Friday, October 10, 2008

Getting away from it all

Good afternoon lovers of all things New Mexican,
A long weekend is ahead, a little snow is on Santa Fe Baldy, the leaves are at their peak and by the smell of the fireplaces burning pinon wood each evening, it feels like winter is just around the corner.

But before you get out your winter woolies, consider a trip to a southern New Mexico town where the next ten days feature daytime temperatures in the 70s and crisp desert evenings in the low 50s. It may have a funny name, but last winter Vanity Fair named it "the next Marfa" and it continues to get national attention for being one of the country's up-and-coming hip spots to hang out: Truth or Consequences.

T or C is where I go to get away from it all, even though I live in Santa Fe, which is a small, quiet town where lots of urbanites come to relax and contemplate life with a margarita in hand, scanning the surrounding open spaces. I need my own retreat.

Named after the famous 1950s radio (and eventually TV) show as a publicity stunt, T or C is three hours south of Santa Fe, so, two hours south of Albuquerque and an hour north of Las Cruces. Right off of I-25, T or C is near our largest lake, Elephant Butte Reservoir (in Elephant Butte Reservoir State Park: and is on the banks of the Rio Grande. Overlooking the town is the beautiful and arid Turtleback Mountain, a southern extension of the Rockies. The area, once a healing destination for Native Americans, has always been popular because of one thing: HOT WATER. Mineral-rich water pops right up out of the ground from wells as shallow as three feet that tap a giant aquifer under the town. I can attest--when I visit T or C, the very first thing I do is soak in the water. Before bed, upon waking--you really do want to be in it all the time. Nothing makes me relax faster.
On a quick trip last month to T or C I met up with journalists from the BBC documenting a cross-country trip called "Talking America" to quiz Americans on their country and the recent election. For their take of T or C, go here: The Brits were so taken by T or C that they may be back for election night.
But from the heart, let me tell you why I love T or C, and why it's special to me. I spend a lot of time on the road in New Mexico, and there is something about T or C that feels like coming home. There's something about a heavy yellow moon rising over the desert mountains, the smell of the creosote in the desert basin rising up in the morning, friendly folks who wave on the quiet downtown streets. The light hitting pastel green, pink and lilac adobe buildings, the sense of ease in the dry air, the big sleepy Rio Grande slipping by. T or C has a sense of humor about itself. It's quirky, it's in the middle of nowhere, and it's peddling a lot of hot water. People moved there because their cars broke down at that particular exit. Just go, though, and you'll know what I'm talking about. T or C is a feeling. A good one.

For the record, I recently stayed at the Blackstone Hotsprings; with their themed rooms (think Roy Rogers and I Love Lucy) and lovely patio garden, it's a cozy spot right downtown on Austin Street My goal for the next visit is to take a class at the Mothership Yoga Lounge. More information on a big upcoming class by guru Cyndi Lee here: or go directly to their website:
For a comprehensive glimpse at T or C in the Oct. 5th, 2008 New York Times article by Granville Greene, go to this link:
Enjoy the weekend,

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