Virgin Galactic Gateway to Space at Spaceport America. Photo by Deborah Stone.The mere notion of personal and commercial spaceflight is enough to send anyone’s imagination into orbit. But, when you stand on the site of New Mexico’s publicly owned Spaceport America, the world’s first purpose-built commercial spaceport, the visions quickly become an exciting reality.
Through special preview tours, visitors are allowed exclusive access to the Spaceport during its current preoperational phase, giving them an up close and personal encounter with the coming of the Second Space Age.
To understand just how far Spaceport America has come, it’s important to go back to the early 1990s when a group of space-minded New Mexicans saw the potential future of the commercial space industry. They joined together to form the Southwest Space Task Force to promote the State of New Mexico as a location to develop an FAA-approved spaceport.
The world that exists below the surface in Carlsbad Caverns National Park is a subterranean marvel, full of formations that dazzle the eyes. The most commonly heard response from visitors upon first sight of these incredible creations is a resounding “wow!” With mouths agape, they stand transfixed by the unexpected magnificence that greets them. Everyone reacts the same way, even those who have been to the caves time and time again. It’s impossible not to be awed by this geological wonder.
One of twenty World Heritage Sites in the U.S., Carlsbad Caverns is New Mexico’s gem and a testament to time. To truly appreciate this place, it’s important to understand its history. The caves began to develop about 250 million years ago when a reef formed along the edge of an inland sea. Eventually, this sea evaporated, leaving the reef buried under deposits of gypsum and salts. Then, 20 to 30 million years later, the Guadalupe Mountains were raised up thousands of feet above sea level, causing the reef to fracture. Rainwater permeated down from the surface and mixed with sulfuric acid to carve out the large rooms and passageways that exist today. Slowly, the formations were created, shaping and molding the chambers into palaces of exquisite beauty.
The famed Nasher Sculpture Center is home to one of the finest collections of modern and contemporary sculptures in the world. Photo by Deborah Stone.The Big D is a city on the move, and first time visitors immediately pick up on the energy that radiates from this grand Texas metropolis. With a host of new parks, museums, hotels, architecturally-significant bridges and awe-inspiring sports facilities, Dallas has transformed itself and emerged as a destination-worthy location. It’s rich in sights and experiences, offering something for everyone, young and old.
Cultural attractions abound from the Dallas Museum of Art and Nasher Sculpture Garden to The Sixth Floor Museum and the city’s newest gem, the Perot Museum of Nature and Science. The Dallas Arts District is the largest arts district in the country, spanning 68 acres and comprised of museums, performance halls, corporate offices, residences, restaurants, churches and even a school. It’s a vast campus of culture and community use with the highest concentration of Pritzker prize-winning architecture in the country. To learn more about the buildings, as well as the institutions, individuals and visionaries who contributed to the creation of this remarkable achievement, you can take an architectural walking tour.
Within the district you’ll find the Dallas Museum of Art, which ranks among the leading art institutions in the nation and is distinguished by its innovative exhibitions and groundbreaking educational programs. It boasts a vast collection that includes American and contemporary masterpieces, as well as European and impressionist art and art of the Americas, Africa, Asia and the Pacific. Of special note are the museum’s atrium windows, which are framed by bedazzling Dale Chihuly glass. And best of all, admission is free.
Photos are courtesy of The Sixth Floor Museum.On November 22nd, 1963, history changed in a split second. President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, while his motorcade passed through the city’s central business sector as part of a two-day Texas tour in preparation for the 1964 presidential campaign.
I don’t remember much of this event, as I was a young child at the time, but I do recall my mother audibly weeping as she sat in front of the T.V. watching the news unfold. She was shocked and horrified upon learning that the President she adored had been murdered, and like the rest of the nation, she tensely waited to hear who was responsible for such a tragedy.
For many days, life in my family’s house was chaotic, with the television on 24-7, and my parents in a constant state of agitation and grief. There was a sense of despair and hopelessness that permeated our typically happy, cozy domicile. I noted, in my childlike perception, that the world around me grew heavier and darker during this period. In ensuing years, my understanding of the event and how it affected our nation grew in substance and clarity, and I marked it as the moment when America lost its innocence.
There’s a reason, actually several, why Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs Resort & Spa consistently receives accolades from numerous publications, as well as from the hundreds and thousands of visitors who make their way to this secluded refuge in Northern New Mexico. First and foremost, its historic roots provide a sense of authenticity that so many other destination spas lack.
The property, which was opened to the public in 1868, is one of the oldest natural health resorts in the country, but use of its fabled waters date back even further – thousands of years - to the earliest human migrations in the region. Ancestors of today’s Native American Tewa tribes built their villages overlooking the springs. They deemed the area as sacred and believed that the waters had curative powers.
When the Spaniards discovered the place in the 1500s, they named the hallowed springs, Ojo Caliente,” which literally translated means “warm eye.” Westward expansion in the 19th century proved to be the catalyst for this unique site to emerge from its ancient origins. Once the first bathhouse was built on the property, folks came by the droves for the healing effects of the waters and they began to spread stories of their miraculous cures.