MainStreet Web site pushes tourism in Clovis/ Portales area

By Tony Parra: Freedom Newspapers

Portales and Clovis may be off the beaten path as far as tourism, but a new Web site’s goal is to attract more tourists to cities such as Portales and Clovis.

The new Web site is http://offtheroad.NM.com and it gives viewers a feel for what attractions there are in places in New Mexico that may not get as much attention as Albuquerque and Santa Fe.

The Web site is a project funded by the New Mexico Department of Economic Development. Tricia Ware, marketing writer from the Economic Development Department, and Shannon Papin, director of promotions for New Mexico MainStreet went on a tour of 19 communities in New Mexico during the summer.

The 19 communities were: Portales, Clovis, Artesia, Bernalillo, Carlsbad, Chama, Corrales, Farmington, Gallup, Grants, Hobbs, Los Alamos, Las Cruces, Las Vegas, Lovington, Roswell, Silver City, Raton and two historic Albuquerque neighborhoods.

“The philosophy is to attract visitors to the downtown areas of the communities,” Ware said. “We want people from neighboring towns, counties and states to visit these communities. We wanted travelers to get out of their cars and visit some of these places.”

Ware and Papin toured around New Mexico during the summer, shopping, dining and taking in what each community had to offer. Ware said they took 800 photos. During their drive across eastern New Mexico, Ware said they listened to the Dixie Chicks and Johnny Cash to make it appropriate for the area.

“We had heard about the Do Drop Inn being a good place to eat and hang out,” Ware said. “The downtown Portales area is so inviting and so cute. It’s what the downtown of a small town should look like.”

They ate a meal in the patio area of the Do Drop Inn during their visit. They also went into the Bar G Western Wear store.

“What I remember about Portales is the general friendliness of the downtown area,” Papin said. “It really has a nice, home feel to it.”

During their visit in Clovis, they went to the Norman Petty Studios and shopped in the downtown area.

“We met some extremely kind people in Clovis,” Ware said. “We had a lot of fun in Clovis and Portales.”

Other Web sites have information about Clovis, Portales and some of the other towns, but NMDED officials wanted to go into more detail.

The Off the Road Web site has New Mexico broken down into seven regions. People can click on any region to review the selections by Ware and Papin and see what’s available in each region. An article talking about the Off the Road Web site ran on CNN.com.

The Web site also has a place were Portales and Clovis residents and others have left their comments about the area: Kayla Paulk left a comment saying she hopes the publicity created from the article running at CNN.com will bring many more tourists and residents to the beautiful state of New Mexico.

Paulk said she teaches at the Music Department at Eastern New Mexico University and her favorite restaurant is the locally owned Garcia Family El Rancho Restaurant.