Published 6.12.2023 – By Clara Ferance
In 2006, Doug Plummer and Ed Ishmael founded Midtown Independence Title, an escrow title office based in Austin, Texas. As members of the LGTBQ+ community, Doug and Ed focused their business by providing legal services and title insurance closings for gay couples that needed representation and protection, especially regarding issues with estate planning involving real estate prior to the legalization of gay marriage. Since then, Midtown has grown to serve even more diverse clientele while boasting over 120 years of combined experience from highly qualified real estate attorneys, escrow officers, and escrow assistants.
Having met Rosedale Travel founder Kirsten Billhardt through Harvard Business School alumni groups, Doug Plummer is a fellow entrepreneur, traveler, and activist. He is particularly supportive of sexual health organizations such as Texas Health Action (which runs the Kind Clinics initiative) and was one of THA’s founding board members, serving on the board for 6 years. Although Doug calls Austin, TX his home, he loves to travel and explore new places on vacation, especially to share his favorite LGTBQ+ friendly destinations.
Although Doug recommends renowned gay communities like the lovely beach-side artist colony of Provincetown, Cape Cod, he’s discovered a lesser-known spot in Mexico that lends a special charm while remaining welcoming, safe, and budget-friendly!
The Secret of San Miguel de Allende
Located in central Mexico in the Guanajuato region, San Miguel de Allende is a picturesque town renowned for its colonial charm, vibrant arts scene, and welcoming atmosphere—plus it offers plenty of low-cost activities for visitors to enjoy!
The town has excellent walkability, so it’s easy to find an adventure near you, whether it’s exploring the local markets, galleries, or botanical gardens on foot. Wander through the cobblestone streets to admire the exquisite architecture such as the iconic Parroquia de San Miguel Arcángel church, which offers breathtaking views from its rooftop terrace. The environment is laidback, affordable, and has the friendliest locals (hands down!). Solo visitors and groups alike can explore with confidence without the need to worry about safety—San Miguel de Allende boasts an exceptional reputation and is consistently recognized as one of the safest destinations in Mexico thanks to its robust security presence and tight-knit community.
More recently, San Miguel has gained the reputation as a LGBTQ+ friendly destination, embracing diversity and hosting inclusive events, especially due to many LGBTQ+ expats moving into town. Even when visiting for a short time as a tourist, the locals are generous and accepting, making sure everyone feels like family!
Top Things To Do & See in San Miguel
During his vacation to Mexico, Doug especially enjoyed the eclectic food, artistic and cultural experiences, and the opportunities to get out into nature. Although some activities are seasonal, such as holiday traditions like Christmas punch and posadas, there are numerous excursions or even day-trips also available for the extra-adventurous traveler. The sky’s the limit! Here are the must-do items at the top of Doug’s personal list:
“There are so many cute cafés and affordable restaurants available in town! I still recommend drinking bottled water, but we ate salads and other rinsed produce without any issues. There are establishments that offer live music, provide samplings of local dishes and drinks, or have rooftop dining areas overlooking the downtown. Treating a large group of friends to a high-end restaurant dining experience only cost me approximately $200 total at the end of the night!”
- Restaurante Cielo: Rooftop restaurant with great tacos and live bands at night.
- Hotel El Golpe de Vista: Rooftop restaurant overlooking the central plaza.
- Antigua Trattoria Romana: Delicious and affordable Italian cuisine.
- Panaderia de Buena Vida: Try their renowned chocolate croissant!
- Music, Art, and Culture:
“For me, part of my favorite things to do is sightsee by looking into local art galleries and touring homes. In addition to tradition Mexican mariachi bands, there’s plenty of bars with live music, as well as public events happening in town. As part of the Christmas festivities, I participated in a posada, where everyone celebrated with fresh food and drink, caroling, and colorful lights with piñata decorations. You can also take a day-trip outside of San Miguel to Guanajuato or Querétaro, which are slightly bigger cities with rich history, art, architecture, and more.”
- Paprika on Ancha de San Antonio: Enjoy a live jazz trio in a casual yet quaint setting.
- La Sacristia Cafe: Incredible breakfast and coffee in a charming courtyard with live acoustic guitar music.
- Old town Guanajuato: See the preserved aqueducts of the 1600s and other mind blowing structures in this pedestrian-friendly city.
- Sightseeing in Nature:
“I love being outdoors hiking to take in the gorgeous views. Even in the winter, Mexico is still about 65 degrees Fahrenheit in the evenings, so you can stay outside for the majority of the day. There are plenty of parks, gardens, even horseback riding tours to take advantage of!”
- Coyote Tours: Half-day excursion just outside the city, where you learn the basics of horseback riding as you explore the beauty and awe of Coyote Canyon.
- Botanic Gardens: Right on the edge of town, this is an easily accessible hiking trail with amazing views of the desert landscape, lake, ruins, and indigenous flora.
If you’d rather be on the beach enjoying the ocean in Mexico, Puerto Vallarta is a much more popular, LGBTQ+ focused community—however, it comes with the crowds. There’s so much to experience in a smaller town like San Miguel, where the tourists don’t outnumber the locals. Surrounded by natural beauty, rich cultural traditions, safe environment, LGBTQ+ friendliness, AND a plethora of activities to enjoy, San Miguel de Allende is undeniably one of the best places to visit in Mexico.
And if you dislike the stress of finding flights, booking accommodations, and everything else that comes with planning a vacation, let our team handle the details for you! Whether you’re planning a special trip for a milestone celebration, searching for the ideal family vacation spot, or are looking for the perfect “hidden gem” destination for your summer getaway, Rosedale Travel will help you plan a truly unforgettable trip!
Learn more about Midtown Title.