Hacienda Las Trancas

Step back in time and experience the
elegance of another era, to a place filled
with romance, tranquility, and laughter.
Enjoy the sanctuary of your own private
450 year-old ex-hacienda,
located midway between San Miguel de
Allende and Guanajuato in the beautiful
colonial heart of Mexico. We are located
in a sleepy, safe village, with more than
50 rooms and 40,000 square feet under
roof, and surrounded by 10 walled-in
acres filled with lush gardens.
Las Trancas is the perfect setting
for destination weddings, family reunions,
workshops, birthdays, special events or
vacation with friends. ,This
fabulous vacation rental includes all
meals, horseback riding, mountain bikes,
private cybex gym, and heated pool, plus
a full-time staff of 12. Why rent a house
when you can rent an entire hacienda?

Amenities Include:

11 Luxurious suites, with 1000 thread-count
linens, down duvets, propane fireplaces,
private bath, private terraces, high-speed
wireless internet, dishnetwork satellite t.v.,
nightly turn-down service with gourmet
chocolates, and fresh flowers in every suite.
Beds can sleep 8-30 people.

If you have further inquiry or questions,
or are interested in booking the hacienda,
please contact either kelley@haciendalastrancas.com
or forrest@haciendalastrancas.com for more information.

Please also visit our website at: www.haciendalastrancas.com

Check us out on Facebook and Twitter to see what is
happening right now in the bustling town of Trancas!



Hacienda Las Trancas featured in Vogue Australia 2011 March Edition! http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2114420&id=1230550189

Dia de Los Muretos Photos Cont.

Dia de Los Muertos Photos Cont.

Dia de los Muertos is one of my favorite holidays in Mexico. It is so touching to fill the alter with photos of loved ones who have passed, and their favorite foods and beverages, with the ‘katrina’ dolls who represent death at its best. It isn’t that the people laugh at death, which is what I had always read, but they accept it. The flowers fill the air with a fragrance that is pure Dia de los Muertos. When I see a marigold, the smell knocks me over (even a photo can do it), and I am immediately transported back to the cemetary, filled with thousands of families spending the day with their loved ones, decorating their graves and setting up alters. The holiday always reminds me that the date is filled with so much more meaning to the people of Mexico, and the dead are not buried and forgotten, but instead their lives are lovingly celebrated every year.

Hacienda Las Trancas is featured in the 2010 May issue of Spinney’s Food Magazine based in Dubai.

You can read the article below:

It sounds like the ultimate romance – buy a sprawling hacienda, steeped in history, in the heart of one of Mexico’s most traditional states and live out your days painting beneath its dusty archways and tending to its sprawling exotic gardens. And it almost happened to Kelley and Stephen Wilkinson – but then they got involved.

They got involved with the village that surrounds their immense hacienda, with sending children to school, with mending roofs, starting small businesses and even paying for births and funerals. But when they arrived in the sleepy village of San Joaqin de Las Trancas, Kelley and Stephen had no idea of what lay ahead.

“My husband worked in ER – he had been doing it for many years and was starting to get tired – it’s a very high pressure environment,” says Kelley, an artist. “I was looking for a project to keep him interested and give him something to look forward to until we could retire.

 Then I remembered that I had traveled to Mexico and had loved it but had never had the chance to return.” On a whim, almost as a joke, Kelley did an internet search for ‘hacienda for sale’ – and what the search returned was a little slice of fate: Hacienda Las Trancas. “I don’t think Stephen even knew what a hacienda was – and if I’m honest I probably didn’t either!” says Kelley. But soon the joke turned into a serious proposition and the US-based couple found themselves flying down to Mexico to see this dusty dream mansion. When they arrived in the Mexican state of Guanajuato, neither they nor their estate agent was able to contact the hacienda’s owner, so the couple resorted to shinning up and over the garden walls. “The first words out of our mouths – at the same time – were ‘Oh my god!’ But on totally different ends of the spectrum,” says Kelley. She saw the glorious past and potential of the building, whereas Stephen saw the reality – an unkempt and crumbling shell. But slowly, the couple fell in love with the hacienda and decided to take the leap and buy it.

The village began as a fort to guard the silver trail in 1567 and officially became a hacienda in 1709, owning almost a million acres of land. The leader of the Mexican Independence movement, Father Miguel Hidalgo, was a regular visitor and the hacienda’s doors were thrown open to Mexican Revolutionary general Pancho Villa. With walls three feet thick and a total of 50 rooms, the vast hacienda holds more secrets, stories and tales of buried treasure than is possible to uncover.

It soon became clear that Kelley and Stephen hadn’t just bought a building – they had bought a community’s history. “We didn’t buy the hacienda with the thought of creating a business – we thought we would be going there to close the doors and be oblivious to the world,” says Kelley. “After we bought it and spent some time there, and after I hired a few people, I was invited into their homes and that’s when it really came to me. I would see their one-room dirt floor houses with a bare light bulb and often not even running water, then look over at my huge place. “I learned a lot more about haciendas and how they were the great castles of Mexico – I felt like at some time in the last century our hacienda had abandoned its people,” says Kelley. “Considering the long history of the hacienda, I felt a responsibility to take care of the people.”

The initial idea of the hacienda becoming a retirement haven soon disintegrated, and it was a chance suggestion from a friend of Kelley and Stephen’s daughter which would put the cogs in motion – it would become a guest house. “We started with five rooms and now we have 11,” says Kelley, “And we started with three staff and now we have 21. Almost every family in Trancas has at least one person working for us.”

Which brings us to the food.

The kitchen at Hacienda Las Trancas produces the most delicious traditional Mexican food, all from fresh, local ingredients and, best of all, made with real love and pride. The menus take guests from dawn to dusk, and eating is a major part of anyone’s stay at the hacienda – so much so that renowned US chefs have been known to visit, along with their entire kitchen staff.

And one woman pulls it all together – Orlanda Montoya Davila, known simply as Yolanda.

“Before we employed her at the hacienda, Yolanda was a street cook – she had an outdoor kitchen, very simple, over a stone comal,” says Kelley. “She is a very good cook of local food. As time went on we kept upping the bar – I bought all the cookbooks I could find and we started looking at recipes and food from all over the country, not just the region we are based in. She caught on very fast – she’s just wonderful. “Rick Bayless is an amazing chef and we used his books. He brings a modern, gourmet flair to traditional Mexican cooking, making it a little more user-friendly. He came to the area and Yolanda and the other ladies from the kitchen got to study with him. Then he brought his whole staff to the hacienda, and it was such a thrill for Yolanda and the cooks – they had studied his books, they had learnt from him, and then he came to them. “Yolanda cried, it was way too much for her! They asked for some of her recipes to use at his restaurant – it was a real honour for us,” says Kelley.

So what is this wonderful cuisine which has top chefs asking for recipes? “We do traditional Mexican cooking in a very authentic style,” says Kelley, simply. “Everybody tries to take Yolanda home with them – she’s such a mother hen and makes the whole experience very warm and wonderful. A big part of the stay at the hacienda is mealtimes – people don’t want to leave because they don’t want to miss a meal!” Soon enough, those outside the sleepy village of Trancas will be able to get a taste of Yolanda’s cooking – a cookbook is in the making, with fingers crossed for completion this year. “They are stellar at their jobs, I’m in awe,” says Kelley. “The flexibility our cooks have is amazing. They take traditional tamales, which are made with lard, and they can substitute it with olive oil. I’ve seen them cook for a crowd of 30 people and cater for six different diets. Coeliac, lactose free, raw – they have done it all.” As a result of the hacienda’s successes, a big difference has been made in the life of Trancas. And Kelley is keeping her promises to her staff. “My employees really got it when, last year, Yolanda’s daughter was promoted from assistant cook to general manager because she was just so amazing,” says Kelley. “We saw how serious she was about her work – she didn’t party or drink, she just wanted to work. Now she’s running the hacienda and doing an amazing job.”

And Hacienda Las Trancas’s charity initiative, Projecto Pueblito, is making leaps and bounds in the community. “We are involved with Fundación Comuntaria del Bajío, a non-profit group run by Adriana Cortez Jimenez working out of Guanajuato state, which has helped us a lot,” says Kelley. “It’s Mexicans helping Mexicans. Through working with them, the villagers have really come to trust us. “We have made some really good friends, my employees are fantastic – I really think the best in the world. They are loyal, hardworking and now even running the business without me there. They are so dedicated. They are also helping the village, educating the children and building houses. The group we work with are bringing in students

from the US to work with families. “We’re even giving micro loans for businesses to start, supporting widows – every little thing I would never have thought of,” says Kelley. “It has been life-changing for us to be involved with this village and call it home.” Sounds like, in an unexpected way, the Mexican romance came true after all.


Written by Rachel Silvestri

Spinney’s Food Magazine is visually sophisticated photography and clean, elegant design captures the contemporary quality of FOOD, which maintains an intelligent and informative tone.

Celebrating the broader idea of food lifestyle it features recipes and presentation ideas; personal profiles on food-related people; the evolution of produce from its origins to the table; health benefits of food and travel linked to gourmet experiences.

With tips from celebrity chefs and local food and lifestyle experts combined with writing by experienced journalists, FOOD aims to inform and discuss the varied food world while keeping its pulse on the latest culinary trends.  

If you’re passionate about food and life then you will love reading Spinneys FOOD.

2010 New Website!

It’s Here. Come check out the new Hacienda Las Trancas Website!


We had the great opportunity to see Adriana Jimenez (Director of the Foundation Community of the Bahio) while she was in the WNC area. She visited several sites that are testing eco-friendly technology that potentially can be utilized within local communities throughout the state of Guanajuato, Mexico. Adriana is also traveling to UNC-Chapel Hill to have meetings with future exchange students that will be working in the Trancas community this summer. This foundation is in direct association with the Proyecto Pueblito in Trancas that aids the community with medical care, education, housing restoration, and small business development.
You are also able to give donations through the International Community Foundation, below is a link providing more information
and the current projects they are funding:

The photos were taken in Burnsville, NC where the EnergyXchange site is based for developing emerging eco-friendly and environmentally sustainable technologies that potentially will provide energy for our future.

Here are photos by Anne Henning from the Arthur Meyer Symposium we held some time ago at the Hacienda. Here is an excerpt from her experience in Trancas:

"The history of Hacienda San Joaquin de las Trancas reads like a romantic mystery novel.

The more discovered, the more one becomes intrigued.

It is filled with stories of passion, vengeance, hidden treasures, secret tunnels, murder, love and betrayal. It housed the famous Father Miguel Hidalgo, who hid his weapons here with the consent of Count Canal before the Spanish Revolution.  A century later, when Pancho Villa decided to camp out here during the unexpected war in Dolores Hidalgo, the then-owners decided to accommodate him instead of fighting him.

The doors were opened wide and the hacienda was spared.

The origins of San Joaquin de Las Trancas go back to 1567, when a Spaniard named Diego Martin received land and troops from the Spanish Crown to begin construction. At one time, the hacienda owned over a million acres.  Originally a fort, or presidio, along the silver trail, its main function was to house and guard the caravans of silver.  One particularly large caravan was hijacked by a renegade group of soldiers.  Although they were rounded up and killed on the grounds of the hacienda, the treasure was never found.  People have searched for it for years.  There is a letter dated from the early 1800’s, signed in blood that tells of the treasure and how to find it.   None have been able to decipher it.

During the revolution of 1910-1920, most of the haciendas were burned and destroyed.  Hacienda Las Trancas is one of the few that were not damaged.  The architecture is unique and unusual.  The adobe walls are more than 3 feet thick, and all of its rooms are built with enormous barrel ceilings.

I stayed here for a few days as part of a photography symposium.   We were there to discuss our work, but I also photographed while there.  Sometimes one is drawn into a place without realizing that the connection delves deeper than the surface aesthetics.  It was so pleasant being there, but I didn’t realize until I came home, that I was photographing its history and had set myself back into that time.  There is a mystery about the Hacienda that hovers and circulates.  It’s beautifully restored, but its patina, its aura, is still there.  Although we were there in one place, one location, I felt I traveled.  In retrospect, I felt like a ghost revisiting the past.”

Anne Henning

Eddie Soloway Digital Photography Workshop Continued.

Photos by: Ita Gelada © 2010 All Rights Reserved.

This Week at the Hacienda, Eddie Soloway is teaching a digital photography workshop for those fortunate enough to come and photograph authentic Mexican culture. The group explored all through Trancas; from Beto’s beautiful gardens to the stable grounds, there are infinite glimpses of beauty within the town. Eddie Soloway states, “He wants to help others see the natural world with fresh eyes.”

Thanks Eddie.

Eddie Soloway’s Site: http://eddiesoloway.wordpress.com

Photos by: Ita Gelada © 2010 All Rights Reserved.

Here at Hacienda Las Trancas we want to showcase a preview of what we offer and can prepare for weddings, private functions, and reunions. Enjoy!

Shot, edited, and compiled by Seth Sharp of San Miguel Video, San Miguel De Allende, GTO Mexico 2010.


This week at the hacienda we are trying out new methods to keep the flies away
from our horses while they aren’t trail riding. Elise from Kansas has brought down
"Shew Fly" collars that wrap around the ankles or the necks of the horses.

Beto, our neighbor next door to the hacienda has invited some of our guests into his own home to see the beautiful plants he has been carefully tending through the colder months. Beto is a wonderful gardener who has started a grassroots/cottage industry here in Trancas with his intricate wreaths and the variety of plants he sells.

After 5 days of rain, Trancas is basking in the sun, the fruit trees begin to bear flowers and the vines begin to grow in anticipation of spring…

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