What’s cool and at the same time bubbling hot, colorful and quirky/artsy as it gets? Truth or Consequences! Located in Southern New Mexico, this little town is a color-blasted hot springs haven that also happens to be going through a food and arts renaissance. Here are 9 discoveries we stumbled upon in what is fondly known as TorC …
1.) THE HOT SPRINGS
The therapeutic hot springs have brought people to this area for eons. Hot thermal waters from the Rio Grande groundwater flow into springs all over town without losing the healing minerals or heat, holding temperatures between 95 – 115 degrees. And having some of the most mineral-rich hot springs anywhere in America, the 10 or so spas and bathhouses are deeply sought after by locals and visitors.
Their original name was … you guessed right … Hot Springs. Then the popular 1940s radio program Truth or Consequences announced that they would air their 10th anniversary program in the first town that named themselves after the show. On March 31, 1950 they officially changed their name, and the townspeople still celebrate this Fiesta day each year … their claim to pop culture fame.
2.) BEST PLACE TO STAY
Ted Turner’s elegant adobe hotel and retreat, The Sierra Grande Lodge & Spa. Minimalist Southwestern decor, this is a timeless, tranquil lodge where most rooms have mineral water pumped into the oversized bathroom tubs. Your stay includes complimentary private soaks in one of their beautiful tub rooms, breakfast from the sophisticated restaurant located on the ground floor, along with wifi and complimentary 24 hour beverages served in the lobby. The spa is private, offering holistic treatments and centering bodywork to guests and also those not staying at the lodge. Also, expeditions can be booked for adventure tours on one of the nearby Turner ranches. Website
3.) GERONIMO SPRINGS MUSEUM
The great Chiricahua Apache leader Geronimo oftentimes came to the springs to relax and rejuvenate, as this particular hot springs area was a designated neutral zone during wartimes. A room is entirely devoted to Geronimo’s life story, and exhibits are filled with artifacts that are primarily from a 50 mile radius of the town, donated by families of the community. The museum’s curator said that the best days are when someone comes in the front door with a big cardboard box and says, ‘I was clearing out my house and have some things you might be interested in.” Their pottery collection is massive, along with enormous fossils and displays telling the stories of the people of the region. Tip: allow for at least an hour to tour, and we highly recommend the prickly pear jam for sale in the gift shop. Website
4.) LATITUDE 33
One of the newer restaurants and an Asian Fusion gem. We’d go back in a heartbeat. The owners made a decided effort to move to TorC and open this place. The food is fresh, inventive and modern. With bright bohemian chic decor. The more you dig into your huge bowl of fried rice, the more gems of tender seasoned chicken and veggies you’ll find. With excellent seared Shishito peppers. We inhaled the crispy sweet and sour chicken and it was a sad moment when we were too full to order the popular Green Curry Chicken bowl. Friendly and casual, with a ‘buy local’ spirit. Info Page
5.) STEAKS AND SEAFOOD
If TorC were Hollywood, this would be their oldest steak and seafood restaurant Musso and Frank … in the architectural style designed by the Brady Bunch dad. This is not the place to find edible Parmesan paper or molecular bell pepper bubbles. Los Arcos offers delicious, traditional steak house classics like: hand-cut prime rib, filet with Bearnaise and crab, Oysters Rockefeller, steak salads, creamy chicken potato soup with green chile, and a darned decent wine list. Mr.D’s steak was well seasoned and cooked to the perfect temperature, along with a steak house baked potato with all the toppings. Amy’s Monte Vista Chicken was flavorful, charbroiled and topped with a delectable green chile and creamy mornay sauce. Tips: They have outdoor patio dining for those gorgeous Southwestern sunset skies, and it can be pricey for a small town so check out the early bird menu. Website
6.) SIERRA GRANDE LODGE & SPA RESTAURANT
Back to Sierra Grande to try their seasonal restaurant with contemporary global menu and Southwest fusion. Beautiful terra cotta floors, hammered copper table tops, with bright New Mexico light streaming in the windows. We lunched on the Hatch Dream beef burger (chicken and bison options available) with green chiles, mild cheddar, tomato, and mixed greens on a Kaiser bun, and also the Paseo Del Rio pan fried salmon filet with feta, jicama slaw and red chile mayo on pita bread. Everything was fresh and excellent. Upscale casual, and the perfect soothing spot to dine between spa appointments. Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner. Website and Menus
7.) GRAPEVINE BISTRO
Recommended for breakfast by virtually every local we met. Colorful decor that embraces arsty Southwest eccentricity, with friendly service, and the owner is the nicest guy you could meet. The food is great and so are their online reviews. We had the omelette with green chiles (of course) and blue corn tortillas, and Eggs Benedict on a homemade biscuit with chiles, candied bacon and a fresh light salad. All during our meal we chatted with locals who were more than happy to suggest places to sight see. Yelp Page
8.) THE ART, MURALS AND COLOR
Now for the artsy/quirky side. We were delighted to find that they have a growing gallery scene and hold an Art Walk every 2nd Saturday of the month. Even the local restaurants show, support and promote their artists. And down practically any street, especially in the historic hot springs district, there are murals of all varieties, sizes, depictions of the artist’s visions, brilliantly vivid buildings and vehicles, you name it. As artists ourselves, we had a blast exploring side streets, with Amy pointing, “that one, go down that street, I see something cool.” The best part is catching all this color in late afternoon, just before sunset when that warm Southwestern light ignites everything with such intensity.
9.) BEDROXX BOWLING AND WINE TASTING / TAPROOM (yep, you heard that right …)
In perfect harmony with the unconventional vibe of the town, this is Fred Flintstone’s dream come true. And unquestionably TorC cool. Huge multi-lane bowling alley, clean, family friendly, with a restaurant, leopard carpeting, and adjacent tap room serving all New Mexico wines and beers. Something for the whole family. Info Page
Not knowing anything about TorC before we arrived in town, we admittedly thought it might be one of those tiny places in the middle of nowhere with not much to do. But what a fun and adventurous surprise this discovery turned out to be. There are sights to see, intriguing colorful photography moments, the bathhouses are awesome (Mr.D soaked every night), and a great selection of restaurants recommended by friendly locals.
So if you find yourself traveling south of Albuquerque by about 2 hours, on your way to Hatch, Las Cruces, or swinging down and around west towards Tucson, a stop in TorC is completely worth your time.
Buen Provecho and Happy Discovering!
xoAmy and Mr.D