While the American Civil War raged in states like Virginia, Kentucky and Missouri, General Ulysses Grant captured Fort Henry in Tennessee. Congress passes legislation outlawing slavery and President Abraham Lincoln signs the homestead act into law. The small southwestern village of Tularosa is about to be founded.
An idea born by the first settlers of Tularosa in “La Promesa Solemne”, a prayer lifted up to God in 1862 before the two-day battle of Round Mountain, and later fulfilled by the construction of the St Francis De Paula Church in 1869.
Since then, as an uninterrupted tradition, the St Francis De Paula Fiesta has been celebrated every year.
Although the present construction is not in its original shape, and is double the original size, it’s included in the National Register of Historic Places and is an essential part of our local history.
If you are planning to come, but wondering what to do in Tularosa, let me give you a few things you must do when you visit:
- The Tularosa Original Townsite District is part of the National Register of Historic Places. It was divided into 48 blocks in 1873. Many of the homes built during the 1800’s are still there today and the local Library offers a Walking Tour Guide with a map and information to help visitors interested in learning the amazing stories behind each building.
- The original Acequia System was built by the first settlers in 1862 to divert the Tularosa River into a terraced irrigation system for homesteads, animals, home vegetable gardens and orchards is still being used today, lining the 48 original townsite blocks.
- The Saint Francis De Paula Church was built in 1862 as a result of La Promesa Solemne after the Battle fo Round Mountain, and is one of five Franciscan Missions in the area. This is the modified original structure where the foundation is cut stone quarried near the Tularosa River.
- Historic Granado Street with amazing shops, and historic buildings is where most of the local events are held. You can pick up a Walking Tour Guide from one of the shops.
- If archaeology and ancient history is what you are looking for, check out Tularosa’s Jornada Research Institute. Their membership includes monthly tours to interesting archaeological sites and volunteer opportunities to sites their team is currently working on.
If you are interested in learning more about Tularosa visit the Tularosa History Council’s website.
- Three Rivers Petroglyph Site is an amazing place with more than 21, 000 petroglyphs located just outside of the village, a 20 minute drive.
Eat, drink, and be merry…
- Tularosa Vineyards with Tasting Room and Tours, pioneers in growing some of the more unusual, but well acclimated grapes in New Mexico.
- Tularosa Pecan Company established in 1969 is located inside the Travel Center and has the best treats made from their locally grown pecan orchards. Treats you will not find anywhere else.
- Loredos Bakery with the best authentic and freshly-made everyday Pan De Dulce. Chiles rellenos and tamales are also their specialty and are the best in the area.
- Casa de Suenos with amazing food and ambiance.
- Coming soon; Feed the Basin, a lofty mission driven enterprise.
- Better than Starbucks coffee, is Tularosa’s Hugga Mug. And if you want a breakfast to go with it you will find it at Yum Yums (along with the only Navajo Tacos I’ve found in our area). Ice cream and cheeseburgers instead? Old fashioned Tulie Freeze is the place.
Tour New Mexico; Observe, Listen, Engage, and Learn. An Awesome Way to Travel.
If you’re a visual learner, you’d be able to understand how important our senses are to learning.
Listening to experts, engaging in conversations, asking questions, and seeking further information helps stimulate our thinking process, challenges our preconceived notions and beliefs, and helps our minds grow.
For these and other reasons, Tours are an awesome way to experience New Mexico.
NOTE: Some of these tours are by appointment. If you are unable to find any specific info on the linked websites, give them a call. I’ve done my homework and all these tours are available as of March 2019.
Here is a list of Tours in our area you won’t be able to find anywhere else!
- Apache Cultural Tour
- Mescalero Tribal Fish Hatchery
- Sunspot Solar Observatory
- Eagle Ranch Farm Tour
- Tularosa Basin Museum of History
- Trinity Site National Historic Landmark
- Native Plant Garden Tour at WSNM
- Full Moon Hike at White Sands
- Lake Lucero Tours
- McGinn’s Pistachio Farm Tours
- Sunrise Arts
- Carrizozo’s Historic Homes Tour
- Sunset Stroll
- Fort Stanton Living History Tour
- Oliver Lee Ranch House
- Two Rivers Fairy Trail
- A downtown Walking Tour of Tularosa NM
- Alamogordo Tour of Historical Homes
- Wind Rider Ziptour
- Tularosa Vineyard Tours
- Sacramento Mountains Museum & Pioneer Village
- New Mexico Museum of Space History
- Cowboy Action Shooting Adventure
- Old Lincoln Living History Tour
- Carrizozo Heritage Museum
- Shroud of Turin and New Mexico History
- Three Rivers Petroglyph Site Guided Tours
Click on any one of these if you’re interested in learning about the beautiful Land of Enchantment.
What is The Spirit of the American Southwest?
It is a body of rich Traditions: Native American spirituality, Spanish culture, Mexican resilience, and the wild, rugged and free character of the American cowboy.
History has blurred ethnicity lines, and although several features of these strong traditions can be identified in the elements of the Southwestern culture, they are, simultaneously, one in substance and nature – The Spirit of the American Southwest.
Native American Spirituality is without a doubt the chief influence and foundational creative force in the Spirit of the Southwest. Being able to experience the Southwest means being in direct contact with its essential elements, and these Petroglyphs speak of that holy communion between man and nature.
The Spirit won’t admit your problems and worries. It won’t allow distractions or lack of commitment. It requires your full focus and undivided attention. It needs a clear mind in order to make a connection with your soul.
The petroglyphs at Three Rivers testify to the connection that can be made.
Take a 360 look at this 360 degree Virtual Tour.
Tularosa is a small village north of White Sands National Monument. It is an oasis and the center of operations for travelers visiting the area.
The Village Historical Museum is the repository of the village’s history.
In the Historic Commercial Granado Street, you will not only find beautiful buildings that have been part of the community for a long time, but art galleries and amazing shops where local artists display and sell the fruit of their varied skills.
Saint Francis De Paula Historic Church, right on the main street, should be on your must-visit-list. This is a beautiful church of great historical importance to the area, with beautiful architectural details inside and out.
The Acequia System in Tularosa remains in its original state, and is one of the most attractive features of the village. It also is what ultimately turned this piece of land into an oasis for local farmers and wildlife alike.
The Original Townsite District is comprised of the original 49 blocks with which Tularosa was established. Historic houses architectured with local techniques particular to the area fill these 49 blocks and the acequia system lines its streets.
Before California wines were, New Mexico wines were. And if you wish to learn about and taste the local history of wine going back to the Spanish settlers, you need to visit the Tularosa Vineyards.
Shopping for rocks and fossils? Tesoros de la Tierra has the most unique and interesting souvenirs you will find for miles and miles…and miles…and miles. And even if you are not going to shop, give them a visit and enjoy. This place is like a beautiful museum and the owners are knowledgeable and happy to share stories and facts.
In the mood for a beer? The local bar is a place where many bikers (on their way to Ruidoso) stop by.
The Three Rivers Petroglyph site is about a 20 minute drive from downtown Tularosa, and a must visit when you come. I took a few pictures on my last visit and created a video for YouTube:
Easy and Fun, with kids or without, romantic or not, these are four things you must do when you visit Carrizozo, NM.
This attraction (is actually on TripAdvisor…) and is awesome for everyone.
Kids, adults, grandparents and wheelchair-accessible, THIS IS IT!
What you won’t find on TripAdvisor:
- The Burro Challenge. Not on TripAdvisor (though I wonder why not?!) this was such a fun thing to do. We did walk around town a bit, but did not notice how far we traveled or for how long. One cannot visit Carrizozo without doing this, as this is the area of donkeys (“burro” means donkey) and the art is fun and beautiful. And if you are in Carrizozo, you must be into nature and art…and if you are not, you are missing out.
2. MoMaZoZo’s Gallery. 12th Historic Street in Carrizozo is awesome. Stop at all the spots, including the Malkerson Gallery!
3. Chamber of Commerce. The El Paso and Northeastern Railroad built a depot on Carrizozo Flats, and the town was born.
This is a video we took on our last visit:
This is a question I had to ask! Leonard Witter came out of his Fossil Works lab at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science.
I was watching him through the glass, working on a fossil with a couple of sharp tools, and a magnifying glass. He was focused, but noticed me staring. I smiled. He also smiled and then came out to see me.
He explained a bit about what he was doing, then I asked a couple of short questions and interrupted his answers by asking the one I really, really wanted to know.
Natural History Museums are a family favorite wherever we go. And the last time we visited Albuquerque, we just had to stop by.
Dad and the kids were almost done looking at the exhibition right next to Fossil Works, and before they came back, I really had to ask how could our family find fossils in the area where we live. I recorded his answer because I thought you would also like to know.
This park is right next to our local zoo; The Alameda Park Zoo, which was founded on 1898, and is one of the OLDEST zoos in the country.
This is a picture of the Alameda Park published on 1908:
Alamogordo’s Farmer’s Market, with vendors from the Otero County as well as Lincoln County; offers fresh, seasonal, and local produce at the northern side of the park. They are Open from June through October, every Saturday.
We like to come to this park when the kids need a big, spacious place to run around. We might play with a ball, run races, do cartwheels, or just picnic on the grass. There is a covered playground, a shelter with picnic tables, and a bench if you just want to sit and read.
Community events and birthday parties are held here, and the shelter can be secured with a fee. I think I have seen people doing a Yoga class, and definitely other interest groups doing different activities.
Take a Virtual Tour and see for yourself why you gotta visit:
Carrizozo, New Mexico is about an hour away from Alamogordo and at about 40 mins from Ruidoso. But if you are in Albuquerque you will take a bit over 2 hrs.
I love the drive. The plains early in the morning or late during the evening are just gorgeous.
I think of the wild, wild, west during these drives…The Spirit of The Southwest is definitely for me!
The Valley of Fires Recreation Area has several campsites (some with hook-ups!), and provides access to the Carrizozo Malpais; a petrified lava flow on the west side of the town.
We enjoy bringing our picnic most of the time, but this beautiful, small, southwestern town has several eateries as well. There are picnic tables, and a big shelter with a fabulous view. This is one of my favorite places to picnic with the fam.
We camped here once before and the experience was exhilarating. The darkness, the sounds of the wild, and a feeling of being so close to nature; it could bite me. Glow sticks, finger flash lights and dinner by the fire made for great family time. This was my first time making biscuits in a Dutch oven covered with embers. I felt like a real camper!
It does get quite windy, and during the summer months the sun can be very harsh. We have found that visiting during the Fall is the best time. But don’t skip a visit to the town of Carrizozo!
You will want to visit the Carrizozo Heritage Museum and go back in time to see how life used to be in Carrizozo and the area.
Now, there is a challenge Carrizozo has for visitors interested in a fun activity right after dinner: The Burro Challenge. 21 Painted Burros have been placed around town, and you might be able to locate them all if you keep your eyes open. Share your selfies on Instagram with #PaintedBurros and #Carrizozo
We are already planning our next visit (It’s fall!) and will definitely be sharing more on the Spirit of The Southwest we found in Carrizozo, NM.
The outdoors, natural wonders, and history! Take the virtual tour of Valley of Fires Recreational Area: