New Mexico – Being Sent to the “Land of Entrapment” for Your Next Duty Station?

Okay, New Mexico isn’t on everyone’s dream sheet, but let’s take a closer look before you are completely disappointed.

The state of New Mexico is a beautiful and culturally enriched spot in the United States. Though mostly a desert climate, every city and area in New Mexico is different. There are large cities and tiny ghost towns, and drives that take you through beautiful lush mountains, and others that take you through the dry and peaceful desert. If this is not your typical area, take time to become culturally involved. Check out the amazing perks of living here.

Home of the Famous Hatch Green Chile

If you are ever in New Mexico, one of the things you will notice is that Hatch green chile is an option anywhere and everywhere. You will find it as toppings in famous fast food joints, roasting on grills in small roadside stands, hanging from people’s front doors, and canned up in every grocery store. Hatch green chile isn’t just any normal type of chile, it is a life-changing experience. You can get it in mild, medium, or flaming hot. In any Mexican restaurant you will be asked “Red, green, or Christmas?” If you’ve never been to New Mexico, this might be a confusing question, but all they are asking you is if you’d like your food smothered in red chile, green chile, or both (Christmas). New Mexico is known as one of the chile capitals of the world.

Ancient Pueblo Tribe Sites and Artifacts

The Pueblo people of ancient New Mexico (Native Americans), have gifted the world with so many unique artifacts and buildings still intact to this day. The history they have left behind include some of the most beautifully designed pottery, mosaic jewelry, and weapons commonly known as arrowheads. The arrowheads were crafted and sharpened to use as spears for hunting, and some have been found that are incredibly small, while others are very large in size. Thousands have been discovered in perfect condition and still extremely sharp. Pueblo homes made of Adobe have been perfectly preserved and now are famous tourist destinations. The buildings have stayed perfectly preserved for so long because they were constructed with earth, water, and straw very delicately. Many ladders leading up to the tops of the buildings and inside the buildings are still in perfect condition as well. Seeing the ancient Pueblo sites will be the experience of a lifetime.

Santa FeNew Mexico’s Beautiful Capital

Santa Fe is the capital of New Mexico and one of the most visited places in the state. It is the perfect mixture of city and beautiful desert scenery. If you want to experience the wild west, this is the place to do it. There are annual festivals based on Native American culture and dances of all the tribes. Santa Fe is home to the White Sands National Monument. The sand is pure white, composed of gypsum, and absolutely stunning. The sand dunes are huge and create large waves almost resembling an ocean. One of the best times to visit is during a sunset – the orange and purple tones bounce off the white sands.

Aliens, real or not?

You can determine whether you believe in aliens or not after visiting Roswell, New Mexico. In 1947, there was an incident that lead the whole world to believe that a UFO had crashed in Roswell, and now it is a country-wide tourist hot spot. The flying saucer was claimed to fly over Roswell then crash, and has now been made into a museum informing people on anything and everything alien related. The alleged “spot” of the crash will be on your checklist of things to see. Aliens will be spotted all over the city – painted on walls, designed onto shirts, and made into key chains and magnets at gift shops.

The Wild West

When you think of old western movies, you probably think of smoke-filled, creaky, wooden saloons and desert shoot outs between cowboys and Indians. This is still very much a part of New Mexico even in this day and age. Many restaurants across the state are designed as saloons and serve you classic New Mexican food while people fill up stools in front of the bar. Just like the past, the present allows people to openly carry guns anywhere and everywhere – from state parks and tourist destinations, to restaurants and places that serve alcohol.

You’ll Never Want to Eat Food Anywhere Else Again

There are many unique foods native to New Mexico, not just the Hatch Green Chile. In every town you will find some of the best Mexican food you’ll ever have, and they always come in huge servings made for a feast. You’ll be served dessert sopaipillas with honey, and a full plate of Mexican beans and rice, and entrees such as burritos, tacos, enchiladas, and tamales. There isn’t only Mexican food, but you can try traditional Native American cuisine such as Navajo tacos, or elk and deer cheeseburgers and steak. One of the most common Native American foods still served everywhere in New Mexico is goat meat, known as mutton. Even in gas stations you will find mutton stew, hot dogs, and jerky.

What to Expect with Weather

New Mexico is one of the most unpredictable states when it comes to the climates and weather conditions. One day it could be an oven-like desert heat, and the next day there will be a sudden wind chill. While most of New Mexico is very dry, four seasons are typically always expected. There will be warm springs, burning hot summers, chilly and beautiful autumns, and freezing blizzardy winters.

Spending time in New Mexico will change your perspective on how the western United States is viewed and appreciated. There are way too many things to do and see, and every city holds a special history and beauty of its own brand. You can take time visiting the large cities, or spend your time camping in a secluded area and experiencing the country life. New Mexico is the perfect destination for many new experiences, and even a simple rest stop in the middle of nowhere you can grab some unique foods and see the beautiful sculptures of the canyons and rock formations. This peaceful state will give you a wonderful experience, and there is nothing as beautiful as a desert sunset mixed with the dry desert breeze. While the military bases might not be much, everything is only a road trip away.

Natalie Applegate

Natalie is a freelance writer working for multiple websites and is a devoted military spouse to an aircraft electrician. She started in New Mexico then moved to Okinawa for six years, stationed on Kadena where she began her writing career. A mental health awareness activist, she has spent much of her time volunteering with combat vets and writing their stories.
Natalie Applegate

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