When your husband turns 50, you need to throw a big party… OR you need to get the hell out of town (without the kids) and spend some time waking up whenever you want, relaxin and chillaxin, and eating and drinking your way through a new city.
With under a week to plan, we decided to do the latter and make our way to San Miguel De Allende, a magical spot I had always wanted to visit for its history, design, and all-around aesthetic and social appeal.
I wasn’t able to do a ton of research (like I usually do), and our main goal was to have a “go-with-the-flow” attitude, so I went with suggestions from acquaintances and random websites I found while sitting at the airport.
A clever mix of a guesthouse and boutique, the centuries old building is within walking distance to the center of town, and is decorated to PERFECTION.
We stayed in Room 3, Su Hermana, which boasts a large balcony facing the street. We took advantage of this outdoor bonus area to eat, read, and enjoy the sunlight!
It could get a bit loud at night, with a club nearby, but we found it to be amusing, and you could always bring some earplugs (or join in on the fun).
If you love “character”, this is the place for you. I can’t wait to go back and try the other rooms, although it would be hard to give up the patio.
Every morning, a breakfast basket arrived at our doorstep with fresh juice, yogurt, coffee and pastries…
… and the bathroom was outfitted with soaps and washes from the boutiques downstairs.
Xinu is an entire experience, and you must stop in to see and SMELL the beauty.
I could go on and on about Meson Hidalgo, but let’s get into our four day exploration of San Miguel!
Our first night, after a long day of travel, we went to the ever-popular The Restaurant, owned by expat chef Donnie Masterton, and it was not only delicious, it was set in one of the most beautiful courtyards, off of the main square.
Night two brought us to Quince, where we watched the sunset from the rooftop.
There are so many great restaurants in San Miguel De Allende… too many to visit in one stay. We left “overly” satiated, but wishing we had the time (and more room in our stomachs) to enjoy more.
We happened to stumble upon one of our favorite eateries while walking to Fabrica La Aurora, a former textile factory turned shops and gallery (a cool spot for furniture, art, and more).
I am kicking myself now, because I didn’t write the name down, but you can’t miss it if you walk from town as we did. The cafe is set in a courtyard, with a bubbling fountain, surrounded by colorful buildings which serve as guest quarters.
We had a home-cooked breakfast served by a father and son, who were DELIGHTFUL.
Patrick asked for four poached eggs, and they thought it was hysterical. Quatro???!!!
One of my favorite excursions of the trip was our tour with Joseph Toone. This man had more information in his noggin than anyone I have ever met!
We did a walking tour of the churches, and even if you are not Catholic, you will leave entertained, informed, and surprised by the history of this city and the mashup of Spanish, Mexican, Catholic and Indigenous culture both obvious and hidden like easter eggs throughout the architecture, art, streets and even fashion.
It was eye-opening, and Joseph can really bring the LOLs.
He does quite a few tours, and I would recommend a few hours with him above anything else!
Patrick with St. Patrick.
The Irish have a deep relationship with Mexico, but I’ll let Joseph explain that to you when you visit.
After our tour, we decided to keep walking, and climbed the hill to El Charco Del Ingenio, a botanical garden that sits high above town.
We chose to walk because there are some hidden homes, alleys, stairways and chapels worth discovering along the way.
It was also very quiet (we had the gardens mostly to ourselves), so it was a nice place to disconnect and walk off all of that scrumptious food.
Saturday, the universe worked both for us and against us.
I woke Patrick up on his 5oth birthday morning, at 5am, to surprise him with a hot air balloon ride over the city.
I’ll admit the balloon ride was more for me (Patrick has a “slight” fear of heights), and maybe he was not-so-secretly relieved that the adventure was cancelled due to winds, but I had read so many great reviews about Globo San Miguel, (and he is always such a good sport), that I wanted to gift him with the LARGEST birthday balloon possible!
I will try again next time we go, but will most likely have to bribe him with extra mezcal.
We walked home as the sun came up and went back to bed (because no kids).
After our morning coffee from Lavanda, we decided to take a leisurely stroll through the city.
I had heard about the Home and Garden tour, which you could sign up for through the public library, but I had mistakenly read that you sign up on Saturday for the tour on Sunday.
We happened to get to the library (with the intention to register), and the tour was leaving in 15 minutes (the universe was paying me back for that failed balloon ride)!
I oooohd and ahhhhd and drooled over alllll of the decor, and fairytale courtyards and fountains.
I could do an entire post of this home tour on its own…
Wood ceiling beams FOREVER.
Similar to Cartagena, these homes usually give you a little tease on the outside, and then just WOW you as you open up the doors.
I actually found the two cities feeling familiar, with Cartagena bathed in pastels in contrast to San Miguel’s earthy, warm palette.
Patrick and I will definitely be back, and while we usually bring the kiddos on most of our trips, San Miguel felt so perfect as an easy going couple’s retreat, that we might just keep this little slice of heaven and the strolling mariachis for ourselves… at least until they are old enough to hit up that club we mentioned above 😉 .
For more recommendations on what to do and where to eat… Meson Hidalgo has a well curated list here.