Hola de Mexico! – Part 1

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?

Alamos, Mexico
A view from the city's central plaza, Alamos, Mexico

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.”

Alamos, Mexico
Part of the central plaza, Alamos, Mexico

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…

Hacienda de los Santos, Alamos, Mexico
Hacienda de los Santos, Alamos, Mexico

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 Nachothe 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.

Alamos, Mexico
Built in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, el Templo de la Purísima Concepción, Alamos, Mexico
Interior of El Templo de la Purísima Concepción, Alamos
All done up for the holidays, the interior of the Templo de la Purísima Concepción, Alamos

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.

Gazebo in the plaza of Alamos, Mexico
Gazebo in the plaza of Alamos, Mexico

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.

Alamos, Mexico
Alamos, Mexico

With curtains often drawn and windows shut to passersby, the doorways are the only clues to what may be within.

Alamos, Mexico
A beautiful doorway in Alamos, Mexico

And another…

Doorway in Alamos, Mexico
Doorway in Alamos, Mexico

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


  1. Frances, so can you watch Downton where you are? Have also been anxiously awaiting the new season. Can’t wait! Have not spoken to my British friends in months….don’t want any accidental spoilers!!!
    Best, Ellen

    1. YES Ellen – we are back at the ranch. What I couldn’t do where I is post to my blog… hence the delay. Thanks for writing and hope you are well. How was the deb stuff in New York??? 🙂

  2. Woo hoo Frances. It was such fun having you, His Grace and your wonderful friends in Alamos and at the Hacienda. You, my sweet friend, brought great style and Grace to our little village. Come back soon. The Red Carpet will always be out for you and your entourage. Te mando un gran abrazo, Nancy

  3. Viva Mejico! Welcome back, Ms. Frances and a very Happy New Year to you and His Grace (magnifico!). We went to Mexico when we left Cuba and stayed with some lovely family friends. I loved it from the get-go. Our first night there we were serenaded by mariachis, I was totally enchanted. My favorite memories are of my Mom dragging me to every single church (they were all quite beautiful and grand)and lighting lots of candles, going to a zoo where I got away from my parents and bought a flavored ice (granizado) much to my Mom’s chagrin, and seeing some amazing puppet shows. Have always had great affection for Mexico. The people, food, the history!

    1. Hello Barbie and Happy New Year to you, too. Wow that must have been quite a time for you just after leaving Cuba, and yet you found it in your young heart to be “enchanted.” Something tells me you find enchantment wherever you go, because it is what you look for. That is a blessing, but also a choice. Thank you for the reminder — and also for the booster of Mexico. It is truly a wonderful place with much to offer.

  4. Hi Frances,

    Happy New Year! Thanks for sharing your beautiful vacation photos. I especially love the last two, and look forward to the next installment.

    Emily @ UpstateCountryHouse.com

  5. How beautiful…so glad you had that time for R & R. Mom and I DROVE ! to Guaymas (sorta near ALamos on the coast) in search of antiques years ago, “donde esta antquadadas mueblas por favor” did not get us very far. We were told that Guaymas had fabulous shrimp. We found neither, but have chapters of funny stories.Happy New Year to you and HG. Welcome home! xo Pete

    1. Pete – how funny! Not much in the way of antiques in Alamos either, alas. Glad to be back in Calif and see you Sunday for the Boar’s Head Feast I hope. xo F

  6. To an Exquisite Southern Jewel,
    It was a pure joy having morning coffee with you at Casa Plata. Your description of this fine, unique place are right on spot! In addition, My heart danced (salsa/ranchero/samba-style) when I read about your experience and feelings at Hacienda De los Santos. As you know, it is my favorite place not only in Mexico, but perhaps on this Earth! You have a fine, fun way with words and I am moved to have connected with you and your husband for the first, and hopefully many, times to come. Thank you for sharing this beautiful blog with us all. A reminder that every place holds a treasure, and that treasures are everywhere, if one opens his/her eyes, wherever their road may lead. Happy Trails Cutie! Jodi Pridgen xo

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.