Featured Residents: Judy and Dave
Have you ever visited a community with no soul?
People hustle right by you with tunnel vision. Community events are sparse and unattended. The homes may be built to impress, but the local art scene suffers because few can create soulful beauty in a cold and lifeless environment.
Judy and Dave Bess recently retired from many years at General Motors and Electronic Data Systems in the Detroit metropolitan area. They searched high and low for the best place to retire, visiting places like Jackson Hole and the lush Lake Michigan area.
Consulting the heart
“Since both our backgrounds are in consulting, we decided to think like consultants about where we wanted to retire. We laid out the options and looked at what was important to us in a community,” says Judy.
Though they found many locations beautiful, one factor made Las Cruces stand out as the best place to retire.
“We asked ourselves, ‘Does the community have a soul — is there art and music? Is it easy to plug in?’ That’s something really special. You can’t find that everywhere. There are plenty of other lovely places, but they’re a little bit artificial. Las Cruces is a community with a soul,” says Judy.
The art of Picacho Hills
With their hearts set on Las Cruces, Dave and Judy quickly assimilated into the community and beautiful things began to happen. Judy, who had previously studied art, looked out her window at the serene desert each day and saw paintings waiting to be born.
“I had never looked to make art my career, but when I got here the beauty of the desert really opened up the inclination for me to paint,” says Judy. You can view more of her work at JBessStudio.com.
Now residents in the Picacho Mountain Las Estancias neighborhood, Judy and Dave are involved in an active, passionate community of more than 40 area artists: The Artists of Picacho Hills.
Read on to learn more about Dave and Judy — and why they’ve found Las Cruces to be the best place to retire!
Q&A with Dave and Judy
Q: What made you fall in love with Las Cruces and Picacho Mountain?
A: We love the feeling of being “in the desert,” but still relatively close to town. It’s wonderful to be able to look across the valley and see the city lights and the mountains! The views are tremendous.
The people who have built homes up here are quite friendly, which makes for a nice “community within a community.”
Q: What are your hobbies and favorite haunts in Las Cruces?
A: Dave: I enjoy the opportunities to play my trumpet in the Mesilla Valley Concert Band with the outstanding musicians from this area, and the New Horizons Symphony Orchestra.
I also love jogging and riding my road bike here. The weather is great for nearly year-round outdoor activities.
Judy: I love being a member of the Mesilla Valley Fine Arts Gallery, and enjoy being able to paint with the beautiful desert palette. We both have the time, now that we are retired, to pursue some of our passions in a larger way.
Our favorite restaurants are Aqua Reef, La Posta, Josefina’s, and Chala’s.
Q: Are you enjoying retired life in Las Cruces?
A: A resounding “YES!”
This is a great place to retire because of the natural beauty of the area and the friendliness of the people. Las Cruces is a community with a soul, where you are able to get as involved as you want.
It also has a relatively low cost of living, which is especially helpful for retirees. And the quality of health care has improved dramatically in the past few years.
Lastly, we are especially pleased to see the downtown revitalization happening!