This is your invitation to visit and stay at a Bed and Brunch,
a birdwatching paradise, and a wildlife refuge in the Mexican
Outback. Please stay with us for a while and get to know us.
Read through our descriptions of places and pertinences that
make up our environs.
YOUR PRIVATE ENTRANCE
Thanks for having stopped by.
We appreciate your time and interest. We think we have the
ideal setting for *relaxation and for rejoining a time gone by,
We are fixed in a theatre designed to frame a really good old
movie. Always check backwith us with information and/or
questions and/or for reservations at
It would be our pleasure to welcome you to our little adobe home
situated about 225 miles south-southwest of the international metroplex
of McAllen, Texas - Reynosa, Tamaulipas, or between four and six hours
of easy driving, depending on your number of stops. We are
situated about 28 miles north-northwest of Ciudad Victoria,
the capital of the Mexican State of Tamaulipas,
in the middle of a truly majestic
Simply by enquiring via our e-mail, we can give all kinds of
pointers about road conditions, clean restrooms, snack
stops, and so forth. The highways range in quality
from very good to excellent, so for veteran
travellers in Mexico it is pretty easy
work to make it down to our
place.We shall be more
than glad to give
to the kilometre
post. We have
Quinta Tesoro de la Sierra Madre
(a friendly tip - click onto the little square on
the lower-left for satellite view. Much better!)
Over the years we have had the pleasure of receiving many visitors
and guests who enjoyed our grounds, location, and the attendant
opportunity to see, hear, and experience the bounty of birds
and butterflies that occasion our precincts.
The Old Gringo appreciates these folks and our
many other visitors
They are the people who have made our establishment of a place "at the end of the road" a truly rewarding adventure. We have arrived at that pleasant
point where we can say "We have the best and
nicest guests in Mexico, no matter where
they come from", with reference
to our visitors.
We have been favoured to receive an eclectic clientele, from as far away as France and Japan, to as close
by as our pleasant little Capital city of
Tamaulipas, Cd. Victoria, just
a bit less than 25 miles
to the southeast of
our little home.
The overwhelming majority are folks essentially
looking for a respite from urbanity. This means
that some are looking for birds, butterflies,
dragon flies, and/or certain other forms of
wildlife, especially mammifera, or
vegetation, such as bromeliads,
types of yuccas, and
We have had photographers, painters, horse trainers, even reporters
and ghost hunters. All our folks seem to enjoy going about their
pursuits knowing that they have a private room with
a private bath in a private home where access
is restrained, traffic is slight, parrots
and hummingbirds are many,
and, while rustic, all the basic,
necessary luxuries are
We also really do have 430 species of birds, on an annualised basis, who call the Quinta,
and the area within 25 miles radius, home. A normal bird count for a person just
trying make numbers and see a lifer or two during a day's watching can be as
high as 170 different species. Because of our geographical situation
we attract mountain, desert, chaparral, prairie, pine and oak
and cedar forests, ground birds, riverine, coastal,
tropical, maritime, and migratory.
We have had people record numerous songs of scores of different species,
declaring later their recordings to be the best they had ever made.
We are also on a major monarch butterfly corridor and
have them either coming down to Michoacan in
the late Autumn or heading back to Canada
in the Spring each year, about two
months for each episode.
And, we have scores and
scores of other species
of butterflies many
not seen in Texas.
This is a place where you can be pleasantly bored. You can drink beer or not drink beer, Cuba libres, Gin and Tonic, Grapefruit Juice w/ Hornitos Tequila and even Margaritas sometimes
when we have a
You can feast or fast, or do almost anything that is tolerated by the somewhat antiquated social standards of our peculiar little rural community. It is still pretty much the quintessential
place to be laid back and to relax. We even permit
smoking, but never inside the house.
Come unto this place all ye who travail and are heavy laden, as it is said in the Old Book. Those who wish to establish or re-establish with their ancestors and/or Creator will do well here. Or, perhaps one
might just like to see and appreciate a place that is
truly particularly and peculiarly interesting on the
face of this planet. A lady said one time, during
one late afternoon, with the bird preparing for
the nightfall and things becoming quiet and
the sun setting on the nearby mountains,
"This must be where God comes to gather
His thoughts and lower
his blood pressure".
It just might be.
When the Old Gringo has the cats and dogs fed in the late afternoon,
he can sit on the long, west-facing corridor, and he will be able
to see weasels, racoons, opossum, bear, puma, bobcat, coyote,
fox,and other beasties but more especially birds. Some of
these beasties are seen rarely,others more frequently,
but they have all been seen.
Of the birds, we have four types of parrots, at least 13 types
of hummingbirds, 4 types of orioles, or more, enumerable
types of warblers, wrens, and ground birds, various
and types of trogons, who come by at times.
There are always the jays, mockingbirds, ani's (both grooved
and smooth bill), Kiskadees, Kingfishers many different
raptors, including various eagles and hawks.
During the Spring and Fall, migratory birds
come from all directions. Geese and ducks,
and even pelicans, cranes, curlews,
and so on can appear to delight
the serious or amateur
We have three different types of kingfishers that come up to visit
from our nearby Rio C0rona. During recent times birders
both as guests and just passing through, found your
adobe hideaway to be among the very best they
had experienced in terms of rustic
comfortability, and surprisingly
good food and drink.
We have had a couple who came back a year later and did the walk
to Tiger Springs and back, specifically for the mix of birds.
They anticipate coming again in April. The walk is
about 11 miles round trip, and takes about 8 hours,
including bird-watching and
They know what they are doing and are in good shape, so it should be another
really good experience. There is no scaling or rugged terrain,
although it does go from our groves and woodlands
up to the base of mountains that shoot
up fairly quickly to elevations well
over 10,000 fasl. This particular
amble goes only to
about 1,270 fasl.
The Quinta Tesoro de la Sierra Madre receives only one,
two, or (rarely) three guests at a time.
Therefore, when you arrive,
you are obviously members
of the same family
This means that when you are with us, you are, in fact,
the exclusive guests staying in a private home that is essentially yours. Because we are at the end
of the road, it must be understood
that we are, in a way,
on the edge of
The electrical service ends with us and thankfully includes us. The man who delivers our propane gas has to
drive to the end of the road. Our telephone is a
peculiar combination of stationary
instrument, antennae assisted,
There are major mammals hanging around in the river
bottoms and all the way up into the nearby
mountains, (bobcats, tejones, puma, bear, fox,
coyote, racoons, o'possum, weasel, and others
that do not come to mindreadily as I write).
Your home is all adobe. It is built in the
same way and on the same basic plan
as what was used for building of
quarters for Spanish military
officers during the Colonial
Period.....(1521 - 1821).
It is not very imaginative and it is built so as to be easily and economically
repaired with native materials. Most of the electrical wiring
runs on the outside of the wall, just as if the house had been
built before the time of electrical service.
The Saltillo tile floor is set at the same level throughout the Quinta,
so there are no footing "surprises" as one moves about the home.
Your guest room has two large-sized single beds which
we move into a queen-sized configuration gladly,
at your request. Please advise us.
before your arrival.
Your room also has a bit of air-conditioning which actually works.
We do advise that nights are quite cool, even in the Summer,
so most guests wind up opening the
window and putting the fan on.
The bedroom itself is large, with a panoramic window overlooking
the valley of the adjacent Rio Corona. It is pictured here,
readied for a Winter night's stay. The room has
a nice heater, just in case, although normally
the adobe construction prohibits much
invasion of the overnight chill that
comes down from the nearby
And, as stated above, we have air-conditioning that actually.
works. We have reading material, games, a standard reception television that also has a linkage with the
SKY satellite service, and a nice radio to pick up
your favourite overnight radio programs.
The radio picks up Spanish transmissions from all over Mexico and even the Gospel according to Fidel from Radio Rebelde in the Citadel of Democracy.
Yanqui Imperialist stations come
in clearly after nightfall.
For instance: KTRH - 740 Houston, KRLD - 1080 Dallas,
WOAI - 1200 San Antonio, and WFAA - 820
are good selections. Electrical adaptation
is not necessary since our electricity
speaks standard Gringo
volts and cycles.
The Guest Room has its own private bath, complete with
full-time hot water, (something of a luxury in these parts).
The Guest will encounter nice fluffy towels and face-cloths,
a selection of shampoos and conditioners.
There are even some things to replace
necessary items that might have
been left behind.
to dress for he wedding and even
Dolly Parton could do her
coiffure up real proud.
And, so long as we are talking about running water,
please advise us about any plumbing
or water matters. We can usually
fix anything in a matter
of seconds or minutes.
It is a bit more important than that, however, since any unrestricted flow would cause us a bit of a problem
with supply. The ejido's water supply sends
us about 400 gallons of potable water,
usually for a period of three hours
in the afternoon.
So, if we lose water, we have to wait for a 99.3% reliable delivery on
the next day to replace our supply. The number of days we have
missed a resupply with guests present,
in any regard, has been zero.
The parlour serves as a dining area, a reading room, a television room,
and a conversation site during the colder times. Guests can
feel free to raid the refrigerator, or retrieve some secret
Sometimes the guests make themselves their favourite
tea or one of our own availabilities.
should be pointed o
that anywhere in our little
adobe hut the
Our water supply from the Ejido is of very high quality.
We also provide triple filtered water from this supply,
as well as bottled water at any time requested.
Your room will be stocked with two bottles
per person, which will be found by your
bed upon arrival.
There have been birthday parties, office parties, and even parties associated with weddings and funerals centered here. There have been Presidential candidates,
government under-secretaries, and secretaries
of this or that Ministry of this or that
State and/or the Central Government.
The magic of adobe walls and a cane ceiling always seems to provide the perfect setting
for conviviality. No arguments are permitted.
We often lament not having taken live
pictures of the various personalities and groups who have taken refuge
in front of our fireplace during cold
snaps, or who have dried out from
caught in a
We frequently joke that we guarantee "absolute boredom", which
actually means that ours is a place of "soledad y tranquilidad",
or solitude and tranquility. Many of our clients want nothing
more than to have a chance to read their Agatha Christi....
drink beer and/or margaritas....and siesta on the corridor.
Like the lady told me one summer,
"It beats the heck out of
paying a therapist".
Other folks put on the trappings of combat birdwatchers
and trek two, three, or even five miles roundtrip
while making scores of species sightings during
a four hour jaunt (the record for a mid-afternoon
to sundown sortie is 170 species). Then
they come back, have some
refreshment, eat well, and
sleep without moving
for 7 hours.
We have had folks with tripods, easles, ghost monitoring
& sensing equipment, night nature photography
gear, and even reporters. All seem to agree that
there is something restorative about
being at the
Quinta Tesoro de la Sierra Madre.
But, when and if you want to do a bit
of moving around, there are things
to do and places to see that are
neither distant nor difficult.
THE APPARITION of the VIRGIN of El CHORRITO
The above image is carved into the limestone of the cave behind the altar of the Basilica.
The carving came long before the Basilica. It was either put there
by shepherds in the middle 1700s who were paying homage
during idle moments by employing their stone carving
skills, or it appeared supernaturally replacing
a voice heard by children and animals when
walking by the dripping springs
known as El Chorrito.
The Basilica came afterwards. The site was recognized by the Vatican
as a place of interest and as an appropriate venue for
contemplation, pilgrimage, and religious devotions
This was a fairly bold move in a Mexico
that still had the prohibition of outdoor
religious celebration and/or the
wearing of religious vestments
by the clerical class outside
of a church building.
by force of the
This is a morning trip, leaving around 08:00 from the Quinta and
going back to the main road and then to the north a little ways,
ipas, (our county seat)
and then west,
up to the mountainside of the Sierra Madres.
On a very clear day,
one can see the Gulf of Mexico almost 120 miles to the east. A basilica sits upon the site of a
cave where Saint Mary, Mother of Jesus is said
to have appeared, both with and before the
Apparition of Fatima.
The place is clean, calm, and dignified, although we try go on dates that are not traditionally
periods of heavy pilgrimmages. We'll also visit the colonial-era
aquaduct of the Hacienda La Meza, and the
Waterfall of El Chorrito.
There is a pleasant place for lunch. This is a 92 mile roundtrip, and can be accomplished in an
unhurried 4.5 to 5 hours
It should also be noted that the journey, most frequently,
takes up the entire day.
The people at the little restaurants
and stalls are very
engaging, albeit passive.
short conversation leads to other things like
tales of personal experiences,
storms, miracles, seen and
heard about that were
done by the Virgin.
People delight in showing their plants, animals, and home projects,
especially to foreign visitors.
Shopping is something that
Gringo Viejo avoids, but he always winds up buying
some previously un-realized necessity.
So...while the distances are
relatively short...the time can be pleasantly longer.
It must now also be pointed out that the site has become
organised and clean even during our visit
It is really a strange, and very pleasant place.
This Basilica, somehow or another, remains amazingly
clean in spite of the literally hundreds and sometimes
many thousands of worshippers who arrive
to its portals.
There are little stalls selling numerous and sundry
goodiers, "recuerdos," and notions. It is pleasant
to note that most of the little gift ideas
were inexpensive, considering
isolation of the place, and that
the vast majority of goodies
were "hecho en Mexico"
or "Made in USA".
Quite a refreshing departure from
the tsunami of "made in china"
Many people buy jars to take back some of the waters that are encountered running in various natural and
amended channels. The water is thought to be
spiritually charged for healing, protecting,
or comforting a faithful person who
is in communion with Saint Mary.
There are people who swear that they have used the water
in their auto's radiator, and that the leak healed itself.
During the period of the "Fiestas Guadalupanas"
(shortly before, during, and after 12 December),
there can be as many as 300,000 visitors
from all over Northeastern
Mexico and Texas, over
a 10 day period.
That date commemorates the apparition of Saint Mary,
not here, but on the Hill of Tepeyac in Mexico City,
known as the Virgin de Guadalupe,
Patrona de Mexico
y de las Americas.
THE SPRINGS OF EL TIGRE
Also a morning-type trip, best to leave around 09:00.
This is a very close-by jaunt, and takes the client
through some the very final settlement areas since
the time of the agrarian reform's entrance into
the Santa Engracia area in the
Our jaunt can be done easily in three hours.
stops for photos at homes,
businesses, and points
can be made, depending on the guest's
We have had guests walk to and
and the Springs, round trip.
It is about
5 hours of ambling,
gossiping with the locals.
They are actually a shy lot, but engaging once engaged. They really like to see the Gringos meandering around, because it gives them a break from the restraining
schedule required in a farming area.
No coins to children, please, for
only Godfathers have the
right to give
But, pens with
New, yellow #2 pencils with new erasers and the like are
to the little sqirts in primary school.
Los Man~antiales de El Tigre, which are
actually several clusters
at the base of the first
of the Sierra Madre
Oriental, effuse over
per minute at
the base flow.
Those springs provide
life to much of the
Santa Engracia area as they form
the beginning of the Rio Corona,
and its attendant
A DAY IN CIUDAD VICTORIA
On days that we might be scheduled to go
into Cd. Victoria for supplies or other business, it might be possible to accompany us, especially if it is going to be just a matter of a very short period for us to attend
to our affairs
This will give you the
chance to see an
environment that is very foreign, yet
very familiar and therefore typically Mexican,
from the point of view of a resident,
will notice a certain
that is afforded to Gringo
This town visit might include a stop at the supermarket,
a drop off some paperwork with the attorney or
bank, and/or a stop at the typical market area
buy a couple of new serapes for use as
bedspreads for the Quinta.
A couple of sightseeing
stops and a light
There are scores of popular places from
and we can
a day and return
to the Quinta.
Nearby places of great interest
The area around the Quinta has scores of lesser and greater attractions.
Whether it be something as simple as a walk through the gravel streets,
admiring the luxuriant flowers, bushes, and trees that the people
care for, almost reverentially, or visiting other places,
some quite magnificent, some quite humble, the
area provides considerable opportunity for
memory building, photography, and
general learning about the human
condition in rural Mexico.
place has endured in this area since the first quarter
of the 1700's, mid-way
into the Spanish Colonial Period.
not the largest Mexico's
haciendas, it was originally
say roughly the
size of half of an
average Texas county.
The braiding of genealogy
brings us to the present fact that there are still descendants of the original Spanish grantee involved in the o
wnership of the remnant properties pertaining to this place, which was
a duchy located in
the wilderness that
roughly equivalent to-day to
an outpost on the Moon.
Now it is about one kilometre from the Quinta Tesoro de la Sierra Madre.
To-day, the ownership is not one solitary
Spanish Don lording over a thousand adult male
vaqueros, overseeing essentially
self-contained, self-supporting and defending
defending a feudal enterprise with
During these times, it is a complex of individuals and corporations, including Cementos
It is operated as a guest
lodge, and is open to
Most, if not all,
of the members of the
directorate do, in
have genealogical roots in the ancestry of the Hacienda.
But, to-day, the Hacienda is thoroughly modernized,
with rooms both recently constructed
and quite antique, nice
grounds, swimming pool,
bar, and elegant dining facilities,
along with tennis court
traditional rustic sauna
and other amenities
one would associate
with such an
It is worth a visit and the staff is normally very tolerant of folks j
to enjoy the grounds. They will probably even
show a couple of the rooms
in the colonial section,
if requested, and if it is tactically possible.
The owners of the Quinta Tesoro de la Sierra Madre at one
time owned an excursion company which was the
first to bring groups to the Hacienda after its
rehabilitation in the late 1970's.
During the time of operation of our excursion company we probably introduced four thousand
or more different folks to the Hacienda. The first group came in during late January
for a couple of nights' stay, and
was surprised on the second night with
quite a sleet and snow episode.
It was all very pleasant.
The clients were mostly adventurers were from the
and were not overly concerned with
a couple of inches of snow. Plus, we
the fireplaces keeping
In any regard, this
isfull of lore, legends, ghosts,
It would behoove the visitor to invest a morning
or a day
or a meal or a couple of beers there.
even had clients who come and stay at the
for three or four nights
at the Hacienda
for three or four
nights on the same trip. S
but it makes
sense to our clients
who have done it.
Only a few
hundred feet from the Quinta Tesoro de la Sierra Madre,
one can enter into another place that demonstrates Mexico's past and pres
ent effortlessly. This entrance-way leads to The Hacienda de la Vega.
Passing by Valencia a few
orange trees that are over
80 years old, we can see orchards that are being
modernized and have been fitted with
an elaborate drip-irrigation system
for the new plantings of
Valencia orange in
The property is owned by a family that is essentially "on the register" in Ciudad
Victoria. They would be embarrassed to read this,but they really are
well-educated, socially,politically, and professionally
involved in the life of their community.
They are a
of upper-middle class and "poor-rich" titled colonial
people who always seem to come out on top.
of any adversity or op
They are typically civilized, generous, and even-handed folks
who have been bette
than good neighbours to the Quinta Tesoro de la Sierra Madre,
its ownership, and its guests.
The Hacienda de La Vega is nowhere near as old as the Hacienda de Santa
Engracia, but it has its own tales of war & peace, conflict & resolution,
dating back into the most troubled period of the Agrarian
Reform....following the Mexican Revolution of 1910 -1917.
The 1920's and early 1930's were especially difficult in
the area around the Hacienda de Santa Engracia,
and the story behind this property has much to do
with the resolution of the contentious
issues of the period.
The first picture is of the front yard and present "manor house" which is an uninspired structure that brings to mind the architectural style of "Mexico City Concrete Earthquake Bunker" .
But, it serves well as a center of operations and country home
for the owner, his family, and friends. The house is actually
very well built, considering that it was put
out in the middle of nowhere in 1961.
In those years, of course,
there was no electricity
or much of anything
The family had rural traditions, but had been long urbanised.
The grandfather received the land in the form of payment for services rendered by him to the government's
agrarian reform efforts and essentially
pioneered there from homes and
business interests in Monterrey
The second house is the original "manor house", built in 1934. One can only imagine the difficulties involved in the construction of this home. No roads, no electricity, no propane, no nothing. Try to imagine the delivery of "sillares"(huge sawn limestone blocks, each
weighing over 2,000 pounds).
It is said to have been built
over or near a place where
a skirmish involving
expropriation of land from the Hacienda de Santa Engracia
in the late 1920s resulted in the deaths of four,
or perhaps five persons. Predictably, legends
have it that the house and the grounds close
to the old house are affected by "presences".
Oddly enough, this particular text and
the associated picture
have always been
difficult to hold
The text seems to squiggle and disorganise and change from blue to black.
At times the picture will have been found to be "dancing" during
our absence, and we will have to struggle to put it back
in it correct place. In these days the family has put
substantial effort into restoring the two bathrooms
and bringing the previous lustre of
the home back to normal.
Then we have the old barn and smithy area. This Anglo-Irish standard
structure is from the same period as th
e original manor house.
In style and configuration it is the brother of the old
out the massive limestone
The future guest-room is on the second
floor, if and when.
The present owners have been gradually bringing this
old stucture into a new serviceability.
We think about
putting together a package of home stays
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data check for April, 2015
A Gringo in Rural Mexico
Voice from the Sierra Madre Oriental
El Gringo Viejo with Cleo the Crazy Cat, and Prince,
the Lazy Dog on the "long, west-facing corridor"
The Quinta Tesoro de la Sierra Madre and the the blog site named A Gringo in Rural Mexico - Voice from the Sierra Madre Oriental are identical twins who are completely different. One is a physical place of
great beauty and tranquility; Great Birds & Butterflies, cold beer, lime-ades & orange-ades,
smoothies of varied and sundry types depending upon the season, soda pops, great food,
and accommodations with the comforts of basic luxuries. The reader can communicate
at length with questions and/or comments at our page designed for such things, as well
as for matters pertaining to reservations, dates, rates, special considerations here.
The reader can read about various political and cultural matters pertaining to the United States, Texas, and Mexico at the linkage provided above the picture in this frame. T
hat linkage is a literary experiment, with opinions and observations pouring from glands full of acidic gizzard bile, tempered with a bit of humour,
all flowing from the keyboard of a mean,old man. All who visit are invited, at their own risk, to check
in with our blog. It is an eclectic set of running observations about life in our little area along with
the grumpy comments of an Old Gringo Curmudgeon who lets things like pampers in parking lots
and park benches bother him a little too much at times.
Any and all are welcomed to email comments and criticism and approvals. All mail is read and all should feel at home, both at the Quinta and the blog. We are glad to respond to requests for information about
Mexico on almost any front. Remember when asking, however, that El Gringo Viejo tends to be very conservative in political and cultural matters. Your responses will be filtered through such thought processes. But, his analysis will be truthful and sincere. His favourite parable is that of the
Samaritan, so you will receive fair treatment, friend or foe.
Another link, www.bnb-directory.com will connect the visitor with a registry to a
directory where literally hundreds of places such as ours, some very elaborate,
others rustic, all good and interesting, are displayed with pictures, costs,
locations, service and accommodation format, and other
information is readily presented
in readable fashion.
We now have a somewhat semi-official "historical
marker - road sign" for our little mud hut.
Its production was overseen by our neighbour at the adjacent Hacienda de La Vega. He has a similar sign that announces his more extensive acreage about 50 feet from this sign, placed near the main entrance gates.
Alvaro moved the sign closer to our main entrance about a week after this picture was taken.
The first and most important condition concerning rates and availabilities is that the Quinta Tesoro de la Sierra Madre takes reservations only on the basis of 'estancias' of three (3) nights more. We have only one guest room, and it has its own private entrance and bath. We take one, two, or three individuals and no more. There are special rates for weekly (six nights or longer).
Three to five nights - One person with brunch: 700 Mexican pesos per night,
Two persons with brunch: 900 Mexican pesos per night
Six or more nights - One person with breakfast: 500 Mexican pesos per night.
Two persons with breakfast: 700 Mexican pesos per night. (total room charge)
There is no deviation or exception to the 3 night minimum rule, for friend,
foe, extraterrestrials, angels, or family. The same applies to the rates.
There is no smoking permitted within the walls of the Quinta.
One may smoke freely in the out of doors.
We accept Mexican or American cash money at the rate of the day as established by the average of the purchase and sale of the American dollar as evaluated by the Mexican Peso. Guests can prepay by forwarding a
personal check or bank transfer to our account in Texas, as per the very simple instructions we shall
provide if the client wishes to prepay by that manner
The Office on the Corridor
THE FAMOUS "LONG, WEST-FACING CORRIDOR"
From here a person can pick his own avocados, or take a long
siesta in the cool shade of a warm day. Imagine with one of
those really great Mexican Coca Colas, or a cold Mexican beer,
sweating in its little bucket of ice, or a tropical smoothy, or
just being left alone to study the mountains to the west.
The biggest bother might be a dog or a couple of cats who
think they deserve some special attention. Shoo them off,
or give them a treat, as you so will. Just look out for the
cats' tails when you are rocking back and forth.
We provide....a nice breakfast or brunch usually served between 07:00 - 11:00, or to the extent possible, when the client wishes. This can be a combination of Mexican, American, and Continental fare, which will follow early morning wake-up service of coffee and juice. Breakfast (or brunch) is quite ample and is included
in your room charge. We also can provide nice light meals for later in the day ...deli-sandwiches,
home-made soups and the like for mid-day, and suppers that can approximate gourmet quality.
Lunches and suppers carry an additional charge, albeit quite moderate. It is requested that
you advise us before arrival of your intention to take additional meals on premises.
We will have selections available from which you can choose for your additional
meals, and we can recommend other alternatives, both nearby and in
Also, at times.... folks like to have an old -fashioned Texan - Mexican parrillada (mesquite & charcoal grilling) and this can be arranged as well. To describe such a thing, we are a bit hard-pressed. It is rather much a controlled disorder, perhaps a man's thing, beginning around mid-afternoon with the lighting of the charcoal, mixed with orange and mesquite wood
that has been placed in the parrilla (an outdoor
grill). Background music from somewhere
(not too loud), dogs ever-lurking around
the edges sizing up food-lackeys.
The cooking of beef cuts, chicken, even fish and shrimp, potatoes, beans, onions, chili peppers, carrots, broccoli, continual chilling of beer and soda pops, deploying of
citronella anti-mosquito candle buckets, serving and
being served, and just generally having a good time
without a script, while buying ice and and tending
the fire......is all part of the parrillada.
In the summer it is ideal in the late afternoon on into the night, while during the winter everything will start
outside and retire indoors for a bit of dessert away
from the even's chill. These events are more social than commercial, might involve a very limited
number of third parties, like neighbours or other highly-filtered participants, and really has no
fixed charge. Each puts in a bit here and there. Usually the house bears the brunt of any cost
overruns, because it is an hospitable way to be and because it's just such a pleasant episode
for the Old Gringo. A fully private parrillada can be arranged and provided at a fixed price,
depending upon what is desired by the client.
We do earnestly request... that you give us at least three weeks of anticipation before your arrival, so that we can do the kind of shopping for native goods and products that will make your stay special. Mexican supplies and qualities are quite good, so with your ample notice we can then keep up with what is
available, and make our purchases in an effective way so as to ensure an excellent dining
experience with us. We grow a considerable amount of our own vegetables and herbs.
There is no micro-wave at the Quinta, and we make almost everything up from scratch. We generally have very cold beer, usually Corona and/or Bohemia, and we can usually make a limited selection of mixed-drinks...ie. martinis, cuba libres, margaritas, tropical smoothies (a house specialty).....and we have a
bit of white or red wine for before, after, and/or during mealtime. All alcoholic beverages are sold at
a very reasonable charge. Wine served at meals has no further charge, when it is part of the overall
meal. To the left above, one can see the Old Gringo hard at work (?).
We confess with a bit of humility to having a bit of culinary ability, developed at this late stage in life. We have empty plates coming back from the table and very few crumbs and leavings under the table.
It is all much easier when Diana is down at the Quinta when we have guests, essentially because she does all of the work and is much more pleasant company than I. It also helps when our Mayordomo, Alvaro, is on site since there is very little that he cannot fix or do. If he cannot do the fixing or doing, he can always seem to quickly locate the person who can. He is also always warmly greeted by our returning guests.While this petition might be redundant, we do earnestly request that the client give us at least three weeks of advanced notice so as to stock the larder and make as close to perfect as possible preparations for the arrival. We truly are, without complaint, on the very, very edge of civilisation in many ways. Things that are simple take a little extra preparation to accomplish. Since it is Mexico, the impossible is easily accomplished. It is only the simple things that are difficult for us to do.
These next pictures might seem a little silly, but it one can imagine a very chilly Winter's night, very clear, and
very, very still, perhaps he/she can also smell the fragrance
of a rich and rough Mexican chocolate (the real stuff) being prepared on our humble little stove. The chocolate takes
on measures of sour cream and whole cream, and milk, of course.
Then slowly and at different and specific times other nice things are melded into the mixture like canela (cinnamon), and perhaps even a capful or two of a reposed tequila or
rum, along with a generous pouring of mesquite log
honey, a specialty of the region.
Lacking that, we might be forced to use the orange blossom honey instead. The variations for this potion are almost endless, and we always have little adaptations that
might enhance the guest's enjoyment.
We prepare to watch an old Sherlock Holmes classic with Dr. Moriarty fight to the death with Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce defending all good things English against that
nefarious master of crime.
The Winter's chilled moonlight filters through the branches of the frangy-pangy tree, (aka: plumaria, Hawai'ian Leigh flower, and Oreja de Burro aka - donkey-ear tree).
Diana calls out that the commercials are over and that the movie is beginning.
"Come, Watson! The game's afoot! Bring your revolver!"
We head inside, away from the 39 F chill, and find Alvaro lighting the small fire in the fogata (fireplace). He then bids
us a hearty "Buenas Noches!" and leaves, holding the main door open for a second for the two sister cats to make their entrances. Smokey, the long-haired, nervous Rag-Doll
one, and Cleopatra, the neurotic Maine Coon, bound in joyously, eyeing us for some un-deserved treat.
Failing that, they move on towards the fogata, to watch the dancing of the flames, and await their time for using the
Old Gringo as a bed warmer, later in the evening. We
can hear Alvaro close and lock the front gate and then
ride off on his nice bicycle the short distance to his
small castle....about a quarter of a mile from the Quinta. We settle in after the Old Gringo serves
one and all a bit more Happy Chocolate (reg.us.pat.off.).
With the old English movie done and everyone ready for a good night's sleep, we take another look at what is truly a "silvery moon" and listen to the nightbirds for a bit. Even with the coolness, the lightning bugs amaze the guests with their brightness and numbers. During the Summer six-months it is even more intense, but our guests can hardly believe that. It seems as if there is a veritable convention of the glowing insects.
Here, at night, one must study the growlings and snortings of the dogs who sleep on the corridor, and one must be sensitive to the eye-intensity of the self-involved cats; a puma might be nearby, or a coven of foxes.
The "home- animals" have their signs and El Gringo Viejo has
has learned what each inflection's meaning carries.
To-night, we can hear the simultaneous laughing and howling of the coyotes,
along with their cousins, the red
foxes, yipping a bit closer to the
The guest asks, "Do you train them to do that?" and it seems as if he is a little more than half-serious.Who can know?
While this little assembly of pictures and descriptions might seem a little mushy or
over-romanticised, it is pretty much the
nature of things at the Quinta. On clear
nights it is still one of those places
where stars are within arm's
reach. It is still a magical
place when, a little later
on, as dawn begins to think about breaking in a little while, the guest might see the
full moon setting on the mountains to the west during those few remaining
moments of pleasant, cool darkness, right when the first pot of coffee is
finishing its brew at 05:00, starting another day at the end of the road.
I hear the door open and close from the guest room, and I call out,
"The coffee is ready. There's half and half, brown sugar, honey,
and cups on the table. Fresh juice is in the little ice chest.
I'll be feeding the cats and dogs." Alvaro arrives.
There is a long, west-facing corridor, where folks frequently choose to relax in a mesadora (large, rustic rocking chair). From here, they
During the nighttime hours, when the mountains flash with with almost incessant lightning, the guests will repeat their occupation of the "long, west-facing corridor" to watch the greatest show on Earth. There are other times when the rains, usually night-falling rains, will make everyone retire to drier quarters, but it makes us anxious to see how much greener and florid we shall encounter our surroundings in the morning. In any regard, We have come to think that this corridor must have been built over some kind of magic stone that pulses tranquility and relaxation out to any who sit above it.
Your property fronts onto the banks of the Rio Corona, a spring-fed, mountain stream that has never gone dry in its known history.
The Rio Corona is lined by cypress trees that can reach up as high as 200 feet. There are some that are thought to be, or have been otherwise proven to be, around 1,300 years old. These are the famous Bald (Montezuma) Cypress. There are some of this same specie of Cypress, a time and a half older in Tehuacan, State of Puebla and, of course, just outside of Oaxaca, State of Oaxaca further to the south in Mexico in a village named Santa Maria del Tule. We have been present in the area off and on for about half a century, in various postures and purposes over those years. When we bought our property, it was somewhat depressing to see how folks had used the banks of such a noble River as a garbage dump. The expression was, "It's okay, because when the floods come the water carries away all the garbage." While the war has in no wise been won, we are able to claim at least a running victory, because we can go through two or three weeks at a time between episodes of abuse. Before the dumping was daily. With the efforts of our mayordomo, Alvaro Balboa Huerta, and the rest of the Quinta's "extended family", our river's edge is in really good condition now, perhaps 95 percent of the time. At first our grumpy nature and demanding posture was not so well received by those who sought convenience in ridding themselves of litter and garbage. Now, however, even some of those same people come by to say that things are much better when they are cleaner. Go figure.
We advocated for a scheduled garbage pick-up, which was initiated, with many people saying that it would never work. Now after about five years, it has become a twice-weekly institution, giving us more than a little pleasure to see the garbage cans, boxes, and other containers lined up along the highway when we go to town on certain early mornings. The people even sweep clean the dirt around their garbage cans. Some times the smallest steps have the greatest effect.
Some of our land adjacent to the Rio Corona's banks is kept in a nearly primeval state. Various of the property owners on both
Our "green zone" is not something caused by any solidarity with Al Gore or the Peoples' Democratic Tree Hugging Alliance Against Normalcy. It is simply the extension of the normal practices of a farm boy whose father taught his sons conservation, respect for the land, and the things in and on it, and to exercise an Anglican catechism which includes stewardship over the affairs of Creation. This has led us to have several thousand square yards of terrain that is chocked full of birds and where anything from bobcats to red and grey fox can be and are seen. Just to the side, and in the River-course proper (called an avenida, like "street" or avenue, in Spanish) we have encountered puma and coyote. Birds are too numerous for us to mention accurately. Now, at this writing, after over ten years of listening, and witnessing, it is clear that the bird specie count might actually surpass 500 for our place and 25 miles radius around us. The dragonfly, butterfly, and other such beasties are equally impressive, and as stated elsewhere in this website, we are situated on a very heavily trafficked flyway for the Mariposa Monarca (Monarch Butterfly).
Suggested Menus and Meal Prices at the Quinta Tesoro de la Sierra
Madre. This will give our clients some idea of what a
menu for a three night stay might include.
Breakfast or Brunch
Chilaquiles - a delicate combination of chicken, shredded onion, cheeses, mixed in a cream sauce with fried tortilla strips and grilled strips of poblano pepper. Exotic sounding but actually a mild welcome to a new day. Covered with our famous,homemade green tomatillo sauce.
Shrimp Omelette - three jumbo shrimp, grilled to perfection and served in omelette presentation, with a nice Swiss cheese and cream cheese filler. Served over a bed of select-quality asperagus spears, freshly prepared for a special wake-up.
100% Mexicano - a desayuno (break your fast) for the alban~il (bricklayer) and the arriero (donkey train driver). Menudo, gorditas stuffed with classics of the region like newly gathered free-range eggs, scrambled with dried beef, chorizo, and/or white queso casero, bowl of stewed Oaxaca-style black beans (with or without diced or whole serrano pepper).
El Texano - Grilled select-quality pork steak strips, scrambled eggs with deli-cheddar, two large pancakes with maple syrup, and/or our incredible miel del monte (honey from the chapparral).
Southern Pride - with poached eggs on toast, grilled shredded potatoe, fried green tomatoes, with extra crispy bacon. Served with toast and sweet bread. A simple, but ample approach to confronting the challenges of a new day!
El Oaxaqueno - prepared with two fried tortillas, mounted with a black bean pate', grilled onions, poached eggs, on top of grilled, select, sliced deli-ham, then covered with thick crumbles of excellent white cheese, topped again with rings of freshly sliced onion, black beans, select-quality English peas, and a thin but generous layer of Swiss cheese. Known as Huevos Motulenos, this is a classic breakfast of festivity times in Southern Mexico.
El Vaquero - which is a simple breakfast with scrambled eggs, done our own secret way, placed in a circle on the plate and smothered with carne con chile. Eaten frequently with only totopes (tortilla chips), it's okay if the guest uses his/her fork/spoon. It is something like a cowboy's comfort food.
These brunches are very ample, and further come with toast and/or pan dulce, jams and/or jellies, coffee, mexican breakfast salads of tomatoe, avocado, and/or citrus fruit sections, and our special salsas, some picante (really hot), others suave (kinda poofy, but flavourful). These meals are included in the room charge for those on a B&B plan.
Light Lunch Suggestions
Club Sandwich - three deli-quality meats, two cheeses, pickles, chips,and a refreshment, with Country Club presentation. Triple decker...big enough to share with your companion; includes one beer/Coke
Super Nachos - totopes with beans, cheese, and carne con chile or dried beef or steak pieces, topped with serrano peppers or jalapenos; 18 nachos, enough to share, and a refreshment
Cheese & nut bowl - cubes of quality cheese, dried beef, and a selection of domestic Mexican and imported nuts, includes the first beer or Coke
Whole Huachinango - (red snapper) a la VeraCruzana or grilled al mojo de ajo, served with generous portions of a nice steamed vegetable and a white rice mountain, includes white wine - 9.00/am.cur.
Tampiquena Plate - including a sirloin strip (7 - 9 ounces), two enchiladas, guacamole, rice, and beans, a classical preparation of the region, includes red wine - 10.00/am.cur.
Rib Eye Steak - with (Mexican prime, 9 ounces) our over-stuffed potatoe, a nice steamed vegetable, includes red wine - 9.00/am.cur.
Enchiladas Suizas - four overstuffed corn tortillas, filled with excellent chicken, and drenched in, out, and over with our homemade salsa verde...topped with Swiss and fine Mexican white cheese (almost a sin), finished in a 500 degree oven for four minutes and served with red/white wine - 9.00/am.cur.
On colder winter nights, we sometimes have caldos (stews) of beef, or chicken, or seafood. These are rich and traditional makings for the cold in this neo-mountainous area. Because they are "caldos", they are made up from scratch and take several hours in the
preparation. With the little extras that our meals always present to
the table, they make a perfect response to the intimidations of El
Viejo del Invierno. With a room temperature or chilled beer, or
Coca Cola, they make a good meal that warms a person from
the inside out - 6.00/ am.cur. or 6.50/with wine.
Also, during the Winter, or any time requested, we are famous for our special Mexican hot chocolate, known as "Chocolate Feliz" (happy chocolate) which we
take almost two hours to whip up. Very slowly we produce an almost sedative
taste experience that truly presents the best of the Mexican kitchen. Served
at the whim of the owner or at the request of the guest at no extra charge.
Some of our folks say that just the fragrances of the "caldos"
simmering their flavours together is worth the experience. And, in keeping with the
habit of the mean old man who is the chef, we generally make enough to serve a
healthy round of seconds to our guests. These are actually stews that require
a fork, knife, spoon, and a good cooled (not cold) beer, coca cola, or wine.
SPECIAL NOTE: For couples it has been popular for both to order the same thing, and we essentially super-size a single order, and serve family style, after a fashion. The clients receive 1.8 times the single order and pay 1.6 times the price for a single order. Dessert is usually our Brownies a la Cantinflas, which brings rum, vanilla, homemade cherry syrup and, of course, dark chocolate happily clashing onto your platito de postre. Sometimes, when the better half is around it might be her very famous Red Grapefruit Pie or classic American Apple Pie, with Sharp Cheddar Cheese sticks on top! Dessert is included in the guest's fare. House white wine is normally served chilled, and red wine is normally served at room temperature.
OUR DINING AND DIET PHILOSOPHY - Please take note
Our meals are based on 1930s farm reality. We serve no non-fat, no diet, no low-fat, no light-beer, no diet Coke, no 2% milk, no Spandosweet nor sugar substitutes. While we serve standard process white sugar on request only, to us, a sugar substitute is brown sugar, semi-refined sugar, molasses, and/or wild honey
from a nearby apiarist. We serve half and half with our coffee, and the coffee we serve is a low-range
deluxe blend and is caffeinated. We use considerable olive oils, vinegars, canola oil, and real butter
in our cooking.
We have tea of various types...green, poofy, and regular black. To the extent possible, and every effort is always made, we serve citrus juices derived from the orchards immediately around us, and we squeeze it ourselves or it is done by our manager or close associate.....this includes the world's best red grapefruit
juice and valencia orange juice. Tomatoe and mango juices are reconstituted by the very high-quality producer, JUMEX.
We provide impromptu, simple snacks....especially when Diana is around... but even El Gringo Viejo makes little goodie plates....to accompany your beer or soda pops. The Cheese and nut bowl w/ one beer or soda pop
is essentially a full meal. But, we provide a bit of munchy even if you don't want a medium-large bowl of goodies. And, while trying to discuss this with some deference, we find that those who are a little
heavier than they might like, lose significant weight during their stay, in spite of
(actually because of) our culinary preparations. The longer the stay, the more
weight lost. We attribute this to the "I'm full now" signal the system sends to
the brain when the vital fats have been reached on the fat-o-meter in the
Complementing this is the amount of walking up and down gentle grades that lead to and from the Quinta. Very little walking, even around the grounds of the Quinta Tesoro de la Sierra Madre, necessarily works muscles that might have been in a bit of retirement. Nothing strenuous even, just a bit of re-awakening.
The few children we have had always eat everything....oatmeal, brocolli....everything. The people
who are a bit on the thin side, seem to gain a little weight. Therefore, although we know the truth
of what is stated here, if the prospective guest cannot deal with these parameters, it is best that
he/she go on with his diet and remain with the debilitations that that same diet causes. But it
is best if it be continued at some other venue. If the client can put up with three or more
nights of the gruel we serve, he/she will feel better and rejuvenated.
This we believe and this we know.
Avocado in bloom, Spring of 2014
and now below, heading for the old
Our bouganvillas invading into the bramble that is our
natural zone as one approaches the Rio Corona from the
house that lies about 200 feet to the left, and about 15 feet
above the level from which this picture was taken.