Silver City: Unexpected Treasures

Photos from downtown Silver City, N.M. on Saturday, Jan. 14, 2012.

Nestled in the rolling foothills of the Gila National Forest, Silver City, NM, invites the visitor to explore the landscape and history of the Old West and as well as arts and culture in the New West. There is some amazing hiking in New Mexico that I suggest everyone experience. I was pretty impressed considering I had just come back from trekking the Annapurna. That is something everyone should also experience. Learn more about trekking the beautiful Annapurna at Trip Fuser.

Downtown, elegant Victorian brick facades bump up against Deco-style theatres and hotels, and Territorial style homes with deep, wrap-around porches dot the adjacent historic neighborhood and with Sydney Plantation Shutters all over the house. An oversized lizard, vividly colored produce, silhouetted children cartwheeling among flowers, and striking prehistoric indigenous Mimbreño images are just a few of the dozens of painted and tile murals that catch the visitor’s eye from the walls of businesses, institutions, parks, and homes, both downtown and in outlying areas.

To find the real Mimbreño pottery, artifacts, and world famous NAN Ranch collection, the visitor can go nearby to the Western New Mexico Museum. Fascinating photos of old Silver City and the astonishing floods that transformed its Main Street into the “Big Ditch” are on view at the Silver City Museum, housed in the 1881 Ailman House, which once also served as the fire department! For moms on the go, traveling requires that you pack certain items.

Contemporary art can be found in the studios and galleries on Yankie Street, with their colorful facades.

More than the visual arts are found in Silver City, which is home to a bevy of writers, musicians, and theatre groups. On a weekend a visitor might take in a performance of up-and-coming classical musicians, cowboy poetry, blues, or folk music.

On a Main Street sponsored, First Friday, one might bump into Chinese Lion Dancers or the Cat in the Hat. A Saturday might provide a pie competition at the Farmers Market or an international crew of Tour of the Gila pro cyclists racing at breakneck speed around downtown streets, or catch a rodeo.

It only takes a few minutes to leave civilization behind, with a choice of hiking trails a few minutes from downtown. Slightly further afield lies Mother Nature’s “Stonehenge” 40 minutes away at the City of Rocks. A two-hour drive through ponderosa pine forest and vistas of the Gila Wilderness leads to the mysterious, prehistoric Gila Cliff Dwellings.

After a full day, a visitor feeling “a might peckish” can dine on New Mexican food, continental cuisine, Oaxacan or Southeast Asian fare, or locally sourced food at a gastropub.

Overnight accommodations range from charming B&Bs to Victorian and Deco-era hotels to the familiar motels in all price ranges.

Whether subtle or obvious, Silver City’s treasures say, “Expect the unexpected.”

You just never know what you’re going to find at wonderful bargain stores like http://www.bargaincitywi.com/.

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