There are places you visit that just change your life. For some people, it's an exotic far-away place, like a magnificent city in Europe. For others, it can be your neighbor's house.
For me, it was this place. La Finca.
I'm a Puerto Rican native, but I was living in New York at the time. 15 years ago, the film commission had granted me the task of documenting my whole home island through photography, to serve as a bank of images for film location managers in LA and other parts of the world.
By the end of my 3-month tour, I landed at La Finca. I recognized its magic and special energy immediately. A love affair started. When anyone asked me what my favorite place in the world from all my travels was, I would say without hesitation:
"La Finca in Vieques."
Eventually I befriended the owner at the time, Corky Parker, and my visits became more frequent. Over the course of several years, I collaborated with her in resourcing furniture, hosting special activities, catering and helping Corky with whatever she needed. From the beautiful setup of the communal main house, to the funky decor and the love Corky had put into the space -- it all inspired me to later create the Dreamcatcher Hotel in Ocean Park, San Juan, which I've been running for 8 years now.
Corky became my mentor and my guide. Her place healed and inspired me in ways I can't fully explain. At the beginning of this past summer, I went to help Corky rebuild La Finca due to the devastation of Hurricane Maria. I'm still in awe at how it all happened, but I came home with the keys to La Finca in my hands.
We have been working hard on creating what it is now Finca Victoria. The name Victoria encapsulates the satisfying victory of overcoming what has often been a challenging, uphill battle to revive this place that has meant so much to so many. Victoria is also the name of one of my dear friends, Vicky Cooley.
Each room in the house has been designed, decorated and put together in homage to a special person in my life. A lot of what I've accomplished is due to the support and love of some very special people.
Corky is among these special souls. Our friendship has played such a big role in my life. She planted those original seeds for what is it is now the Dreamcatcher, The Garden Suites and Finca Victoria... all special intimated places where travelers and friends come together.
Corky will always be a part of this magical place. Her heart and energy is here, and I trust she will come as often as possible to enjoy what she worked on so hard for 20 years.
I can't wait to show you how beautifully Finca Victoria has flowered.
I'm looking forward to sharing my favorite place in the world with you.