at atmospheric La Posta de Mesilla , which occupies an 1840s Butterfield stagecoach station. Alternatively, venture a few blocks north to sample exceptional wines, creative thin-crust pizzas, and house-made gelato at Luna Rossa Winery & Pizzeria , which specializes primarily in old-world Italian varietals, including a much-celebrated Nebbiolo Reserve that pairs perfectly with the Messicana pie (topped with mildly spicy green chiles, prosciutto cotto, and tomato sauce). SATURDAY If you haven’t been to downtown Las Cruces in a couple of years, you may be surprised to see that Main Street—which had been awkwardly reimagined as a pedestrian mall following a well-intentioned but ultimately off-putting urban renewal effort in the early 1970s—has been restored to its former glory, with the resumption of auto traffic, the installation of tree-lined sidewalks, and the opening of a state-of-the-art home for the family-friendly Las Cruces Museum of Nature and Science . Arrive early on Saturday morning to check out the more than 300 vendors who sell their goods at the Las Cruces Farmers’ & Crafts Market , from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. (The market is also held during these same hours on Wednesdays.) You’ll find everything from handcrafted copper earrings and bracelets at New Mexico Metalwork Art to Kurt Van Wagner’s vibrant framed landscape and still-life photos at Digital Art by Kurt , not to mention local pecans, flowering plants, pumpkin bread, juicy apples, sourdough bagels, and heirloom tomatoes at the food stalls. For a memorable sit-down meal, before or after the market, stroll a few blocks east to La Nueva Casita , a fixture downtown for nearly 60 years. The chile relleno omelets and tacos estrellas (stuffed with seasoned pork and beef) both draw raves. Back on Main Street, you could easily spend another two or three hours touring the aforementioned science museum, the Las Cruces Museum of Art , and the adjacent Branigan Cultural Center —the latter two each host engrossing rotating exhibits. The handsome 1935 Pueblo Revival Branigan Center also displays a fascinating permanent collection of photos and artifacts that document the history of the Mesilla Valley. Several art galleries now thrive along or near Main Street, too. If you’re in town the first Friday of the month, attend the Downtown Art Ramble —local shops and galleries hold openings, serve refreshments, and present live music from 5 until 7 p.m. Later that afternoon, return to Old Mesilla for more shopping and gallery hopping, followed by a leisurely dinner. Two of the neighborhood’s most alluring businesses occupy a strikingly contemporary complex a few blocks north of Mesilla Plaza. LuLu carries a discerning collection of eye-catching home accessories, jewelry, women’s fashion, kitchenware, and offbeat gifts. Next door, stylish Savoy de Mesilla turns out stunningly plated contemporary American fare, such as pan-seared duck breast topped with a cherry-port reduction, and a showstopping liquid-nitrogen Tahitian vanilla ice cream for two, prepared table-side. SUNDAY Kick off the day in Old Mesilla with either a quick bite to eat (rich, house-roasted coffee, hearty breakfast burritos) at the cheerful Bean Cafe , which occupies a circa-1940s former gas station, or a more substantial morning repast on the landscaped patio of Josefina’s Old Gate café, where a bowl of green-chile posole or a platter of chilaquiles topped with scrambled eggs and red-chile pork will provide plenty of fuel for a day of exploring the region’s wild—as in outdoorsy—side. Next, drive five miles east to the New Mexico Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum , whose 47 acres of indoor and outdoor exhibits and demonstration areas appeal clearly to kids of all ages but also capture the interest of adults. Vintage wagons, farm tools, household goods and clothing, and folk art tell the story of Southwestern agriculture during its heyday, from about the mid-19th to -20th centuries. Outside on the museum grounds, you can wander among antique tractors, a pistachio grove, and a soaring 1930s windmill, and visit with dairy and beef cattle, goats, sheep, and other livestock. Pick up New Mexico wines, light lunch fare, and ice cream at the museum’s Eagle Ranch Mercantile and Snack Bar . From the museum, continue about nine miles east along mostly unpaved but well-maintained Dripping Springs Road toward the soaring, jagged peaks of Organ Mountains–Desert Peaks National Monument to reach Dripping Springs Natural Area . In these tranquil foothills, stop by the visitor center for maps and advice before embarking on the easy 3.4-mile-round-trip gravel trail that snakes past abandoned but surprisingly intact hotel, sanitarium, and camp buildings. You can enjoy Dripping Springs in a couple of hours, allowing plenty of time to begin your return drive, but if you’re able to, time your hike to end just as the sun is setting—the views to the west from the parking area are stupendous.","publish_start_moment":"2014-08-15T16:00:00.000Z","publish_end_moment":"2017-12-16T23:32:53.730Z"},{"_id":"58b4b2804c2774661570f99e","author_id":"58b4b2404c2774661570f187","title":"25 Reasons to Love Farmington","slug":"25-reasons-to-love-farmington-87232","publish_start":"2014-07-24T12:00:00.000Z","enable_comments":true,"categories_ids":["58b4b2404c2774661570f287","58c834b11f16f9392cf0992a"],"tags_ids":["59090c61e1efff4c9916f9f3","59090e46e1efff4c9916fb37"],"cms_tags_ids":["58b061ec6a2b0936c34a23ea"],"enabled":true,"custom_photo_credit":"Kate Russell","custom_tagline":"This Four Corners mainstay may fly under the radar—but it’s out of this world. Wake up in a cave, cycle down a mountain, treasure hunt in trading posts, time-travel to prehistory, and recover with top-notch tapas and a locally microbrewed pint. (That’s just Day 1.)","created":"2014-07-24T12:58:35.000Z","legacy_id":"87232","blog":"magazine","_title_sort":"25 reasons to love farmington","updated":"2017-10-31T21:31:32.785Z","active":true,"description_raw":"

When I drive to New Mexico from Oregon, I often enter the state in the northwest corner, via U.S. 64 or U.S. 491. The stately, 7,178-foot-tall Ship Rock formation welcomes me back to what will always be my second home.

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I usually stop for the night, breaking up my trip with a pint of IPA at Three Rivers Brewery, or a leisurely meal at St. Clair Winery & Bistro. The following day I might set out for a walk around the fascinatingly quirky Bolack Electromechanical Museum at B-Square Ranch, or through the starkly fantastic Bisti Badlands wilderness.

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With its generations-old trading posts, sacred Puebloan ruins, picturesque rivers and lakes, and extensive menu of travel services, Farmington and the neighboring towns of Aztec and Bloomfield (16 and 14 miles west, respectively) are also jumping-off points for exploring America’s fabled Four Corners region—out to Chaco Culture National Historical Park or Navajo Lake State Park, for example.

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Farmington, the state’s sixth-largest city (pop. 45,000), has much to offer curious road-trippers like me. It’s home to a pair of wonderfully distinctive B&Bs (one of them occupies an actual cave carved into the side of a towering mesa), one of the nation’s most celebrated public golf courses, and the recently expanded Farmington Museum at Gateway Park. Walking along the cottonwood-shaded Animas River last October, just as the leaves had begun to turn lemon-yellow, I felt as though I’d stumbled into a remote riparian wilderness. The city’s five-mile park along the river corridor is just a stone’s throw from a busy commercial thoroughfare, but as is true throughout the region, rewarding treasures often lie right off the beaten path—you just have to slow down and open your eyes to find them. Here are 25 of our favorite reasons to stop, stay, and explore Farmington and the surrounding Colorado Plateau.

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1. RIVER RAMBLES
\r\nFarmington’s River Corridor extends along the Animas River for more than five miles, featuring landscaped parks, multi-use trails, two pedestrian bridges, and a few parking areas providing easy access. The stretch of trail from Berg to Animas parks is especially scenic—pause to observe the poignant Farmington All Veterans Memorial at Berg Park (farmingtonvetsmemorial.com). Begin your riverfront explorations at the spacious, contemporary Farmington Museum at Gateway Park, which recently completed a stunning, $1.9 million expansion. A permanent exhibit explores the rich history of oil and gas assets that fueled the region’s growth (there’s a cool collection of antique gas pumps). The museum also hosts terrific temporary shows and events, from family astronomy nights to walking tours of downtown Farmington (505-599-1174; farmingtonmuseum.org). Another top draw, the Riverside Nature Center, has huge windows affording panoramic views of the river wetlands, as well as exhibits on the flora and fauna supported by this delicate yet resilient ecosystem. Kids love to ogle the neighboring colony of lively prairie dogs. Naturalists lead easy bird-watching strolls along the river on Tuesday mornings (505-599-1422; fmtn.org). In late May, thousands gather along the Animas for Riverfest, a celebration of live music, arts shows, rafting adventures, riverside strolls, 5K and 10K runs, and the famed Wiener Dog canine races. riverreachfoundation.com

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2. AZTEC ASSETS
\r\nWith numerous Pueblo Revival, Art Deco, and Italianate Victorian buildings on the National Register of Historic Places, little downtown Aztec is ideal for strolling, especially if you’re an architecture or history buff. Don’t miss the Aztec Museum & Pioneer Village, a dozen carefully restored buildings that include an early general store, sheriff’s and doctor’s offices, a blacksmith shop, and an 1880 pioneer cabin (505-334-9829; aztecmuseum.org). Feat of Clay is a respected co-op gallery featuring works by many of the top artists in the Four Corners region (107 S. Main St.; 505-334-4335), and the handsome old Aztec Theater hosts live music and occasional art shows (505-427-6748; crashmusicaztec.com). Downtown Aztec is the site of several festivals throughout the year, with October’s Aztec Highland Games & Celtic Festival among the most popular. aztechighlandgames.com

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3. THEATER IN THE GROUND
\r\nThroughout the summer, you can watch first-rate Broadway shows performed on a stunning outdoor sandstone stage: the Lions Wilderness Amphitheater. Eighties fave Footloose is the main attraction this year. On Friday and Saturday nights, arrive early for burger and barbecue dinners before curtain time. (505) 599-1140; fmtn.org/sandstone

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4. VALLEY OF THE DAMMED
\r\nThe four-mile stretch of the San Juan River extending west just below Navajo Dam is hallowed among ardent trout-fishing enthusiasts. Some 80,000 sleek brown and rainbow trout, many exceeding 20 inches, populate these waters. Hire a knowledgeable outfitter to discover the best fishing spots. Rainbow Lodge & Resolution Guide Service offers wading and float adventures as well as all-inclusive overnight packages that provide all the gear you’ll need, plus accommodations and meals (505-632-5717; sanjuanfishing.com). The Orvis-affiliated Fisheads San Juan River Lodge is another exceptional guide service, with half- and full-day excursions and fish-and-stay packages (505-634-0463; fisheadsofthesanjuan.com). The on-site Back Cast Café is a great spot for breakfast burritos, burgers, and fresh-caught, slow-smoked trout.

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5. NATIVE TREASURES
\r\nNamed for the iconic 1,583-foot monolith that rises above the high-desert floor 40 miles west, downtown Farmington’s Shiprock Trading Post is one of the finest sources of Navajo weavings and baskets, turquoise and sterling-silver jewelry, sand paintings, medicine bowls, carved wooden figures, and Native stone sculptures in the Four Corners (505-324-0881; shiprocktradingpost.com). About an hour southwest of Farmington, historic Toadlena Trading Post & Two Grey Hills Weaving Museum has been renowned for their Navajo rugs and other Native crafts for more than a century (505-789-3267; toadlenatradingpost.com), and in the towns of Kirtland and Shiprock, Foutz Trading Co. also carries an exceptional selection of Navajo artwork, drums, kachina dolls, etched pottery, and folk art (505-368-5790; foutztrade.com). During Labor Day weekend’s highly anticipated annual Totah Festival Indian Market, you can browse the handiwork of more than 100 artists, attend a Navajo rug auction, and enjoy local music and food. (505) 326-7602; totahfestival.farmingtonnm.org.

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6. ARTISTIC LICENSES
\r\nDowntown Farmington claims a burgeoning gallery scene. Three Rivers Art Center & In Cahoots! Gallery shows a diverse range of art from local talents—watercolor landscapes, cast teapots, pen-and-ink drawings among them (505-716-7660; threeriverswomen.org). Nearby, the new Studio 116 (505-258-4514; karenellsbury.net) displays the dynamic acrylic paintings of owner Karen Ellsbury, as well as photography, jewelry, and other articles on offer from several fellow artists. Just down the street, Artifacts Gallery occupies the handsome 1905 Farmington Lumber and Hardware building; here, more than 50 artists exhibit and sell their work, including oil paintings, handmade books, pottery, and mixed-media pieces. There’s also a cute little chile store that stocks sauces, salsas, habanero caramels, and other culinary items (505-327-2907; artifacts-gallery.com). The abundance of fine early-20th-century buildings fits well with Farmington’s emergence as an arts center—check out the 1948 Pueblo-Deco Totah Theater, with its striking red sign and elegant interior. Four times annually, the downtown hosts an art walk, with about 15 local shops and galleries participating. (505) 327-4145; thetotah.com

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7. LUXURY CAVE DWELLING
\r\nSpend the night (ideally, two or three) in one of the country’s most unusual bed-and-breakfasts, Kokopelli’s Cave, a comfortably furnished, expansive “house” built directly into sheer sandstone cliffs situated 300 feet above the La Plata River valley. Built by geologist Bruce Black, the cave may sound like a primitive form of overnighting, but Kokopelli’s has a full kitchen, a modern bathroom with a waterfall shower and a Jacuzzi tub, a private balcony off the master bedroom (plus a larger rock deck with mesmerizing sunset views), a big living room with a TV/DVD player, and a kiva area with a wood-burning fireplace. This quirky hideaway with natural-rock walls and ceilings even has carpeting, and can sleep six. (505) 860-3812; kokocave.com

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8. FINE WINING
\r\nIn Farmington, the state’s largest vino producer, St. Clair Winery & Bistro, offers tastings in an elegant space with a bar and gift shop, a handsome dining room, and a romantic patio lined with old wine barrels. Their rich and fruit-forward Shiraz, peppery and light Pinot Noir, and fresh and summery Pinot Grigio are among the favorite vintages. This is also an inviting destination for lunch and dinner. Try wine-friendly fare like Riesling chicken potpie and flat-iron steak accented with a Cabernet-infused blue-cheese sauce (505-325-0711; stclairwinery.com). To reach the region’s other notable vineyard, Wines of the San Juan, a cottonwood-shaded estate about 10 miles west of Navajo Dam, you drive along a gorgeous ribbon of blacktop—N.M. 511—through the San Juan River valley. Friendly owners David and Marcia Arnold are happy to offer tastes of their deftly produced Cabernet Sauvignon, Tempranillo, and Chardonnay, as well as of sweeter treats like Blackberry La Boca Merlot and Blue Winged Olive Riesling. From late spring through early fall, usually on Sundays, the winery hosts special concerts and dinners. (505) 632-0879; winesofthesanjuan.com

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9. CHILD’S PLAY
\r\nIf you have younger kids in tow, don’t miss the wonderfully engaging E3 Children’s Museum & Science Center, where the Tots Turf features a playhouse, a puppet theater, giant puzzles, and other curiosity-piquing exhibits geared to the under-six set. Children enjoy the simple science experiments on Thursday afternoons, the Friday-morning sing-alongs and storytelling sessions, and the family-art gatherings on Saturdays (505-599-1425; fmtn.org). Also great fun are the free AstroFriday stargazing shows held at the San Juan College Planetarium about once a month. The facility also has daytime “sun-gazing” shows, “starry days” programs in the summertime, and other appealing events. (505) 566-3361; sanjuancollege.edu/planetarium

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10. VALUE PROPOSITIONS
\r\nFarmington is one of the top destinations for value vacations in the state, as many of the attractions and activities around the region, from B-Square Ranch to numerous hiking and biking trails, have free admission, while others—such as the Farmington Museum—request just a nominal donation. You’ll appreciate the wallet-friendly prices at local restaurants, galleries, and trading posts, as well as the fact that Farmington, Aztec, and Bloomfield all have a big selection of budget- and mid-priced hotels and motels. The Hampton Inn, Comfort Suites, Holiday Inn Express, and TownPlace Suites in Farmington; Best Western Plus Territorial Inn in Bloomfield; and brand-new Microtel Inn in Aztec are clean, modern, and comfy.

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11. PLANES, TRAINS, AND CROCODILES
\r\nAt 12,000-square-acre B-Square Ranch, leisurely motor down the evergreen-lined drive, taking care not to harm any of the roaming peacocks, then check in at the visitor center. After that, you’re free (there’s no admission charge) to explore the working ranch and farm, a 2,500-specimen wildlife museum, and the truly unusual Bolack Electromechanical Museum, whose grounds are scattered with artifacts that relate to agriculture, electrical-power production, and transportation. This one-of-a-kind community is the brainchild of late oilman, philanthropist, rancher, and politician Tom Bolack, who served briefly as New Mexico’s governor in 1962. Drive along the property’s dirt road, past man-made lakes stocked with fish and popular with migrating waterfowl, before crossing over a rickety-looking 1899 bridge that spans the muddy San Juan River to reach the electromechanical museum, which lies at the foot of picturesque sandstone cliffs. Here, you can stroll amid a historic Southern Pacific Lines steam locomotive, a 1941 DC-3 32-seat airplane, piles of antique electric meters and relays, horse-drawn farm equipment, and old TV and radio parts. In the wildlife museum, mounted critters from five continents are displayed, from big game (leopards, elephants) to warthogs and crocodiles. (505) 325-4275; bolackmuseum.com

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12. GOOD GREENS
\r\nThe discerning editors of Golf Digest have ranked Piñon Hills—an undulating 18-hole layout with sneaky-swift greens, seemingly bottomless grass bunkers, several whiplash-inducing doglegs, and numerous arroyos (formidable obstacles, whether or not they’re filled with water)—the best municipal course in the country. Part of its success is a result of meticulous groundskeeping, but the affordable greens fees (as little as $30) and spectacular setting high on a bluff near San Juan College are additional assets. (505) 326-6066; pinonhillsgolf.com

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13. A DAY AT THE RACES
\r\nYou can watch thrilling quarter-horse racing at Sunray Park & Casino from mid-April to late June. This track and entertainment complex also has a casino, a sports bar that simulcasts races year-round, a restaurant, and a venue for comedy and music performances (505-566-1200; sunraygaming.com). Head to the Aztec Speedway to watch stock cars zoom on a banked clay track that’s been exciting fans for more than 60 years; the season runs from late March through early October. (505) 258-3978; aztecspeedway.com

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14. ROOM TO MOVE
\r\nGet your heart pumping at the 130,000-square-foot Health and Human Performance Center at San Juan Community College. You can rent camping gear, mountain bikes, rafts and river kayaks, cross-country skis, snowboards, and disc-golf sets at the outdoor equipment center; run or play volleyball at the gymnasium and track; work out in the state-of-the-art fitness center, and hone your mountaineering skills on a 6,000-square-foot indoor climbing wall, complete with rope stations and a bouldering cave. (505) 326-3311; sanjuancollege.edu/hhpc

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15. CATCH A RISING STAR
\r\nWatch the next aspiring big-league stars at the Connie Mack World Series, the prestigious annual baseball tourney where more than 160 players aged 16 to 18 contend. Held at Ricketts Ball Park during the first 10 days of August, this spirited competition celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. Plenty of pro scouts attend, hoping to spot the next Ken Griffey Jr. or Barry Larkin: Both Hall of Famers appeared in the series as teenagers. cmws.org

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16. COMFORT FOOD
\r\nDiners and barbecue joints, two hearty and hospitable hallmarks of America’s culinary landscape, proliferate in this part of the state. With its shimmering, stainless-steel shell and walls hung with vintage Life magazine covers and Pepsi Cola and John Deere ads, Dad’s Diner is a festive venue for breakfasts and lunches, where menu options range from prodigious breakfast burritos to juicy green-chile cheeseburgers and fluffy coconut cream pies (4395 Largo St.; 505-564-2516). You’ll find more down-home dining and convivial conversation at the Sparerib BBQ Company, where locals congregate at varnished picnic tables out back to dig into platters heaping with fried catfish, tender beef brisket, smoky ribs, and fall-off-the-bone chicken (1700 E Main St.; 505-325-4800). In Aztec, cozy and cheerful Main Street Bistro keeps regulars happy with its friendly, sunny patio, punctuated by whimsical sculptures, where you can enjoy such delectable fare as spinach-feta-artichoke quiche and seasonal-vegetable frittatas. (505) 334-0109; aztecmainstreetbistro.com

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17. BORDER CROSSING
\r\nWho can resist visiting the only place in the United States where four states meet at one point? Sixty miles out of downtown Farmington, from the granite-and-brass marker at Four Corners Monument, you can reach your right arm into Colorado, your right foot into Utah, and your left foot into Arizona—without ever taking your left arm away from New Mexico. You can also buy handmade jewelry and crafts from artisans at this small park that’s administered by the Navajo Nation. (928) 871-6647; navajonationparks.org

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18. GREAT LAKE
\r\nCovering an area of some 25 square miles, Navajo Lake, created in 1962 by the damming of the San Juan River, is the second-largest body of water in the state. You can access nearly 250 campsites, spanning seven different shoreline areas, at Navajo Lake State Park (505-632-2278; nmparks.com). Here, you’ll find mountain-biking and hiking trails; launches for motorized boats, canoes, kayaks, and sailboats; and two marinas—Navajo Lake (505-632-3245; navajomarina.com) and Sims (505-320-0885; simsmarina.com)—where you can buy tackle and gear and rent fishing boats, pontoons, and houseboats.

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19. INN FOR A TREAT
\r\nYou’ll find the most elegant accommodations in the region at the Casa Blanca Inn, a richly appointed Spanish Colonial hacienda on a hillside that’s within walking distance of downtown, yet boasts glorious grounds rife with shade trees and flower-filled gardens and courtyards. Navajo tapestries, Pueblo pottery, and sturdy Colonial furniture fill the several common areas as well as the eight guest rooms and suites. There’s also a plush two-bedroom cottage with a kitchen and a Jacuzzi tub that’s perfect for a special-occasion getaway. (800) 550-6503; 4cornersbandb.com

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20. BREAKING BADLANDS
\r\nDrive about 35 miles south of Farmington on N.M. 371, and you’ll encounter an intriguingly bizarre landscape of striated hills layered in tan, gray, and rust tones—the colors of the sandstone, shale, coal, silt, and mudstone that underlie this region. The surreal Bisti Badlands/De-Na-Zin Wilderness looks like a scene from a Salvador Dalí painting. You need only hike a half-mile into this 41,170-acre expanse to come face-to-face with weird, soaring, mushroom-shaped sandstone columns. This geological funhouse is a shutterbug’s dream, perfect for day hikes and backcountry camping. Facilities and defined trails are nonexistent; pack proper gear and water and consult with rangers before you set out. (505) 564-7600; blm.gov

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21. JUST THE RIGHT NOTES
\r\nThe acclaimed San Juan Symphony performs a few times a year at Farmington’s Henderson Hall, located on the campus of San Juan College (970-382-9753; sanjuansymphony.org). Established in 2013, the Boots and Brews Festival brings foot-stomping country tunes to downtown Aztec in early September (bootsandbrews.com). It follows Aztec’s Animas River Blues & Brews Festival in July. animasriverblues.com

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22. MEDITERRANEAN DINNER DATES
\r\nBringing the traditional Galician cooking of northwestern Spain to Farmington, Mon’s Spanish Grill opened in fall 2013 in a dapper downtown-storefront space, offering gambas al ajillos (shrimp and asparagus sautéed in olive oil, paprika, and red peppers and served over Spanish rice) and beef empanadas. Try the traditional crema de Galicia dessert, a delicious burnt caramel–style flan (121 W Main St.; 505-436-2577).

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23. THE ROADS TO RUIN NATIONS
\r\nFarmington lies at the heart of one of North America’s most impressive proliferations of pre-Columbian ruins. In just a couple of hours, you can gain an understanding of the ancient peoples—forebears of today’s thriving Puebloans—at Aztec Ruins National Monument, a 318-acre interpretive park. Stop by the visitor center/museum, which displays intricate pottery and basketry from the region’s earliest inhabitants, then tour the extensive network of ruins—the largest contains 450 rooms—that, back in the 13th century, anchored a vibrant community. You can climb inside many of the structures. (505) 334-6174; nps.gov/azru At Salmon Ruins, just off U.S. 64 in nearby Bloomfield, tour a partially restored great house excavated along the shore of the San Juan River, as well as the 1890s homestead of early settler George Salmon. A modern museum on the site sheds light on the ancient peoples and archaeology of the Four Corners region (505-632-2013; salmonruins.com). A bit farther afield is one of the most extensive Puebloan ruins, Chaco Culture National Historical Park. Allow about two hours to drive the 80 miles south—the final 16 miles of the route are unpaved (505-786-7014; nps.gov/chcu). This ancient metropolis prospered from about the mid-800s until the 1100s. One of the best ways to see Chaco, as well as dozens of other ancient Puebloan sites and examples of rock art throughout Dinétah (the surrounding traditional Navajo homeland), is on an excursion with Journey into the Past Tours, whose knowledgeable guides are affiliated with Salmon Ruins. (505) 632-2103; chacotours.org

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24. PEDAL FEVER
\r\nThe Four Corners is primo mountain-biking territory. In Aztec, both relative beginners and skilled experts find plenty to like about the Alien Run trail, named for its proximity to the fabled UFO crash site. It’s part of a 30-mile network of singletrack with great views of Hart Canyon’s dazzling stone arches. The Alien Run Mountain Bike Competition is held here in May (alienrun.com). You’ll also find great mountain-biking tracks near Farmington’s San Juan Community College in the Glade Run Recreation Area, where some 42 miles of marked trails traverse boulder-strewn, sagebrush- and juniper-carpeted plateaus and slick-rock canyons (505-564-7600; blm.gov). Each October, the Road Apple Rally, the longest-running mountain-bike race in the country, draws hundreds of participants (fmtn.org). The region’s mountain-biking trails also come into play during June’s XTERRA Four Corners off-road triathlon, in which competitors tackle a 17-mile bike trail, a 5-mile run, and a 1-mile lap swim across the lake. xterrafourcorners.farmingtonnm.org

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25. BEER LOVER’S BLOCK PARTY
\r\nFans of hoppy IPAs, crispy-dry ciders, peaty Scottish ales, and hearty stouts will find that an entire stretch of downtown Farmington’s East Main Street can satisfy their craft-beer thirsts. Three Rivers Brewery, which occupies a series of historic storefronts, consists of a pizzeria, a tap and game room, a banquet hall, and the original 3RB restaurant, which turns out fantastic green-chile turkey stew, rosemary-garlic fries, chicken-fried steak, and Kobe or Angus beef burgers. (505) 325-6605; threeriversbrewery.com

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When I drive to New Mexico from Oregon, I often enter the state in the northwest corner, via U.S. 64 or U.S. 491. The stately, 7,178-foot-tall Ship Rock formation welcomes me back to what will always

","version_id":"59f8ebb4648901d6cd725f82","author":{"_id":"58b4b2404c2774661570f187","name":"Andrew Collins","image_id":"59139dd6da8f9b60115b37c5","created":"2017-02-27T23:12:00.226Z","blog":"magazine","_name_sort":"andrew collins","updated":"2017-05-10T23:10:20.308Z","image":{"_id":"59139dd6da8f9b60115b37c5","original_public_id":"clients/newmexico/AC_BW_e8f801c1-2f30-4955-b5dd-d7b115268b85","title":"Andrew Collins","resource_raw":{"public_id":"clients/newmexico/AC_BW_e8f801c1-2f30-4955-b5dd-d7b115268b85","version":1494457812,"signature":"451c9c0b132a549712f3cbb2a93abc75c6df8065","width":2482,"height":2482,"format":"jpg","resource_type":"image","created_at":"2017-05-10T23:10:12.000Z","bytes":1055023,"type":"upload","etag":"8e5857dd66cfa4317fb2b4cbae5943e3","url":"http://res.cloudinary.com/simpleview/image/upload/v1494457812/clients/newmexico/AC_BW_e8f801c1-2f30-4955-b5dd-d7b115268b85.jpg","secure_url":"https://res.cloudinary.com/simpleview/image/upload/v1494457812/clients/newmexico/AC_BW_e8f801c1-2f30-4955-b5dd-d7b115268b85.jpg","exif":{"Copyright":"JURRIAAN TEULINGS"},"original_filename":"file"},"alt_text_raw":"Andrew Collins","content_owner":"magazine","title_sort":"andrew collins","updated":"2017-05-10T23:10:14.757Z","deleted":false,"created":"2017-05-10T23:10:14.763Z","resource":{"raw":{"resource_type":"image","format":"jpg","public_id":"clients/newmexico/AC_BW_e8f801c1-2f30-4955-b5dd-d7b115268b85"}},"id":"59139dd6da8f9b60115b37c5","type":"image","inAssetRequest":false,"alt_text":"Andrew Collins"},"_totalPosts":38,"id":"58b4b2404c2774661570f187","title":"Andrew Collins","slug":"andrew-collins","url":"/nmmagazine/articles/author/andrew-collins/58b4b2404c2774661570f187/","commentsUrl":"/nmmagazine/articles/author/andrew-collins/58b4b2404c2774661570f187/#comments","totalPosts":38},"categories":[{"_id":"58b4b2404c2774661570f287","blog":"magazine","title":"August 2014","_title_sort":"august 2014","updated":"2017-02-27T23:12:00.491Z","created":"2017-02-27T23:12:00.500Z","_totalPosts":17,"id":"58b4b2404c2774661570f287","slug":"august-2014","url":"/nmmagazine/articles/category/august-2014/58b4b2404c2774661570f287/","commentsUrl":"/nmmagazine/articles/category/august-2014/58b4b2404c2774661570f287/#comments","totalPosts":17},{"_id":"58c834b11f16f9392cf0992a","title":"Travel","blog":"magazine","_title_sort":"travel","updated":"2017-03-14T18:21:37.155Z","created":"2017-03-14T18:21:37.156Z","_totalPosts":188,"id":"58c834b11f16f9392cf0992a","slug":"travel","url":"/nmmagazine/articles/category/travel/58c834b11f16f9392cf0992a/","commentsUrl":"/nmmagazine/articles/category/travel/58c834b11f16f9392cf0992a/#comments","totalPosts":188}],"teaser":"

When I drive to New Mexico from Oregon, I often enter the state in the northwest corner, via U.S. 64 or U.S. 491. The stately, 7,178-foot-tall Ship Rock formation welcomes me back to what will always

","description":"When I drive to New Mexico from Oregon, I often enter the state in the northwest corner, via U.S. 64 or U.S. 491. The stately, 7,178-foot-tall Ship Rock formation welcomes me back to what will always be my second home. I usually stop for the night, breaking up my trip with a pint of IPA at Three Rivers Brewery, or a leisurely meal at St. Clair Winery & Bistro. The following day I might set out for a walk around the fascinatingly quirky Bolack Electromechanical Museum at B-Square Ranch, or through the starkly fantastic Bisti Badlands wilderness. With its generations-old trading posts, sacred Puebloan ruins, picturesque rivers and lakes, and extensive menu of travel services, Farmington and the neighboring towns of Aztec and Bloomfield (16 and 14 miles west, respectively) are also jumping-off points for exploring America’s fabled Four Corners region—out to Chaco Culture National Historical Park or Navajo Lake State Park, for example. Farmington, the state’s sixth-largest city (pop. 45,000), has much to offer curious road-trippers like me. It’s home to a pair of wonderfully distinctive B&Bs (one of them occupies an actual cave carved into the side of a towering mesa), one of the nation’s most celebrated public golf courses, and the recently expanded Farmington Museum at Gateway Park. Walking along the cottonwood-shaded Animas River last October, just as the leaves had begun to turn lemon-yellow, I felt as though I’d stumbled into a remote riparian wilderness. The city’s five-mile park along the river corridor is just a stone’s throw from a busy commercial thoroughfare, but as is true throughout the region, rewarding treasures often lie right off the beaten path—you just have to slow down and open your eyes to find them. Here are 25 of our favorite reasons to stop, stay, and explore Farmington and the surrounding Colorado Plateau. 1. RIVER RAMBLES Farmington’s River Corridor extends along the Animas River for more than five miles, featuring landscaped parks, multi-use trails, two pedestrian bridges, and a few parking areas providing easy access. The stretch of trail from Berg to Animas parks is especially scenic—pause to observe the poignant Farmington All Veterans Memorial at Berg Park (farmingtonvetsmemorial.com). Begin your riverfront explorations at the spacious, contemporary Farmington Museum at Gateway Park, which recently completed a stunning, $1.9 million expansion. A permanent exhibit explores the rich history of oil and gas assets that fueled the region’s growth (there’s a cool collection of antique gas pumps). The museum also hosts terrific temporary shows and events, from family astronomy nights to walking tours of downtown Farmington (505-599-1174; farmingtonmuseum.org). Another top draw, the Riverside Nature Center, has huge windows affording panoramic views of the river wetlands, as well as exhibits on the flora and fauna supported by this delicate yet resilient ecosystem. Kids love to ogle the neighboring colony of lively prairie dogs. Naturalists lead easy bird-watching strolls along the river on Tuesday mornings (505-599-1422; fmtn.org). In late May, thousands gather along the Animas for Riverfest, a celebration of live music, arts shows, rafting adventures, riverside strolls, 5K and 10K runs, and the famed Wiener Dog canine races. riverreachfoundation.com 2. AZTEC ASSETS With numerous Pueblo Revival, Art Deco, and Italianate Victorian buildings on the National Register of Historic Places, little downtown Aztec is ideal for strolling, especially if you’re an architecture or history buff. Don’t miss the Aztec Museum & Pioneer Village, a dozen carefully restored buildings that include an early general store, sheriff’s and doctor’s offices, a blacksmith shop, and an 1880 pioneer cabin (505-334-9829; aztecmuseum.org). Feat of Clay is a respected co-op gallery featuring works by many of the top artists in the Four Corners region (107 S. Main St.; 505-334-4335), and the handsome old Aztec Theater hosts live music and occasional art shows (505-427-6748; crashmusicaztec.com). Downtown Aztec is the site of several festivals throughout the year, with October’s Aztec Highland Games & Celtic Festival among the most popular. aztechighlandgames.com 3. THEATER IN THE GROUND Throughout the summer, you can watch first-rate Broadway shows performed on a stunning outdoor sandstone stage: the Lions Wilderness Amphitheater. Eighties fave Footloose is the main attraction this year. On Friday and Saturday nights, arrive early for burger and barbecue dinners before curtain time. (505) 599-1140; fmtn.org/sandstone 4. VALLEY OF THE DAMMED The four-mile stretch of the San Juan River extending west just below Navajo Dam is hallowed among ardent trout-fishing enthusiasts. Some 80,000 sleek brown and rainbow trout, many exceeding 20 inches, populate these waters. Hire a knowledgeable outfitter to discover the best fishing spots. Rainbow Lodge & Resolution Guide Service offers wading and float adventures as well as all-inclusive overnight packages that provide all the gear you’ll need, plus accommodations and meals (505-632-5717; sanjuanfishing.com). The Orvis-affiliated Fisheads San Juan River Lodge is another exceptional guide service, with half- and full-day excursions and fish-and-stay packages (505-634-0463; fisheadsofthesanjuan.com). The on-site Back Cast Café is a great spot for breakfast burritos, burgers, and fresh-caught, slow-smoked trout. 5. NATIVE TREASURES Named for the iconic 1,583-foot monolith that rises above the high-desert floor 40 miles west, downtown Farmington’s Shiprock Trading Post is one of the finest sources of Navajo weavings and baskets, turquoise and sterling-silver jewelry, sand paintings, medicine bowls, carved wooden figures, and Native stone sculptures in the Four Corners (505-324-0881; shiprocktradingpost.com). About an hour southwest of Farmington, historic Toadlena Trading Post & Two Grey Hills Weaving Museum has been renowned for their Navajo rugs and other Native crafts for more than a century (505-789-3267; toadlenatradingpost.com), and in the towns of Kirtland and Shiprock, Foutz Trading Co. also carries an exceptional selection of Navajo artwork, drums, kachina dolls, etched pottery, and folk art (505-368-5790; foutztrade.com). During Labor Day weekend’s highly anticipated annual Totah Festival Indian Market, you can browse the handiwork of more than 100 artists, attend a Navajo rug auction, and enjoy local music and food. (505) 326-7602; totahfestival.farmingtonnm.org . 6. ARTISTIC LICENSES Downtown Farmington claims a burgeoning gallery scene. Three Rivers Art Center & In Cahoots! Gallery shows a diverse range of art from local talents—watercolor landscapes, cast teapots, pen-and-ink drawings among them (505-716-7660; threeriverswomen.org). Nearby, the new Studio 116 (505-258-4514; karenellsbury.net) displays the dynamic acrylic paintings of owner Karen Ellsbury, as well as photography, jewelry, and other articles on offer from several fellow artists. Just down the street, Artifacts Gallery occupies the handsome 1905 Farmington Lumber and Hardware building; here, more than 50 artists exhibit and sell their work, including oil paintings, handmade books, pottery, and mixed-media pieces. There’s also a cute little chile store that stocks sauces, salsas, habanero caramels, and other culinary items (505-327-2907; artifacts-gallery.com). The abundance of fine early-20th-century buildings fits well with Farmington’s emergence as an arts center—check out the 1948 Pueblo-Deco Totah Theater, with its striking red sign and elegant interior. Four times annually, the downtown hosts an art walk, with about 15 local shops and galleries participating. (505) 327-4145; thetotah.com 7. LUXURY CAVE DWELLING Spend the night (ideally, two or three) in one of the country’s most unusual bed-and-breakfasts, Kokopelli’s Cave, a comfortably furnished, expansive “house” built directly into sheer sandstone cliffs situated 300 feet above the La Plata River valley. Built by geologist Bruce Black, the cave may sound like a primitive form of overnighting, but Kokopelli’s has a full kitchen, a modern bathroom with a waterfall shower and a Jacuzzi tub, a private balcony off the master bedroom (plus a larger rock deck with mesmerizing sunset views), a big living room with a TV/DVD player, and a kiva area with a wood-burning fireplace. This quirky hideaway with natural-rock walls and ceilings even has carpeting, and can sleep six. (505) 860-3812; kokocave.com 8. FINE WINING In Farmington, the state’s largest vino producer, St. Clair Winery & Bistro, offers tastings in an elegant space with a bar and gift shop, a handsome dining room, and a romantic patio lined with old wine barrels. Their rich and fruit-forward Shiraz, peppery and light Pinot Noir, and fresh and summery Pinot Grigio are among the favorite vintages. This is also an inviting destination for lunch and dinner. Try wine-friendly fare like Riesling chicken potpie and flat-iron steak accented with a Cabernet-infused blue-cheese sauce (505-325-0711; stclairwinery.com). To reach the region’s other notable vineyard, Wines of the San Juan, a cottonwood-shaded estate about 10 miles west of Navajo Dam, you drive along a gorgeous ribbon of blacktop—N.M. 511—through the San Juan River valley. Friendly owners David and Marcia Arnold are happy to offer tastes of their deftly produced Cabernet Sauvignon, Tempranillo, and Chardonnay, as well as of sweeter treats like Blackberry La Boca Merlot and Blue Winged Olive Riesling. From late spring through early fall, usually on Sundays, the winery hosts special concerts and dinners. (505) 632-0879; winesofthesanjuan.com 9. CHILD’S PLAY If you have younger kids in tow, don’t miss the wonderfully engaging E3 Children’s Museum & Science Center, where the Tots Turf features a playhouse, a puppet theater, giant puzzles, and other curiosity-piquing exhibits geared to the under-six set. Children enjoy the simple science experiments on Thursday afternoons, the Friday-morning sing-alongs and storytelling sessions, and the family-art gatherings on Saturdays (505-599-1425; fmtn.org). Also great fun are the free AstroFriday stargazing shows held at the San Juan College Planetarium about once a month. The facility also has daytime “sun-gazing” shows, “starry days” programs in the summertime, and other appealing events. (505) 566-3361; sanjuancollege.edu/planetarium 10. VALUE PROPOSITIONS Farmington is one of the top destinations for value vacations in the state, as many of the attractions and activities around the region, from B-Square Ranch to numerous hiking and biking trails, have free admission, while others—such as the Farmington Museum—request just a nominal donation. You’ll appreciate the wallet-friendly prices at local restaurants, galleries, and trading posts, as well as the fact that Farmington, Aztec, and Bloomfield all have a big selection of budget- and mid-priced hotels and motels. The Hampton Inn, Comfort Suites, Holiday Inn Express, and TownPlace Suites in Farmington; Best Western Plus Territorial Inn in Bloomfield; and brand-new Microtel Inn in Aztec are clean, modern, and comfy. 11. PLANES, TRAINS, AND CROCODILES At 12,000-square-acre B-Square Ranch, leisurely motor down the evergreen-lined drive, taking care not to harm any of the roaming peacocks, then check in at the visitor center. After that, you’re free (there’s no admission charge) to explore the working ranch and farm, a 2,500-specimen wildlife museum, and the truly unusual Bolack Electromechanical Museum, whose grounds are scattered with artifacts that relate to agriculture, electrical-power production, and transportation. This one-of-a-kind community is the brainchild of late oilman, philanthropist, rancher, and politician Tom Bolack, who served briefly as New Mexico’s governor in 1962. Drive along the property’s dirt road, past man-made lakes stocked with fish and popular with migrating waterfowl, before crossing over a rickety-looking 1899 bridge that spans the muddy San Juan River to reach the electromechanical museum, which lies at the foot of picturesque sandstone cliffs. Here, you can stroll amid a historic Southern Pacific Lines steam locomotive, a 1941 DC-3 32-seat airplane, piles of antique electric meters and relays, horse-drawn farm equipment, and old TV and radio parts. In the wildlife museum, mounted critters from five continents are displayed, from big game (leopards, elephants) to warthogs and crocodiles. (505) 325-4275; bolackmuseum.com 12. GOOD GREENS The discerning editors of Golf Digest have ranked Piñon Hills—an undulating 18-hole layout with sneaky-swift greens, seemingly bottomless grass bunkers, several whiplash-inducing doglegs, and numerous arroyos (formidable obstacles, whether or not they’re filled with water)—the best municipal course in the country. Part of its success is a result of meticulous groundskeeping, but the affordable greens fees (as little as $30) and spectacular setting high on a bluff near San Juan College are additional assets. (505) 326-6066; pinonhillsgolf.com 13. A DAY AT THE RACES You can watch thrilling quarter-horse racing at Sunray Park & Casino from mid-April to late June. This track and entertainment complex also has a casino, a sports bar that simulcasts races year-round, a restaurant, and a venue for comedy and music performances (505-566-1200; sunraygaming.com). Head to the Aztec Speedway to watch stock cars zoom on a banked clay track that’s been exciting fans for more than 60 years; the season runs from late March through early October. (505) 258-3978; aztecspeedway.com 14. ROOM TO MOVE Get your heart pumping at the 130,000-square-foot Health and Human Performance Center at San Juan Community College. You can rent camping gear, mountain bikes, rafts and river kayaks, cross-country skis, snowboards, and disc-golf sets at the outdoor equipment center; run or play volleyball at the gymnasium and track; work out in the state-of-the-art fitness center, and hone your mountaineering skills on a 6,000-square-foot indoor climbing wall, complete with rope stations and a bouldering cave. (505) 326-3311; sanjuancollege.edu/hhpc 15. CATCH A RISING STAR Watch the next aspiring big-league stars at the Connie Mack World Series, the prestigious annual baseball tourney where more than 160 players aged 16 to 18 contend. Held at Ricketts Ball Park during the first 10 days of August, this spirited competition celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. Plenty of pro scouts attend, hoping to spot the next Ken Griffey Jr. or Barry Larkin: Both Hall of Famers appeared in the series as teenagers. cmws.org 16. COMFORT FOOD Diners and barbecue joints, two hearty and hospitable hallmarks of America’s culinary landscape, proliferate in this part of the state. With its shimmering, stainless-steel shell and walls hung with vintage Life magazine covers and Pepsi Cola and John Deere ads, Dad’s Diner is a festive venue for breakfasts and lunches, where menu options range from prodigious breakfast burritos to juicy green-chile cheeseburgers and fluffy coconut cream pies (4395 Largo St.; 505-564-2516). You’ll find more down-home dining and convivial conversation at the Sparerib BBQ Company, where locals congregate at varnished picnic tables out back to dig into platters heaping with fried catfish, tender beef brisket, smoky ribs, and fall-off-the-bone chicken (1700 E Main St.; 505-325-4800). In Aztec, cozy and cheerful Main Street Bistro keeps regulars happy with its friendly, sunny patio, punctuated by whimsical sculptures, where you can enjoy such delectable fare as spinach-feta-artichoke quiche and seasonal-vegetable frittatas. (505) 334-0109; aztecmainstreetbistro.com 17. BORDER CROSSING Who can resist visiting the only place in the United States where four states meet at one point? Sixty miles out of downtown Farmington, from the granite-and-brass marker at Four Corners Monument, you can reach your right arm into Colorado, your right foot into Utah, and your left foot into Arizona—without ever taking your left arm away from New Mexico. You can also buy handmade jewelry and crafts from artisans at this small park that’s administered by the Navajo Nation. (928) 871-6647; navajonationparks.org 18. GREAT LAKE Covering an area of some 25 square miles, Navajo Lake, created in 1962 by the damming of the San Juan River, is the second-largest body of water in the state. You can access nearly 250 campsites, spanning seven different shoreline areas, at Navajo Lake State Park (505-632-2278; nmparks.com). Here, you’ll find mountain-biking and hiking trails; launches for motorized boats, canoes, kayaks, and sailboats; and two marinas—Navajo Lake (505-632-3245; navajomarina.com) and Sims (505-320-0885; simsmarina.com )—where you can buy tackle and gear and rent fishing boats, pontoons, and houseboats. 19. INN FOR A TREAT You’ll find the most elegant accommodations in the region at the Casa Blanca Inn, a richly appointed Spanish Colonial hacienda on a hillside that’s within walking distance of downtown, yet boasts glorious grounds rife with shade trees and flower-filled gardens and courtyards. Navajo tapestries, Pueblo pottery, and sturdy Colonial furniture fill the several common areas as well as the eight guest rooms and suites. There’s also a plush two-bedroom cottage with a kitchen and a Jacuzzi tub that’s perfect for a special-occasion getaway. (800) 550-6503; 4cornersbandb.com 20. BREAKING BADLANDS Drive about 35 miles south of Farmington on N.M. 371, and you’ll encounter an intriguingly bizarre landscape of striated hills layered in tan, gray, and rust tones—the colors of the sandstone, shale, coal, silt, and mudstone that underlie this region. The surreal Bisti Badlands/De-Na-Zin Wilderness looks like a scene from a Salvador Dalí painting. You need only hike a half-mile into this 41,170-acre expanse to come face-to-face with weird, soaring, mushroom-shaped sandstone columns. This geological funhouse is a shutterbug’s dream, perfect for day hikes and backcountry camping. Facilities and defined trails are nonexistent; pack proper gear and water and consult with rangers before you set out. (505) 564-7600; blm.gov 21. JUST THE RIGHT NOTES The acclaimed San Juan Symphony performs a few times a year at Farmington’s Henderson Hall, located on the campus of San Juan College (970-382-9753; sanjuansymphony.org). Established in 2013, the Boots and Brews Festival brings foot-stomping country tunes to downtown Aztec in early September (bootsandbrews.com). It follows Aztec’s Animas River Blues & Brews Festival in July. animasriverblues.com 22. MEDITERRANEAN DINNER DATES Bringing the traditional Galician cooking of northwestern Spain to Farmington, Mon’s Spanish Grill opened in fall 2013 in a dapper downtown-storefront space, offering gambas al ajillos (shrimp and asparagus sautéed in olive oil, paprika, and red peppers and served over Spanish rice) and beef empanadas. Try the traditional crema de Galicia dessert, a delicious burnt caramel–style flan (121 W Main St.; 505-436-2577). 23. THE ROADS TO RUIN NATIONS Farmington lies at the heart of one of North America’s most impressive proliferations of pre-Columbian ruins. In just a couple of hours, you can gain an understanding of the ancient peoples—forebears of today’s thriving Puebloans—at Aztec Ruins National Monument, a 318-acre interpretive park. Stop by the visitor center/museum, which displays intricate pottery and basketry from the region’s earliest inhabitants, then tour the extensive network of ruins—the largest contains 450 rooms—that, back in the 13th century, anchored a vibrant community. You can climb inside many of the structures. (505) 334-6174; nps.gov/azru At Salmon Ruins, just off U.S. 64 in nearby Bloomfield, tour a partially restored great house excavated along the shore of the San Juan River, as well as the 1890s homestead of early settler George Salmon. A modern museum on the site sheds light on the ancient peoples and archaeology of the Four Corners region (505-632-2013; salmonruins.com). A bit farther afield is one of the most extensive Puebloan ruins, Chaco Culture National Historical Park. Allow about two hours to drive the 80 miles south—the final 16 miles of the route are unpaved (505-786-7014; nps.gov/chcu). This ancient metropolis prospered from about the mid-800s until the 1100s. One of the best ways to see Chaco, as well as dozens of other ancient Puebloan sites and examples of rock art throughout Dinétah (the surrounding traditional Navajo homeland), is on an excursion with Journey into the Past Tours, whose knowledgeable guides are affiliated with Salmon Ruins. (505) 632-2103; chacotours.org 24. PEDAL FEVER The Four Corners is primo mountain-biking territory. In Aztec, both relative beginners and skilled experts find plenty to like about the Alien Run trail, named for its proximity to the fabled UFO crash site. It’s part of a 30-mile network of singletrack with great views of Hart Canyon’s dazzling stone arches. The Alien Run Mountain Bike Competition is held here in May (alienrun.com). You’ll also find great mountain-biking tracks near Farmington’s San Juan Community College in the Glade Run Recreation Area, where some 42 miles of marked trails traverse boulder-strewn, sagebrush- and juniper-carpeted plateaus and slick-rock canyons (505-564-7600; blm.gov). Each October, the Road Apple Rally, the longest-running mountain-bike race in the country, draws hundreds of participants (fmtn.org). The region’s mountain-biking trails also come into play during June’s XTERRA Four Corners off-road triathlon, in which competitors tackle a 17-mile bike trail, a 5-mile run, and a 1-mile lap swim across the lake. xterrafourcorners.farmingtonnm.org 25. BEER LOVER’S BLOCK PARTY Fans of hoppy IPAs, crispy-dry ciders, peaty Scottish ales, and hearty stouts will find that an entire stretch of downtown Farmington’s East Main Street can satisfy their craft-beer thirsts. Three Rivers Brewery, which occupies a series of historic storefronts, consists of a pizzeria, a tap and game room, a banquet hall, and the original 3RB restaurant, which turns out fantastic green-chile turkey stew, rosemary-garlic fries, chicken-fried steak, and Kobe or Angus beef burgers. (505) 325-6605; threeriversbrewery.com","id":"58b4b2804c2774661570f99e","url":"/nmmagazine/articles/post/25-reasons-to-love-farmington-87232/","commentsUrl":"/nmmagazine/articles/post/25-reasons-to-love-farmington-87232/#comments","absoluteUrl":"https://www.newmexico.org/nmmagazine/articles/post/25-reasons-to-love-farmington-87232/","metaTitle":"25 Reasons to Love Farmington","metaDescription":"

When I drive to New Mexico from Oregon, I often enter the state in the northwest corner, via U.S. 64 or U.S. 491. The stately, 7,178-foot-tall Ship Rock formation welcomes me back to what will always

","cleanDescription":"When I drive to New Mexico from Oregon, I often enter the state in the northwest corner, via U.S. 64 or U.S. 491. The stately, 7,178-foot-tall Ship Rock formation welcomes me back to what will always be my second home. I usually stop for the night, breaking up my trip with a pint of IPA at Three Rivers Brewery, or a leisurely meal at St. Clair Winery & Bistro. The following day I might set out for a walk around the fascinatingly quirky Bolack Electromechanical Museum at B-Square Ranch, or through the starkly fantastic Bisti Badlands wilderness. With its generations-old trading posts, sacred Puebloan ruins, picturesque rivers and lakes, and extensive menu of travel services, Farmington and the neighboring towns of Aztec and Bloomfield (16 and 14 miles west, respectively) are also jumping-off points for exploring America’s fabled Four Corners region—out to Chaco Culture National Historical Park or Navajo Lake State Park, for example. Farmington, the state’s sixth-largest city (pop. 45,000), has much to offer curious road-trippers like me. It’s home to a pair of wonderfully distinctive B&Bs (one of them occupies an actual cave carved into the side of a towering mesa), one of the nation’s most celebrated public golf courses, and the recently expanded Farmington Museum at Gateway Park. Walking along the cottonwood-shaded Animas River last October, just as the leaves had begun to turn lemon-yellow, I felt as though I’d stumbled into a remote riparian wilderness. The city’s five-mile park along the river corridor is just a stone’s throw from a busy commercial thoroughfare, but as is true throughout the region, rewarding treasures often lie right off the beaten path—you just have to slow down and open your eyes to find them. Here are 25 of our favorite reasons to stop, stay, and explore Farmington and the surrounding Colorado Plateau. 1. RIVER RAMBLES Farmington’s River Corridor extends along the Animas River for more than five miles, featuring landscaped parks, multi-use trails, two pedestrian bridges, and a few parking areas providing easy access. The stretch of trail from Berg to Animas parks is especially scenic—pause to observe the poignant Farmington All Veterans Memorial at Berg Park (farmingtonvetsmemorial.com). Begin your riverfront explorations at the spacious, contemporary Farmington Museum at Gateway Park, which recently completed a stunning, $1.9 million expansion. A permanent exhibit explores the rich history of oil and gas assets that fueled the region’s growth (there’s a cool collection of antique gas pumps). The museum also hosts terrific temporary shows and events, from family astronomy nights to walking tours of downtown Farmington (505-599-1174; farmingtonmuseum.org). Another top draw, the Riverside Nature Center, has huge windows affording panoramic views of the river wetlands, as well as exhibits on the flora and fauna supported by this delicate yet resilient ecosystem. Kids love to ogle the neighboring colony of lively prairie dogs. Naturalists lead easy bird-watching strolls along the river on Tuesday mornings (505-599-1422; fmtn.org). In late May, thousands gather along the Animas for Riverfest, a celebration of live music, arts shows, rafting adventures, riverside strolls, 5K and 10K runs, and the famed Wiener Dog canine races. riverreachfoundation.com 2. AZTEC ASSETS With numerous Pueblo Revival, Art Deco, and Italianate Victorian buildings on the National Register of Historic Places, little downtown Aztec is ideal for strolling, especially if you’re an architecture or history buff. Don’t miss the Aztec Museum & Pioneer Village, a dozen carefully restored buildings that include an early general store, sheriff’s and doctor’s offices, a blacksmith shop, and an 1880 pioneer cabin (505-334-9829; aztecmuseum.org). Feat of Clay is a respected co-op gallery featuring works by many of the top artists in the Four Corners region (107 S. Main St.; 505-334-4335), and the handsome old Aztec Theater hosts live music and occasional art shows (505-427-6748; crashmusicaztec.com). Downtown Aztec is the site of several festivals throughout the year, with October’s Aztec Highland Games & Celtic Festival among the most popular. aztechighlandgames.com 3. THEATER IN THE GROUND Throughout the summer, you can watch first-rate Broadway shows performed on a stunning outdoor sandstone stage: the Lions Wilderness Amphitheater. Eighties fave Footloose is the main attraction this year. On Friday and Saturday nights, arrive early for burger and barbecue dinners before curtain time. (505) 599-1140; fmtn.org/sandstone 4. VALLEY OF THE DAMMED The four-mile stretch of the San Juan River extending west just below Navajo Dam is hallowed among ardent trout-fishing enthusiasts. Some 80,000 sleek brown and rainbow trout, many exceeding 20 inches, populate these waters. Hire a knowledgeable outfitter to discover the best fishing spots. Rainbow Lodge & Resolution Guide Service offers wading and float adventures as well as all-inclusive overnight packages that provide all the gear you’ll need, plus accommodations and meals (505-632-5717; sanjuanfishing.com). The Orvis-affiliated Fisheads San Juan River Lodge is another exceptional guide service, with half- and full-day excursions and fish-and-stay packages (505-634-0463; fisheadsofthesanjuan.com). The on-site Back Cast Café is a great spot for breakfast burritos, burgers, and fresh-caught, slow-smoked trout. 5. NATIVE TREASURES Named for the iconic 1,583-foot monolith that rises above the high-desert floor 40 miles west, downtown Farmington’s Shiprock Trading Post is one of the finest sources of Navajo weavings and baskets, turquoise and sterling-silver jewelry, sand paintings, medicine bowls, carved wooden figures, and Native stone sculptures in the Four Corners (505-324-0881; shiprocktradingpost.com). About an hour southwest of Farmington, historic Toadlena Trading Post & Two Grey Hills Weaving Museum has been renowned for their Navajo rugs and other Native crafts for more than a century (505-789-3267; toadlenatradingpost.com), and in the towns of Kirtland and Shiprock, Foutz Trading Co. also carries an exceptional selection of Navajo artwork, drums, kachina dolls, etched pottery, and folk art (505-368-5790; foutztrade.com). During Labor Day weekend’s highly anticipated annual Totah Festival Indian Market, you can browse the handiwork of more than 100 artists, attend a Navajo rug auction, and enjoy local music and food. (505) 326-7602; totahfestival.farmingtonnm.org . 6. ARTISTIC LICENSES Downtown Farmington claims a burgeoning gallery scene. Three Rivers Art Center & In Cahoots! Gallery shows a diverse range of art from local talents—watercolor landscapes, cast teapots, pen-and-ink drawings among them (505-716-7660; threeriverswomen.org). Nearby, the new Studio 116 (505-258-4514; karenellsbury.net) displays the dynamic acrylic paintings of owner Karen Ellsbury, as well as photography, jewelry, and other articles on offer from several fellow artists. Just down the street, Artifacts Gallery occupies the handsome 1905 Farmington Lumber and Hardware building; here, more than 50 artists exhibit and sell their work, including oil paintings, handmade books, pottery, and mixed-media pieces. There’s also a cute little chile store that stocks sauces, salsas, habanero caramels, and other culinary items (505-327-2907; artifacts-gallery.com). The abundance of fine early-20th-century buildings fits well with Farmington’s emergence as an arts center—check out the 1948 Pueblo-Deco Totah Theater, with its striking red sign and elegant interior. Four times annually, the downtown hosts an art walk, with about 15 local shops and galleries participating. (505) 327-4145; thetotah.com 7. LUXURY CAVE DWELLING Spend the night (ideally, two or three) in one of the country’s most unusual bed-and-breakfasts, Kokopelli’s Cave, a comfortably furnished, expansive “house” built directly into sheer sandstone cliffs situated 300 feet above the La Plata River valley. Built by geologist Bruce Black, the cave may sound like a primitive form of overnighting, but Kokopelli’s has a full kitchen, a modern bathroom with a waterfall shower and a Jacuzzi tub, a private balcony off the master bedroom (plus a larger rock deck with mesmerizing sunset views), a big living room with a TV/DVD player, and a kiva area with a wood-burning fireplace. This quirky hideaway with natural-rock walls and ceilings even has carpeting, and can sleep six. (505) 860-3812; kokocave.com 8. FINE WINING In Farmington, the state’s largest vino producer, St. Clair Winery & Bistro, offers tastings in an elegant space with a bar and gift shop, a handsome dining room, and a romantic patio lined with old wine barrels. Their rich and fruit-forward Shiraz, peppery and light Pinot Noir, and fresh and summery Pinot Grigio are among the favorite vintages. This is also an inviting destination for lunch and dinner. Try wine-friendly fare like Riesling chicken potpie and flat-iron steak accented with a Cabernet-infused blue-cheese sauce (505-325-0711; stclairwinery.com). To reach the region’s other notable vineyard, Wines of the San Juan, a cottonwood-shaded estate about 10 miles west of Navajo Dam, you drive along a gorgeous ribbon of blacktop—N.M. 511—through the San Juan River valley. Friendly owners David and Marcia Arnold are happy to offer tastes of their deftly produced Cabernet Sauvignon, Tempranillo, and Chardonnay, as well as of sweeter treats like Blackberry La Boca Merlot and Blue Winged Olive Riesling. From late spring through early fall, usually on Sundays, the winery hosts special concerts and dinners. (505) 632-0879; winesofthesanjuan.com 9. CHILD’S PLAY If you have younger kids in tow, don’t miss the wonderfully engaging E3 Children’s Museum & Science Center, where the Tots Turf features a playhouse, a puppet theater, giant puzzles, and other curiosity-piquing exhibits geared to the under-six set. Children enjoy the simple science experiments on Thursday afternoons, the Friday-morning sing-alongs and storytelling sessions, and the family-art gatherings on Saturdays (505-599-1425; fmtn.org). Also great fun are the free AstroFriday stargazing shows held at the San Juan College Planetarium about once a month. The facility also has daytime “sun-gazing” shows, “starry days” programs in the summertime, and other appealing events. (505) 566-3361; sanjuancollege.edu/planetarium 10. VALUE PROPOSITIONS Farmington is one of the top destinations for value vacations in the state, as many of the attractions and activities around the region, from B-Square Ranch to numerous hiking and biking trails, have free admission, while others—such as the Farmington Museum—request just a nominal donation. You’ll appreciate the wallet-friendly prices at local restaurants, galleries, and trading posts, as well as the fact that Farmington, Aztec, and Bloomfield all have a big selection of budget- and mid-priced hotels and motels. The Hampton Inn, Comfort Suites, Holiday Inn Express, and TownPlace Suites in Farmington; Best Western Plus Territorial Inn in Bloomfield; and brand-new Microtel Inn in Aztec are clean, modern, and comfy. 11. PLANES, TRAINS, AND CROCODILES At 12,000-square-acre B-Square Ranch, leisurely motor down the evergreen-lined drive, taking care not to harm any of the roaming peacocks, then check in at the visitor center. After that, you’re free (there’s no admission charge) to explore the working ranch and farm, a 2,500-specimen wildlife museum, and the truly unusual Bolack Electromechanical Museum, whose grounds are scattered with artifacts that relate to agriculture, electrical-power production, and transportation. This one-of-a-kind community is the brainchild of late oilman, philanthropist, rancher, and politician Tom Bolack, who served briefly as New Mexico’s governor in 1962. Drive along the property’s dirt road, past man-made lakes stocked with fish and popular with migrating waterfowl, before crossing over a rickety-looking 1899 bridge that spans the muddy San Juan River to reach the electromechanical museum, which lies at the foot of picturesque sandstone cliffs. Here, you can stroll amid a historic Southern Pacific Lines steam locomotive, a 1941 DC-3 32-seat airplane, piles of antique electric meters and relays, horse-drawn farm equipment, and old TV and radio parts. In the wildlife museum, mounted critters from five continents are displayed, from big game (leopards, elephants) to warthogs and crocodiles. (505) 325-4275; bolackmuseum.com 12. GOOD GREENS The discerning editors of Golf Digest have ranked Piñon Hills—an undulating 18-hole layout with sneaky-swift greens, seemingly bottomless grass bunkers, several whiplash-inducing doglegs, and numerous arroyos (formidable obstacles, whether or not they’re filled with water)—the best municipal course in the country. Part of its success is a result of meticulous groundskeeping, but the affordable greens fees (as little as $30) and spectacular setting high on a bluff near San Juan College are additional assets. (505) 326-6066; pinonhillsgolf.com 13. A DAY AT THE RACES You can watch thrilling quarter-horse racing at Sunray Park & Casino from mid-April to late June. This track and entertainment complex also has a casino, a sports bar that simulcasts races year-round, a restaurant, and a venue for comedy and music performances (505-566-1200; sunraygaming.com). Head to the Aztec Speedway to watch stock cars zoom on a banked clay track that’s been exciting fans for more than 60 years; the season runs from late March through early October. (505) 258-3978; aztecspeedway.com 14. ROOM TO MOVE Get your heart pumping at the 130,000-square-foot Health and Human Performance Center at San Juan Community College. You can rent camping gear, mountain bikes, rafts and river kayaks, cross-country skis, snowboards, and disc-golf sets at the outdoor equipment center; run or play volleyball at the gymnasium and track; work out in the state-of-the-art fitness center, and hone your mountaineering skills on a 6,000-square-foot indoor climbing wall, complete with rope stations and a bouldering cave. (505) 326-3311; sanjuancollege.edu/hhpc 15. CATCH A RISING STAR Watch the next aspiring big-league stars at the Connie Mack World Series, the prestigious annual baseball tourney where more than 160 players aged 16 to 18 contend. Held at Ricketts Ball Park during the first 10 days of August, this spirited competition celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. Plenty of pro scouts attend, hoping to spot the next Ken Griffey Jr. or Barry Larkin: Both Hall of Famers appeared in the series as teenagers. cmws.org 16. COMFORT FOOD Diners and barbecue joints, two hearty and hospitable hallmarks of America’s culinary landscape, proliferate in this part of the state. With its shimmering, stainless-steel shell and walls hung with vintage Life magazine covers and Pepsi Cola and John Deere ads, Dad’s Diner is a festive venue for breakfasts and lunches, where menu options range from prodigious breakfast burritos to juicy green-chile cheeseburgers and fluffy coconut cream pies (4395 Largo St.; 505-564-2516). You’ll find more down-home dining and convivial conversation at the Sparerib BBQ Company, where locals congregate at varnished picnic tables out back to dig into platters heaping with fried catfish, tender beef brisket, smoky ribs, and fall-off-the-bone chicken (1700 E Main St.; 505-325-4800). In Aztec, cozy and cheerful Main Street Bistro keeps regulars happy with its friendly, sunny patio, punctuated by whimsical sculptures, where you can enjoy such delectable fare as spinach-feta-artichoke quiche and seasonal-vegetable frittatas. (505) 334-0109; aztecmainstreetbistro.com 17. BORDER CROSSING Who can resist visiting the only place in the United States where four states meet at one point? Sixty miles out of downtown Farmington, from the granite-and-brass marker at Four Corners Monument, you can reach your right arm into Colorado, your right foot into Utah, and your left foot into Arizona—without ever taking your left arm away from New Mexico. You can also buy handmade jewelry and crafts from artisans at this small park that’s administered by the Navajo Nation. (928) 871-6647; navajonationparks.org 18. GREAT LAKE Covering an area of some 25 square miles, Navajo Lake, created in 1962 by the damming of the San Juan River, is the second-largest body of water in the state. You can access nearly 250 campsites, spanning seven different shoreline areas, at Navajo Lake State Park (505-632-2278; nmparks.com). Here, you’ll find mountain-biking and hiking trails; launches for motorized boats, canoes, kayaks, and sailboats; and two marinas—Navajo Lake (505-632-3245; navajomarina.com) and Sims (505-320-0885; simsmarina.com )—where you can buy tackle and gear and rent fishing boats, pontoons, and houseboats. 19. INN FOR A TREAT You’ll find the most elegant accommodations in the region at the Casa Blanca Inn, a richly appointed Spanish Colonial hacienda on a hillside that’s within walking distance of downtown, yet boasts glorious grounds rife with shade trees and flower-filled gardens and courtyards. Navajo tapestries, Pueblo pottery, and sturdy Colonial furniture fill the several common areas as well as the eight guest rooms and suites. There’s also a plush two-bedroom cottage with a kitchen and a Jacuzzi tub that’s perfect for a special-occasion getaway. (800) 550-6503; 4cornersbandb.com 20. BREAKING BADLANDS Drive about 35 miles south of Farmington on N.M. 371, and you’ll encounter an intriguingly bizarre landscape of striated hills layered in tan, gray, and rust tones—the colors of the sandstone, shale, coal, silt, and mudstone that underlie this region. The surreal Bisti Badlands/De-Na-Zin Wilderness looks like a scene from a Salvador Dalí painting. You need only hike a half-mile into this 41,170-acre expanse to come face-to-face with weird, soaring, mushroom-shaped sandstone columns. This geological funhouse is a shutterbug’s dream, perfect for day hikes and backcountry camping. Facilities and defined trails are nonexistent; pack proper gear and water and consult with rangers before you set out. (505) 564-7600; blm.gov 21. JUST THE RIGHT NOTES The acclaimed San Juan Symphony performs a few times a year at Farmington’s Henderson Hall, located on the campus of San Juan College (970-382-9753; sanjuansymphony.org). Established in 2013, the Boots and Brews Festival brings foot-stomping country tunes to downtown Aztec in early September (bootsandbrews.com). It follows Aztec’s Animas River Blues & Brews Festival in July. animasriverblues.com 22. MEDITERRANEAN DINNER DATES Bringing the traditional Galician cooking of northwestern Spain to Farmington, Mon’s Spanish Grill opened in fall 2013 in a dapper downtown-storefront space, offering gambas al ajillos (shrimp and asparagus sautéed in olive oil, paprika, and red peppers and served over Spanish rice) and beef empanadas. Try the traditional crema de Galicia dessert, a delicious burnt caramel–style flan (121 W Main St.; 505-436-2577). 23. THE ROADS TO RUIN NATIONS Farmington lies at the heart of one of North America’s most impressive proliferations of pre-Columbian ruins. In just a couple of hours, you can gain an understanding of the ancient peoples—forebears of today’s thriving Puebloans—at Aztec Ruins National Monument, a 318-acre interpretive park. Stop by the visitor center/museum, which displays intricate pottery and basketry from the region’s earliest inhabitants, then tour the extensive network of ruins—the largest contains 450 rooms—that, back in the 13th century, anchored a vibrant community. You can climb inside many of the structures. (505) 334-6174; nps.gov/azru At Salmon Ruins, just off U.S. 64 in nearby Bloomfield, tour a partially restored great house excavated along the shore of the San Juan River, as well as the 1890s homestead of early settler George Salmon. A modern museum on the site sheds light on the ancient peoples and archaeology of the Four Corners region (505-632-2013; salmonruins.com). A bit farther afield is one of the most extensive Puebloan ruins, Chaco Culture National Historical Park. Allow about two hours to drive the 80 miles south—the final 16 miles of the route are unpaved (505-786-7014; nps.gov/chcu). This ancient metropolis prospered from about the mid-800s until the 1100s. One of the best ways to see Chaco, as well as dozens of other ancient Puebloan sites and examples of rock art throughout Dinétah (the surrounding traditional Navajo homeland), is on an excursion with Journey into the Past Tours, whose knowledgeable guides are affiliated with Salmon Ruins. (505) 632-2103; chacotours.org 24. PEDAL FEVER The Four Corners is primo mountain-biking territory. In Aztec, both relative beginners and skilled experts find plenty to like about the Alien Run trail, named for its proximity to the fabled UFO crash site. It’s part of a 30-mile network of singletrack with great views of Hart Canyon’s dazzling stone arches. The Alien Run Mountain Bike Competition is held here in May (alienrun.com). You’ll also find great mountain-biking tracks near Farmington’s San Juan Community College in the Glade Run Recreation Area, where some 42 miles of marked trails traverse boulder-strewn, sagebrush- and juniper-carpeted plateaus and slick-rock canyons (505-564-7600; blm.gov). Each October, the Road Apple Rally, the longest-running mountain-bike race in the country, draws hundreds of participants (fmtn.org). The region’s mountain-biking trails also come into play during June’s XTERRA Four Corners off-road triathlon, in which competitors tackle a 17-mile bike trail, a 5-mile run, and a 1-mile lap swim across the lake. xterrafourcorners.farmingtonnm.org 25. BEER LOVER’S BLOCK PARTY Fans of hoppy IPAs, crispy-dry ciders, peaty Scottish ales, and hearty stouts will find that an entire stretch of downtown Farmington’s East Main Street can satisfy their craft-beer thirsts. Three Rivers Brewery, which occupies a series of historic storefronts, consists of a pizzeria, a tap and game room, a banquet hall, and the original 3RB restaurant, which turns out fantastic green-chile turkey stew, rosemary-garlic fries, chicken-fried steak, and Kobe or Angus beef burgers. (505) 325-6605; threeriversbrewery.com","publish_start_moment":"2014-07-24T12:00:00.000Z","publish_end_moment":"2017-12-16T23:32:53.731Z"}]});
Author: Andrew Collins

25 Reasons to Love Farmington

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This Four Corners mainstay may fly under the radar—but it’s out of this world. Wake up in a cave, cycle down a mountain, treasure hunt in trading posts, time-travel to prehistory, and recover with top-notch tapas and a locally microbrewed pint. (That’s just Day 1.)