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Our Home at Loreto Bay

Since December 2004 when we first went down to look at the new development at Loreto Bay, this page has chronicled decisions and revelations about our house there. It began as a stop for our friends and relatives, but we found that we were getting questions from lots of people who were thinking about buying. If you have questions or comments, there are mail links above and below. (On this page the newest info is presented at the top, but first-time visitors will find basic information about the project and the area later on. Pictures may be bigger than they look. Right-click and your browser may let you open them full-size.)

February 2009 and After

We made a quick trip to Loreto in February, one last rehersal for retirement before putting our Seattle house on the market.

One place for our new piano. We are planning to leave our old life pretty much behind, so we have been moving our few remaining belongings as luggage rather than as freight. Alex still wanted to have a piano though, and we chose to buy an electic one in Seattle and try it out for a while. In its original package it was well under the Alaska Airlines size and weight limits, so we crossed our fingers and consigned it to the baggage hold.

The first omen appeared when we got the red light at Customs at the Loreto airport. But the friendly Aduana guy cheerfully said that the machine had indicated that only our duffel bags, and not the the taped-up cardboard box, would need opening -- this even after we told him that we had taken the opportunity to pack some non-original items (namely kayak paddles) in with the piano. Even with this break it was still a struggle getting the parcel to the house, via shuttle and then the hotel golf-cart, but easier as I recall than moving the acoustic kind just across the street.

But our piano problems weren't over. Some of the keys didn't work right, some of the time. Thinking that the problem was electronic, I put off a possible repair until the end of the trip; but there, on the dining table, I discovered that it's when a key is depressed (as by a paddle blade) that its actuating mechanism can slip out of place. With no more than a screwdriver and some patience, the piano is as good as new -- and won't need replacing, as feared.

Our niche cabinet and its new door. There was other new business. West Coast Mill Works (see below) had built a door for the new little cabinet beneath our stairs, and I brought a little lock to be installed there. Also, here was another chance to talk with Cone about plants and some more construction for our big extra garden. (This work finally occurred in May and the pictures look pretty good -- see below. I think that we may now have a tiny citrus grove, which we asked for, and a tiny banana plantation, which we are trying to think of as a bonus.)

The New Urbanism had not yet kicked in at Loreto Bay, and it now appears that it may take a bit longer. We had been attracted by the idea of a community where everything was within walking distance; but by the time of our visit even the little Farmacia was closed, and as of the first part of June a lot of other activity has been suspended, including the operation of the hotel, at least for the time being.

This implies traveling to Loreto for all necessities. Fortunately, we practiced while we were there. With our larder partially stocked by Property Management before our arrival, and with only one trip to the Sunday market, we were able to eat all our meals "in" for the ten days we were in residence. This did not match our fantasy, but it did provide us with a lot of useful information. First, we learned from our taxista, Salvador, that the word for a street market is "tianguis." We also found out that our favorite tortillero is open on Sunday. On the same trip we also went to both the Pescador and Chuco's, and it made for a huge amount to carry but it also means that we could get by with only one trip into town per week, though perhaps usually missing our favorite fish monger.

Finally, some new plants. We also satisfied ourselves that we could get to El Porton, the little store next to The Construction Coach, on foot from our house. They still don't have much that we need, but they do have some things that one might want. I now understand their philosophy: they don't stock anything that spoils. Thus there are dairy products -- but none that are not canned or frozen. Still, if you want a nice walk with some ice cream at the end, this could be it.

Faithful readers know that we always have a wildlife story to recount. The current version happens mostly offstage. One evening near dusk we were standing in the kitchen and heard what sounded like scratching at a window. Alex went out to the courtyard and saw one of the local ravens flying away from the vecinity of our cupola. We were pleased at the thought of rceiving such a distinguished visitor, and the next day we left a little offering there, a sort of open-face sandwich with bacon on pancake. There was no action that day, but on the morning of the next we discovered that it had been disturbed and part was definitely missing. We still can't be sure that we have made contact with the corvids, but on the afternoon that we left for the airport, while Alex went back inside for something I'd forgotten, the big guy flew down the street, did a half-circle above me at about fifteen feet, and headed back toward the hotel.

The tale of our February visit seems full of trouble, but in fact, with no other cares in the world, our trip was actually quite pleasant. We kayaked a lot and walked a bit. We rested, and it's a good thing, because when we got back to Seattle there was a lot of work to do before listing our house. It paid off though -- see our Newsletter Page -- and as of now the only real estate we own, or at least have a beneficial interest in, is in México.

From the new tee boxes on the hill.

Some more panoramic pictures:

Other information:

  • The The new Loreto Bay website. This is a bit of an update. As of the first of 2009, Replay Resorts is no longer managing the project. The new manager is Alvarez & Marsal, and the owners are looking harder than ever for a buyer.
  • Meant to help homeowners during construction and inspection, The Construction Coach also offers insight into the project as a whole. Take a look at their updates and links -- plus frequent comments at the Nopolo News
  • West Coast Mill Works, the source for cabinetry and custom furniture -- they built our two custom beds as well as our closet.
  • Local real estate listings, including houses at Loreto Bay, from Alexander Realty; and Dorado Realty.
  • For current homeowners, there's My Loreto Bay, a site for news and discussion. Or, more likely now, the owner-run site Club Loreto Bay
  • There are hundreds of pictures of the town and the project on the developer's Flickr website but it has not been updated in a long time.
  • There are before-and-after pictures of their beautiful blue house by our neighbors Will and Cynthia, plus many from their other travels.
  • Many of the pictures that gave buyers hope early on are by pioneer Loreto Bay resident and prolific photographer Linda Angelo.
  • Where in the World is Nellie? A blog by a former Loreto Bay employee, current resident and Loreto entrepreneur. Nellie says that she's no longer updating her site, but she is occasionally tempted to return for a paragraph or two.
  • Living Loreto, a new blog by Drew McNabb, likely to provide the sort of detail that was Nellie's hallmark.
  • Watch and Learn: Lost in Loreto A long-running chronicle of the adventures, in Loreto and elsewhere, of Kelli and Robert McDill.
  • A serious and thorough 2006 critique of the project's sustainability claims from Baja Life magazine, in Acrobat format (with some beautiful pictures of the area by the way). Note that detractors are given the last word; the developers seem to have good answers for some of these questions.

Previously published information about our house in particular:

Evening comes to the golf course.  Open this file in your browser for a larger picture.

More about Baja:

It was talk about sustainability that first caught our attention , but even for us the appeal to the senses is undeniable. The following sites have general information about the area:

Our house from the street.

We are still happy with our choice to live on the main street -- it gives us a lot to look at. We may have traded some tranquility for the vistas that other houses lack, but at this point we're glad that we happened to notice this unique lot. The offset from the house next door makes this one of the few of its kind to have a window in the dining room (though it gives up a number of windows on the back side of the house). And, most of all of course, there's the disappearing exterior wall that turned a cramped little hallway into a colonnade. Here's a picture from the Paseo Misión de Loreto.

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