House of the Day: Maybe Our All-Time Favorite

We went to St. Croix this spring for our longest vacation ever: eight whole days! I am incredibly intrigued by this island, even more so after staying there. It’s not tiny and glamorous. The beaches for the most part aren’t soft and blinding white. It’s not all spruced up and ship-shape. It closes down well before dark.

But it’s kind of…comfortable. There are big supermarkets and farmer’s markets (and farms in general! local agriculture! as a gardener I’m envious). There’s even a Home Depot. It’s the kind of island that makes you go, “Hmm. We really could live here.”

Everywhere we go I manage to come up with a business idea. Vieques? They really could use a good ice cream shop. Salt Cay? It could turn into a paradise if they would just compost and create some actual topsoil. And on and on. But the best business ever is the compound of cottages that was our home-base in St. Croix.

Yes, I had to work

Taking care of business

Three cottages (with another on the way), plus owner’s residence, pool, and garage, in a handy spot but tucked away in the forest. It was just beautiful there, incredibly quiet and peaceful. Lots of dogs, friendly landlady, well equipped, well maintained. Cool and breezy. Outdoor shower. I could have lived there for years instead of eight days.

So, now I want to buy a place with some rentals in St. Croix. Having seen what goes into it (constant work, lots of money) I’m not sure I’d be able to pull it off, but it’s good to dream. If I could just get truly reliable Internet and keep my current job and salary there’s a place available that would be perfect…

House of the Day: Casa Anolis, Vieques

This is the next house!

casa anolis

For years–maybe 20?–we’ve gone to Cape May with a group of friends every summer. I love it still. As East Coast beach towns go it’s about as good as it gets…so pretty, with all of the Victorian houses and big trees and narrow streets. Plus there’s The Lobster House, which between the fishing fleet, cheap seafood to eat on the dock, and fish market to supply the grill, is my favorite restaurant in the entire world.

But it’s just so expensive! We could rent a cottage in St. Bart’s for the same week for less. And for the past few years the water’s been so ridiculously cold (c’mon now, 60 degrees in August?) that it’s almost unbearable to go in. Last summer as we were leaving I said goodbye for a year or two and vowed to find a beach house for a group that would be fun, affordable, and in close proximity to warm turquoise seas.

And so, Vieques. Bioluminescent bay! Horses roaming around everywhere! Mofongo!

For a cheap tropical holiday Puerto Rico’s the way to go. Airfare is really reasonable, the rentals are inexpensive, and you don’t even need to drive on the wrong side of the road. We’re bringing it in at less than $650 per person for all transportation and lodging for a week, and I defy anyone to get to the Caribbean for less.

Plus the house is cute, named after a lizard, has a coconut palm and a distant view of the sea, and appears to have lawn furniture in the living room. We win again.