Mesilla New Mexico | Plan A Staycation |
A view of the Mesilla Plaza with a bench, trees, and historic basilica.

Mesilla, New Mexico. If you’ve never truly explored this rustic little town, you’re missing out on a gem steeped in culture, history, and intrigue. However, for some who live in neighboring cities, she can be easily missed as we bustle our way through hectic schedules. It’s human nature to sometimes bypass things that are right under our noses. Rushing into a shop or restaurant and right back out does not do her justice. It’s like waving to a wonderful old friend, but not getting that great hug or meaningful conversation. It’s because of her complexity and many amazing aspects that Old Mesilla seemed the perfect locale to launch our staycation series.

Staycations are more popular than ever for many reasons. To begin with, they eliminate air travel, which means no booking, rushing, metal detectors, searching for your gate, or ticket costs. The hassles of car rentals and subsequent costs are also avoided. So, right off the bat, we’ve sidestepped significant traveler’s stress while banking cash that can go toward fun at the destination rather than just simply getting us there.

Intrigued? The great thing about staycations is how customizable they are. To help with your first (or next) staycation, we’ve compiled some of our favorite venues to get your wheels turning.

The Stay in Stay-cation

In the true spirit of loving all aspects of your adventure, a chain hotel simply won’t do. This is a time to enjoy unforgettable moments and those start withJosefina's with brick walls and wicker chair. fabulous accommodations. Josefina’s Old Gate is a destination all its own. Once a private home, this gorgeous adobe inn, originally built in 1850, has been immaculately maintained by owners Kathleen and Bob Hamilton. From the splendor of the original vigas and latillas, Talavera tiles, kiva fireplaces, and beyond, the inn epitomizes Old World charm. Whether you choose the extraordinary parlor, beautiful garden greenhouse, or lovely outdoor patio, you won’t be at a loss for places to unwind. The inn also has you covered for those belly rumbles, with breakfast and lunch menus boasting options to please even the pickiest of palates. Insider’s tip: Josefina’s should not be missed. But, because the inn has just two rooms, be sure to book ahead! We’ll offer a second option under Phenomenal Fare in case you’re hosting a gathering that requires more rooms.

The It Factor

Every place has it. That thing that you “simply must do” while there. For Old Mesilla, it’s the historic plaza. There’s so much to see in the shops on the plaza, it’s easy to spend a day (or two) just exploring. History buffs will love treading the streets and businesses that now stand where Billy the Kid hung out, was tried, jailed, and is even said to still haunt. From authentic Mata Ortiz pottery to beautiful jewelry, gorgeous leather goods, and beyond, you’re sure to find your heart’s desires in the wares offered in these shops, but the goods are not all that is good with Mesilla. With the accommodating New Mexico weather, concerts, fiestas, and celebrations of all sorts take place year-round at the plaza. These bring together locals and tourists who blend into these festivities seamlessly, rather like a big family reunion. This is because there is an energy in Mesilla all her own. There’s a sense of welcome, safety, and peace as you walk her streets. No one seems to be a stranger. It’s almost like stepping back in time when things were just a little simpler and more carefree. This is something that can’t be duplicated elsewhere by similar businesses or events. No, this is her magic — something completely unique that must be experienced to be fully appreciated.

Phenomenal Fare

A meal on a rooftop table overlooking the Organ Mountains.Casual dining abounds in Mesilla, with many chefs enhancing their recipes with regional favorites like local pecans and Hatch green chile, so you won’t be short on eatery options. You could try a delicious Mexican meal or cocktail at La Posta, which has a storied history in a building that served so many functions when the stagecoach brought visitors to Mesilla, each room is labeled: blacksmith shop, tannery, and more. If you want to round out your stay with a fine dining option, Hacienda de Mesilla boasts a full bar and has everything from filet mignons that slice like butter to lobster, crab, and other seafood options so decadent you’ll think you’re seaside. They’re also a fantastic option for a stay with 14 luxurious rooms, a pool, and all kinds of perks bundled specifically for stay-cationers!

Local Haunt

What would a good staycation be without a few goosebumps? In Old Mesilla, it seems more places have legends of hauntings than not. Attracting ghost hunters far and wide, Double Eagle has played host to countless paranormal investigations for those trying to find evidence of Inez and Armando — a pair of young lovers stabbed to death by Armando’s mother. While you’re visiting the ghosts, stay for a delicious meal or a refreshing drink!

Pampered You

Desert Botanicals Day Spa, just a half block south of the plaza, is definitely the place for utter indulgence. With massages, facials, and a host of other treatments from which to choose, this is a one-stop shop to get your mind, body, and spirit in a state of total relaxation. Don’t skip this one, folks!

Cocktail Hour

If your idea of R and R includes some liquid refreshment of the adult variety, some time spent at NM Vintage Wines, Beers & Cigars is a must. Their outdoor A beer in a glass labeled Mesilla on a patio with entertainment in the background.patio is the perfect place to relax and soak up the ambiance of Old Mesilla while enjoying a glass (or bottle) of wine or craft beer from their impressive list, all of which are sourced from around the state. Tapas, artisan cheeses, and other tasty little morsels are fun menu items for those who like a bit of a nosh with their libation. Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays are extra special when you add local musicians into the mix. Amazing beverages, specialty snacks, and fantastic music all in an idyllic Southwest setting . . . this tasting room alone is reason enough to visit the area!

Giving back should not be an overlooked bonus to the merits of staycationing. Spending our vacation dollars locally supports our community and businesses. These business owners are people who have dedicated a good part of their lives to helping keep the region true to its roots, making the area unique, and serving the public. In the case of Old Mesilla, to a large degree, they are women-owned businesses. I can’t think of a better way to thank them than patronizing their establishments while making incredible memories!

Written by Jillian A. Mills
Originally published in Neighbors magazine

Please keep in mind current Covid-19 restrictions when making plans. 


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