Jordan Blumetti, associate editor and writer for “American Way” magazine, spent several days here last week and said he has only started to scratch the surface of everything Val Verde County and Del Rio have to offer.
Blumetti was assigned to write a feature piece on the area for “American Way,” the in-flight magazine of American Airlines, as part of a marketing push to entice people from other states and countries to pay a visit.
American, which initiated commercial air service to Del Rio International Airport in November 2018, serves hundreds of thousands of passengers daily.
The Del Rio News-Herald caught up with Blumetti as he was enjoying lunch at The Brown Bag on Saturday, just hours before a scheduled trip to visit the Devils River State Natural Area in north-central Val Verde County.
Blumetti spoke about his impressions of the county and the Queen City of the Rio Grande.
“It’s incredibly beautiful, the natural elements. That’s something that I did not expect at all. It seems almost improbable that you’d have such a pristine lake in the middle of such a harsh, essentially, desert setting,” Blumetti said.
“I also found a vibrant arts scene downtown, which I was not expecting. A lot of young people, which I also didn’t anticipate,” he added.
Blumetti said he was most impressed by the area’s prehistoric rock art.
“The Lower Pecos rock art just blew me away. Being in the rock shelters and seeing the actual art itself was amazing,” he said.
Blumetti lives and works in Miami, Fla., and travels extensively as part of his work.
“My assignment was to visit and show Del Rio as a place where you don’t want to just drive through on your way to Big Bend, that there’s actually a lot to do and see here, and that because of the airport and American, it’s accessible,” Blumetti said.
“We’re trying to show readers what they can do here, even if it’s part of a larger trip through south Texas or to Big Bend or coming from a bigger city,” he said.
Blumetti interviewed Del Rio Mayor Bruno “Ralphy” Lozano and Ciudad Acuña, Coah., Mexico, Mayor Roberto de los Santos Vazquez, as well as Jack Johnson, National Park Service archeologist with the Amistad National Recreation Area and Amanda Curtis, education technician for the park.
Blumetti said he also interviewed Kerr Wardlaw, manager of Val Verde Wool and Mohair, Douglas Adair at Seminole Canyon State Park and Historic Site, Beau Hester at the Devils River State Natural Area and Dr. Carolyn Boyd, an expert on the area’s rock art treasures.
He also spoke to a Cormac McCarthy scholar from California who is the president of the Cormac McCarthy Society.
“Because Cormac McCarthy wrote so much about this area, and I’m familiar with his work, I wanted to get his impressions of why McCarthy chose to write about this area,” Blumetti said.
Blumetti said he definitely wants to come back.
He said he has always been drawn to the rugged beauty of the west Texas landscape.
“I think that’s one of the reasons I jumped on the opportunity to come here. I’d seen the landscape and was so intrigued by it, and I wanted to know what the people who live in it are like,” Blumetti said.
Blumetti said he will probably take several more trips for “American Way” this year.
To read some of Blumetti’s work, visit his web site at https://jordanblumetti.com.