New Mexico: the other Las Vegas

Lisa:

After two days of intense driving, we arrived in northern New Mexico and what a change it is from Arkansas. First of all it’s freezing here.  We experienced high winds and light snow. Lee was wearing shorts and the kids were wearing sandals which did fit the 70 degree temperatures we had in Ozark country but definitely not this place. 

We had fun exploring New Mexico’s Las Vegas- a small town with Victorian buildings and a historic plaza rather than neon signs and casinos. Sadly, much of it was run down but it still retained its charm.

  
We had a snack at the unmarked World Traveller’s cafe, which we read about in the Lonely Planet guide. It had traditional woven blankets on display and weaving looms, lots of books, board games and friendly people. A nice respite from the cold! 

Then it was onward to Montezuma Castle, a former luxury hotel built in the 1800s to serve visitors to nearby hot springs. Now it is home to United World College of the American West.

  
The college is actually a two-year international baccalaureate program for students age 16-19 from around the world. More than 200 students live there. The school’s mission is “making education a force to unite people, nations and cultures for peace and a sustainable future.” What’s especially cool is all 50 US students chosen for the program can attend and receive room and board for free thanks to funding provided by philanthropists.

The campus includes the inspiring Dwan Light Sanctuary, a meditation chamber open to the public.

  
  The circular building features 12 large prisms which spread rainbows across the floor and walls. I’ve never seen anything like it. It was very peaceful.
  We’re actually not too far away from Mesa Verde National Park and Crestone, Colo. which we visited in May. It’s so great to be back in this beautiful region. 

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