In addition to the attractions in Alamogordo itself, also enjoyable is the small, historic village of La Luz, just 3 miles north of Alamogordo. It has attracted a number of resident artists and craftspeople who live, work, and display some of their products for sale. Worth seeing are the cactus-filled park and the small Our Lady of Light Church.
The world's first atomic bomb was exploded in this desert never-never land on July 16, 1945. It is strictly off-limits to civilians -- except twice a year, on the first Saturday of April and October. A small lava monument commemorates the explosion, which left a crater a quarter mile across and 8 feet deep, and transformed the desert sand into a jade green glaze called "Trinitite" that remains today. The McDonald House, where the bomb's plutonium core was assembled 2 miles from ground zero, has been restored to its 1945 condition. The site is on the west slope of Sierra Oscura, 90 air miles northwest of Alamogordo. For more information, call the public affairs office of White Sands Missile Range (tel. 575/678-1134; www.wsmr.army.mil).
The Nut House
While traveling this area, you'll likely see signs pointing into thick groves of pecan trees directing you to the Nut House, 32 Ivy Lane, in La Luz (tel. 575/437-NUTY). When you step inside, you'll be greeted by the scent of pecan pie with a hint of chocolate. As well, the place -- an airy space with a long, aged-wood bar -- is packed with local art, much of it made by the artists of the legendary La Luz art colony from the 1960s and some of their children. As well as perusing art, you can sip a latte, and eat homemade soups and sandwiches on a lovely patio within the pecan trees. Don't leave without sampling a piece of apple, peach, or chocolate pie, all laced with pecans.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.