If you ever happen to find yourself in Las Cruces New Mexico, you owe it to yourself to stop and visit Bowlins Book Center in Mesilla.
Mesilla is one of the most-visited historic districts in the Southwest, and for good reason. A lovely square with a beautiful church at one end, numerous shops and galleries, the famous La Posta restaurant and the incomparable aforementioned bookstore.
Bowlins handles many hard to find titles on western history, culture, geography and arts. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, please ask, as the proprietors can likely find it amid the stacks of books piled high on the counters and shelves.
This is the same Bowlin family that established a string of trading posts across New Mexico. It seems incongruous that the purveyors of jackalopes and cheap moccasins could also be the owners of this magnificent book shop, but it’s true.
On my most recent visit, old Mrs. Bowlin was in attendance, along with her daughter. The elder Mrs. Bowlin greeted all of the customers, inquiring after their literary needs, and making sure that everyone was finding that hidden gem. I’m not sure that every visitor realizes what a marvel this little shop is, but if you have a love of Western lore, you definitely need to stop here at least once on your travels.