April 3, 2023
La Sombra, Tepoztlán
Tepoztlán, Morelos, Mexico. Susan, one of the founders and the owner of La Sombra del Sabino. Photo by author
La Sombra del Sabino, a bilingual bookstore and restaurant, is a cultural center in Tepoztlán. It opened in 2005, and has many features: bookstore, restaurant/cafe, events and workshops, and live music. It displays regional art and sculpture.
Mostly outdoors, sheltered by a tarp from the sun and rain, it holds to a dedication to nature. The name means "in the shade of the sabino." The sabino is a common tree in the area.
Before embarking on a visual tour of La Sombra, let's hear from it's founder and owner, Susan.
While the restaurant is outdoors, the books are largely housed indoors. Here is a photo of a shelf showing contrasting themes. On the top shelf, to the right, is the very poplular "Autobiography of a Yogi." Just below it is a dictionary of slang.
The store has a floor and a half, with stairs leading to the upper part.
Tepoztlán, Morelos, Mexico. Stairs leading to a loft section of books. Photo by author
Tepoztlán, Morelos, Mexico. Magazine racks in the bookstore. Photo by author
Behind the bookstore building is the restaurant and events space. Between the two, just outside the bookstore, is a porch. The porch has an events bulletin board, rare in these days of the Internet. It also has regionally crafted gifts and art for sale, and a counter with cold beverages and desserts on display.
Tepoztlán, Morelos, Mexico. Regional events bulletin board. Photo by author
Tepoztlán, Morelos, Mexico. Art and gifts by regional creatives are sold at the bookstore. Photo by author
The menu, which is bilingual, features special package deals, along with a la carte. Breakfasts are featured. Vegetarian and meat selections offer gourmet dishes, and the desserts are to die for. Here, on a blackboard, are written the specials for the day.
Tepoztlán, Morelos, Mexico. "Specials of the day" menu. Photo by author
Tepoztlán, Morelos, Mexico. Above: the restaurant counter; below: cold beverages and desserts. Photo by author
Outside, Under Tarps
The books are housed in the main building, but most of the area of La Sombra is outdoors, under tarps for protection from sun and rain.
Tables with chairs are scattered on a lawn, and beyond that is art and sculpture.
A separate covered events space functions for meetings, workshops, and presentations. Some are public and others privately catered.
Tepoztlán, Morelos, Mexico. Some of the different table arrangements in the restaurant area outside the bookstore. Photo by author
Tepoztlán, Morelos, Mexico. Comparing a children's table (top) with that for adults (bottom). Photo by author
Tepoztlán, Morelos, A sampling of the art and sculpture on display. Photo by author
La Sombra features different kinds of events regularly. I'll give you a sampling of some of them here. If you are interested, please look at the end of this section for how to keep abreast of what's happening there.
A tarp covers a platform, at the back of the restaurant, where many different events are scheduled. These range from workshops for adults and kids, to book presentations, and both public and private catered affairs.
Tepoztlán, Morelos, Mexico. Platform where special events are scheduled. Photo by author
One special event that happens every January, is Under the Volcano, named after the famous book and movie, set in Cuernavaca, near Tepoztlán. It is a two week international bilingual writers' conference. There are themed panel discussions, readings by authors and poets, and workshops by genre. Venues are all around the region, but La Sombra hosts the kick-off event and other important ones for the conference.
Truly, encountering La Sombra del Sabino is a wondrous experience. I go there often, and hope you can, too.
As you might expect, my recent self-published book, Better Living in Mexico: An Expat's Life Experiences, is for sale there. You can also get it at Amazon. My author page has it along with a recent eBook compilation of this blog, and another self-published memoir.
Please support me by buying it, and then writing a well-written and developed paragraph or two review on Amazon. Tell your relatives and friends, or anyone who might be interested in Mexico about it.
Please email me your comments: [email protected]
I will post them here with your name unless you ask to be anon.
Very cool! --Mary Rives
This is great coverage for the bookstore. I remember that I gave reading there decades ago! Well done... for you and for the bookstore!--Maria Espinosa
I remember that reading. It was when you asked for my memoir manuscript that became The Bumpy Road. Thanks, Maria.--Don