Prospero Año de Mexico! After a wonderful Christmas visit with family in Atlanta, we flew back west to Mexico to ring in the New Year–a little off the beaten path. Not Cabo or Cozumel, mind you, but an old Colonial city called Alamos, founded in the 17th century in the western Sierra Madre, following the discovery of silver there. Sounds romantic, si?
But unless you are an avid bird watcher or descendant of an Andalusian silver baron, you may not be familiar with this architectural jewel 450 miles south of Tuscon. A beauty with a fabled history, Alamos has retained its small town feel and charm, attracting more writers and artists than t-shirt shops, mercifully, and unlike some other of Mexico’s “silver cities.”
That’s the good and bad news, alas, as there is not much here in the way of swanky shopping or entertainment. There is, however, the drop-dead maravilloso Hacienda de los Santos, a luxury hotel and spa founded and lovingly tended to by a family whose heart is in every cobblestone here. More on the hacienda to come…
Another cosmopolitan flourish is the Festival Cultural Alfonso Ortiz Tirado that brings in musicians and visitors from all over the world and is held annually at the end of January. His Grace (aka my husband for new readers) has been and says it’s great. He loves Mexico. And nachos.
Not to be confused with Nacho, the polo playing Ralph Lauren model, who as far as I know has not been to Alamos but maybe now will be intrigued. They do ride horses in the streets here every now and then, which is charming.
Fear of crime in other Mexican locales has brought an uptick in local tourism to Alamos, as it is way off the cocaine highway and very safe. The filming of a Mexican soap opera here last year was also a success for the town. I found an informative post on this and other Alamos goings-on in Southwest Colorado (real estate) News, of all places.
The houses are built right to the sidewalks, many concealing lovely inner courtyards with fountains and pools. Quite a few are for sale, many fixer-uppers, at a fraction of the price of comparable properties, say, in San Miguel de Allende or Cabo San Lucas.
With curtains often drawn and windows shut to passersby, the doorways are the only clues to what may be within.
Next post we’ll have a look inside a few of the restored old houses and the lovely Hacienda de los Santos … Then we’ll ride out to the rugged countryside, where His Grace and friends do a bit of bird shooting, a fair amount of standing around, and I get out my sketchbook… Anything to keep my mind off the start of Downton Abbey this Sunday…