MÉRIDA, Mexico — Until this winter, Mérida had just been a busy city I passed through on my way to the ancient Mayan ruins.
Then, in mid-December, I made it my destination.
I pretty much had to: I'd been hearing the city's name all fall, from house-hunting shows on TV to acquaintances in Minnesota trading tips about winter getaways. Even my new dog groomer turned out to be renovating a house here.
Was Mérida, the capital of Yucatán state, going to be Mexico's next big Yankee magnet — a new Ajijic or San Miguel de Allende?
I needn't have worried, though the city offers Americans many temptations: warm weather, cheap building stock, good...