All County, All the Time Since 2010 MAKE THIS YOUR PRINCE EDWARD COUNTY HOME...PAGE!  Thursday, April 15th, 2021

Amigos, my paw!

My buddy Dave left me.  He flew to Mexico without me and I am too upset to blog today

He sent me the following e-mail but it will be a long time before I forgive him.

Dear Dodger:

I hear that you are really upset that I am in Mexico without you. I also hear that you were so ticked off that you dug crater size holes in the lawn that I had sodded this summer. We’ll deal with that little issue when I get home.

I wanted to tell you about paradise. Writing or even talking about paradise is a dangerous thing, as part of the joy of this place is that almost no one knows about it; therefore, it is unspoiled and undeveloped. Prince Edward County was like that – once upon a time – when I moved here 35 years ago. But as more and more people discover it and succesive County councils try to turn it into Scarborough East it has lost some of its laid back rural charm.

Paradise has to have the following attributes: a perfect climate during a Canadian winter, deserted beaches, excellent food, good but cheap accomodation, no traffic and few people. Ah – few people – that is the rub that makes it hard to find paradise anymore. Cheap air travel, the internet and lots of disposable income have made most places in the world accessible to everyone. So most destinations that we can call paradise have, in the words of Joni Mitchell, been ‘paved over.” Anyway Dodger, I have found paradise and the only reason I am sharing it with you is that I know that almost no one reads a dog’s blog – so I think the secret is safe.

Just a 40 minute drive north of Puerto Vallarta, one of Mexico busiest tourist towns, is the tiny village of San Pancho (also known as San Francisco). It is a tiny village of only 1600 people that is situated on the Pacific coastline of the Mexican state known as Nayarit. Surrounding the village are the rugged mountains of the Sierra Madre Occidental and the protected biosphere called Sierra Vallejo. Flowers and birds abound in this largely undeveloped area of dense jungle. There are few places in the world where the mountains and the jungle are so close to the ocean.

Men on horseback still roam the streeets. Dogs and chickens wake the residents at ungody hours. Local fisherman ply the waters in small boats for durado, mahi mahi and red snapper, all of which are sold daily to the local restaurants and residents. For a nominal fee you can venture out with one of the fishermen in his 15 foot wooden boat and then take your catch back to the most local restaurants where it will be prepared to perfection. During October through February it is common to see humpback whales off shore as they use the tropical waters to mate and calve prior to starting the migration north to Alaska. This can be an intimidating, but exhilarating experience when one of these giant mammals comes abreast of the tiny fishing boat.

Finding a place to stay in San Pancho can be a challenge for those who have never been there. There is one resort, Costa Azul, but it is shabby and run-down. However it boasts a superb location on the beach and a great deck from which to watch the sun go down. Most other accomodation can be located on line through such services as VRBO (Vacation Rental By Owner). While rather expensive this service lists a wide variety of homes and condos to rent, most of which run in excess of $1,500 a week (Canadian) during the winter season. A far better way to see and experience San Pancho is to stay at Roberto’s Bungalows, a charming five unit vacation rental situated near the main street. Each unit is a fully equiped one bedroom apartment overlooking a garden courtyard. Steve “Big Atone” Cooper, the owner, can be reached at robertosbungalows@yahoo.com. He has great rates with discounts for extended stays.

Another option is to contact the Jacobi family at info@tailwindjunglelodge.com.  Deep in the jungle this Quebec based family has built a wonderful lodge that offers spectacular views of the Pacific. The Jacobis were recognized in 2009 for their efforts to build the first certified sustainable eco – lodge in Mexico. Whether you stay here or not, it is well worth contacting this family. Judy Jacobi teaches yoga, Tiger conducts jungle tours and kayak adventures along with their daughter Tamara, who is also the lodge manager and a holistic health coach. This extremely personable family know a great deal about the area and can add significantly to any trip to San Pancho.

This little town is not for everyone. It is a place to escape, relax and rejuvenate. It is not a place to party as there are no bars, hotels or discos. The highlight of everyday is to wander over to La Playa, a laid back beach bar of plastic chairs and tables sitting in the sand and watch the sun go down in a golden glow. Sunset specials include giant margaritas for $4 and six beer for $9. On Tuesday nights a terrific Cuban band entertains from 4 p.m. until dark.

After the sun goes down, it is time for a siesta before heading out for the evening’s entertainment which is always dining at one of the wonderful restaurants that make San Pancho such a treasure. Supper can range from a gourmet meal at Cafe de Mar – which features Asian fusion cusine to eating at local tacqueiras (taco shop). One of our favorite places was La Oka, a taqueira that is set up each night in the town sqaure. For $11, two can eat wonderfully well on delightfully crisp fish tacos from locally caught Mahi – mahi and superb manchego cheese and fresh shrimp burritos. There is no liquor license but you can go across the street and buy a quart of beer for $3 and bring it for supper.

A must stop dining experience is La Ola Rica. In 1996 two women from remarkably different backgrounds, Gloria from Alaska and Trini a resident of San Pancho, had a dream to start a first class restaurant in a town that few people knew about. Beginning with a small pizza oven and a three stool bar, they worked together tirelessly to eventually establish a wonderful restaurant that features imaginative and delightful food that reflects both cultures. Our first night in San Pancho we had pablano chili soup, Aztec salad, jumbo coconut shrimp, cadillac margaritas (made with Grand Marnier), beers all for the princely sum of $40.

Every place in town is in walking distance and we discovered two little cafes, each seating less than a dozen people. Two doors up from Robertos Bungalows is the Napolito Crepe cafe where breakfast is superb with fresh fruit drinks made at the table, great coffee brewed by the cup and crepes that are works of art. Try #5 – chicken, pablano chili creme and mushrooms – amazing! A few doors the other way is Dolce Amore owned by Sergio from Milan and Angelica from Guadalarja. Pasta dishes are made to order. Simply drop by 25 minutes before you want to eat, design your pasta dishes and then return from a stroll of the town to a perfectly cooked meal that would rival anything found in Italy. The night we dined at Dolce Amore, Sergio served spaghetti with jumbo shrimp and a rose sauce, an excellent salad and finished with a banana and chocolate crepe. Dinner for two was $25 and we brought our own wine.

A trip to San Pancho would not be complete without travelling south about 10 minutes to the village of Sayulita. Once a quiet fishing village similar to San Pancho, Sayulita has become a popular surfing destination and as such is populated with young people from around the globe looking to catch the perfect wave. The beach is crowded and sometimes a little dirty as there are lots of dogs that roam freely and horses that are available to rent. In fact, the entire town has a rather grungy appearance. However people watching is wonderful, the surf can be exciting and there are lots of beach bars where ice cold beer sells for $1.25.

Possibly the best reason to go to Sayulita is to experience “Rollies: Breakfast in Paradise”. After retiring as a school principal, Rollie Dick and his wife Jeanne, also an educator, moved from Salinas, California to this beach resort and set up a restaurant that reflects the joy and enthusiasm that they brought to their former professions. Robust coffee, world class fruit smoothies, home fries to die for and some of the most creative egg dishes imaginable make this a place to return to often. The morning we were there Rollie treated us to a breakfast special – left-over paella from the night before – topped by two fried eggs – amazing !!

While Rollie and his wife have found their “paradise”, it is a great feeling to head back to San Pancho on a full stomach knowing that we are returning to our paradise. Next time we go we promise to take you Dodger. In the meantime I am glad to hear it snowed in Picton so you can’t rip up more of the lawn.

Home soon Buddy!!!

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  1. Julkat says:

    Dodger, I really feel for you, buddy.

    Try not to be too mad at your humans. They know not what they do. They don’t have fur and they get cold easier. Our idea of fun, you know chasing snowballs and romping through drifts, just doesn’t do it for them. They’re far happier in warmer climes, and I try not to hold their lack of fur against them too much in all this snowy weather.

    Just know that they’ll be back soon, all tanned and warm so you can find them easier against the white backdrop that is Picton region these days. They’ll be relaxed, miss you, and give you lots of hugs.

    In their absence, however, you might want to make sure you have a plan for fixing the lawn (or at least digging up the rest so it all looks uniform). They won’t be basking in the warm glow of holidays when the snow finally thaws and they get a good look at what you’ve done!

    Your pal,
    Julkat

  2. ZigZag says:

    Hey Dodger i feel for you. My humans have been trucking me down to Florida the past few winters but for some reason we are still here and the snow is chest high when I go out and try to do my business. These 10-years bones are really feeling the cold this year.

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