Snowbird destinations: New Mexico, Part 2

Snowbird roosts

Though Snowbirds can be found throughout the southern part of New Mexico, the greatest concentration of them are found in the Las Cruces, Deming, Truth or Consequences, and Alamogordo areas.

Las Cruces

Rock of Ages Column at Carlsbad Caverns National Park. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Las Cruces is blessed with 350 days of sunshine, low humidity, warm days, and cool nights. During the winter, when northern states are digging themselves out from under the snow, Las Cruces enjoys daytime temperatures ranging from the upper 50s to lower 60s.

This progressive city, with the New Mexico State University campus, an excellent agricultural museum, and a population of 80,000, is the state’s second-largest city. It regularly appears in listings of best places in America to retire.

History abounds in Las Cruces! In the late 1500s, Spanish Conquistadors marched up the Rio Grande accompanied by settlers in their carretas on their way to establishing a new northern provincial capital, Santa Fe. One of their stopovers became Mesilla, the original Spanish settlement. The agricultural potential of this fertile valley was quickly recognized and the settlement thrived.

The historic Old Mesilla Plaza boasts historical restaurants, boutiques, and art galleries.

Today, some of the world’s largest pecan groves spread their shady canopies over the roads along the Rio Grande. The Mesilla Valley is also a major source for chile peppers with cotton, onions, alfalfa, beans, and corn all contributing to the local economy.

Deming

Deming’s climate is dry, hot, and breezy with summer temperatures that can exceed 100 degrees. Winters are mild, with occasional snow that usually melts within a day or two.

Winter visitors add over 20 percent to the Deming population.

Truth or Consequence

Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge south of Socorro attracts thousands of birders from November to early March. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Truth or Consequence—or T or C as the locals call it—is adjacent to Elephant Butte, the state’s largest lake, and is known for its hot mineral baths, museums—and a name that grabs your attention.

Because T or C is relatively unknown, the area is underdeveloped in spite of the beautiful scenery, pleasant climate, and an abundance of recreation opportunities.

It was originally named Hot Springs but changed its name in 1950 when Ralph Edwards promised to broadcast his radio show from any town that would take the name of the show.

Winters are quite comfortable, with an average high of 55 degrees. Though it does occasionally snow, the flakes usually melt away with the afternoon sunshine.

Alamogordo

La Ventana Natural Arch is one of many points of interest at El Malpais National Monument in northwestern New Mexico. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Alamogordo has a small town flavor that snowbirds enjoy. The city is located between the White Sands National Monument and the base of the Sacramento Mountains, about 70 miles northeast of Las Cruces. White Sands National Monument has the world’s largest deposit of gypsum with huge dunes to slide down or to explore.

Positive features: Great hiking opportunities, traffic congestion is minimal, New Mexico cuisine, national and state parks, historic sites, friendly and welcoming to snowbirds, relatively crime-free area

Negative features: Sometimes freezing weather and occasional snow flakes

Worth Pondering…

The gathering orange stain

Upon the edge of yonder western peak

Reflects the sunsets of a thousand years.

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