Friday, May 20, 2011
We're honored to have Steve on board. His photos make us all melt inside. We're looking forward to having him come on a few more trips to help us document our madcap adventures and the beautiful wilderness landscapes of northern Baja California.
Also don't miss out on his feel-good video of some quality Baja Trek-style bus-surfing action.
And you can visit Steve's photography website to see more beautiful shots of Western landscapes in Calfornia, Baja and beyond!
Friday, May 6, 2011
Especially check out Jack Kerouac trail where he veers South into Mexico:
"Behind us lay the whole of America and everything Dean and I had previously known about life, and life on the road. We had finally found the magic land at the end of the road and we never dreamed the extent of the magic."
Monday, May 2, 2011
Most travel guidebooks, and many been-there-done-that travelers, will tell you that
On a spring-break visit, I chatted with artist
"I came to
She's a confirmed convert to
And this sun-warmed courtyard, with its coral-pink wall festooned with longhorn cattle horns and framed by banana-tree leaves and cactus, was just the kind of place to get creative juices flowing.
Woodall's works on the gallery wall included a painting of pangas — the local fishing skiffs — on a beach at nearby Point Lobos. It's a subject we saw repeated at Galeria de
There we met
He showed off a painting in progress, focused on the figure of a Mexican fisherman next to his beached panga. Ochoa's
"In summer, when it can be very hot, there are amazing cloud formations, and everything is bright — in Technicolor!" Ochoa said. "For an artist, there's everything you need here."
The same is true for art lovers. Twenty-seven local artists — about an even mix of Latino and Anglo names — welcomed visitors during the studio tour, which happens in March. A weeklong annual arts festival is in February. Galleries are everywhere, especially in the old-town blocks just uphill from the oasis ravine that cradled our little hotel, Casa Bentley.
Welcoming the Casa Bentley's guests are elaborately carved wooden gates, with sun and moon figures commemorating a 1991 solar eclipse, by artist
Through the gates we met the hotel's builder and proprietor,
With a cup of coffee at a table beneath his wide-spreading rubber tree,
That aura was encouraged by Mexican tourism authorities' official designation in 2006 of
But Bentley says it's the climate that makes the place perfect.
Nearby mountains, the Sierra de
"We have a little microclimate here — it's really pleasant, day after day. And there isn't any rain," said Bentley, noting that the last bad hurricane was in 1996.
The climate drew him to retire here after spending 15 years of off-and-on visits overseeing the construction of his hotel, which started with an adobe farmhouse dating to the mid-19th century. Additional structures are of local red amphibolite rock, along with polished inlays from Bentley's father's trove of 30,000 agates, jaspers, turquoise and other semiprecious stones collected during a lifetime in eastern
Modeled in part after a castle in
The town gets an occasional tour bus up from
You'll find a dozen decent restaurants and cafes within walking distance around downtown. A local fish shop and an open-air kitchen at Casa Bentley let us concoct our own delectable shrimp tacos one night, a reminder that this is a coastal town.
The town's setback from the ocean, a small interceding lagoon, and an abrupt seafloor drop-off that creates treacherous surf unsuitable for swimming add up to a mostly undeveloped and beautifully wild beach. Blue water thunders ashore on a broad swath of caramel sand. A sign says it's a turtle-nesting area.
Only a few local families dotted the beach. A man played bucking bronco with his kids. Someone flew a kite. Wide expanses of empty beach beckoned the footloose.
It was the kind of scene that would inspire artists, no matter where they came from.
And, oh, by the way: I've never been to
I hear it's a bit like
IF YOU GO:
GETTING THERE: Most visitors fly into
LODGING: We stayed at Casa Bentley, one of
Hotel California, on the town's main drag, is the best-known lodging, thanks to the thoroughly debunked (see www.todossantos-baja.com/todos-santos/eagles/hotel-california.htm) yet persistent urban legend that it inspired the Eagles song of the same name — a rumor that helped make
By Brian J. Cantwell (c) 2011, The Seattle Times.