The small ranching town of Roswell is renowned as the spot where an alien spaceship supposedly crash-landed on July 4, 1947. The commander of the local air force base announced that they had retrieved the wreckage of a flying saucer, and despite a follow-up denial within a day the story has kept running, with TV series like X-Files, Roswell and Taken stoking the imaginations of UFO theorists.
Despite the wishful thinking of the truly weird clientele who drift in from the plains, the International UFO Museum, 114 N Main St (daily 9am–5pm; $5; Tel:505/625-9495, Web: www.roswellufomuseum.com ), inadvertently exposes the whole tawdry business as transparent nonsense. By way of contrast, the Roswell Museum, 100 W 11th St (Mon– Sat 9am–5pm, Sun 1–5pm; free), boasts an excellent, multifaceted collection, with a section celebrating pioneer rocket scientist Robert Goddard (1882–1945). Historical artifacts elsewhere range from Spanish armor to astronaut Harrison Schmitt's spacesuit, while a gallery displays Southwestern landscape paintingss including a solitary Georgia O'Keeffe.
Roswell's visitor center is at 426 N Main St (Mon– Sat 9am–5pm; Tel:505/624-0889, Web: www.roswellnm.org ). The finest motel in town, the Best Western Sally Port Inn, 2000 N Main St (Tel:505/622-6430 or 1-800/548-5221, Web: www.bestwestern.com ; Price: $51-75), also has a good restaurant. The Cattle Baron, 1113 N Main St (Tel:505/622-2465), is a large, good-value steakhouse, while Farley's, just up the hill at 1315 N Main St (Tel:505/627-1100), is a livelier sci-fi-themed pub and diner.