Maybe you’ve seen San Miguel. But have you seen Mexico? If you need to get off the tourist trail try experiencing life in a real Mexican rancho by renting this get-away just minutes from San Miguel.
The village lies high above San Miguel at the foot of the Picacho Mountains. A reservoir created by a 400-year-old stone dam draws a daily procession of livestock to its shore. Horses, sheep, goats and cattle all water here daily, then move up to graze on the slopes of the Picachos. Near the reservoir (‘presita”) sits Huisaches Escondido, a house designed by two American artists and lovingly built by the abaniles of the village.
The house sits on a quarter-acre lot surrounded by a brick and iron fence. The main gate was designed by Stefanie with a cattail motif. Inside the gate is secure parking, enough for at least two cars. The striking two-story house was a collaborative design by both artists. It wraps around a mature pirul or pepper tree, which lends its fragrant shade to the west of the house. In front you can follow paths through a lovely cactus garden, then cross a natural stone patio. You approach the house under a Spanish-tile porch and enter through a custom crafted colonial style door.
The downstairs living room is a cozy, round conversation nook under a stunning boveda ceiling. Relax on the built-in cushioned couch and enjoy a wood fire on a cool mountain evening. There’s also a gas heater in this space to take the chill off. But the house itself is your friend here because the walls are built with “sillar’, a natural stone with excellent insulating properties. The house retains heat during those cool mountain nights (though in winters season you will usually need the heater in the morning and before bed) and holds the cool during the hot Mexican days, much like an adobe house.
The kitchen is set in shades of green tile with a contrasting patterned border. It’s fully equipped so you can make yourself at home right away by cooking your favorite Mexican meal. All dishes and utensils are at hand. A gas stove and refrigerator with ample counter space makes working in this kitchen easy. Two bar stools provide seating at the peninsular counter, which separates the kitchen from the four-chair dining room.
At the rear of the first floor you will enter a cool, blue bedroom to find built-in closets lined with white cedar and a custom-made queen bed, all crafted by local carpenters. The bedspread is made from hand-loomed fabric in traditional Mexican pattern. The windows face onto the “hidden Huisaches” which give the place its name. These trees hold their color all year and create a shady, green refuge behind the house.
A separate utility room off the back patio has an electric washing machine, ready for your use. The water system is pressurized so you will be able to enjoy a good hot shower every morning in the main floor bathroom. It features contrasting cream-white and patterned talavera tile, a multichrome ceramic pedestal sink, and a hand-carved mirror frame.
Ascend the curving stairs outside the front door to the studio space upstairs. This space has been tailored to make this rental an ideal artist’s or writer’s retreat. The studio is set up with two separate workspaces on either end, both with track lighting and excellent views. A futon couch is provided which can easily be converted to a bed for additional sleeping space if needed. A half bathroom and utility sinks are there for your convenience. Outside on the second floor landing a spiral staircase ascends providing access to the roof terrace where the large pirul tree shades as you take in the views from this unique property. The terrace is perfect for viewing the procession of animals moving up from the presita and past the iron “cattail” gate. The views both down the valley and up towards Eagle Canyon are spectacular. In a very short while you will begin to move with the rhythms of life in the rancho.
This is a house for those who are looking for something different than just staying in town with the San Miguel tourist flock. Spend your days and long afternoons enjoying the excitements and flavors of the city, then come away in the evening to your home in the village to taste the other side of Mexico. Or enjoy quiet days at the casita and come into town for dinner. Either way, it’s only a short 15-minute ride, and a taxi will take you there if you need it. There is also daily bus service to and from San Miguel.
Stay with us at this hidden jewel. Find another life in Mexico. Hike the Picacho Mountains. Put your feet up on the roof patio and enjoy a cool drink while you take in the view. Experience the buzz of San Miguel on your own time and then return home to the Hidden Huisaches.