La Union, New Mexico

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A quick twenty-minute drive from El Paso, Texas lies a town so small that, like the saying goes, if you blink, you’ll miss it. Home to under 300 residents, La Union, New Mexico boasts a history and culture as lavish as that of a major city. It has a detailed history that constantly enthralls its visitors. The town’s local establishments like La Viña Winery and the Border Art Residency keep visitors coming back for more.

“It’s like a small family; everyone knows everyone else,” resident Jackie Ramirez said. Sitting between the state border of Anthony, New Mexico and El Paso, Texas, La Union was settled in the mid 1800s. The small town was formed by the joining of two former pueblos, “Los Ojitos” and “Los Amoles.” Both pueblos were united and moved to higher land to avoid frequent flooding caused by the Rio Grande, thus coining the name “La Union.”

Residents experience desert climate in La Union. Hot, dry summers with a monsoon season towards summer’s end, and tranquil autumn and winter seasons are what is typical here. Although the winters in La Union aren’t cold and have little or no snow, what they lack in winter elements, are made up for with the colorful seasonal change and the traditional paper lanterns, or luminarias the locals use to line the streets for the holiday season.

Despite the size of La Union, it’s annual events draw hundreds of visitors to its quaint streets each year and make La Union the place to be. For example, the annual fiesta held by the local Catholic church in the fall, famous for its delicious gordita plate offering, the golf tournament held nearby every June that brings in golfers from all over the country, or the annual springtime event, the Blues & Jazz Festival, that fills the local winery’s grounds with musical notes.

Various artists can attest to that, especially since the town is home to sculptor Willie Ray Parish’s Border Art Residency. This live-in studio and gallery serves as a home for one artist every 10 months, providing a space for them to live and work in. To celebrate the end of the 10-month residency, the artist’s work is displayed at a reception. The latest artist to have finished her residency this year and display her work was Alice Leora Briggs.

A popular food hang out for both locals and visitors alike, La Union Station Restaurant, off of Mercantile Ave and Highway 28, serves up signature homemade Mexican dishes like Poblano Chicken, also known as white mole, and calabazitas, or squash. Ava Robles, restaurant co-founder said she chose La Union as the location because she liked its “small-town feel.”

Also along Highway 28, are Other notable must-sees including a nursery, a new farmers’ market and the seasonally-open La Union Corn Maze, a life-size maze cut into a corn field.
A common misconception remains that labels La Union as just another small, sleepy town. What many people don’t realize about this misconception is that La Union is not only firmly rooted in its historical beginnings, but also offers a diverse list of things to do fit for people of all walks of life.

La Union is not completely disconnected. Within a short-drive, one can enjoy a waterpark, many different wineries, an outlet mall, and for you outdoors-loving chicas, the majestic Franklin Mountains are ready for hiking only a few miles away.

La Union is the perfect place for anyone trying to escape the bustle of city life. Its beautiful sunsets ensure peace of mind, and its numerous attractions provide an outlet to channel both creative and intellectual thoughts.

November 2009

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