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On Walkabout In: Old Mesilla, New Mexico

A really nice little place my wife and I like to drive to from our home in El Paso, Texas, to have lunch from time to time is the historic village of Old Mesilla, New Mexico.  La Mesilla is located just outside of the much larger city of Las Cruces and is a popular weekend destination for people who live in the area.  One of the unique features of the village that really gives it charm is the fact that nearly every building is made of adobe architecture to include the Post Office:

Mesilla was founded in 1848 and is Spanish for the “little table land” due to the nearby mesa that borders the Rio Grande River that runs by the village.  Since its founding the village has had a colorful history that is easy to imagine when walking around the streets of La Mesilla:

Pretty much all the roads in Mesilla eventually end up at what is known as the Plaza.  When Mesilla was first established buildings were built around the Plaza in order to better defend the city from Apache raids.  Something else of interest is that when Mesilla was founded it was actually a Mexican city, but when the Gadsden Purchase was completed between the US and Mexico, in 1853 the American flag was raised in the Plaza to designate the signing of the treaty and the transfer of the town to the US.  There is plenty of historical significance with the Plaza, but there is also a building of great architectural significance as well, the San Albino Church:

The church was actually first constructed in adobe in 1855 and was reconstructed into its present structure in 1906.  It is easily the most striking aspect of the Plaza and a popular destination for tourists:

Another historic structure on the Plaza is the Billy the Kid Gift Shop.  It may be hard to believe but this building dates back to 1850 and once was the Capitol building for both Arizona and New Mexico at one point.  Later on it would become the county courthouse where in 1881 Billy the Kid was once tried and sentenced to hang at:

In the middle of the Plaza is a park that is popular for holding events and festivals especially during Mexican holidays:

During these festivals local vendors also set up tents and some great bargains can be found here:

The buildings that surround the Plaza are filled with nice little shops where art, books, clothes, and collectibles from the region can be purchased.  Here is another destination on the Plaza I encourage everyone with a sweet tooth to check out, The Chocolate Lady which is a great chocolate shop:

There are times though that lines at this shop can be long due to how small the store is, but it is definitely worth the wait.  La Mesilla is also well known for its variety of great Mexican restaurants.  The favorite place for my wife and I like to eat at when in La Mesilla is the El Comedor restaurant, which is just off the main road that runs through town:

The restaurant is located in an old adobe building that used to be a private home.  The place has a really good atmosphere and even better food:

Another great place to eat in La Mesilla is La Posta which is located near the plaza and is very popular with locals in the area:

La Posta has been around for over a 150 years and has served a wide variety of famous people such as Billy the Kid, Kit Carson, Pancho Villa, and even General Douglas MacArthur.  The final thing my wife and I did the last time we visited La Mesilla was to buy some red chili peppers:

La Mesilla has a number of places to buy chili peppers, but the place pictured above is by far the biggest store with the widest variety of chilli peppers in La Mesilla.  My wife bought a big bag of dried chilli peppers to bring home to use in her cooking.  Since we did plenty of shopping and had a great meal we decided to call it a day and head back to El Paso, but not before we made a stop at the local winery on the way home.

Next Posting: La Vina Winery


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