Based by ranchers within the early twentieth century, the village of Pueblo Garzón, within the southeast of Uruguay, flourished for a couple of many years, then withered when the railway that ran by it closed. By the Seventies, it was all however a ghost city – however recently it has seen a unprecedented rebirth, says Mark Johanson within the FT, as restaurateurs, wine-makers and artists have moved in, “enchanted by its unpaved streets and time-warp nostalgia”.
Owing to the inflow of arty guests, “rustic-chic” boutique motels are opening in its deserted Twenties homes – but the settlement retains its quiet, “dilapidated” appeal.
It was the Argentinian celeb chef Francis Mallmann who precipitated the village’s revival, by opening a restaurant and a five-room resort, Garzón, on the sting of its “palm-lined” plaza. It drew its clientele from the chi-chi seashore resort of José Ignacio, half-hour’ drive to the south, and from additional afield (Uruguay’s capital, Montevideo, is 90 miles west).
Then the businessman Alejandro Bulgheroni planted vines within the surrounding countryside, which now produce glorious “Tannat-heavy” crimson blends, together with a chic Balasto. In 2016, he launched a “lavish” vineyard, Bodega Garzón, outdoors the village, and different boutique wineries have since opened, together with Compañía Uruguaya de Vinos de Mar, which has a good restaurant.
Among the many first artists to reach was the US photographer Heidi Lender. Her inventive institute, Campo, has a canteen the place guests mingle with resident artists. The Uruguayan artist Pablo Atchugarry has lately opened a sculpture park and a up to date artwork museum, MACA, close by, and there are a number of different new exhibition areas in Pueblo Garzón, together with the “bold” Walden Naturae.
The interval from late December to late January is especially vigorous, with three festivals to get pleasure from – the Campo Artfest, the José Ignacio Worldwide Movie Competition and Este Arte, in close by Punta del Este.