Photos: Veale Graphics
Baja California is a dream maker. There are many stories of travelers passing through, then returning and finally staying because something would not let them go. Hidden in the hills above the famous La Bufadora south of Ensenada is one of those stories. Casa Mediodia Bed and Breakfast is an “off the grid” Baja vacation with all the comforts. The story about how it came to be makes it even more of a true travelers’ choice. It started with one woman’s desire to shed the stress of the corporate world and find a peace she did not yet know existed. Health issues added to the deep desire to find that perfect place to live and then to retire. It was what some would call a “dark night.” But the hardship actually inspired her not to give up her dream. As it is told, Irene went along with her husband Bruce Noon for her first vacation into northern Baja. They stayed in Estero Beach. She was enthralled with the blowing sea mist and the barking of sea lions on the wet rocks. Mystical experiences happen in Baja, they are a call from the heart waiting to be heard. Irene heard the call, making a commitment to herself to “do what I needed to do and retire” from the rat race.
Another vacation into Baja, took the Noon’s to La Bufadora, a natural blowhole formed by volcanic rock and tidal surge. At high tide the water is pushed through a cave and explodes upward a hundred feet into the air. Irene found the place lively with colorful booths and eager merchants. It seemed like a party was going on, all in different languages accompanied with hearty laughter. Her stress slipped away. On this trip, Bruce and Irene ventured up a dirt road where a few homes perched on the hillside. Another dirt road beckoned them upward into their as yet unknown destiny. Irene saw a house for sale. “Stop here!” They entered the long neglected house, looking out over the vast sparkling Pacific and down on the rugged coastline. It was the million dollar view that did it. Softly, Irene told her husband, “I am going to buy this house.” Bruce looked around at the neglect and considered the huge amount of work that needed to be done, factoring in that there was no running water or electricity. But when he saw the look on his wife’s face, he knew it was already done.
To this day she claims, as a cancer survivor, “Baja saved my life.” Casa Mediodia Bed and Breakfast was born from this first building. The Spanish name means, middle of the day, and comes from Bruce Noon’s play on words. As the idea of off the grid is gaining popularity, the Noon’s retreat is gaining recognition. The original house is now a Bed and Breakfast. Today, they have a private home nestled in with the three other buildings that stair step down the hillside. The guest buildings are furnished with 2,500 watts of sun’s power. Water is hauled up the hills by a groaning water truck and fed into a pila. It reaches the buildings by way of gravity feed. While the sun furnishes infinite light, water is a precious commodity. Guests learn a valuable lesson in conservation, giving wise insight into a new way of living when they return home. Each guest room has a theme and attention is paid to soft cozy beds, comfortable furniture groupings and massive views of the Pacific Ocean from every window. Irene knows from her own experience what the stressed out business professional is looking, or the traveler looking for lodging away from city lights. Irene says she often experiences that when people arrive, “they are a mess, but I loving taking care of people and I see how I can make them happy.” Being so far out of town, the traveler can’t miss what Irene calls “a roaring silence” and it is truly enjoyable to disconnect.
Both Irene and Bruce say that living off the grid teaches you to be in “constant awareness.” There are many important aspects of living off the grid that need to be maintained, as well as running a Bed and Breakfast that is two hours from Ensenada and much needed supplies. Irene is a chef by anyone’s standards and her meals are prepared and served ranch style. Many of the dishes are designed around what the fertile valley is producing at the time. Always fresh and local.
Oh, the nights. The sun has left behind a shimmering orange trail, and the meal has filled you with more than just good food. If you still have energy to play after your long walk on the beach to the caves below, you might want to visit the game room. A large open family room filled with some surprises, like a collection of hundreds of old long-playing vinyl records. What a trip through the past it is to browse through the album covers. There are books, games for the kids and even a tequila tasting bar. Of course the view is always present. A full moon night is just the best. However, maybe you have not had your fill of the peace and quiet. A rare commodity in the world today. You might choose to sit outside on the patio, savoring a rich red wine from the Villa de Guadalupe. You watch the stars come out, as the quiet of the night greets you. No ambient light destroys the glittering blue black sky. Bruce may pick up his flute and the gentle windy notes do not intrude on the peace, but float out on the evening breeze. Irene said, “The Milky Way is saturated with stars… it will take your breath away.” Casa Mediodia is an easy Baja destination, for those that want to know how many stars there are in the sky.
Visit the Casa Mediodia B&B website
Martina's email: mteomaya(at)gmail.com