Silver City, N.M.
Nearest City: El Paso, Tex., 154 miles
In New Mexico's southwest corner, Silver City isn't the kind of place people just stumble onto. Silver miners sought it out in the late 1800s, and more recently the town's Old-West charm and high-desert location made it a magnet for outdoorsy and creative types. The historic district is home to casual restaurants, like Nancy's Silver Café, that put the area's green chiles to good use (514 N. Bullard St., 505/388-3480, huevos rancheros $7). Outside town, The Nature Conservancy runs Bear Mountain Lodge, a hacienda adjacent to birding, biking, and hiking opportunities in the Gila National Forest (505/538-2538, bearmountainlodge.com, from $125). "You can choose the pace at which you want to live," says Jess Gorell, an artist and filmmaker who relocated from L.A. four years ago and teaches at The Bakshi School of Animation and Cartooning (109 N. Bullard St., 505/534-9291, thebakshischool.com), around the corner from the adobe galleries on Yankie and Texas Streets.