Road Trip Across America: Peacher Not Preacher on New Mexico
After hearing the word desert, beauty is usually one of the last words that comes to mind. While the climate here in New Mexico may be harsh, there is just as much beauty in this state as there is in any of the other 49.
Yes, green is sparse in southern NM, but you can see tall mountains that consume the desert and a sky that looks as if it were delicately painted. With all the dust that floats through the air, New Mexico is known for its sunsets filled with rich purples, blood reds, and bright pinks. These alone are sights you should see at least once in a lifetime.
But besides sunsets, here are some great places to check out next time you visit New Mexico:
Mesilla Plaza: Come visit the Plaza Saturday mornings or evenings for tons of shops, such as Lulu’s, a trendy boutique with quirky home items and gifts; Billy the Kid, a souvenir store with Native American headdresses and scorpion candy; and a Nambé boutique. Some great restaurants to check out are the (haunted) Double Eagle, Andele, St. Clair Winery and Bistro, Lorenzo’s, and La Posta, a Mexican restaurant with a lot of history behind it. When the server asks, “red or green?” they’re simply asking what kind of chile you prefer. I suggest bringing an extra suitcase, simply to take home a bag of green chile. New Mexicans put it on everything.
The Farmers & Crafts Market: The Las Cruces Farmers & Crafts Market started in 1971 and has grown immensely ever since. This is a great place to find handmade jewelry, crafts, paintings, and good food that has all been locally produced. It is located in downtown Las Cruces on Main Street. Also worth stopping by: The Rio Grande Theatre (which presents local plays every so often), small antique shops to sift through, and a burger joint called Day’s Hamburgers.
Dripping Springs: “Would you look at those mountains?” You’ll hear at least once during your visit. The Organ Mountains tower over Las Cruces. The mountains’ jagged shape casts beautiful daybreak shadows. Hiking these beauties is a must during your visit.
White Sands National Monument: Instead of snowboarding, try sandboarding down huge gypsum dunes. In July, the bright reflection of the moonlight on the sand keeps the park open until midnight.
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