António Borges Coutinho was the second grandson of the second Marquês da Praia e Monforte. He was also the first civil governor of Ponta Delgada after the 1974 revolution that granted democratic freedom to the Portuguese people. He was a remarkably interesting man (if we may say so ourselves!), born into aristocracy but of strong left wing conviction and a well known fighter for democracy (as well as a philosopher, a poet, and a very stubborn grandad!). He had inherited a fair bit of land and property in the island, and in the early 1980s he and his children (Antonio, Francisco, Isabel and Maria Ana) decided to re-build one of his properties so it could become the new family's house, as theirs had been acquired by the recently appointed regional government (The Praia and Monforte Manor: you can visit it near largo 2 de Março in the historic city centre, right next to the court).
The older brothers António and Francisco had been serving in the military in Angola and Mozambique (despite being against the regime), and had recently returned to live in S. Miguel, the island where they had been born, and so a new family home could become their permanent living space, and a holiday location for their father, his wife Conceicao and the Lisbon-based younger sisters, Isabel and Maria Ana. They chose a very beautiful, perfectly located farmhouse set in land that had long been in the family, but which had been been left in ruins for many, many years... Its name? Quinta do Bom Despacho.
From 1981 to 1984 they worked hard to get the house back on its feet, and in the Spring of 1984, the first people to ever sleep in the newly-renovated estate were Francisco and his wife and two daughters: on three mattresses and a Moses basket fanned around the newly built fireplace. Soon after, Antonio, his wife, and two daughters moved next door and for many years. Bom Despacho became the heart of an expanding family: a home that saw a new generation emerge and grow, and which was the Summer stronghold for quite an army of cousins, uncles, parents, grandparents and happy, noisy outdoor lunches.
Fast forward to 2014 and the final birds had recently flewn the nest, leaving it empty, and opening an opportunity for change. Two of the twelve grandchildren, Joana and Susana, (Francisco´s oldest and youngest daughters) developed an enterpreneurial project to reconfigure the family house as a holiday lodge with sustainability at its core. A new cycle has begun...
... And the rest is History!