I’m on vacation in New Mexico, visiting a place I’ve only flown over before because it’s fun to see what’s actually on the ground. The United States is so big and diverse it’s an adventure to see different corners and crannies. This time we choose New Mexico. It’s within driving distance, has cool old places and it’s affordable. Our base of operations is the historic Plaza Hotel in Las Vegas, New Mexico. You’ll recognize it if you watched No Country for Old Men. It’s where Llewelyn Moss (Josh Brolin) gets shot up and Carson Wells (Woody Harrelson) dies. Yup, we’re doing a reenactment with our travel buddy Peaches.
We’ve also visited several forts, one very sad, Fort Sumner with the Bosque Redondo Monument. Two claims to fame: killing of Billy the Kid and the internment of thousands of Navajo and Mescalero Apache peoples during the Civil War. The fort is gone but digs have uncovered some of its sad history. The second, Fort Union was the service and logistics headquarters for the New Mexico territory and served as an important stop on the Santa Fe Trail until the railroad put it out of business. It’s a beautiful if desolate place on the plains with the mountains three miles to the west and an endless horizon of grasses to the east, north and south. Makes one imagine what it was like to travel in a dusty wagon or stagecoach for days and weeks and come upon a bustling metropolis.
Las Vegas is a town filled with over 900 historical buildings. Our hotel on the plaza in old town is one of them. Built for the railroad traffic in 1880, it was restored in 1982 and is charming. Our suite is over 1200 square feet with a HUGE bedroom, separate sitting room, separate dressing room and bath. Five tall windows overlook the plaza with its huge old trees and the corner street. The weather is delightful: 70s during the days with blue skies and 40s at night. The plaza is surrounded by shops and restaurants. We also have a happening saloon with live music on Friday nights. That was an experience! I felt like I stepped into Deadwood except no Wu with the pigs.
The local bookstore, Tome on the Range is filled with New Mexican titles, children’s books and LOTS of mysteries and a section of science fiction, mostly urban fantasies and D&D. No romance so apparently the natives aren’t into happier reading. Hmmm. The town also has a castle, now on the campus of a school but you can arrange for a tour. Absolutely gorgeous. It was scouted for Harry Potter and was the scene for some horror movie.
So hope your summer is off to a great start, share with us what you’re reading or your plans!
Until next time…
Get out there and READ a book…
Join us at Readers ‘n ‘ritas November 13-15, 2009!