January 2001

Greetings from Vieques!

Happy New Year!

I guess the only thing about time passing by so quickly as we get older is that your upcoming trip to Vieques will be here before you know it! There are lots of things happening here this time of year and with my notes in front of me I will try and share some of the news! This edition will cover lots of changes and new businesses so bear with me and read to the very end!

Musical Notes

NEW BUSINESS:

CASA CIELO is under new management! This is a new venture for Joanne and Jim, your new Innkeepers. Joanne brings with her lots of experience from the Inn on the Blue Horizon and has been titled by a guest as the "fun director" and Jim also has lots of experience in the hotel and hospitality industry. Both of them will make your trip to Vieques a memorable one. Many people have never ventured up the long road to Casa Cielo and travelers in the past were discouraged from visiting without reservations. That is no longer the case, Jim and Joanne welcome visitors to stop by and see what they have to offer! As a matter of fact due to the new open gate policy they are busy booking rooms to people who just keep coming back to Vieques! Casa Cielo has 9 guest rooms available and included in your rate is a hearty Continental Breakfast, use of the Honor Bar, the swimming pool, and all terrace space. They have 2 kitchens and guests may stay in and cook their own meals if desired. They will be busy putting together some "package rates" for the off season months and are very interested in doing wedding and family reunion packages. They will assist in booking additional rooms if needed as well as car reservations and will arrange catering. They can make your special event a hassle and stress free occasion/vacation for you! Make sure after reading this that you go to the Vieques information page and check out their webpage! This is truly one of the most beautiful spots on the island.

AMIGO SCOOTER RENTAL is now open for business! David and Prudence Hoffman recognizing that the island could use something new and fun have set up shop on the main road between Isabel II and Esperanza. They want every one to know that this is not in place of renting a car, they do half day and whole day rentals only. They suggest taking some of the scenic back roads of the islands and just relaxing as you see some great views, smell the flowers and get a different feel for the island. They do not recommend using these to go to the beach as they don't stand up well in the sand! That is what you have your car for, hauling towels and coolers to the beach! The fee for a half day rental is $40 and whole day is $60, helmets, protective eyewear and a driving lesson is included in the fee. They have a great location for learning how to operate these scooters as the road has a large shoulder and lots of visibility. I have not taken a spin yet however I think that when I do I may have to recommend this as a new must do on the island!

HACIENDA TROPICO opened for business mid December. Morgan, the owner, is completely bilingual, makes my job easier, and has big plans for his land out there. The first part of his project, Tropico, is a wonderful addition to our island as far as a great place to stop for a drink and appetizers. The building is covered however the bar area has no walls so there is a lovely breeze blowing through. He has off street parking which is a big plus here on the island, a pleasant staff and a nice selection of appetizers as well as the usual tropical drinks and full bar. They will be open Wed. - Sat. from 3PM until about 1AM, maybe later on Saturday night. Sunday they are open from Noon until 8PM. Happy Hours are Wed. and Thurs. from 5 - 7 and during that time all drinks are $1 off regular price! I personally love the happy hour prices! Future plans for the Hacienda include 3 retail stores, possibly being a clothing boutique, full service salon and maybe a store handling all items needed for fun on and in the water! He also has plans approved for a 32 room hotel with an additional 20 rooms further down the road. He said the hotel will be fashioned after what we are used to in the way of a Holiday Inn type establishment. They are across the street from the main entrance to Martineau Bay Resort and the phone number is 741-4000. Hope you all have a chance to stop by and meet Morgan.

MARTINEAU BAY GIFT SHOP is not open for business yet but I just have to mention it! The rumors on the street are that Martineau Bay is scheduled to do a soft opening Feb. 15th with the grand opening occurring about March 1st. Unfortunately I have not gotten a conformation on this yet but hopefully will have more to share next month! Back to the gift shop, this is going to be fabulous! Tom Vetners invited me out to see the store and I was very impressed with the looks of the shop. Tom brings to Martineau Bay 18 years of retail experience in sales and management with Bloomingdale's, so it should come as no surprise that he will turn this into the most fashionable place to shop here on the island. Vieques will have designer clothes and gift items, hard to believe but true! I only saw a small portion of the inventory however having spent 9 years with Macy's I can appreciate the quality of goods he has in stock. Please remember that this is not open yet but hopefully I should be able to let you know next month when you can shop there!

BEACH DOGGIES is the latest venture for John and Judy who already have their hands full maintaining and creating some of the loveliest gardens on the island. Beach Doggies is located in the Bravos to Boston section of the island and is kind of a cross between an art gallery, gift shop and second hand store! They plan to have a flea market every Sunday Morning, hence the second hand shop description, and their business hours will be Fri., Sat. and Sunday mornings from about 8 AM until Noon. I stopped by their first day open for business and loved their collection of "things." Included in their inventory are some of the clocks that John makes and some great wooden masks. It is definitely a nice spot to visit and shop one of your mornings here in Vieques! They have flyers posted around the island telling you how to get there but as a reference it is not very far from the ferry dock in Isabel!
That about covers the new business on the island for this month.

ART GALLERIES

Casa Vieja Gallery began it's 8th season with small works 2000 and opening party on Dec. 16th. This show will run through the month of January. The next scheduled show LAND and SEA will open Sat. Feb. 10th with an artists' reception from 5 - 8 PM. The gallery hours are 2 - 6 Tues. - Sat. or by Appt. by calling 741-3078. Alec asked me to remind all of you that the phone number on the Vieques Map 2001 is incorrect so please make a note of the right number! Unfortunately I missed this opening however have attended many in the past and can assure you that stopping by is a great thing to do. Eve and Alec each have a very different style so taking a trip into the gallery and seeing their work as well as some of the other artists showing gives you a very diverse selection to browse! Although I am trying to save money to build a house even I could not leave their gallery without a watercolor that spoke to me and wanted to hang on my wall! They are located at the entrance to the Inn on the Blue Horizon and welcome all visitors and browsers. After reading this page make sure you check out their website, there is a link on the Vieques Information page or go to www.casaviejagallery.com

In fairness to the other talented artists on the island, that I also own work by, I should mention that all their shops are worth a visit! Luna Loca Gallery is located right in town, across the street from the new Morales grocery store. She, Nancy Hogan Armour, has much of her work on the walls as well as other gift items. Check out her website www.islandgallery.com/loca/loca.html . Helen Davis has the Studio Gallery and is located up near the fort in Isabel II. Helen's work captures the wonderful architecture of the islands as well as the colors of the Caribbean and often may have a sailboat in her seascapes! You can find her link on the information page or visit her at www.helendavis.com . Another local artist becoming well known is Siddhia Hutchinson who has a wonderful selection of prints and pottery in her shop. Her work also captures some of the island colors but much of it deals with the marine life and local birds. She has designed some wonderful patterns for dinnerware as well as other pottery and you should stop by and browse her selection of work. She is located near the Lighthouse in Isabel II but can also visit her website at www.siddhiahutchinson.com

Be sure to also check out some of the wonderful painted gourds at Kim's Cabin in Esperanza and also the selection of jewelry made here by other locals. You can find some wonderful gifts for friends and family at all of these places!

RESTAURANT NEWS

Café Blu will be holding a fund raiser for the Vieques Humane Society on Tues. January 16th from 6- 10 PM. Chef Michael will be doing his famous Sushi Night that was very well received last year when offered on occasional Sunday nights. Reservations are required and I am sure they will book up very quickly so you may want to get on the phone now and reserve your table! For those of you that love Sushi this is the only place and time it will be available as far as I know.
Chez Shack
has changed their schedule yet again! Leave it to Duffy to keep me on my toes! Grill Night only happens on Mondays again and their new night off is Tuesday. From past editions you know that I always recommend Grill Night however with the new schedule and great menu anytime but Tuesday is a good time to venture to Pilon for dinner.
The Oasis at Water's Edge is doing lots of special nights. These folks have lots of energy and some great ideas to keep us from getting bored with the restaurants here! In December they offered a "Soul Food Night" and for $15 you got a huge plate of food that nobody could finish even though it tasted great. I tried my best to eat all of it however would have had to be rolled home had I accomplished that task! This month on Jan. 9th they are offering Italian Night and January 23rd will offer Greek Night. If the menu is similar to the Soul Food Night, they will have a few entrees and side dishes to choose from at a very reasonable cost. They are closed Wed. night until January 28th when they will be open 7 nights a week through the rest of the busy season. In case my next edition misses the first week of Feb. I better let you know that on the night of the 6th they will be having a Spanish Tapas night! Reservations are always accepted at the Oasis, call 741-0655.
Café Media Luna hopes to be offering music on a Saturday night near the end of the month. Ricardo has been busy making phone calls however has not gotten an answer at the time of the writing. As I have mentioned before in addition to the great food always available when they are open, the music nights are not to be missed. If you are planning your trip toward the end of the month call ahead and see if they will have music while you are here. The phone number is 741-2594.
Al's Mar Azul
opened their kitchen in December and are offering a nice selection of bar food. Rick was "stolen" away from The Westin Rio Mar Resort on the main island and according to his wife, he loves having his own kitchen and menu! He must because he is putting in long hours! The kitchen is open Wed. - Sun. from about noon until 10PM. This is informal dining, you place your order with the bartender and take your ticket up to the window at the kitchen, Rick will then call you when your food is ready.

I think that pretty much covers the happenings for the month of January. Thank you for enduring a long update on the island! Please make sure that you let these establishments know that you heard about them through the "What's Happenin'" page on the enchanted-isle website.

Just a reminder that since we and all of Puerto Rico are now into our busy season, there is a much higher demand for water and electricity. Although it is rare, we do sometimes lose power and water for a short period of time. This is just one of the benefits of living in Paradise! It can be inconvenient and most businesses have cisterns and generators to cover these occasional periods however make the best of it and enjoy being on a gorgeous tropical island!

Thanks for reading!

Judy

PS. Just returned from a fabulous dinner at Duffy's Chez Shack. Like I said Duffy keeps me on my toes, this month he will have Jazz night on the following Fridays, 12th, 19th and the 26th. Tony Nunziata will be singing popular soft Jazz and will be accompanied by his friend Kayo on keyboards and Lenny on Bass! Lenny is a young, retired, maybe semi retired if this keeps up, professional Jazz musician now residing in Vieques. Tony has an album that was released in 1998 that is wonderful. In addition to having a great voice Tony has also performed in and written for theater! If you are in Vieques any of these night this will be a must do! There will be an additional $5 charge pp for the nights that Tony and friends are performing. While at Chez Shack be sure to stop in Jennifer Dehner's shop, The Beading Bikini! She is doing some wonderful beadwork as well as utilizing the local beach glass in her jewelry designs. She also has some great crocheted tops that she is making for sale too! Just a reminder for those of you that are into Yoga, Jennifer also teaches classes at Hix Island House. If you are interested in the yoga classes call her at home, 741-1398, to find out more!


PPS: If there is anything you would like to see in the newsletter or have any feedback please email Ask Judy. Thanks.
  askjudy@enchanted-isle.com 

If you have read some of the past letters by Peggy you will be familiar with the "must do" things here. If you have not read them I suggest that you take a few minutes to browse through them to become better acquainted with life here on the island. She has filled her columns with lots of "things you need to know" and I don't want to pass on the same information month after month!  
<click here for the archives>

 If any of you would like to see something specific in this newsletter please contact the webmaster and I will do my best to investigate for you. 
Email: webmaster@enchanted-isle.com 

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