Sunday, April 28, 2019

Retreats at the Old Mermaids Sanctuary

"At the Old Mermaids Sanctuary, reality is part fairy tale, part magic, and all Sonoran Desert. Stories are everywhere here. Come find yours."

You can now stay at the Old Mermaids Sanctuary via airbnb. Go here to our listings.

Here's more:

As some of you know, about 14 years ago, Mario and I started going to writing retreats at a place in the Sonoran Desert during the winter. The second year we were there, I wrote Church of the Old Mermaids. We called the place we stayed at the Old Mermaids Sanctuary because it wasn't a public retreat so we were being discreet, and we called it that because the setting for the novel was modeled after the Sanctuary. We loved the place and were heartbroken when it was sold about 5 years ago. This winter, in December 2018, when we were staying at a friend's place, we heard that the Sanctuary was up for sale. I called our realtor, and she called around, but as far as she could tell, it was not up for sale.

About 10 days later on a Sunday, I said to Mario and my sister (who was visiting) that I had to go out to the Sanctuary. This was kind of silly because you can't see the house or anything from the road. It's just a dirt road in a cul de sac. But they were game, so we drove out to the cul de sac (which was nearly an hour from our friend's house). And there was a for sale at the end of the drive! I stopped the car, jumped out, and phoned my realtor. She called me back and said the place was not officially up for sale yet, and it wouldn't be until Tuesday. I begged her to ask the other agent to let us see it before it went up for sale. The realtor wouldn't do it unless we were pre-qualified (which I understood), so we arranged for that to happen.

The next day, we went out to the Sanctuary. Mario and I walked around the place hand in hand, half the time in tears because we were so glad to be back. We knew it was crazy. We had never owned a house before. We didn't have the money to buy it outright so the only chance we would have to purchase the place would be to through a mortgage, which we had never wanted to do. But we looked at each other as we walked the grounds, and we nodded. Without figuring out a budget or anything—which is unusual for us; we are very careful spenders, and we don't debt—without figuring out anything, we went back to the realtor's office and told her, "Make an offer." A few hours later, the owners said yes. On December 31, we became the owners of the Old Mermaids Sanctuary, at least unofficially.

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All work copyright © Kim Antieau 2008-.