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If you go to Las Vegas, New Mexico

Las Vegas, N.M., is 123 miles north of Albuquerque on I-25 (that's the closest major airport; but the railroad is also back — Las Vegas is on the Amtrak line.). It's 64 miles from Santa Fe and a little farther from Taos. But you'll find prices are generally lower in Las Vegas than in the resort communities.

Accommodations range from historic old hotels such as the Plaza Hotel and the El Fidel Hotel, to inns and B&Bs such as the Carriage House, and the Inn on the Santa Fe Trail, to chain motels such as Comfort Inn, Days Inn and Super 8.

One of the unique properties in the area is the Star Hill Inn, which includes private cabins complete with telescopes, as well as nightly astronomy gatherings that take advantage of the optimal sky-viewing conditions of the desert. (For more information, visit www.starhillinn.com.)

Southwestern fare is the most common at area restaurants. The most frequently asked question is red or green?

It applies to the chili sauce — and the heat factor can vary widely, so ask before you eat, if you have any reservations. You'll also get to choose between rice or posole and tortilla or sopapilla.

There's also American, Italian, Chinese and fast-food fare.

For more information, contact the Las Vegas/San Miguel Chamber of Commerce, P.O. Box 128. 701 Grand Avenue, Las Vegas, NM 87701; call 1-800-832-5947 or visit www.lasvegasnm.org.