Sometimes I do extreme things. Who, me? Why yes, of course. I know in the past I wrote about my 90 mile haircut. (March 16, 2007 entry) It was in Desert Hot Springs, California. I so loved the haircut I got from a stylist in Desert Hot Springs when we were staying there, that upon a return to the area, albeit 90 miles away in Borrego Springs, I drove 90 miles to get another haircut. Of course, I rationalized it by combining it with other activities: birding at the fish farm near Salton Sea and shopping at Trader Joe’s in Palm Springs.
So when we decided that dear Boo Boo was in need of another grooming, we decided to take her back to the Petco in Mission. From where we were staying in Harlingen, it was 41 miles to the Petco. That may be quite a ride to get the dog groomed, but they really did a wonderful job, one of the best haircuts she’s ever had. And it gave us an excuse to see our friends Greg and Barb one last time before we leave this area. We also had missed a really nice birding venue in McAllen, which also had some historical and sightseeing significance as well. So we thought we would make a day of it.
We dropped Boo Boo at Petco, picked up Greg and Barb and went to visit Quinta Mazatlan, another of the World Birding Center sites here in the Rio Grande Valley. That makes six of their nine sites we have managed to visit. The birding wasn’t fabulous here, but it had a lot of other interesting aspects so it was well worth the visit.
Quinta Mazatlan is the site of one of the largest remaining adobe homes built in the state of Texas. The main house was constructed of 12 inch adobe blocks, which were made on-site, in the late 1930’s by Jason Matthews and his wife Marcia who lived on this estate for 30 years with their two children. Matthews was a composer, writer and adventurer, known for his eccentric ways.
Legend has it that he fought alongside Lawrence of Arabia, and he received a gift of Lebanese cedar from the King of Lebanon. He used that cedar for ceiling beams in a back corridor which was then named Cedar Hall.
After Matthews death in 1964, the property sat empty until 1967 when various church groups used it for a coffee house. Later that year, Hurricane Beaulah destroyed much of the roof, leaving it in shambles. Church member, Frank Schultz, purchased the property and spent the next 30 years lovingly restoring it to its original splendor, while living there with his family.
During that time, the property became a showcase for the elite of McAllen, with the hosting of lavish parties and entertainment of international dignitaries. After the death of his wife, the property was put up for public auction and purchased by the City of McAllen. This beautiful estate is now part of the World Birding Center. Nature trails, water features, and 100 species of tropical and native trees, flowers and plants and provide habitat for over 100 species of birds.
The property has been open to the public since 2006, and is even available for rental for weddings and parties. While Barb and I stood in the garden surrounding the lovely reflecting pool we mused about what a fantastic venue it would be for weddings. The grounds were green and lush. The rich colors and materials made the home seem warm and inviting. One could almost feel the spirit of the families that lived there, and imagine the happy parties that took place.
After a delightful afternoon of exploring, and after retrieving our little Boo Boo from Petco, we returned to the Jones’s for a scrumptious dinner of Apricot and Pine Nut stuffed Pork Tenderloin prepared by Barb, washed down with powerful Lynchburg Lemonade. Wow, what a great way to end the day.
We’re going to miss our friends, and all the wonderful birding as we prepare to leave the Rio Grande Valley behind.