New Mexico is the Land of Enchantment and Opportunity

Recreation, jobs, arts, food make New Mexico an attractive place to live.

By
Kim Madlom
On Tuesday, May 19, 2020 - 13:19
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New Mexico’s many career opportunities, diverse and welcoming environment, rich arts and cultural traditions and abundant outdoor recreation opportunities create an inviting atmosphere to attract talent.

New Mexico checks all the boxes on any list of amenities that make a state – and its communities – an inviting place to live.

Thirty-five state parks and 10 national monuments, hiking, biking, horseback riding, skiing, hunting, fishing and just about every other outdoor activity are available here. This makes New Mexico particularly attractive to those who enjoy active lifestyles, with a beautiful view to match.

Newcomers can easily find a career that matches any skill set. The state’s highly diverse economy includes technology-driven industry sectors in advanced manufacturing, aerospace, agribusiness, energy and natural resources, and information technology. The state added more than 31,000 jobs to its civilian labor force in the last 18 months alone.

New Mexico thrives on diversity, offering a multicultural experience, and it is one of just four states with a majority-minority population. Plus, the cost of living is affordable, with overall costs below the national average and housing prices at just 77.8% of the U.S. average.

Every community in New Mexico offers its own unique identity with amenities to match, creating a sense of place that attracts young professionals and retirees alike looking for a high quality of life.

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Photo by Marble Street Studio/City of Albuquerque

Transformed Downtowns

Farmington is investing in its downtown and is one of 30 communities affiliated with the New Mexico Main Street program, which supports downtown revitalization and economic development efforts. In Farmington, for example, an effort around “complete streets” concepts created a more walkable and inviting downtown.

“The transformative nature of these projects can’t be underestimated,” says Warren Unsicker, Farmington’s economic development director. “It brings vibrancy to downtown and the community as a whole.”

Farmington is the economic hub for the Four Corners region and serves a market of more than 300,000 people from the region and all four states. The city is also the center of jobs,retail and recreation in the region.

“Farmington is a great place to live,” Unsicker says. “We have a low cost of living and are central to incredible outdoor recreation assets.”

New Mexico is a state that values its arts and culture tradition. Visual and performing arts are presented in every community. Local, national and global artists are showcased in the more than 40 art museums and hundreds of galleries. Eight state museums highlight everything from farm and ranch history to space exploration.

“New Mexico is an untapped wilderness of beauty and incredible intelligence,” Unsicker says. “Los Alamos and Sandia national laboratories are innovative. We have vistas and views and parks and national landscapes that you can’t find anywhere else. People can come and find fulfilling and exciting jobs in science, technology, space transportation and the arts. At the same time, our residents can escape into the wilderness and enjoy nature.”

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Las Cruces CVB/William Faulkner

Always Something to Do

Megan Pauly of Albuquerque agrees. She grew up in Aurora, Colorado, and moved to New Mexico to attend school and play on the women’s soccer team for the University of New Mexico. After graduating, she chose to stay in New Mexico and pursue her career in marketing.

She currently works for both TLC Plumbing and Viante New Mexico and helps both organizations with their marketing initiatives. Additionally, she does contract work for a local marketing firm called High Tide. Her husband, Sean, works for Sandia National Laboratories.

“One of my favorite things about New Mexico is the abundance of outdoor recreation,” she says. “Even during the winter, I can take my son for a walk down by the river or go for a run with my dog.”

She also enjoys taking her son, Bodie, to Meow Wolf, a popular Santa Fe-based arts and entertainment company that creates immersive, multimedia experiences and also features a hands-on immersive experience at their Santa Fe House of Eternal Return exhibit. Time Out ranked it No. 4 on its list of 50 best things to do in the world right now.

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Jeff Adkins

Cultural Cuisine

New Mexico also offers distinctive cuisine, with restaurants that are flavored by the various cultures that give the state its history. There’s even an official state question that centers around an iconic condiment. “Red or green?” refers to the color/flavor of the chile used in enchiladas, carne adovada and other New Mexico specialties.

“The answer to that question is Christmas,” Unsicker says. “Why choose when you can have both?”

Multiple Lescombes wines have won awards in tasting competitions.

The Lescombeses say New Mexico’s climate of hot days and cool nights is ideal for growing wine grapes, and they plan to continue into the future.

“It’s who we are and what we do every day,” Florent says. “We’re sixth generation and hoping the seventh comes on board. It’s important to keep that legacy. In the wine business, when you grow and sell grapes, it takes more than one generation to have a successful business. It’s a long-term project that requires a lot of passion.”

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Jeff Adkins

Raise Your Glass

Whether it's craft beer, wine or spirits, New Mexico offers a flavorful way to unwind. 

With more than 85 breweries, 50 wineries, a dozen or so distilleries and a handful of cideries, New Mexico has a growing and thriving craft beer, wine and spirits industry.

Craft beer production in the state has increased 2,000% in the last 20 years. Craft beer producers turned out more than 135,000 barrels in 2018 and the state ranked 10th for breweries per capita, according to the Brewers Association trade group.

The state’s long history of winemaking dates back to 1629, when the first grapes were planted along the banks of the Rio Grande, creating the foundation for the American viticulture industry. Today, New Mexico’s wineries and tasting rooms are a destination for thousands of visitors each year.

New Mexico wineries produce almost 1 million cases annually and the state has more than 1,200 vineyard acres.

D.H. Lescombes Winery is the state’s largest, operated by the Lescombes family, sixth-generation French winemakers. They operate a 200-acre winery 50 miles outside of Deming as well as wineries and bistros in several other New Mexico communities.

Founder Hervé Lescombes came to New Mexico from Burgundy, France, where he ran a successful winery. He planted his first grape vines in New Mexico in 1981 and bottled his first vintage in 1984. Today, his son, Emmanuel, is the viticulturist and oversees the vineyard while his other son, Florent, serves as president and manages the winery.

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Mimbres Region Arts Council

Where to Go

- Farm & Ranch Heritage Museum, Las Cruces: The Farm & Ranch Heritage Museum, which brings to life the 4,000-year history of farming and ranching in New Mexico, attracts people from all over the world to its 47 acres.

- Riverbend Hot Springs, Truth or Consequences: Riverbend Hot Springs is an open-air hot springs resort on the banks of the Rio Grande that aims to help attendees heal, rejuvenate and recharge their mind, soul and body.

- E3 Children's Museum & Science Center, Farmington: E3 Children's Museum & Science Center offers hands-on, science0related interactives in its main gallery and hosts special programs throughout the year.

- Chocolate Fantasia & Southwest Print Fiesta, Silver City: Chocolate Fantasia allows guests to stroll through galleries and shops in the historic district while sampling handmade, gourmet chocolate confections. Southwest Print Fiesta showcases the work of printmakers from all over New Mexico as well as El Paso, Tucson and Phoenix.