An Out Of This World Trip To ROSWELL
Bitten by the UFO bug? Watched too many Roswell TV Show reruns? So go ahead and visit the place, by Jupiter! No, not Roswell, Georgia. The one we all hear about! Whether you're a fan of the Roswell TV Show or just want to see what this is all about, you'll need to go to New Mexico to find out. And that's not a bad thing.
I have been to Roswell many times. There was a time when it was a town embarrassed by stories of a 1947 UFO crash. No one would give you any information and there was only a one paragraph reference to the alledged crash in tourist material. While those days gave visitors a chance to see things before the circus came to town, it is better today for the average tourist.
Your first stop when planning a trip to Roswell should be online. Visit the Official City Website. Carefully research the town map. It's not a large city, so you should be able to plan your stops without too much trouble. Just don't try and make it a day trip. Plan on staying a couple of days at least. Hotel space is very limited, especially during certain times of the year, so make and confirm reservations well before your trip. Stop by the UFO Museum site and make plans to visit there. It's located on the corner of Roads 70 and 285. When driving into town, you are likely to be on one road or the other.
The whole thing started in July of 1947 when the Army Air Force Base in town (no longer there) released a press release. They said a flying disc had crashed on a nearby ranch, was retrieved and brought to the base. Within days the story was reversed, but many credible people still claim something odd happened. Some of these people can be found at the UFO Museum. I strongly suggest that you enhance your trip to Roswell by reading the two best books on the UFO Crash. Start with The Roswell Incident. It's a fast read and contains some cool stories. Next, move on to The Day After Roswell, a fascinating book by a high ranking Army Officer who investigated the matter for his superior.
You can still visit what's left of the Army Air Force Base by heading south from the UFO Museum on 285. You'll run right into it. Though it's a modern aircraft maintenance facility today with large runways to accomodate the planes brought in for that purpose, there are still some older buildings to see from the days when it was a base. You can drive around the facility and, considering what may have been there at one time, it's an usual experience. UFOs are still spotted in the area. Video and photos can be seen at the UFO Museum.
There is no easy way to get to Roswell. I strongly suggest buying a book about New Mexico Day and Weekend Trips, as well as the New Mexico Road Atlas. Driving in still involves roughing it a bit, but the facilities in Roswell have become tourist friendly. Besides getting a taste of the Old West and a lesson in UFO history, you'll be in a position to visit a number of interesting archeological and historical sites.
New Mexico has had its share of colorful characters including Billy the Kid and early visitors like the Spanish soldiers, priests and settlers who came looking for golden cities, homesteads and natives to convert. You can still visit the places they did and relive a rich part of American History. There are also some historic ruins you can walk through. These include ancient pueblos, early settlements and forts.
You can visit the place where Billy the Kid was held under arrest at the Lincoln State Monument. It's located in Lincoln, west of Roswell between Socorro and Roswell along US Highway 380 on the banks of the Rio Bonito River near the Lincoln National Forest, 12 miles east of Capitán. This once-quiet Hispanic village was rocked by violence during the Lincoln County War. This period of lawlessness during the 1860s was made famous by such characters as Billy the Kid and his adversary Sheriff Pat Garrett.
Check your map. El Paso, Texas isn't far from Roswell and offers much in the way of Western History and day trips to Mexico. White Sands is near, but there isn't much to see. Still, the ride through the desert is something you might want to do at least once. To the northwest of Roswell a healthy ride will bring you to Socorro, New Mexico, the home of yet another alleged UFO crash. If you saw the Jodie Foster film based on Astronomer Carl Sagan's book, Contact, you'll remember seeing the very large array of radio telescopes. Well, guess what? They are located in Socorro! How weird is that?
Every July there is a festival to remember the UFO crash, but things happen in Roswell year round. Tours take people out to most of the sites of interest. If the UFO crash is your main area of interest while visiting Roswell, start at the UFO Museum. They tend to have the information you need on tours, sites and other things. There are some amusement facilities, but this isn't really a vacation suited to younger children. Teens might like it if they like the TV Show. If you are a history buff, you'll find Roswell and Southern New Mexico to be the perfect vacation spot. The people are friendly and you don't have to worry about feeling weird when talking about UFOs.