Pember and Elizabeth Nuzum

25… Location, location, location: there are places that are more than places.

View of Tecolote Hill from El Pedegral, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

The morning begins with seeing where we will be in a couple of hours.

Today, summer of 1996, would start with a hike to the top of Tecolete Hill, seen here sun capped. Sierra de Alamos rises up in the background. We are at El Pedregal standing near a beautiful palapa, the first structure Elizabeth Nuzum built after buying three acres outside of Alamos to the west. This was her project, her dream to bring art, community and nature together under the out stretched limbs of a magnificent fig tree. She would sell the property to Jennifer and David MacKay in 2005. They added another 17 acres to what is now El Pedregal Nature Lodge and Retreat Center. One of my twelve Alamos short stories will be about how Elizabeth’s strawbale studio was originally painted with a palette of color made from dirt in the surrounding hills.

view from Tecolete hill, Alamos, Sopnora, mexico.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson

And here we are. It is wise to climb with morning coolness.

Two hours later, after a relaxed hike, we were breathing in mentholated vistas east and north. And there is Alamos, Sonora, Mexico, seen for what it is, a village on the pathway to tomorrow. And directly below, in the overgrown seasonal jungle, there is El Pedregal, “place of rocky terrain“. Off to the right, there are rainbow veins of colors that abstractly paint the ground: orange, green, blue, yellow, grey, white, ochre…

Casa Nuzum on Calle Comercio, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

Natural elements comforts the city soul across the street from the Cathedral.

Pember and Elizabeth Nuzum lived on Calle Comercio off the Plaza de las Armas. This is the center of town and visitors came from around the world and from different times, like myself. El Pedregal was Elizabeth’s Shangri-La. Here, she visualized and directed the effort to accomplish what could be. The Nuzums, like many of the North American community, were involved with the daily fabric of Alamos life. Their house help and workers became extended family, each casa a little village unto its own. From here, behind these walls, Elizabeth conjured a new frontier and blazed a trail that included landscaping, constructing and crafting her El Pedregal. These dreams are shared by many in Alamos, be it envisioning a new wall, choosing and planting a plant, determining a color, supporting a civic interesting, developing and sustaining a community project…
Alamos, Sonora, Mexico is a place for being.

Pember told Anders, “always call us Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.” And Anders has.

Pember and Elizabeth Nuzum were a major part of the North American Community for decades. Their casa next to the Church on Calle Comercio #2 greeted many who visited Alamos, including Anders. It is not uncommon to have rain squalls in December. And it was common to hear Pember playing his theater organ in the Nuzum music room. Those days are gone. But the spirit lingers, it always does. Video…

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©2013 Anders Tomlinson, all rights reserved.

Here is a followup to a new development, November 2013, of property bordering El Pedregal:

 Parque La Colorada 
Every great city has a park…and soon Alamos will also have a park of its own!
Alamos is the ‘jewel of Sonora’ and is known for its beautiful colonial architecture, narrow streets, tranquility and natural beauty. This Pueblo Magico is, indeed, a magical place and the residents and visitors alike are enchanted by the special qualities of this town.
One of the elements that contributes to this special quality is that Alamos is surrounded by open land…which makes for a beautiful setting. Yet most of this land that surrounds Alamos is either private and/or inaccessible. As a result most people don’t ever get out into the natural world…And yet this world is where the true magic of Alamos lies. The tropical deciduous forest is one of the most highly biodiverse ecosystems in the world and one that is ever-changing. 
Parque La Colorada is a project that will create a city park and greenspace for Alamos. This 280 acre piece of land right at the edge of town will be a place for the residents and visitors of Alamos to get out into the natural world and enjoy the benefits of a natural gathering place. The three main goals of Parque La Colorada are recreation, education and conservation.
Recreation – creating a trail system for walking, hiking and mountain biking and other low impact activities, as well as spaces for group activities.
Education – providing environmental education to school groups, collaborating with universities and other organizations for scientific studies of the tropical deciduous forest, including a botanical interpretation trail.
Conservation – protecting and restoring the land and the tropical deciduous forest to its natural state and improving the watershed of Alamos.
Parque La Colorada is overseen by the Mexican non-profit, Parque La Colorada de Alamos, A.C., whose bi-national board is committed to creating the best possible park for Alamos. Additionally, the city administration and other key organizations in Alamos are collaborating to make this project become a reality.

For questions, comments and to find out more about Parque La Colorada and how you can help, please contact: Jennifer MacKay –

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