Dave Insert

IF YOU EVER HEAR someone complain that there’s nothing going on in New Mexico, please feel free to whack them over the head—gently, of course, in the spirit of loving kindness—with this issue of the magazine.

In September, the only legitimate complaint is that there’s too much to do. We’re spoiled for choice. And not only is it the most jam-packed month for special events that celebrate the full menu of only-in-NM cultural and recreational assets, but temperate weather conditions make it perfect for touring and attending outdoor jamborees. This is a month that locals (and enlightened visitors) cherish as prime time.

Check out the expanded calendar of events. It’s ridiculous. You could take an art-studio tour one weekend, enjoy rare access to a pueblo the next, hit a music festival on another—and that’s not even counting extravaganzas like Fiestas de Santa Fe, the State Fair, and the Hatch Chile Festival. All over the state, the air will be infused with the smoke from parking-lot chile roasters, one of New Mexico’s delicious signature aromas. Wherever you decide to go, we’ve provided connective tissue for making the journey more engaging and worth lingering over. In Camino of Dreams, Carmella Padilla describes noteworthy sites to stop at along El Camino Real, which conveniently shadows I-25 all the way from the plaza in Mesilla to the one in Santa Fe. Knowing some of the dramatic history of this world-historic artery enhances immeasurably the experience of driving the interstate.

For a really leisurely tour, follow one of the wine trails mapped in Kissed by the Sun, Jim Hammond’s overview of the state’s burgeoning wine industry and guide to the best places to sample the fruit of the vine. Like El Camino Real, most of them more or less track the Río Grande valley. And should you divert southwesterly to investigate the state’s most prolific wine-growing region near Deming, you might want to plan the trip to coincide with the Pickamania! music festival in Silver City (September 11–13). From there, it’s a short trip off the beaten track to the tiny village of Hachita. David Pike’s report on the little bootheel town, Unhurried in Hachita, proves that you can’t turn over a rock in New Mexico without discovering something unique and wonderful—any time of the year. You’ll meet, for instance, a troubadour with a colorful past: “Cal was once a professional wrestler. A heel, no less—the bad guys of the squared circle, ignoring the ref and badgering the audience. Promoters called him ‘Cowboy Cal West’ and said he was from Arizona, a ring name and backstory that surprised this Massachusetts-born lad the first time he heard it.”

Read the story to learn how he fared against heavyweight champ Bruno Sammartino. You’ll be glad you did.



Dave Herndon