Like many foreigners, my husband, Oggi, was intrigued by the Florida Keys, a singular geography that has no European equivalent. Every year during the Florida family trip, I’ve promised him that we’ll drive all the way down to Key West. This year I finally delivered.
It looks much the same as the last time I visited — in the mid-’80s, with my dad at the wheel. My dad likes to talk about the old U.S. Route 1: how it was the Maine-to-Florida highway when he was growing up, before they built the Interstate. According to him, U.S. 1 hasn’t changed much.
Spring blows into Galveston Island on a warm Gulf breeze. By April, these peaceful golden shores are basking in 70-degree afternoons, with native seabirds circling overhead and lazy ripples spreading from the fishermen’s lines. Weekend traffic is starting to get heavy: Houston is just a 40-minute drive away.
For thousands of Hawaii vacationers, the island of Maui is the happy medium. It is lovely and unspoiled, but not so unspoiled as Kauai, widely regarded as the prettiest isle but sparse on nightlife. Like Oahu, Maui has great restaurants and plenty to do, but it is less built-up and retains the lazy vacationer’s pace.
Granada is, arguably, Spain’s loveliest city. But its American namesake, Granada, Nicaragua, needs little argument: wedged between a volcano and the vast Lake Nicaragua, the new-world city might be the most romantic town in all of Central America.