Ok, I’m the first to admit it. I’ve been super spoiled. I’ve traveled everywhere and there’s not a day that I don’t reminisce and recognize how lucky I am. Here are some of the most amazing places I’ve visited (in no particular order):
When I was in fourth grade, my former Hippy mom, thought it would be fun to take a family trip to an island off the coast of Puerto Rico. We took a 10 person plane from San Juan to Vieques. There was no door on the plane and the pilot offered to let my dad try flying it for a bit. When my dad politely declined, the pilot offered my eight year old brother the wheel. It’s a miracle we made it to the island alive.
There was only one hotel in Vieques, and they didn’t allow children. Since the owner grew up in Brooklyn and had a serious hankering for rugelach (you can’t make this stuff up) he agreed to let us stay as long as my parents brought him rugelach from a specific Brooklyn bakery. He also had an over-sized glass eye that looked as if it would fall out at any moment.
Here’ the kicker, the hotel didn’t have any electricity. Imagine three kids, 8,10 and 13, without t.v., music or electric light. It was rough for the first few days, but then we got used to entertaining ourselves, and almost got kicked out for singing Salt n’ Pepper’s Shoop too loud. It’s one of my fondest memories with my siblings.
The most amazing part of Vieques is Mosquito Bay. This is a bioluminescent bay, and there’s only about 5 or 6 of these left on the entire planet. The water is filled with dinoflaggalites (basically the plankton version of fireflies) that glow when you touch them. So when we went swimming at night, every time you moved your hand the water lit up neon turquoise!
We went canoeing at midnight on New Years Eve and watched fireworks in the sky as we sat on the glowing surface of the water – each stroke of the paddle created an underwater firework. It was truly magical. I wish I could find pictures from this trip, but I was 10 and I probably dropped my disposable camera in the water.
The last time I checked the hotel we stayed at turned into a nudist colony. I don’t think they would allow children there, even if you brought a suitcase of rugelach! However the island has developed quite a bit since ’94, so I think you’ll be able to find another hotel that even has electricity.