Sunday, August 30, 2009

A Trip to the Beach (Please!)

I've been inviting the Lupus Foundation to send their truck 'round pretty regularly for a few years now. They appreciate the donations, and I appreciate the lightened load. When the day comes for Rick and I to hit the road (...more than a month, less than a lifetime...), I don't want to lose a moment to packing up high heels that no longer work on my flip flop feet.

My travel books, though—those are sacrosanct. I know the time will come when Kindle replaces them as my one true love, but until then...

I ran my finger along their spines the other day, looking for one to tell you about. Married to a Bedouin? Eat, Pray, Love? So many choices, but A Trip to the Beach: Living on Island Time in the Caribbean raised the biggest ruckus. Understandable that it would demand pride of place, since it was the first travel essay Rick gave me, and the one that launched me (ergo, us) on the path to a Shore Dive Kinda Life.

A Trip to the Beach tells the story of Melinda and Robert Blanchard, an entrepreneurial couple from New England who fell in love with Anguilla. After a bunch of trips to the easygoing island, and the sale of their business in the U.S., they found themselves negotiating for the lease of a crumbling restaurant they'd thought to revive as a little burger and drinks place. But deals in paradise are hard to come by, so when the bills started adding up ( including $1800 a month for trucked-in water for the garden), the casual beach bar turned into a fine dining experience, Blanchard's Restaurant.

The project bumps along in fits and starts, including the startling $24,000 the couple spent on duty alone for bringing in their equipment from Miami. I really love the financial details in this book, so the reader can gauge whether the Blanchards' fanstasy could be theirs, too. My conclusion? Not in a million.

Of course, books set in the Caribbean always have a sinister villain waiting in the wings, and he usually blows into the story in a big way come September or so....

It's a great story, like most books in this happy little niche. I just wonder if I'll love it as much when I'm flipping its pages on a Kindle.

(The finished product.)

Photos from and

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