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What’s in a name?

Truth or Consequences, New Mexico

The Spanish christened it Ojo Caliente de las Palomas, then it was shortened to Palomas Hot Springs, and then simply Hot Springs because of the naturally occurring hot springs along the Rio Grande, which runs through the center of town. But the town changed its name when the 1950s television show Truth or Consequences held a contest for any town willing to change its name. Although some residents objected, Hot Springs became Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, TorC, as the locals call it, even after three referendums. For 50 years after the live NBC broadcast of the show in 1950, show host Ralph Edwards came back to the town to celebrate. TorC holds a Ralph Edwards Day and Fiesta each year.

Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, is the county seat of Sierra County, nestled next to the Rio Grande. Photo by Mike Fizer.

The quiet little town of Truth or Consequences is the closest to Spaceport America and because of this proximity to Virgin Galactic’s home port, TorC has been experiencing a renaissance of sorts. There are new restaurants, restored eclectic hotels, art galleries, and even a Ted Turner-owned spa, the Sierra Grande. “Wellness tourism” is big business and TorC has the largest concentration of hot springs in New Mexico; these mineral-rich waters are thermally heated and are supposed to be beneficial to your health.

Truth or Consequences Municipal Airport has five runways; the main runway is 7,200 feet long and paved. The airport is in a sleepy area nine miles from town and staffed from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. A new Lexus SUV courtesy car is available.

The most famous restaurant in town is Los Arcos Restaurant on Date Street. It’s an old-school steakhouse with dim lighting, a big bar, and massive steak dinners. It is owned by a TorC native and has been in business since 1970.

Don’t miss the Elephant Butte Reservoir, five miles north of TorC. It was constructed between 1911 and 1916, with the water fill in 1915. It was a major engineering feat in its day, and was the largest human-made lake on Earth.

Julie Walker

Julie Summers Walker

AOPA Senior Features Editor
AOPA Senior Features Editor Julie Summers Walker joined AOPA in 1998. She is a student pilot still working toward her solo.
Topics: Travel, U.S. Travel

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