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Green Acres We Are There

by sanmigueltimes
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As a visitor, it is instinctive to gambol down our cobblestone laden streets laden with niches, crosses and wrought iron gates leading to sunny courtyards and fountains while pondering the purchase of a vacation home.

You certainly aren’t the first to entertain such thoughts, nor will you be the last.  You wouldn’t even be the first to buy a home on their first visit and what kind of fool does that?  (This fool, who moved down the following month with three children then in elementary, middle and high school in tow.)

Oddly enough, you won’t even be the first person to live in centro and have a vacation home nearby when the hub-bub of city life bothers you more than it did Eddie Albert in the opening credits of Green Acres (much to Eva Gabor’s chagrin).

institue allende

Ever notice the red bank building across from Starbucks in the jardin?  It was once the house of the Canal family (for whom the street is named).  On some tours the bank is referred to as the “Palace of the Counts of La Canal” though the original owner never possessed the title of Count.  However, Count of Canal has a far better ring to it than Casa del Mayorazgo de Canal much like Tina Turner is a better sounding name than her original, Edna Flatbush.

loreto stoneIn addition to the home’s cool doors and enviable location the most unique thing to notice is the image of Mary looming over the street from the entrance to Starbucks.  (Hard to notice as you must look up, instead of down, to see the cobblestones and remember why town is the “City of Fallen Women”.)

If you were a wealthy Spanish family during the Colonial era you picked a saint or Virgin to represent your family and give it good fortune.  The Canals choose the Virgin of Loreto.  The story behind her is the house Mary grew up in, as did Jesus, was still around in the 1200’s and then located near an active battlefield.  Mary looks down from Heaven and sees her old real estate in danger so she swoops down, picks up her home and flies it across the Mediterranean Sea to plop it down in the more peaceful Loreto, Italy.  Look up when exiting Starbucks and you’ll see giant sized Mary, and her Barbie-sized home, doing just that.

It seems, like the Virgin of Loreto, the Canals tired of the turmoil surrounding their downtown home and decided it was time to move farther afield.  Or, literally, a field away, as the Canals build a huge complex on the outskirts of town to enjoy country living.  In today’s world the Allende Institute, their then country estate, is located a 15 minute walk from the Canal’s city home for their weekend fiestas.

I meet folks living in centro that also want a nearby country retreat for the weekends.  They, too, don’t venture too far away and settle for the green acres of Atotonilco, a 20 minute drive away, enjoying properties with their own hot springs and country views.  Others prefer Pozos, Santa Matilda and a variety of other farm living options.

So much has changed when it comes to real estate, yet, in ways, so little does with land spreading out so far and wide, just give me that countryside!olive lisa


Joseph Toone is the Historical Society’s short-story award winning author of the SMA Secrets book series.  All books in the series are Amazon bestsellers in Mexican Travel and Holidays.  Toone is SMA’s expert and TripAdvisor’s top ranked historical tour guide telling the stories behind what we do in today’s SMA.  Visit HistoryAndCultureWalkingTours.com, and JosephTooneTours.com.

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