Sunday, April 26, 2009

Colors of Loreto – Whoa Nellie!

Loreto is full of color. There is a vividness and vitality here that turns the mundane into extraordinary experiences.

In the last several weeks, hundreds of strangers have discovered they are neighbors and have become friends. Loreto is about community, and I had the pleasure to be part of the team of volunteers that coordinated 500 homeowners in Loreto Bay Founders Neighborhood to become organized, cohesive, and for the most part, unanimously agreed on what was needed to move forward. The details are unimportant as the end result was that we still love this place, with all its foibles and frustrations.

Being totally exhausted and ready to celebrate the last of the 8 Annual General Condo Association Meetings held in the last 30 days, I was ready to blow off some steam. Del Borracho Salon had one of its famous parties complete with rock band and barbeque. Mike Patterson had the mechanical bull going … and what the heck … always a first time for everything! Mike was kind and started off slow, but in no time I was ready to step it up a few notches … and then the fun began! Not as easy as it looks, but I managed to hang on and dismount gracefully to an appreciative audience. What fun!!

There were the usual characters, long time residents, local Mexicans, visiting LBC homeowners and tourists, all meeting new friends. The music is always great, the food delicious, and the prices are perfect. $6 USD for a heaping plate of beef, chicken, salad and beans; and $1.50 for cold beer … this is the place to plan your trip around!

This week I would like to showcase one of our newest listings to demonstrate how colors can be used to create ambiance and culture. This hacienda style Mexican home with all the creature comforts of North American living is a hidden oasis in the middle of downtown Loreto. For more information visit and view listing number 001-003.

Casa Escondido, The Hidden House is truly a Secret Garden, completely walled and located in the middle of the town, easy walking distance to the beach, restaurants and commercial area. Only half a block from the ocean, it has water views from the second floor.

Once you enter through the gates of this large 12,150 sq. ft. lot, you will be enchanted by its charm and the outside world will disappear giving way to serene bliss. The transition from outdoor living to inside is seamless. This place draws me in and makes me want to explore each treasured space.

The 5 bedroom, 4 bath, residence offers natural entertainment areas with open kitchen that is a chefs dream including luxury appliances and propane professional stove. The d├ęcor is rustic and authentic that comes together like a breath of fresh air.

There are formal and casual dining areas, large outdoor patio that could seat 20 easily. Even a separate bar area, already stocked with glasses and liquor … now this is turnkey! Hunting and Gathering for food is a huge preoccupation here as written by my good friend Drew McNabb on his Living Loreto blog The result is to cook and share among new friends regularly.

I appreciate the high ceilings and bold colors of the main living area. The wall to wall French doors remain open almost all year long to give great cross ventilation and creating the indoor/outdoor living that Loreto climate permits.

The bathrooms are fun and colorful, with traditional talaverra stone. Each one is unique and to be appreciated. These colors would scare most North American decorators however, in Mexico they seem a natural fit.

For extra coziness on those cold winter nights when it gets to 55 degrees, there is an artesian stone fireplace. Most of the year it is a centerpiece that anchors the French doors that flow the tranquil quality of this home to the beautifully landscaped oasis outside.

On the second floor of the main house is a one bedroom suite with full kitchen, bath and living room, private balcony and separate entrance. I found this photo intriguing with the combination of different textures of stone, tile and color. Who could resist taking the stairs to find where this door leads?

The Master Bedroom is romantic and separate from the rest of the home. Its colors are subdued and relaxing. I imagine this as the quiet place to relax and enjoy the morning air in complete privacy. Also perfect for the necessary summer siestas to rest from the heat of mid day.

The solar heated pool with aqueduct and hand crafted mosaic is 18ft x 12ft perfect for cooling off and playing. The water is 86 degrees these days and the ideal place for happy hour, music and games. This is truly living and I hope you experience the Colors of Loreto in your own way and time.

Have a great week!

Miss Nellie

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Feliz Semana Santa – Happy Easter!!

For Mexico, Easter is a combination of Semana Santa (Holy Week - Palm Sunday to Easter Saturday) and Pascua (Resurrection Sunday until the following Saturday). Mexico is nearly 90 percent Catholic, so this religious holiday takes on a special meaning that the entire community shares and participates in.

This is Mexico’s second most important holiday of the year and there is very little business conducted during this two week period. It is one of the busiest travel periods with many Mexicans taking advantage of the holiday to go on vacation. Churches will be filled with those attending Mass on Good Friday and Easter Sunday, and families will take this opportunity to be together.

From Cabo to Loreto this week, we saw people building palapas on beaches, setting up stages and party tents, complete with sound systems, food and drink kiosks, campers and cars all pulled up to spend the week camping together. Entire families come together to party, socialize, and play. This includes grandparents, babies, and teenagers all happy and sharing good times with few luxuries other than their companionship.

This is a sight and experience that is very different from what happens in North America today. We often joke about the fact that “you can not choose your family, but you can choose your friends.” We all want to feel comfortable and relaxed with no need to pretend, compete, or even be careful about our behavior with one another. We wish to discuss personal, family and health problems as well as reminiscing about the “old times” without fear of judgment or condescension.

We seek the warmth and closeness that is expected when family members re-unite, but not always the case. There are many reasons for this … distance, smaller families, rivalries, abuse, few common interests … so we seek friends to share memories with instead.

Friendship is sharing knowledge & helping others and developing mutually beneficial relations. Serendipity often happens in Loreto, where we are lucky enough to find interesting and valuable experiences by chance. I feel lucky in Loreto that I am surrounded by so many friends! I look forward to a fun and relaxing holiday after a very intense several weeks of making a difference to those that appreciate it. Everyone that spends time here, GETS IT, and people that visit want to be a part of it. Whatever “IT” is, is not easy to put into words, most baby boomers seek it as something they miss from their parents era and sense of traditional community.

"It is not so much our friends' help that helps us as the confident knowledge that they will help us."

- Epicurus (341 - 270 BC) Greek philosopher.

I share with you a little parable that many of us have felt in our lives; however I have comfort in knowing that in Loreto, we are not alone as we are developing community and our own sense of family.

A mouse looked through the crack in the wall to see the farmer and his wife open a package.

"What food might this contain?" The mouse wondered. He was devastated to discover it was a mousetrap.

Retreating to the farmyard, The mouse proclaimed this warning: "There is a mousetrap in the house! There is a mousetrap in the house!"

The chicken clucked and scratched, raised her head and said, "Mr. Mouse, I can tell this is a grave concern to you, but it is of no consequence to me. I cannot be bothered by it."

The mouse turned to the pig and told him, "There is a mousetrap in the house! There is a mousetrap in the house!"

The pig sympathized, but said, "I am so very sorry, Mr. Mouse, but there is nothing I can do about it but pray. Be assured you are in my prayers."

The mouse turned to the cow and said, "There is a mousetrap in the house! There is a mousetrap in the house!"

The cow said, "Wow, Mr. Mouse. I'm sorry for you, but it's no skin off my nose."

So, the mouse returned to the house, head down and dejected, to face the farmer's mousetrap . . . alone. . .

That very night a sound was heard throughout the house -- the sound of a mousetrap catching its prey.

The farmer's wife rushed to see what was caught. In the darkness, she did not see it. It was a venomous snake whose tail was caught in the trap. The snake bit the farmer's wife.

The farmer rushed her to the hospital. When she returned home she still had a fever. Everyone knows you treat a fever with fresh chicken soup. So the farmer took his hatchet to the farmyard for the soup's main ingredient: But his wife's sickness continued. Friends and neighbors came to sit with her around the clock. To feed them, the farmer butchered the pig. But, alas, the farmer's wife did not get well... She died.

So many people came for her funeral that the farmer had the cow slaughtered to provide enough meat for all of them for the funeral luncheon.

And the mouse looked upon it all from his crack in the wall with great sadness.

So, the next time you hear someone is facing a problem and you think it doesn't concern you … Remember … when one of us is threatened, we are all at risk. We are all involved in this journey called life. We must keep an eye out for one another and make an extra effort to encourage one another. Each of us is a vital thread in another person’s tapestry. Our lives are woven together for a reason.

Have a Blessed Easter!
Miss Nellie

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Where in the World is Nellie?

How apropros! I was filled with good intentions when I committed to start writing the blog again; but somehow Living La Vida Loca in Loreto gets in the way. This past month has literally been a blur of activity that I can not begin to recollect.

My wonderful new office is almost completed … with the basic exception of electricity! This is because the Town Square is undergoing renovation and they will changing to underground wiring, so when I ask when this will happen ... Quien Sabe (who knows)! Although, I am now Loretano and in no hurry… asi es la vida.
When the office is ready, it will be the right time. There are rumors all over town that I have packed up and left for Canada. I have been told that even Baja Nomad is asking if there have been Nellie sightings! I’m still here, pioneering the Wild Wild West. Where else would I be?

I have been house sitting a custom home undergoing some repairs, and becoming accustomed to my wake up call at 7:45 am six days a week, with workers showing up all bright and cheerful ready to start banging and chipping away for the next 8 hours. I have been working from home and enjoy the brief conversations while they come in to get more ice and water to quench their parched thirst.

The most time consuming and rewarding effort this month was being part of the volunteer team that helped to coordinate the Loreto Bay Homeowners Association Groups. The Mission was to create awareness of the new proceedings, invite and encourage owners who are spread across North America, to participate and join the community to have one united voice to express our concerns, questions and wishes for our investments and future. In less than 4 weeks we had 475 people join the group and dozens of volunteers came forward to spend hundreds of hours pouring through budgets and documents. What started as an unaware group that had the potential to be an angry mob, came together to be a unified and organized majority group that now share a common interest other than just a great vacation place. My apologizes for not writing sooner, but this Virtual Community took precedence.

The mood among homeowners is good and they are positive that things will improve. There have been several major investment groups negotiating to purchase Loreto Bay Company in the past couple of months. Rumors in Loreto fly around faster than the pelicans in a feeding frenzy. Most are based upon some fact; however, it is real estate and the deal is never done until the check is in the bank AND has cleared. People “in the know” believe an announcement will be made soon … 2 weeks Loreto time!

In the real estate business, we have been very busy for the past two months. This February and March, we have seen more interested parties looking at real estate than we have for all of 2008. I truly believe that we have hit bottom in Loreto. Prices are down to below 2005 pricing with fully furnished and solid homes. Potential buyers looking for a second home to escape the cold know that when there is an announcement that LBC has been sold, it should create a buzz of activity and now is the time to buy. Also, some owners believe that this is the time to sell so they can take advantage of using the money to pick up short sales and foreclosures in the USA.

In December 2008, we had 15 resale listings in Loreto Bay. Since then, we have sold 2, and two have taken their properties off the market. Now, we have 25 resale listings and it’s a good thing I have Drew, Dee, and great working relationships with the Loreto Bay Sales Agents to handle the buyers and showings. It makes such a difference to be on the ground and available 24x7 to assist the buyers and take care of the properties. Times are tough, the economy is bad, and now is the opportunity to work and build for the future. I am now pretty much dedicated full time to my listing clients, especially now that there is no requirement to list first with Loreto Bay Company. If you are thinking of listing with another broker … ask them how much time they spend in Loreto and what their working hours are? Then call me!

Serendipity often happens in Loreto. We had a wonderful story the last couple of weeks. I met Bob Ryder in November 2003 when he came for the initial Loreto Bay launch and purchased lines in the sand. I worked with him, as with all homeowners for over a year until we actually closed on the lots. Unfortunately, he had to back away from the deal for personal reasons in 2005. Someone recently told him about my website and he happened to see the exact unit for sale. He contacted me on Sunday and made an offer Tuesday which was accepted by the Seller; put down his 10% nonrefundable deposit on Wednesday; and Thursday flew to Loreto to see the lot he originally purchased five years ago.

Bob spent a week in Loreto, and found it difficult to leave his new friends, sense of tranquility and fresh start. He is excited to be part of this incredible community and will be back as soon as he closes to furnish and make his place home. He has a beautiful brand new home without any of the anxiety, frustration, and stress of dealing with the unknown construction timelines. As I often say in Loreto … things just work out. We decided that Casa Deja Vu would be an appropriate name of his new home.

My life is never dull, and I do make time to play too. Recently Adam and Tony of T&A Pools, along with several friends organized an incredible beach party at Honeymoon Bay on Danzante Isle. Everyone pulled up in their boats and there must have been 50 people enjoying a lazy Sunday afternoon. The food was incredible, with steaks, ribs, chicken, clams, salads, 2 birthday cakes for our good friend Tom!

The weather has been perfect, mid 80’s with little wind. There is nothing better than being on the water in Loreto. No emails, No telephones, and especially No Questions! Fishing season has started and people are catching 40 to 50 lb jurel (yellow tail) and we should have Reel Trouble back in business in a few weeks. Tourism is still on the decline and the local people are feeling the pinch. Please remember that as residents we don’t spend tourist dollars like we used to, so tipping and frequenting local restaurants, bars and shops is greatly appreciated more than ever.

That’s it for now. I wonder what will happen in the next few weeks? Quien Sabe? I am sure it won’t be dull! Take care and have a great week!

Miss Nellie