It all started at a dinner party one January night in Washington.
As we lingered over coffee and dessert, dreading that fateful moment when we’d have to drag on our coats and gloves and scurry home through the freezing dark, the subject of winter escapes came up, as it almost always did on such occasions.
Several Caribbean resorts were mentioned and just as quickly nixed: “Chock full of cruise ships,” “too expensive,” “dangerous.” And then, just when it began to seem like every island Michael and I hadn’t already visited was doomed by some fatal flaw, a fellow guest drawled, “If you’re tired of everywhere else, go to Vieques.”
It rang a bell but I couldn’t remember why. So I Googled it when we got home. Aha. Al Sharpton and Bobby Kennedy Jr. had been arrested there a couple of years earlier. It seemed they’d objected to the U.S. Navy’s 50-year-old habit of using the island for bombing practice. I couldn’t say I blamed them—it was pretty droit de seigneur for the U.S. to simply kick the residents off their land so they could blow it to smithereens.
There were plenty of pictures of the island. It looked gorgeous. And warm.
It snowed the day after the dinner party. When I got home that night I handed Michael a stiff drink and made my case for a week in Vieques. After hearing me out, he said, in his infinitely reasonable way, “Let’s do some research.”
It wasn’t exactly the ecstatic response I’d hoped for, but it wasn’t a “no.”
It snowed again the next day, almost a foot. Around noon Michael called me at work. “Would you rather stay in a hotel or rent a house?”
Big smile. “A house.”
We were off.