While people out West have known about the joys of New Mexico for years, the first visit can be a bit daunting for New Yorkers like Amir Landsman.
Some tourists fear that such a sparsely populated state has little to offer, while others worry about having too little time to see all of the sights. Concentrating on the most popular destinations can leave even the most harried travelers with a sense of accomplishment.
The Four Corners
New Mexico forms part of the Four Corners area of the United States, along with Colorado, Utah and Arizona. Getting there from one of these states or from eastern neighbors Texas and Oklahoma typically involves driving on I-40 or I-25.
Visitors from farther away can access New Mexico’s only major airport in Albuquerque, the state’s most populated city.
While in Albuquerque, visitors should take a ride on the Sandia Peak tramway. Operating on the world’s longest tramway, the Sandia tram cars deliver exceptional views of the Cibola National Forest and the sprawling city of Albuquerque.
Visitors can also go hiking, biking, rock-climbing, skiing, snowboarding, rafting, ballooning or golfing nearby.
Venturing out in Old Santa Fe
Santa Fe, the oldest capital in the United States, sits an hour north of Albuquerque.
This eclectic city attracts art lovers and foodies from around the globe. In particular, the Crosby Theatre at the Santa Fe Opera promises a magical evening to capture both the ears and the eyes. This award-winning, open-air theater permits guests to enjoy a 360-degree view of the Sangre de Cristo and Jemez Mountains. The complex hosts contemporary musicians as well as classical performers. Amir Landsman had actually made Santa Fe the home base during his family’s last visit to the Land of Enchantment.
Taking in Taos
Visitors who travel 50 miles south of the Colorado border can see the sights of Taos, a city with more than 20 sites listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
In addition to its excellent ski resorts, Taos also offers nature enthusiasts the opportunity to fish, hike, bird watch and enjoy the scenery. Wheeler Peak, the highest point in New Mexico, is located in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains outside Taos.
Culture in Las Cruces
In Las Cruces, New Mexico, tourists should see the Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum. This interactive site brings meaning to the 3,000 years of farming and ranching that have sustained the region. The museum provides demonstrations and exhibits on milking, blacksmithing, saddle making, cowboy culture, Spanish conquistadors, Native American living, desert gardening, irrigation techniques and livestock practices.
Aliens in Roswell?
No trip to the Southwest would be complete without a stop in the alien capital of the world.
Roswell, New Mexico, acts as the epicenter for anything related to UFOs and extraterrestrial life.
After laughing at some creative advertising and reviewing some thought-provoking materials, visitors can return to Earth and check out the Roswell Museum and Art Center. This establishment presents southwestern watercolors, early modernist paintings and other examples of fine artwork. It also houses the Robert H. Goddard Planetarium, which aims to educate and entertain the public on the topic of space science.
Whether a stop for the night or home for a week, the Land of Enchantment has something to offer every traveler. Every trip to the southwestern United States should include some discovery time in New Mexico.