Friday, September 28, 2012

San Miguel de Allende


In recent posts I have spoken often, and fondly, of Patzcuaro and the surrounding areas in Michoacán. I think it is now time to leave the nostalgia behind and focus more on Guanajuato where I have been living for almost a year now. Guanajuato is home to some wonderful cities and has some fascinating history. It borders Michoacán in the mountains of central Mexico, and San Miguel, where we live, is about 280 km northwest of Mexico City. One of the things that appealed to us about living in this area is that it is very central. We are within an easy drive of Dolores Hidalgo, Querétaro, Celaya, San Luis Potosí, Morelia and Guanajuato City.

San Miguel is not large, but I have discovered that it offers many of the amenities found in larger cities, while still maintaining the laid back feeling of a small town. Hank’s (formerly Harry’s) Louisiana Grill is one of our favorite haunts. The atmosphere and great food also draw the folks from Mexico City, who flock to San Miguel for weekend get-aways. You definitely won’t find the likes of Hank’s in Patzcuaro!


20100502_133 Hank’s


Our choice of world class restaurants includes Chinese, Indian,Thai, French, Italian, Argentinian, Uruguayan, Brazilian and Lebanese as well as the traditional Mexican fare. There is also a great insert in the weekly bilingual newspaper called Que Pasa.  Here you can find out what is happening in town every day of the week. It is chock full of restaurants with dinner music, concerts and special events like the Jazz festival, chamber music festival, Cervantes festival, art gallery showings and a plethora of wonderful local events such as horse shows, rodeos and the annual Chili Cook-off, in which chili makers from all over North America compete.

Now having said this, it is necessary to point out that San Miguel is a town with a split personality. Where there are wonderful restaurants, night life and culture, there is also a relatively small Mexican town with all the warmth and charm I have come to associate with small towns all over Mexico. I was a little afraid that this aspect of life here might become lost or overshadowed, but I had nothing to worry about. The two lifestyles coexist side by side almost seamlessly.


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Shop Keeper Beginning Her Day


The Mercado de Artesanias, the artisan’s market, is at least a kilometer long and offers arts and crafts from all over Mexico.


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 El Mercado



Pottery from Dolores Hidalgo



Amate Paintings, Done on Tree Bark, From Guerrero


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Making Dried Flower Arrangements


I know I have gone on at length about Plaza Grande in Patzcuaro, but San Miguel’s  El Jardin, the garden, is also one of my favorite zócalos in México. Families come to sit and chat, young folks come to flirt and snuggle and visitors come to watch it all and listen to the Mariachis play.



Almost An Every Day Occurrence


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El Jardin


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And, Of Course, La Paroquia


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El Zócalo, The Heartbeat of a Mexican Town


San Miguel is a place of timeless tradition, the old ways revered, but it is also a place of modern life, where the new ways are embraced by the young. In the homes TVs and cell phones war with evening stories told on the hearth. In the streets, laden burros and, occasionally livestock, vie with cars for position on the narrow traffic corridors. You can buy corn cooked on a comal over a fire on the street corner or sip your cabernet alongside your chateaubriand, by candle light on a rooftop patio.



 The Old



And The New


I have never before lived in a place of such diversity and it has taken me some time to both understand and appreciate San Miguel de Allende.


  1. Replies
    1. It really is Brenda, and the more I get to know it, the more I like it.

  2. When I first heard of San Miguel, I was afraid it would be Scottsdale in Mexico. I was wrong. There is some of that -- if you look for it. But it is as interesting as any other Mexican town. And I suppose that is why I visit each summer while escaping the heat of Melaque.

    1. You're right Steve. I had exactly the same concerns but San Miguel can be whatever you want it to be.

  3. Shannon,
    The pictures are really lovely! These ones as well as the previous pictures of the turtles...


  4. Thanks Judy, I'm starting to sound like a broken record, but why don't you guys come for a visit?

  5. Oh Shannon, looking at these pictures makes me miss you guys and Mexico SO MUCH !!!