Sunday, March 10, 2013

Roswell, New Mexico

With all the media hype about UFO sightings near Roswell and the famous 1947 UFO crash, you would expect to see a sign like this welcoming you to Roswell.
Instead, there are signs declaring Roswell to be the dairy capital of the southwest!!! What??? When I researched this title, I couldn't find out much about it other than there are 19 dairies in the area.  The alien welcome sign stands outside a hotel.
Roswell is a city with a population of approximately 50,000.  Like most cities it has neighborhoods ranging from impoverished to high income.  It has the old downtown and the main business strip that runs to the edge of the city.  During our day trips around town, we have felt comfortable in every area of the city.   
There is a large attractive courthouse, 2 contemporary art museums, a Historical Society museum, a planetarium, a nice zoo, and all the businesses one would typically find in a city of this size.  There is so much more to Roswell than the alien/UFO theme that by the third day we hardly noticed the references to it!
Green aliens are to be seen in abundance in advertising, but primarily in the old downtown where the gift shops are located.  This is the Roswell and outlying area phone book.  It has a very cool cover!
There are green aliens at several hotel entrances.
Wal-Mart has them in the front window!
Businesses in the old downtown capitalize on the alien/UFO theme!
There are several alien related tee-shirt/trinket shops!  There is one called the Alien Zone that has alien encounter scenes set-up in the back of the store.  For a minimal entrance fee you can place yourself in the scene and have friends take pictures of you! 
On the more serious side of the Roswell UFO incident is the International UFO Museum and Research Center. It is a museum with documents, articles, and artifacts regarding the UFO crash and government cover-up.
The street lights in some areas of the older business district have alien eyes!
McDonald's spaceship theme is exciting when first seen, but isn't special inside.
Roswell has been home to the New Mexico Military Institute since 1891.  It is a 4 year military high school and junior college.  It has a large campus with interesting castle architecture.  The wide entrance goes into a large courtyard.  Some noteworthy graduates are Sam Donaldson, Roger Staubach, Will Rogers, and Conrad Hilton.  This program prepares students for military academies such as West Point.
This is Robert H. Goddard High School and home of the Goddard Rockets! 
Robert H. Goddard (1882-1945) was a man ahead of his times!  In a time when most people didn't have radios in their home, he was designing rockets and means of propulsion with the idea of eventually sending a rocket to the moon! Wow!
The Roswell area has a lot to offer that is quite diverse.  Ten miles north of town is Bitter Lake Wildlife Refuge.  Twenty mile north of town is the Haystack Mountains Recreation Area.  That is BLM land with free camping, and trails for hiking, off road dirt biking and mountain biking.  Fifteen miles to the southeast of of town is Bottomless Lakes State Park.  It has 6 cavern fed lakes, fishing, and a swimming area.  Sixty miles south is Carlsbad Caverns.  Twenty five miles west of town is the Hondo Valley and the Capitan Mountains Wilderness Area.  It is said to be totally different then the desert surrounding Roswell.  It has the Rio Hondo River, mountains, and forest!  To the southwest is the Mescalero Apache Indian Reservation.  The reservation is said to be scenic and offers a casino with a gorgeous lodge.  To the southwest of town is the community of Ruidoso where there is a horse racing track.  The community of Skycroft is said to be quaint.  It has lots of tourist shops, and an old inn that is said to be haunted!  Roy and I plan to explore the outlying areas in April.  We've planned a two month stay in Roswell, but I'm already feeling our stay may turn into 3 or 4!!!