Roswell, New Mexico — the city with a magnetic personality


Downtown Roswell Photo by Phyllis Eileen Banks.
Downtown Roswell

I grew up (more or less) in Roswell. More or less? Well, my family moved often until I hit my teens. We always managed to bounce back to Roswell for a while before we set out again searching for that elusive rainbow my father chased all his life.

The year I turned thirteen, my mother declared that a magnet was planted in the middle of Second and Main Streets in Roswell, and everyone who passed over it would forever feel its gentle tug beckoning them home. She confessed that the rolling hills of Kansas, the cascading snows of Michigan, and the magnificent deserts of Arizona were all wonderful, but we could have all that and more if we went home to Roswell. So home we came.

At sixteen, I realized that my Mother knew nothing of the real world, and as most teenagers believe, I was absolutely positive that I was much smarter than she was. I couldn’t wait to get away from this small town, which of course offered nothing to do. I wanted to see the world so I could really live.

In my early twenties, I left. For ten years, I felt the gentle but irresistible pull of an intangible presence. Slowly that attraction grew incredibly strong. At last, I realized how smart my Mother had been all those years ago when she moved back to Roswell for the final time. I obeyed the alluring tug of that magnet. I came home again.

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus, and you can go home again.

Within one hour of Roswell, you can ski on the majestic mountains of Ruidoso, which offer enough snow to satisfy even Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, tour the rolling, Peter Hurd hills of Hondo Valley for breathtaking scenery, or explore the desert landscape rich with unique forms of life ranging from rainbow hued, blooming cacti to sleek, howling coyotes and prehistoric Horned Toads.

The past, present and future belong to you.

If you drive a few hours north, you can visit the ancient past. The remains of extraordinary, ancient Indian cities lie entrenched in the mighty cliffs of Mother Earth herself. Resting on lofty plateaus, overlooking vast distances, ancient, religious Indian kivas beseech you to relive history and renew your faith.

A few more hours in the southerly direction catapults you into the future. Alamogordo offers a glimpse of travel to the stars, and you can visit a world limited only by your own imagination at The International Space Hall of Fame. 

Back in Roswell, Alien visitors from space wait to greet you at a UFO museum. The Chili Pepper Festival, Cinco De Mayo Celebration, Artists in Residence shows, famous Historical Homes, symphonies, an ostrich farm and a plethora of other cultural and historic events keep visitors and residents so busy they have to make an appointment just to have lunch.

If the changing seasons are your cup of chili peppers, Roswell has them. Perhaps you are old enough to remember the Howdy Doody show. If so, you might remember the famous Indian princess the show hosted. Her name was Princess Summer-Fall-Winter-Spring, and she must have come from Roswell because we have them all. (Sometimes all in one day!)

Yet, none of the seasons are extremely harsh. Mild winters, cool nights in the summer and breathtakingly brilliant autumn sunsets give us just a taste of each season. Adding to the already phenomenal diversity of Roswell’s people, cultures and interests, the seasons in Roswell do not confine themselves to the traditional calendar months. I’ve seen snow on Easter, and one year, my family carried Christmas dinner to the patio and had a turkey picnic because the weather was so perfect. You can expect weather surprises all through the year - just to make things interesting.

The magnet at Second and Main in Roswell, New Mexico denotes all four points of the compass - North, South, East and West. You can always get there from here.