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.