Photographer Donna von Bruening recently traveled to one of our favorite places: San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. Set in the highlands 170 miles north of Mexico City, SMA is an artist’s haven, with cobblestone streets and marble-fronted buildings dating back to the 1700s. The atmosphere makes it an amazing spot for destination weddings. Donna was there for the Celebration of the Birthday of General Allende, a street party in honor of the town’s founder. Here is the city through her eyes:
We stayed at Casa Hyder (aka Casa Elegantes), an 11-bedroom compound that belongs to art collector. It is comprised of three homes, and everywhere you turn is an eclectic collection of folk art or a secret garden — it is literally breathtaking! It’s available for rent, and comes fully staffed with a concierge, cook, and housekeeping.
Here’s a nighttime view of the main sala, where guests gather for afternoon coffee and evening cocktails.
I shot this while taking in the city from the rooftop patio at Casa Hyder during sunset cocktail hour.
Strolling mariachi bands are a common sight in San Miguel. Locals and tourists alike create parades for birthdays, weddings and all sorts of celebrations.
These mariachis are calling guests to the courtyard for a parade. The city is filled with beautiful courtyards like this.
We were there during the Celebration of the Birthday of General Allende: Hero of National Independence. He’s the town’s namesake, so there are parties, bands and dancing in the square, all in celebration of him. Here, people are gathering to depart for a parade through town following the Mojigangas, giant dancing puppets that are hallmark of fiestas here.
In honor of the celebration, townspeople decorate their stone walls with garlands and trinkets.
The markets are filled with souvenirs to help celebrate, like these colorful pinatas at El Jardin, San Miguel de Allende’s central plaza.
I love the city’s cobblestone streets, ideal for wandering. You can make a vacation of browsing in the shops and art galleries, and relaxing in the many café’s and restaurants.
The golden dome belongs to the Church of the Immaculate Conception, one of the city’s most beautiful historic churches.