Editor’s Notes: A weekend at the country house

Isn’t this weather a pleasant surprise? Personally, I love the fresh air and lack of sunshine ( for a day or two). Reminds me of my days in Vancouver. Though I can imagine if you’re here on vacation, you’re ready for it to clear up!

Restaurant Week continues until the end of this week. Hopefully, you’ve had a chance to check out some new restaurants. I know our intrepid ‘culture critic’ AJ has enjoyed more than a few of the restaurant’s offerings and he shares some of his thoughts with us here this week.

June definitely slows down as we prepare for the summer vacation crowd but there are still a few things going on, and I’ve updated (to the best of my ability) the Live Music Calendar. I’ve left most of the venues even if they don’t have any scheduled performances so you can contact them directly, just in case.

The Vallarta Botanical Garden has two events coming up Hummingbird Day on the 16th with special events centered around the cutest little birds ever, and June 20 is National Botanical Garden Day, and they have some special programs available (for a fee) as well as other programming included in the cost of admission. Check out their Facebook for details.

As you may know, I’ve been writing a travel guide for the area, which has been my catalyst to travel north to San Blas, south to Barra de Navidad and inland all the way to Tequila. This past weekend I headed east to Mascota in the Sierra Madres to do a little more exploring and take some photos.

The landscape in Mascota is very similar to where I grew up in the Okanagan/ Similkameen in BC’s interior. The low lying valley with its quilted fields of green, the river that snakes along, and the pine trees with their scented needles. Gives me goosebumps every time I visit.

We stayed at Villa Cantabria which you can find on Airbnb for about $40/night (includes breakfast), a gorgeous hacienda overlooking the valley with a refreshing pool and a herd of cows that walks past each morning and returns each night. It was a welcome break from the hustle of the big city.

If you’re looking to get away for a few days I 100% recommend Mascota. The town is lovely, very clean, and well maintained. There are historic buildings dating back centuries, colonial architecture, an excellent little archeology museum, a quirky home covered entirely in river stones, lots of good restaurants and possibly the cutest plaza principal of all the plazas I’ve seen.
If you like driving there is an interesting route you can take into the mountains that leads you through some tiny pueblos to Juancatlan Lake (where you can stay at the fancy Sierra Lago resort) and then around a series of volcanoes, before heading back to Mascota. There is also a hot spring and a river to play in.

If you don’t have a vehicle it’s an easy bus ride from the little bus station in Versalles. Bus tickets are about $150 each way and it will leave you in the center of town where there are a number of charming hotels ranging from $20-100 a night.

As the cloud cover reminds us, torrential rains are on their way. Please do what you can to pick up the litter in the streets and along the waterways to stop it from heading into the bay.

Safe travels,