Thursday, July 31, 2008

Fast and furious

The news from and about Loreto and Loreto Bay seems to be coming fast and furious these days, which dovetails nicely with the rapid pace of construction on our Casa Encantada and many other homes in Agua Viva.

Just this morning we received a long and fairly detailed e-mail report from Michael Coyle about progress development including the sprucing up (that's putting it mildly) of the Paseo, plans for the beach club (with word due out this fall about membership rates, etc.), air service, marketing, hotel renovations and more.

The most surprising news involved the closing of LB's Scottsdale, Ariz., office and a relocation of staff - those able and willing - to Loreto. This will be a major plus for homeowners and future homeowners. It will be much easier to drop in and conduct business - or just visit - if the offices are in Loreto. And it will make selling the development a lot easier with a permanent staff on site.

All this good news followed closely on the heels of an e-mail George and I received from our account manager yesterday, which included even more current photos of our construction showing the beginnings of a ceiling on the first floor. And it looks from the photos as though construction on the other homes in our cluster is also progressing nicely. Like I said earlier, fast and furious.

If you haven't already opened that e-mail from Michael Coyle, do it now! Lots of news and even an artist's rendering of plans - artist rendering - for the Paseo including a bell tower, lots of foliage and a lovely meandering walkway alongside the thoroughfare. And don't forget to check out LB's revamped Web site while you're at it.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

La Mision on the Malecon

During our visit to Loreto last April, George and I noticed some impressive construction along the Malecon that we thought were condos. Not so. Thanks to e-mails from our future neighbors Michael and Terri McMahon and Penny Davis, we learned today that it will be a lovely and very elegant hotel - La Mision.

According to the hotel's Web site - - the facility is set to open in November and will feature 70 "sumptuous" rooms including two three-bedroom penthouse suites, three two-bedroom suites, and 65 deluxe standard rooms. Oddly, though, there is no mention that the rooms overlooking the Malecon will have a wonderful view of the Sea of Cortes, Loreto's most famous attribute. However, there is mention of many other amenties including at least two restaurants and a spa.

If the hotel lives up to the description and photos on the Web site, it will certainly be the most elegant place to stay in Loreto.

The news is good for a variety of reasons not least of which is that a hotel of this calibre is bound to heighten interest in Loreto thereby increasing demand for airline service to the area. Being named a hot spot with some of the world's sexiest beaches doesn't hurt in that effort either.

The only sour note in all this news is that Loreto is bound to change as more people discover what those of us who have bought in Loreto Bay already know: Loreto is quite simply a place of incomparable beauty and serenity. Here's hoping that never changes.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Hello Walls!

Just yesterday, I responded to one of our cluster neighbor's e-mails by saying I hoped all those perform walls that had been stacked on their lot had finally made it to our lot. And lo and behold, George and I got proof that that's the case late this afternoon.

We have walls!

In just six short weeks, we've gone from a dusty patch of ground with only a faded outline to indicate our future home to a poured foundation with walls. More proof that Beck and compadres are moving at a very good clip.

For those of you who still haven't decided whether to use the services of The Construction Coach (who provided the photos of our walls, along with a detailed progress report for our AV 220), we highly recommend it. In addition to a detailed monthly progress report, they also put out a general - but very comprehensive - update on progress throughout the development every month or two, along with tips on everything ranging from preventing sewer "stink" to protecting your furniture. Their services are well worth the money and they are very nice people to boot.

After re-reading their May update, I noticed they recommended signing up to receive e-mail updates from Lynn Hamman. I found out about this yahoo group on my own some time back and promptly signed up. It's a great way to keep updated about all things Loreto from the monthly ladies birthday luncheon to a list of must-have phone numbers. It really is a terrific service and there's no cost to sign up. I generally get about five or six e-mails a week with items of interest. The e-mail address is

I also recommend signing up for the Dali Gourmet yahoo group which offers a listing of weekly specials from the store (most items are bulk, which works if there are those of us who'd like to share the cost and divvy up the goodies) and even recipes! The e-mail is

A final note to our future neighbors: Take heart fellow Cluster 38'ers - if our walls are up, yours are soon to follow!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The good news keeps on coming

By now, LB homeowners should have received more glad tidings - as we did - in the form of an e-mail from LB's Condominium Services which was sent "to share exciting news..."

And the news is exciting, indeed. There should/could be nearly 100 homes completed and turned over to homeowners (mostly Founder's we're thinking) in October and November. Wow. For all of us who've waited with bated breath and crossed fingers - and even a sense of "this is NEVER going to happen" - this is very good news. Because our homes are going to be built, they are going to be beautiful and this is going to happen in the near future. Wow again.

The new LB management may not be good at conveying information, but they appear to be quite adept at organizing and building.

LB must be on a roll, because they also managed to correct the confusing post of 7/21 regarding the resurrected October homeowner weekend. The post indicates that seats on the 10/16 flight to Loreto with a Sunday return are all booked; however, there are still seats available - according to one homeowner's posting - if homeowners' plan on arriving early and leaving later. That's what George and I did early on and it appears as though booking a longer visit is still an option.

On the home front here in Albuquerque, we finally, finally, finally, made a decision on a sofa, loveseat and chair. They are Natuzzi leather and just beautiful! Looks like we're on a roll, too.

Monday, July 21, 2008

A welcome change of heart

After a weekend of disappointed and angry posts regarding the cancellation of the October homeowners event, Loreto Bay has finally responded, and in a positive way! Good news for the many homeowners who booked flights for that weekend.

George and I are very glad that LB has decided to go ahead with the event, which is bound to be a success even in an abbreviated form, if the many posts are any indication. This is a good first step from LB and we look forward to hearing specific details about their plans for the weekend in the coming days.

We've read quite a bit about what other homeowners would like from the weekend, but here are our thoughts... First, and definitely foremost, we'd like to hear from Michael Coyle. Our schedules - and location here in New Mexico - kept us from attending the homeowner forums set up by LB this past winter and spring on the West Coast and in Canada. So we're anxious to hear firsthand from the "Big Dog" about progress in Loreto Bay and plans for the future of the development.

Our biggest concern and complaint about LB to date has been the lack of communication. LB doesn't keep homeowners updated about new developments or changes in plan and we rarely get a call back or even an acknowledgement of an e-mail. We're generally not big complainers, but the white noise coming from LB can be more than a little frustrating.

Hearing from Michael or a competent surrogate would go a long way toward alleviating some of our concerns. In my mind, it's all about generating goodwill. Michael's appearance that weekend would generate a whole lot of goodwill for the two of us and for many others, we suspect.

Secondly, we'd like full access to the development. And by that I mean tours, visits to homes near completion and under construction, etc. Agua Viva differs from the Founder's Neighborhood in many ways and we'd like to see those differences firsthand. Most of us have already seen - and envied - Founder's, but now it's time to see our own homes!

Last, by not least, we'd really like to meet our LB neighbors. Whether Founder's or Agua Viva, we're all a part of a special vision and community and for that reason alone, we should all definitely meet.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Loreto a hookup hideaway?

Just in time to ease tensions caused by the cancellation of the October homeowner’s event comes a news item posted on the official homeowner site naming Loreto as having some of the sexiest beaches in the world. That’s right, Loreto is now the perfect spot for hot young singles to mix and mingle. Get it while you can!

The vision many of us have of Loreto as a charming, sleepy little fishing town is being revised. It’s now, according to, tops on the list for sexy twenty-somethings looking to hook-up and hideaway. “It’s still the kind of place where you might meet a mysterious brunette at a beachside watering hole who’s happy to share her tequila – but not her last name,” states writer Jason H. Harper.

Although Mr. Harper is a little vague about the hookup potential offered by Loreto, he does claim there’s always trouble to be found if you know where to look. Hmmm. Maybe George and I are just too old because trouble is something we try really hard to avoid.

He is right about one thing though. Loreto does have beautiful and pristine beaches and water. And to give him credit, he does applaud the grandeur of the landscape “of this as yet unadulterated area of Baja…” Which is obviously looking to adulterate.

George and I had a good laugh over the news item, but it does give one pause… Is that the future for Loreto? Will the beaches be cluttered with sexy singles looking for hookups? Will we be tripping over hot young bodies on our way to snorkel, kayak and golf? Is a Senor Frog’s cantina in the works??

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Curses - foiled again!

Last October after George and I got over the initial shock, excitement and stress of buying a home in Loreto Bay, our first thought was "When's the next homeowner event?" We bugged our customer care rep throughout the winter months with that refrain. But we kept getting the same "I don't know" answer. So we decided to go ahead and plan a trip for April after being told - countless times - that a homeowners' event just wasn't in the works any time soon. So imagine our chagrin when we learned of the June event shortly after our trip in April. We were disappointed. But that disappointment is nothing compared to our anger at the news this evening that the October event - for which we've already made reservations and plans - has been canceled due to limited flights to Loreto.


No one from Loreto bothered to ask us - or to our knowledge any other homeowners - if we'd/they'd secured reservations for the event. We did. We also rearranged our work schedules and inconvenienced employers and co-workers in order to attend this much anticipated event. And now we're told we get to repeat that performance once the new homeowner event details are released. The problem is that we will now suffer airline penalties for changing our plans. And I'm sure there are many others in the same boat.

Shame on you, Loreto Bay! Do right by your homeowners and schedule a second event for those who are unable to attend the June event. Because the fact of the matter is that the airlines aren't planning on reinstating those lost flights until next summer!

If there are any other homeowners out there with an opinion, please let us know.

P.S. We also sent an e-mail to Renee at Loreto Bay expressing the above sentiments.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Loreto Bay has a new look on the Web

Replay, the company that took over operation and construction at Loreto Bay last year, has launched a new Website:, which boasts a new home offering, the Casita Cortes, priced at $325,000 for 1,090 square feet. The site states that with each home purchase, membership to the exclusive Cortes Explorers Club is included with amenities ranging from a restaurant, to four private bars, to a 16,000 square foot pool complex and more. Hmmm. Does this mean exclusive membership also applies to those who've already purchased homes? Guess we'll find out sometime soon.

The new site also has a new logo - which sadly lacks the charm of the original logo - new photos (George and I are both wondering where these were shot as we don't recognize the area) and another new addition to the development, Estate Lots, which will be located in a gated enclave with direct beach access from each home's front door. These sound like the other end of the spectrum from the less-expensive casitas described above.

We'll be anxious to hear more about these new offerings and amenities!

Friday, July 4, 2008

The good and the bad in Baja news

Since first learning of the Villages of Loreto Bay a year ago, George and I have spent an inordinate amount of time searching the Internet for news of the development and the surrounding area. It's an addiction and a cure isn't likely until we move down there next winter! For the most part, the news is positive and such is the case with a recent article that appeared on the site.

Written by English-born Tony Burton, who specializes in covering ecotourism and natural history in Mexico, the article is a generally favorable look at the Villages and appears to have been penned this past winter. Here's the link:

The only inaccuracy we could find in the story was the reference indicating that construction on the wind turbine project is set to begin this year. According to David Veniot's recent sustainability update posted on the official Loreto Bay homeowner's site on June 20, that project is still on hold.

Otherwise, it's another positive look at Loreto Bay. And it's got some nice photos, too.

We came across the mexconnect site early on in our searches and have found it to be a very useful site loaded with lots of relevant info, including a series of articles on different types of Mexican visas and what's necessary to obtain them. The site offers a one-week free trial and membership at only $30 a year thereafter.

As a former newspaper editor and reporter, I also keep tabs on Baja through The Gringo Gazette, two different English-language newspapers, one of which covers northern Baja, while the other focuses on southern Baja. Although there has been some coverage of the Loreto area, the middle part of Baja isn't a priority for either of these publications. For that reason, I haven't bothered to subscribe to either one but some articles are available online without paying a subscription fee.

The northern version, which doesn't appear to be published on a regular basis, has lots of scary news about border problems, specifically the ongoing drug wars between Mexican police and drug lords. Larger border towns, including Rosarito, Juarez (across the Rio Grande from El Paso, Texas) and Tijuana are particular trouble spots.

On a personal note, I'm reluctant to continue having dental work done across the border after recent events in tiny Palomas, a short walk across the border from equally tiny Columbus, New Mexico. For the past year, I've been making the four-hour drive there for dental work and I've been very pleased with the results and the cost. But since the first of the year, there has been an explosion of drug-related murders in Palomas. It's hard to believe Mexican drug lords are concentrating their efforts in such remote outposts, but just last Monday three men in a car were shot to death in downtown Palomas, with a total of 30 killed in drug-related violence since the first of the year. And for a town the size of Palomas, that's a staggering number.

On a more positive note, the Mexican government has stepped up efforts to curb the violence in border towns by sending in Army troops and federal police and the U.S. is looking for ways to help in the effort.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Slab happy

George and I were thrilled to see the slab for our Encantada has been poured and it looks as if the perform walls may go up soon! I'm sure all of our future neighbors are as excited as we are. (We're still not sure if our account manager is aware construction has started as we haven't yet received that return call promised more than three weeks ago.)

But our excitement has been tempered somewhat by the news that now Continental Airlines has suspended its Loreto route (Houston to Loreto) until May 2009. This follows Delta's suspension of service and some cutbacks by Alaska Air, specifically smaller planes servicing the route.

There are a number of posts on Loreto Bay's official homeowner's site expressing a good deal of concern about the situation. A group of homeowners from Ohio are more than a little concerned, as well as homeowners from Austin, Texas, as this cutback means a lot more air time getting to their homes.

However, one recent bright spot is a post by Sue Morganroth (AV39), a Seattle travel agent, who offers hope with the observation that Loreto should remain a viable destination because of Loreto Bay and the Villa Group development planned to the south. But she also suggests that folks should book early on Alaska/Horizon Air's 70-seat flights, especially for upcoming holiday travel.

As Sue notes, though, it is time for Loreto Bay management to speak to this issue. It is definitely generating a lot of unease among homeowners.