I’ve never been a fan of all-inclusive resorts. In fact, I’ve made a point of steering clear of them when it comes to hotel options. Everything about them seems mediocre to subpar, from the ubiquitous buffets overflowing with bland food to the lackadaisical service and the neutral, uninspiring décor. Then there are always massive lines and crowds in the restaurants, bars, and pool areas, making peace and privacy difficult commodities to come by once you leave your room. And though you are under the impression that inclusive means “all,” you quickly discover that many of the amenities have additional fees tacked on to them. The final insult, however, is being required to wear the proverbial wristband to identify your connection with the property throughout your stay.
Native American history, healing waters and show biz are ingredients for an intriguing story about a unique town along the banks of the Rio Grande in the high desert of southern New Mexico.
Truth or Consequences, which was originally called Hot Springs, has a colorful past that can be traced to prehistoric peoples, who came to the area and built early pit houses and pueblo-like dwellings along the canyons emptying into the river. For hundreds of years, Native Americans met at the hot mineral springs that flowed from the ground where the town is now located. They bathed, socialized and cared for their wounds and ailments, discovering that the waters had inherent healing properties. It is believed that the famous apache warrior, Geronimo, soaked in these springs. In the late 16th century, the Spanish arrived and in time, white settlers began moving in to ranch and mine.
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.