observe the old stone buildings, hike the winding, terraced streets and gaze at the valleys
You can visit an ancient cockfight ring built like a small Roman coliseum, find calming
serenity in the church of San Francisco, see folk art milagros (miracles), testaments to
answered prayers, visit the local museum where silver coins were once minted, wander
through an ancient cemetery adorned with bright plastic flowers and dine at La Abundan-
cia, a converted mansion.
3. East: Cresting the Sierra Madre Mountains you'll notice that the brown desert high
plateau switches to a lush green profusion, enhanced by rivers and waterfalls.
You've entered La Huasteca, a paradise for picnickers, swimmers and hikers. And if
you're willing to make a circle trip and spend a night, you can follow the Corridor of Mis-
sions, five elaborate folk-churrigueresque, polychrome, churches built by Father Junípero
Serra before he was called to found the missions in California.
You may reserve a night at Hotel El Castillo in Xilítla and visit the magical, surrealistic
gardens built by Edward James, which are worth a special journey.
4. South: Dolores Hidalgo is Mexico's Cradle of Independence. It is also the revered site
of the spectacular tomb that honors Mexico's foremost Ranchero singer, Jose Alfredo Ji-
menez. It is also the home to multicolored pottery.
If you don't spend all your time shopping in Dolores Hidalgo, you can visit Mexico's
unique tunneled city, Guanajuato.
Here the first battle of the War of Independence was fought in 1810. Today, Guanajuato is
famed for the annual cultural event, The Cervantino. Each October, Guanajuato hosts this
International Music Festival that attracts musicians, dancers and theater performers from
all over the world.
5. Further South, San Miguel de Allende . Less than three hours from San Luís Potosí,
you'll discover the artistic, bohemian-inspired, home to over 10,000 expatriates (expats),
Americans and Canadians, who have developed an exceptional community of arts, theater,
culture and splendid homes that are often opened to the public for tours or charitable fun-