Sometimes I actually do something right! Mary Ann was groaning (maybe even approaching whining) this past fall about not having any trips planned during what was shaping up as a very cold Chelan winter. Having no trips planned around here is pretty much of a crisis. We have not been planning the long trips in the winter lately because of my having got overextended with community volunteering as Rotary President, city planning commission, and joining the hospital commission. Alas, I needed to find a solution.
On to the internet for a long look at San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. We had spent 10 weeks in SMA in 2007 right after retirement and just fell in love with this high altitude central Mexico city brimming with art, culture, warmth, and great cuisine. I had looked last year, trying to find a casa, but because of the amazing popularity of San Miguel in the winter I was unable to find a casa to rent. This year I lucked out, even though I did not start until mid-November . Fortunately, a property came on to VRBO (Vacation Rentals By Owner) following a remodeling. I was able to rent it and keep it a secret for Mary Ann's Christmas present. You can check it out at http://www.vrbo.com/327478 which includes my review published at the bottom.
The rental and trip was for two weeks in January, and it was a great renewal of our past love for San Miguel. As usual we lucked into interesting native festivals, continuing research in 15 wonderful restaurants, a lovely casita in the heart of the historic centro, a great parade celebrating the 242nd birthday of Ignacio Allende, and making the world's greatest shopper very happy. Needless to say, we had to ship home two boxes of handicraft purchases and a wonderful new painting which is showing off above our fireplace.
Travel often makes for some interesting contacts and this trip was no exception. I have developed a fun email connection with the owner of our casita. Cheryl Finnegan is an international acclaimed jewelry designer from San Miguel. We have discussed by email, books about San Miguel and Mexico, art including that of her husband, writing, and renovation of wonderful properties in San Miguel. Mary Ann and I visited her studio, which was around the corner from our casita, and ate in a restaurant (Café Rama) that she is a partner of. Interestingly, she was a featured local personality in a December article in Smithsonian Magazine. You can check her out, and what Smithsonian thinks of San Miguel de Allende at: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/travel/Under-the-Spell-of-San-Miguel-de-Allende.html?c=y&page=1.
Well, needless to say, we are hooked. We thought, wouldn't it really be neat to share this wonderful place with all of our family, so rather than wait until November, I went to work and found what looks like a wonderful three bedroom casa for a month over Christmas and New Years. Now I am a hero with Mary Ann - and all the kids! Check it out at: http://www.vrbo.com/70432.