It was time to start spreading the word about our little slice of paradise. But we’d never advertised a property before and didn’t know where to begin. For inspiration we scoured the home pages of other vacation houses in Vieques.
The ads ran the gamut from blah to hyperactive, and some were completely over the top. “Paradise Found!” one screamed, as if John Milton himself had co-signed the mortgage.
Others took a more Zen approach, rambling on about tranquility and connectedness and the true light.
Yes, yes, but does it have a dishwasher? I wanted to ask.
We decided to go for the middle ground. Good clear photos, slightly lyrical text, reasonable prices.
Michael was particularly insistent about keeping our prices low. As we did more research it became clear that we faced stiff competition.
Even in the relatively limited one-bedroom category on several of the more obvious “Rental by Owner” websites (including Enchanted-Isle.com, the semi-official website of Vieques’ tourism industry), there were at least thirty to forty listings.
We had to keep our prices low enough to compete.
So we did.
As for the narrative, we basically kept to the facts, though here and there we allowed ourselves to wax a tiny bit poetic: we mentioned the trade winds, which are truly wonderful in the winter months, blowing a warm, fragrant breeze through the house from front to back; and we alluded to the large number of fruit trees in the yard, urging our future guests “to pick and eat what they please.”
We added a line about the wild horses…
and the lovely little chirping frogs called “coquis”…
We even mentioned the island’s lusty rooster population.
Anyone who couldn’t deal with crowing roosters had no business on Vieques anyhow.
As for the name of the house, we couldn’t make up our minds. Even at that relatively early date in the island’s real estate boom, there were already so many houses on the rental market with “cute” and/or evocative names, it was hard to come up with anything new that wasn’t too precious.
At first I suggested “Casa Miguel,” because, well, I’m just crazy about my partner and thought he might like to have a house named after him. We bounced this idea around a few days until it deflated of its own accord.
Back to basics.
We finally decided on a name that evoked the spirit of our neighborhood. That would do.
We went live online in late September, just before our next visit. We couldn’t wait to see what happened.