Soak in (pun intended) the offbeat New Mexican hot springs town that re-named itself after a wacky game show.
My favorite places to fly are Utah, Idaho, and New Mexico. In Utah, it’s all about the incredible red-rock landscapes. In Idaho, where I live now, it’s all about landing on backcountry airstrips and camping in the wilderness. But New Mexico is all about the culture—what the people have created with the resources available. The unique cultures of New Mexico, created by the indigenous people, the Spanish, the Mexicans, and the latest influx of Americans from other states is exhibited in local architecture, cuisine, and the arts. And so, I just can’t stay away. I love all the different little towns. Among them, Truth or Consequences, which New Mexico magazine called the “per capita most creative little town in the United States.” And that’s what T or C, as the locals call it, feels like: a place slightly out-of-the-norm, where life slows down enough so you have time to let the creative juices flow.
We emerge from the hot springs serene and rubber-legged, to wander among the low-slung storefronts that house galleries, thrift shops, bookstores, and boutiques loaded with locally made crafts—the fruits of those who moved here to live their dreams. Grapes is a sophisticated art gallery with a SoHo vibe. We stumble into Black Cat Books and Coffee, a tiny white unmarked storefront with a blue awning. You can pick out something interesting from a vast assortment of used tomes, fix your own java (it’s good), and immerse yourself in the book, or, better yet, get to know a few friendly locals as your cobwebs clear. Xochis Bookstore and Gallery sells museum-quality Native American cultural artifacts and ceramics from modern works back to 1,500 years old, plus paintings and rare and out-of-print books. Studio de La Luz is a community wellness center offering yoga classes, belly dance, reiki, a walk-in wellness day, and singing bowl healing sessions. The Second Saturday Art Hop is when shops and galleries host artists and entertainers and many businesses stay open late. Live music echoes throughout the streets and performances are often spontaneous.
You can play golf, go boating and fishing at the Elephant Butte Reservoir, go birding at Caballo Lake State Park, or visit a ghost town. T or C is even becoming a food destination, with unique local eateries that offer everything from traditional or nouveau breakfast creations to Asian fusion dishes or traditional steak and lobster. We sleep (and soak again) at the colorful Pelican Spa, but if luxury is your desire, stay, soak, and dine at the historic Sierra Grande Lodge and Spa, acquired in 2013 by billionaire philanthropist Ted Turner, who owns two sprawling ranches nearby, also open to visitors (see photos for details).
So, what’s up with that name, anyway? In 1940 NBC launched a zany quiz show called Truth or Consequences, hosted by Ralph Edwards. In 1950, to celebrate the popular show’s tenth anniversary, Edwards offered to broadcast live from any town that would change its name to match the show. Read the details here or come for the May fiesta, when the town celebrates its name with a parade, rodeo, concerts, boat races, and more. Now home to about 6,400 people, T or C continues to pull in new residents who want to get out of the rat race and feel their souls blossom in an environment where anything goes.
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