Author Topic: Las Cruces, NM: Pros and Cons  (Read 5864 times)

Trudie

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Las Cruces, NM: Pros and Cons
« on: May 02, 2017, 11:55:39 AM »
My husband wants us to investigate Las Cruces, NM as a potential FIRE destination -- at least for part of the year.  We like the COL, weather, and the fact that it's a university town.  Does anyone here have direct experience and is willing to elaborate on the pros and cons?

apricity22

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Re: Las Cruces, NM: Pros and Cons
« Reply #1 on: May 03, 2017, 10:16:46 AM »
Hi Trudie,

I grew up in Las Cruces and stayed there for college. I moved away after college but have returned many times over the years to visit my parents and friends.

It is definitely a budget friendly place. I enjoyed growing up there and have always told people it was a very nice place to live. I always appreciated the abundance of public land in NM because I enjoyed the outdoors and it provided low cost recreation.  If you want to travel or have it easier for people to visit you, the El Paso airport is very convenient at only 45 minutes away. The food is wonderful there and hopefully you will fall in love with green chile. The thing I like least about Las Cruces is the spring weather which can be very windy, gusty and sometimes cold.

Let me know if you have any other questions.

Trudie

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Re: Las Cruces, NM: Pros and Cons
« Reply #2 on: May 03, 2017, 11:28:00 AM »
HI Apricity,
Thanks for posting a response.  How would you describe the "community" vibe in Las Cruces?  To help you in your honest assessment, here are our interests -- walking/running, biking, golfing, gardening, learning new things...

We are introverts, but fully aware that we will need to join groups to integrate in a new community.  My husband is in Rotary and hopes to continue in retirement.  We've always worked and lived around colleges -- so we like going to lectures, classes, book readings, and the occasional sporting event (why we're looking at University towns.) Being part of a church community is important to us -- we're liberal Protestants (Lutheran).  Our politics are left of center.  I love having access to great libraries, farmers markets, and an airport for travel.

I really enjoy gardening, and am eager to try it in a new climate.  I'd love to be able to grow veg year-round in raised beds.  Like Tucson (where my folks live part of the year), it seems as if there are beautifully xeriscaped properties in Las Cruces that would allow me to have a beautfully-enclosed backyard with gardens, but no mowing.  That would be my dream.

I'm a HUGE fan of the Hatch chile.  And, although not a vegetarian, I love how I naturally eat more healthfully when I am in the southwest. 

mattytee

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Re: Las Cruces, NM: Pros and Cons
« Reply #3 on: May 03, 2017, 02:01:27 PM »
I'm entertaining this too. We live in Santa Fe, as the job situation is much better. I lived in El Paso for several years and really liked it. I have family in Las Cruces.

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walking/running, biking, golfing, gardening, learning new things...

Bear in mind that it does freeze sometimes in LC in winter. Also, in summer it gets crazy hot for long periods. Gardening creates high water bills as the system is tiered to conserve water. It's considerably wetter in Santa Fe, but still high desert, and we paid 50% higher water bills when we attempted raised vegetable beds. It did not turn out to be worth it. If you like cacti and desert succulents, they're definitely the best thing to grow.

"It's a dry heat" doesn't matter for biking, running, or golfing. They rate summer days based on how fast exposed skin will burn. I have seen it at 5 minutes. The Sun can be brutal.

Touring gearing for bikes highly recommended since it's in the mountains.

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We are introverts, but fully aware that we will need to join groups to integrate in a new community.  My husband is in Rotary and hopes to continue in retirement.  We've always worked and lived around colleges -- so we like going to lectures, classes, book readings, and the occasional sporting event (why we're looking at University towns.) Being part of a church community is important to us -- we're liberal Protestants (Lutheran).  Our politics are left of center.  I love having access to great libraries, farmers markets, and an airport for travel.

El Paso airport is relatively near (45 minutes) and pleasant. Free wifi, never a long security wait. We would usually arrive 30 minutes early and have plenty of time to catch a flight. Don't know on farmer's markets in LC. Was not a thing in El Paso. There is one in Santa Fe. Libraries are not the best in general in New Mexico (low population, low budget), but one of the best used bookstores ever has multiple branches in LC: "COAS my bookstore." They buy and do trade credit.

There are a several Lutheran churches in LC. It's a pretty small town and probably 99% Catholic.

EDIT: removed a bit on politics. It strikes me as a little weird here, would probably be considered a pinko commie myself.

Ciudad Juarez is directly across the border from El Paso and is a great place to go. There are some amazing restaurants. Rincon de Yucateca has better Yucatan food than can be found in Cancun. Burritos Crisostomo is known worldwide (and they opened one in El Paso now). The Kentucky Club is a historic bar (Hemingway drank there, among others). I really miss J-town. You could meet people from all over Latin America. I used to go even during the height of the cartel problems, and it never felt dangerous. Things have calmed down a lot since then.

New Mexican food is distinct and you develop a taste for things that are not available anywhere else. Northern Mexican food is also widely available. I wouldn't call either particularly healthy, though.

My favorite LC restaurants: La Posta (in old Mesilla, which is just outside downtown), Chope's (La Mesa, which is about 20 minutes toward El Paso). There are a ton more, I can't think of names though. All inexpensive.

I would recommend learning at least some Spanish. In LC and EP you will meet a lot of people who don't speak English.

There are some weird translation things that are fun. You "get down from" a car. You "land up" at a place. Every soft drink is a Coke: "You want a Coke? What kind?"

A positive thing is that when you speak broken Spanish in LC, EP, or Cd Juarez, people are positive about it; they appreciate even crappy attempts and help. If your pronunciation is bad or there are better words, people support you to get better.
« Last Edit: May 03, 2017, 02:22:05 PM by mattytee »

apricity22

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Re: Las Cruces, NM: Pros and Cons
« Reply #4 on: May 03, 2017, 04:36:24 PM »

Hi Trudie,

NM is one of the poorer states economically and as such there is less money for good roads, libraries, trails etc. I think the area attracts a lot of great people though because of the University and there are good employers like NASA and White Sands Missile Range (WSMR).

As far as gardening, my Mom would have one from time to time and I remember her growing tomatoes, carrots and even watermelons among other things. It is a dry climate and hot in the summer so you'll probably have to water things a lot but stuff does grow there and agriculturally they grow a lot of cotton, pecans and chiles in the area.

The politics in New Mexico tend to lean left of center and that is probably especially true in Las Cruces. I grew up in a non-religious family so I don't know too much about the church community but it did seem like almost everybody was Catholic.

I remember they had a farmer's market in the downtown mall on Saturday mornings I believe. The downtown mall is an older collection of buildings that were mainly offices and small mom and pop shops. It used to have a pedestrian area in front of these buildings which is where the farmer's market was held but that has been opened up to vehicular traffic so I'm not sure where it's moved to or even whether it is still a thing.

The El Paso airport is pretty convenient (a lot of people in big cities probably live further from their airport than it takes to get from LC to EP) and you can literally arrive about 30 minutes before takeoff. Southwest is a good option usually and American Airlines will fly you to their hub in Dallas and from there you can get anywhere.

My food habits are actually worse when I'm in Las Cruces as I love the dishes with tortillas, cheese etc.

the_fixer

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Re: Las Cruces, NM: Pros and Cons
« Reply #5 on: May 03, 2017, 06:18:13 PM »
A few week ago I was driving through New Mexico for work and stopped for lunch in a town call Las Vegas and the little down town square was amazing.

I know nothing about the town but it was really inexpensive and the little town square reminded me of what the square in Santa Fe must have been like back in the day.

Been stalking houses and plan to stop by again in a few weeks when I am out there for work as it really made me think of New Mexico for a spot to FIRE.

Trudie

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Re: Las Cruces, NM: Pros and Cons
« Reply #6 on: May 03, 2017, 08:18:00 PM »
I'm definitely putting Las Cruces on our short list.  We need to get there for an extended visit.  I'm more encouraged after hearing these comments.

I'm not sure if it would be a year-round choice.  My husband has a form of rheumatoid arthritis and we're looking for ways to escape the brutal upper midwest during the awful months of winter.  Dampness and lack of sunshine aren't good for his health.  But I'm okay that it cools down a bit, even if it freezes once in awhile.

Please continuing commenting if you have additional feedback.

VAMORALE

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Re: Las Cruces, NM: Pros and Cons
« Reply #7 on: May 04, 2017, 03:49:42 PM »
I live in Las Cruces, grew up in El Paso. I'm 31 and my husband is 32, we have an 8 month old.
I love Las Cruces, it only takes 10 mins at most to get anywhere here by car. The farmers market is rated one of the best in the nation, when we are here on Saturdays, we usually go. It's smaller during the colder months, but in the summer it is very lively. (They also have it on Wednesdays, although smaller and during the summer they have evening markets with performances)
There's a bike trail that runs through the city, it actually goes right behind my home.
The Organ mountains also have a few trails, and then there's White Sands, which is about an hour away.
They just constructed a plaza downtown with a splash pad for kids and in the next year there will be lots of construction going on to help revitalize downtown and make it more pedestrian friendly.
Right now, downtown is pretty sad,(besides during the farmers market and during events) but hopefully after the construction more businesses will want to move in.
There aren't many places for shopping, but being on this board, I would imagine that's not a big deal. El Paso is only an hour away and there's plenty of stores there anyways.
I'm an introvert, so not part of any groups or anything.
We do live right outside city limits on an acre with pecan trees. We have a well to water the trees. Some neighborhoods also have irrigation rights and can use water from the Rio Grande to water.

Beriberi

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Re: Las Cruces, NM: Pros and Cons
« Reply #8 on: May 06, 2017, 07:49:01 PM »
Just wanted to mention that I love this thread! Husband and I have been considering relocating to somewhere sunny with a lower COL and Las Cruces comes up all the time.

meadow lark

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Re: Las Cruces, NM: Pros and Cons
« Reply #9 on: May 07, 2017, 10:28:03 PM »
I don't know Las Cruces well, but I have lived in Albuquerque for 14 years.  I love New Mexico and I encourage you to look around the state.  Las Cruces would be too small for me - I loke it a little more urban, but the whole state is interesting. 

iris lily

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Re: Las Cruces, NM: Pros and Cons
« Reply #10 on: May 08, 2017, 07:56:21 AM »
I lived in Las Cruces for three years more than 30 years ago. I am a midwesterner, cant stand desert country. But that said, Las Crices  is pretty cool because it is a university town so there will always be something to do. The Organ mountains are visible from the city. There is much natural stuff to do. my obsesson, the built envirnment, if fed through Old Mesilla and the downtown/old town parts of Las Cruces although those areas are more expensive than they used to be.

I looked at a Google Maps image of the corner where I lived 30+ years ago and there is still a dusty, empty lot across the street and the buildings in the area look  the same.

Las Cruces is one of the places I regularly review on Realtor.com. There are some super cute townhouses/villas for around $100,000.

If I were economically challanged, I would consider  moving there. Florida (an alternative) has horrific traffic. I assume the traffic in Las Cruces isnt bad, but I used to walk to work at the public library which was seriously underfunded  back in the day. i remember specifically talking to a woman who moved there from the East coast due to low COL and then she complained about the lack of services at fhe library, and the lack of "travel section" of the newspaper. Haha, I still remember my WTF? reaction to her complaints.

Las Cruces is, or was, slow moving and Western yet very Hispanic with (at the time ) 50% of the populace a minority. It was interesting, diverse, and I liked it. Just didnt like the desert climate, everythng is brown, I gotta have green. DH and I are serious gardeners, so we would have to irrigate. One of mu main crops, iris, would be very happy there because bearded iris are desert plants.
« Last Edit: May 08, 2017, 12:23:17 PM by iris lily »