Any place willing to change its name to a 1950s game show has gotta be somewhere worth checking out. For years, though, Truth or Consequences (née Hot Springs), New Mexico, was known for taking up radio host Ralph Edwards's challenge to America ― and, well, for not much else.
Recently, though, this dusty little one-stoplight town on the banks of the Rio Grande has come into its own, attracting artists, retired urbanites, good food, and new galleries. Even the Richard Branson-backed $225 million spaceport being built outside of town.
Truth or Consequences is off I-25 in Sierra County, about 75 miles from Las Cruces. www.truthorconsequencesnm.net or 505/894-3536.
Riverbend Hot Springs. Locals love this rustic spa alongside the Rio Grande River ― aka the cold plunge. From $10 per hour, $5 ages 12 and under; 100 Austin St.; www.riverbendhotsprings.com or 505/894-7625.
The Happy Belly Deli. Overstuffed sandwiches, soul-centering soups, and NYC-caliber bagels, enjoyed outside on the shady patio of this real-deal deli. $; 313 Broadway; 505/894-3354.
Pacific Grill. Grilled seafood in a tropical setting ― yes, in the high desert. $$; closed Sun-Mon; 800 N. Date St.; 505/894-7687.
Grapes. A lofty art gallery oozing SoHo sophistication. Lounge on the Jetsons-style couch and scope out work like Bonita Barlow's ground-glass and pigment paintings. Closed Mon-Wed; 407-409 Main St.; 505/894-0037.
Miao. Well-preserved vintage frocks share space with brooches and shoes, and modish midcentury hats (turned into purses). Closed Tue; 409 Broadway; 505/496-3266.
The T or C Monthly Gallery Hop. In the heart of downtown, many art galleries, shops, and restaurants stay up late. 6-9 p.m. second Sat of each month; free; www.torcart.com
For the true T or C experience, spend the night at the Pelican Spa (from $55; www.pelican-spa.com or 505/894-0055), where fuchsia- and periwinkle-painted walls guarantee sweet dreams, as does a presleep soak in the hotel's
private hot tubs. The furniture is vintage ― and the art is for sale. Don't miss the rec room, with its rattan bar, board
games, and Hawaiian vibe.