Just Back From Vieques: Alicia Keys
'I went running every morning on Navio Beach. It gave me time with my thoughts and dreams; sometimes I wrote songs in my head.'
OCCUPATION Singer, songwriter
HOME BASE Long Island, New York
DOWNTIME "I had just finished a seventy-city world tour and wanted to find a beautiful place where I could sit and reflect on the end of this major moment in my life," Keys says. "Vieques was the perfect place for me—small, intimate, and calm."
FLY GIRL "We had to fly over on one of those eight-passenger planes," Keys says of the brief trip from San Juan. "Some people were nervous, but I found it exhilarating. Flying is the time when I'm closest to God. I'm like, either it's my time or it isn't.The pilot even let me steer a little. He wasn't supposed to do that, but it felt fantastic."
REACH THE BEACH "To get to Navio Beach, on the island's south side, I had to take a jeep down this skinny, bumpy dirt road. I drove about five miles an hour so I wouldn't get whiplash."
ABOVE IT ALL Keys rented a private residence called the Dacha (www.enchanted-isle.com/byowner/dacha; from $3,300 per week). "The house was on a hill overlooking the ocean. When I opened the windows and looked out at the water, I felt that I was alone in the world."
UP NEXT The Diary of Alicia Keys, her sophomore CD (and companion DVD, partly filmed on Vieques), due out this month from J Records.
The Dacha, meaning country house in Russian, is an exclusive, five bedroom, four-and-a-half bath rental home perched on a cliff in Vieques. The master suite and two large, additional bedrooms are located in the main house, while a casita, connected to the main house by a bathroom, provides two smaller bedrooms. The property has numerous amenities, including an infinity pool and meals prepared (upon request) by the caretaker Chasti, who once worked in a local restaurant. Guests enjoy expansive views of the ocean, as well as a private beach. The residence is ideal for two to three families.