I LIKE TO THINK THAT EVERY ISSUE of Coastal Living is special, but this one is more special than most. A few months after hurricanes Irma and Maria devastated Puerto Rico and many islands in the Caribbean, we were so inspired by their stories of renewal and recovery that we decided to dedicate a whole issue to the region. We wanted to go beyond the hotels, resorts, and infinity pools and try to capture the soul of the place—and perhaps uncover a few secrets. From Anguilla to Tortola, St. Barts to St. John, these communities have come together and clawed their way back, in some cases making their islands even more beautiful than before. Plenty of work remains, but if you do your homework (and we did), there’s also never been a better time to go.
Even Puerto Rico is showing signs of recovery. When my wife and I flew into San Juan this past July, we looked out the window and saw a sea of blue tarps where roofs used to be. This was 10 months after Hurricane Maria destroyed much of the island and claimed an estimated 2,975 lives. In the cab on the way to our hotel, we passed a giant collapsed billboard and neighborhoods that looked like they’d been bombed, but as we entered Old San Juan, with its colorful buildings and cobblestone streets, there was clearly a comeback in the works.
We had lunch at a James Beard–nominated restaurant called Verde Mesa, where we were joined by Jennifer Herrera, a charismatic young entrepreneur who helped chef José Andrés and World Central Kitchen serve more than 3 million meals in the aftermath of the storm. (Her remarkable story is on page 56.) After lunch, she walked us down the street to a gorgeous old building with an interior courtyard where she’s planning to open a bakery. And we ended the night at dinner in the Santurce district, where the streets felt like a giant dance party, with salsa music pouring out of open-air bars. By the time we headed home, around midnight, the celebration seemed to be just getting started.
It’s that spirit of resilience, creativity, and fun that has always animated Coastal Living, which is why I regret to say that this is the last issue we’ll publish as a subscription-based magazine. We will still produce special issues for the newsstand starting in the spring of 2019—which will be beautiful and printed on better paper—but we won’t be showing up in your mailbox. For 21 years, Coastal Living has been a journal for those who are drawn to the sea, and hopefully a source of inspiration for your homes, your travels, and your summers. To our loyal fans and longtime subscribers, thank you for staying with us. Like the inspiring islands of the Caribbean, we will be back soon, and better than ever.
At Hôtel Manapany on St. Barts