Tuesday, January 17, 2012

2012 SW Travel Destinations - LAS VEGAS, NM

In a quandary as to what to call the large amount of vacation photos from last year, that I had promised myself I would put on here then (and having let a huge amount of time lapse between the trip and now), I had an epiphany and decided upon "2012 SW Travel Destination Suggestions" - for those of you with a hankerin' to visit some of the beautiful southwest this year..."see the USA, from your Chevrolet"...
Growing up in a family that took road trips each summer, it's still my most favorite way to travel (in fact, I hate flying).  I have parents that loved opening our eyes to other locales, and the history and grandeur that went along with it all - they still do. Dad was always one to pull over when we asked (probably for car sickness more than anything...yes, ME).  This, however, is one of those "Quick, take it!" shots out the window of the car, that come with age and pulling over one too many times for photo ops and throwing up.

A nest of hungry, noisy Barn Swallow babies, and their Mom, at a rest stop along the way...the only employees that we saw there that hot June day
And, we're here...the charming little town of Las Vegas, NM sits 65 miles (105 km) east of Santa Fe, NM on Interstate 25.  The railroad arrived in 1880 (well after the town was established), and set up shop one mile (1.6 km) east of the Plaza. Since the decline of the railroad began in the 1950s, the city's population has remained relatively constant - present day population is 13,689, give or take.
Las Vegas was established in 1835 after a group of settlers received a land grant from the Mexican government. The town was laid out in the traditional Spanish Colonial style, with a central plaza surrounded by buildings which could serve as fortifications in case of attack.
Las Vegas soon prospered as a stop on the Santa Fe Trail. During the Mexican-American War in 1846, Stephen W. Kearny delivered an address at the Plaza of Las Vegas claiming New Mexico for the United States.
During the railroad era Las Vegas boomed, quickly becoming one of the largest cities in the American southwest. Turn-of-the-century Las Vegas featured all the modern amenities, including an electric street railway, the "Duncan Opera House", a library, a major hotel, and the New Mexico Normal School (now New Mexico Highlands University).  The old architecture throughout the town is beautiful.
The Plaza Hotel, built in 1881, was the site of the first reunion of Teddy Roosevelt's Rough Riders in 1899.
The charming gazebo in the middle of the central plaza, is now surrounded by quaint local shops, galleries, and antique stores.  Patrick Swayze (1952–2009), an American actor, dancer and singer-songwriter, had his ranch in Las Vegas.  Scenic little Las Vegas has been a mecca for films, with most of the 2007 Coen brothers' No Country for Old Men being filmed there, as well as numerous other movies/tv shows.

Get out and see some of this great United States this year.  Take a chance on the little, more obscure spots - stop for lunch, if nothing else.  You might just find something very enchanting!  Next stop...Santa Fe.

8 comments:

Dorthe said...

Thankyou deAR Tanya, for taking me to Vegas...I think it will be the only tour I get ;)
Looks like a very beautiful old town, with the wonderful buildings.
I love seeing Denmark, like that ,also- going with the car- gives you many more experiences.
Hugs, Dorthe

Liz said...

Fun! Thank you for sharing... when I was a teenager I babysat for a couple that was from Las Vegas.... She was actually Miss New Mexico in the late 60's.... Isn't that funny!

~Liz

Ronna said...

Thanks for sharing and inspiring words to get out to see the more obscure spots in the U.S.

Ann said...

Tanya, thanks for commenting on my Blue Monday post. I really enjoyed your pics of Las Vegas, New Mexico. We lived in Albuquerque for four years when my hubby was in the Air Force. We traveled a lot a did visit Las Vegas--very quaint place. Loved the history.
Ann

Jackie said...

Tanya, you are a plethora of knowledge, your parents did a wonderful job enriching your education via the chevrolet!

bj said...

We, too, always took road trips when I was a child...then, when I married and had children, we did the same thing. Saw lots of pretty country thru the years but never LV. Looks like a darling little town.

Curtains in My Tree said...

Only thing I liked about road trips when I was a child in the back seat of my grandparents cars, was when it was over LOL

I was not and still not a good car traveler . I think a 2 hour car trip is long ebough for any one day

Carole said...

Love the architecture ....very different from your Las Vegas I imagine. Z's not a big fan so I have no idea what its like.
Thanks for the history,

hugs,
Carole