For my first blog I thought I would share one of my favorite places with you – Mexico! Last spring I spent a lovely few days in San Miguel de Allende. This colorful highland town has a thriving arts scene, charming colonial buildings, and the reputation of one of the prettiest towns in Mexico. It’s a safe place where it’s easy to get around, and it’s a great place to travel on your own!
This colonial hill town isn’t easy to get to, but it’s worth the effort. The closest airport is Leon, a good hour and 45 minute drive away. I flew on Aero Mexico through Mexico City, but there are also non-stops through Houston, LAX and Dallas. Leon is a tiny airport, and don’t expect anyone to speak english! I booked round trip shuttle transfers online with Bajiogo Shuttle. The shared ride is a deal at 29.00 one way.
I love finding intimate local hotels with a lot of character. Casa Carly is situated on one of the main roads into town, about a 10 minute walk from El Centro. This used to be called Casa Crayola because of the brightly colored casitas, but the Crayola Company made them change the name! There are seven casitas here amidst lush gardens and fountains. It’s a gated oasis with ample space to sit and appreciate the myriad of colors. They also have a café attached that makes fresh scones and a wonderfully spicy mango-chipotle salsa. There are other, more deluxe boutique hotels in the area, and all of them are gorgeous with a welcoming Mexican feel.
Things to See and Do
Art, art, art! Known for its artistic and cultural life, San Miguel is a UNESCO heritage site. Yes it has a lot of ex-pats, and I ran into a lot of gringos. But, as I walked along narrow cobblestone streets passing colorful courtyards, unique wooden doorways and little shops full of Mexican folk art I felt a sense of wonder at everything it has to offer. Walking is the best way to explore, and meandering brings surprises on every street.
My favorite place is Fabrica la Aurora. This was a textile factory for 90 years and has been reborn as an art and design center. The building’s been transformed into an industrial chic space with a large number of galleries, studios and restaurants. Many are high end, but many feature local Mexican artists that you can watch at work. They even offer weaving, watercolor and sculptor workshops. Don’t miss the decadent postries at Aurora Café – the perfect place to sit outside and take it all in!