The Last Resort, Potrero
Ask for Harriett Molloy, self-confessed "canary from the mines of the industrial age," who founded this refuge 20 years ago in "the cleanest air I could find." "The winds of Potrero blow east and west," she says. "They come off the ocean or the desert. They don't blow up from the industries of Mexican Tecate. So far, we can breathe pollution-free." Molloy suffers from what her Chicago doctor labeled "Multiple Chemical Sensitivities." Her property, only half-humorously labeled "The Last Resort," nestles beneath clusters of century-old olive and California live oak trees. As soon as you enter her house, you notice all wood is bare, unvarnished. The floors are all tile. There's no wall-to-wall synthetic carpet. No gas heating or cooking. All energy is electrical. Where there is paint, Molloy says it's nontoxic. It's been given weeks to breathe out its fumes. "This is a difficult life," she warns. "Everything we get is secondhand. Building timber, clothes, TVs, beds, because we need them to have lost their toxicity." Even new magazines hang out in the sun clipped to lines to be "outgassed." But this, she says, is all our futures. "The rest of you just don't know it yet." If you do know it, Molloy rents cabins and trailers on her mountain property to the seriously allergic.