Tag Archives: Nick Gallo Award

Mexico Loving Writers’ Alert: MexicoPremiere.com Announces MBH Member Hacienda de los Santos’ Participation in the 2010 Nick Gallo Award

Acapulco, MEXICO (February 19, 2010)—Those who knew Nick Gallo knew how cool he thought Mexico Boutique Hotels were. We at MexicoPremiere.com agree completely, and we just confirmed their “coolness factor” when MBH director, Sylvie Laitre, called to tell us the insanely fabulous Hacienda de los Santos had agreed to be a part of the 2010 Nick Gallo Award.

Hacienda de los Santos
Hacienda de los Santos

We’re giddy with excitement, so let us share just a few tantalizing tidbits on Hacienda: Built in the 18th century for a wealthy silver baron, current owners Jim and Nancy Swickard lovingly restored the Hacienda de los Santos to its former glory. The couple, though, looked beyond the structure and the creature comforts to transform it into a cultural center and healthful retreat, championing the lovely town of Los Alamos and its citizens through community programs and offering its guests plenty of outdoor pursuits, indulgent spa services and wholesome, delectable dining.

The winner of the 2010 Nick Gallo Award will score three nights in a luxurious Hacienda Master Suite; daily full menu breakfast at the Agave Café (no puny Continental Breakfast here); two massages; two fine dinners and the pièce de resistance: a one-hour aerial tour of the Sierra Madre with pilot and owner, Jim Swickard.

Allow us to remind you that our other great partner, Aeromexico, will fly the winner and his or her significant other into Ciudad Obregón from their closest U.S. gateway, just about an hour away from the hotel. Nick was a five-star writer, so we want this to be a five-star prize. We’re thinking: “mission accomplished.”

Note to writers: you love Mexico, we love Mexico. Let’s show the love and show the world this destination is so much more than hype and bad headlines.

The 2010 Nick Gallo Award will be handed out during SECTUR’s Tianguis Turístico convention, held from April 25-28 in the Acapulco International Center. The winner of the 2010 Nick Gallo award will receive an engraved plaque created by Laurie Brown-Gallo plus a three-night stay for two in MBH’s Hacienda de los Santos, including air from their closest U.S. gateway courtesy of Aeromexico. Entries are only open to freelance writers based in the United States and Canada. For more information and details, visit www.MexicoPremiere.com.

About Nick Gallo

Nick Gallo, two-time winner of the Mexico Tourism Board’s prestigious Pluma de Plata award, regular contributor to such prestigious titles as Travel & Leisure, Alaska Airlines Magazine, United Airlines Hemispheres, Private Clubs, Northwest Airlines WorldTraveler, father, husband and matchless colleague, passed away in October 2007 while on assignment in Greece. A touching in memoriam written by fellow writers can be found at www.MexicoPremiere.com/?p=256.

About MexicoPremiere.com

Founded by freelance travel writers David Simmonds, Lisa Coleman and Lydia Gregory—and now home to a cadre of even more award-winning talent—MexicoPremiere.com has become a meeting place for those looking to read and write about every aspect of everything Mexico. From tourism and gastronomy to bullfighting and politics (not necessarily in the same sentence), visitors to this one-of-a-kind blog will find unvarnished commentary and differing points of view. In the spirit of tooting their own horn, the folks at MP would like you to know that travel king Arthur Frommer himself gave us kudos http://www.frommers.com/blog/2007/10/if-youre-mexicophile-youll-want-to.html. Check them out in person at www.MexicoPremiere.com

About Mexico Boutique Hotels:

Established in 1999, MBH is a collection of upscale, independent member properties (located in  25 destinations throughout Mexico) handpicked for their intimacy, high level of service and outstanding attributes. Some are housed in exquisitely restored buildings, others are paeans to Mexican cuisine, still others showcase the sleekly modern–but they each encourage guests to savor the many fascinating traditions of this vast country, and all offer guests a unique travel experience. Typically less than 30 rooms in size, they are often destinations unto themselves. Based in Puerto Vallarta, MBH is staffed by an experienced team of multicultural—and multilingual—travel and hospitality professionals who both live and work in Mexico.

Book any of Mexico Boutique Hotels’ stylish properties by calling 1-800-728-9098 (US and Canada) or visiting www.mexicoboutiquehotels.com.

About Aeromexico:

AeroMexico and its subsidiary, AeroMexico Connect, currently operate more than 600 daily flights through the airline’s new Terminal 2 at its Mexico City International Airport hub to 40 destinations in Mexico, 16 U.S. locations in 11 states as well as major cities that include Tokyo, Paris and Buenos Aires in 12 other countries in Latin America, Europe and Asia. U.S. cities served are Los Angeles, Ontario (Ca.), San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle-Tacoma, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Albuquerque, Denver, San Antonio, Houston, Atlanta, Chicago, New York City, Orlando and Miami. Service will be added to Toronto, Canada, on March 3, and Montreal on April 2. AeroMexico Vacations provides customized vacation travel packages throughout this network. The airline also offers connecting service to other international destinations through its SkyTeam global airline alliance with 11 full member carriers and three associate carriers. AeroMexico has been recognized for its award-winning style of personalized in-flight service, one of the world’s best on-time flight records, the highest safety and quality standards ratings, outstanding reliability and baggage handling performance, and exceptional value based on its competitive fares and superior service. Additional information is available at 1-800-237-6639. www.aeromexico.com

Lisa Coleman, Alex Gallo, winner Dan Millington, David  Simmonds and Lydia Gregory at the 2009 Nick Gallo Award presentation in Acapulco, Mexico.
Lisa Coleman, Alex Gallo, winner Dan Millington, David Simmonds and Lydia Gregory at the 2009 Nick Gallo Award presentation in Acapulco, Mexico.

A Farewell To Nick Gallo

By David Simmonds


Nick Gallo died a week ago. No one saw it coming, certainly not his wife, Laurie, and the two sons he loved so much, Alex and Noah. From his Seattle home he boarded a plane bound for Greece on yet another writing assignment and he didn’t come home, succumbing to pericarditis and pneumonia after several days in an Athens hospital. By all accounts he was getting better after several bed-ridden days, then suddenly his temperature was 104 degrees and then he was gone at 57.

By definition Nick was a freelance writer, taking jobs where he could find them, often traveling to Mexico to research a travel piece. But Nick was much more than a travel writer. He was a damn writer…period. He had the gift– the talent, the humanity, the honesty to tell a story that you would read and believe. He told it straight and pure, often with wicked humor, and hacks like me knew that we had to always try harder if we wanted to compete. Quite simply, Nick was the best of the bunch. He was my friend and I will miss him dearly, but he will not be forgotten.

Mexico Premiere will be establishing an annual excellence in writing award focused on Mexico travel, to be named The Nick Gallo Award. One day, perhaps twenty years from now, some young journalist will ask “Just who was this Gallo dude”? Nick would like that.

Here is a web site where you can see some photos and read some of Nick’s excellent writing http://www.cathybrown.com/nickgallo/index.html

And here are some thoughts from a few of Nick’s many travel writer friends.

Marty Adair

How I miss our Nick. Smiling always. Spreading his sunshine. Casting humor on his foibles. Boyishly humble and polite. Endowed with a family he obviously loved. Enthusiastic about so much — his family, friends, life, work. Mexico. Imbued with the joy of a well-turned phrase. Brimful of ideas to spin into perfectly crafted stories. Deeply intrigued by people and places and feelings. Compassionate. So refreshingly unafraid to embrace emotion. How much I admired all of this about him. I will always remember Nick Gallo.

Susan Kaye

Nick–you were one of the all-time greats among travel writers. Your words always made me envious.

Lydia Gregory

I guess when writing about Nick’s smile and laugh, I’d have to paraphrase the Borg: resistance was futile. Why even try? With his biting wit, his keen insight and amazing power of observation — tempered buy his ever-present sense of humor — Nick Gallo easily peeled off the layers of pretentiousness that so many people love to wrap around themselves. After one tequila, two tequilas, three tequilas (but never floor), he regaled those around him with stories that would touch off fits of laughter. I feel privileged, very privileged that he included me in his circle of friends. Our communication wasn’t constant, but it was real. Just like everything about Nick, who will always be for me “el Gallo Mas Gallo”.

Dan Millington

I’m in shock!!! Man, he’ll be missed. Damn it for taking him. Nick was and always will be a great spirit. Always up, always had something funny to say or write. His compassion for Mexico and his writing about the country is unparalleled. The way he carried himself was a lesson in manners and dignity. Always respectful of the Mexican people and their culture. I considered him to be a very good friend of mine. He never let me down and I could always rely on his counsel with respect to our industry.

I will miss not being able to talk to him. I will miss his wonderful spirit. I will miss his friendship.

Lisa Coleman

When I heard the tragic news about Nick Gallo, I was devastated. It wasn’t that we talked often or knew each other beyond our occasional crossings in Mexico, it was because people like Nick don’t come along too often in the freelance writing world. He was so kind, generous and everyone knew him as a consummate professional. After we met for the first time at the annual Tianguis trade show in Acapulco, I asked him to send me some of his work. I was more than impressed; I was moved by the passion in his words and quality of his articles. He had won the Pluma de Plata and was kind of a celebrity to those of us who aspired to be at the top of our profession. But all that aside, he was just a hell of a good guy. I know I’m on a long list of people who feel that way. Nick Gallo was an icon in this business and I’m privileged to have known him.

Maribeth Mellin

As the air darkens and darkness descends earlier each day, my thoughts turn to my favorite Mexican celebration. It’s called Dia de los Muertos, and falls just after Halloween on the Catholic feast days of all souls and saints. At the end of each October, my thoughts turn to those people who linger in my life long after their bodies leave this earth, as I practice my romanticized version of Mexico’s Day of the Dead. I gradually assemble an altar, searching for Dad’s cuff-links and Mom’s engagement band. You’d think after so many years building altars small and large I would keep everything in one place. Not me — I do best with scattered memories.

This year, sad to say, some memories are far too recent to be set aside. A few days ago, while traveling in Baja, I found out through cyberspace that a dear friend and fellow travel writer had died alone in Athens. His home was in Seattle, where his wife, sons, relatives and abundant friends were in total crisis mode. His body was on some soulless morgue in Greece. And all around the world people were mourning a loss that seemed utterly unreal.

Nick Gallo’s death has affected me on so may levels I’m not sure I’m ready to put his picture on my altar. The pain is sharp and reverberations raw.

To be honest, I didn’t even know Nick all that well. We shared e-mails weekly, talked on the phone every few months, and saw each other almost annually at Mexico’s big tequila-fueled bash. I can’t even tell you how many years that cycle’s been repeating itself. Bit I do know he was one of the first people I wanted to email when I heard of his death, odd as that sounds. It was one of those the sum is far more than its parts moments. I wanted Nick to know I missed him and that someone we shared and cared so much for was gone.

Let’s say I’ve known Nick for eight years, maybe. We met in Mexico — I’m sure of that. Our acquaintance moved quickly into friendship and camaraderie built upon a place and a profession. We were writers sharing a common topic and plenty of similar complaints. We both suffered from “whining and dining” syndrome, as Nick once wrote.

Few people outside the business get the downside of travel writing. Nick, being (I think) genetically sensitive, got it in spades. He loved exploring new places — and hated leaving his family. Though outgoing and funny and genuine, he wasn’t all that crazy about being thrown into trying circumstances with perfect strangers. Yet he wanted so very much to experience something new and powerful and to write about it from the heart, giving readers a true feel for his experiences. In doing so, Nick gave me, and many others, a tremendous gift. Writing was a passion for him, a talent he treasured and used judiciously. He cared so much about every word, even when his assignments trivialized his abilities. He had the fury to fight for his words and their meanings and the drive to spend hours composing thoughts that might never be published.

Those of us who write for a living sometimes lose our voices as we labor to earn dollars for every word. Granted, I only read the best of Nick’s writing and didn’t see his everday labors. but when Nick was on, he could write with a worldly, yet personal, perspective that comes only from genuine practice, persistence and skillful observation. I loved reading Nick’s work, and I’ll miss his words.

So, this year Nick Gallo will prominently displayed on my Day of the Dead altar. I’ll choose a photo that best portrays his spirit and smile, and the finest bottle of tequila I can fined. I’ll fan out the pages from his essay on walking the dog and his stories about traveling with his wife and sons in Mexico. One night, when I’m trying to come up with the perfect sentence or am internally raging at some absurd abuse of my words, I’ll talk with my elusive friend. And I’ll thank him for being a part of my life forever.

Jane Onstott

Nick was a travel writer friend of mine; we saw each other most every year at the annual travel writers convention in Acapulco and kept in touch via email and the occasional phone call. When I think of Nick I remember his laugh, which seem to gain momentum quickly and ranged from husky through a whole range of notes and pitches, depending on the joke or situation.

Nick wan’t usually the center of attention, preferring, it seems to me, a one-on-one or small group conversation. Although I didn’t see him as a late-night party person, he didn’t abandon the fray. During after-hours convention parties and club visits he’d usually hang on ’til the more effusive among us called it quits, even if he was on occasion spotted napping at the table, while others danced on.

The two of us sometimes groused about the state of the world, and although politics and pettiness sometimes made him blue, he was also always philosophical and stoic. Thoughtful in all senses of the word. He was proud of his work but extremely modest, while always quick with praise and generous with suggestions and advice for others.

John Mitchell

Like everyone who knew Nick Gallo, I was shocked and saddened to hear of this recent death. I valued him both as a colleague and as a good friend. Nick was a gifted and dedicated writer. I never failed to learn something new from him every time we found ourselves traveling together, usually on a press trip to some corner of Mexico. His warmth and irreverant sense of humor were infectious, as was his love of Mexico. If Nick were here, I’m sure that he would still be telling us “Yes, folks, you can find plenty of Cheez Whiz atop your huevos rancheros south of the border these days, but here’s an antidote…” And Nick never failed to deliver that antidote. We’re all going to miss him.