After the chaos of more touristed islands like Santorini, Scala Apartments, and the island of Naxos in general, fulfilled our fantasy of a Greek vacation! Evangelia and Nikos have set up a lovely oasis that has the feel of a cousin's sprawling country compound. Little kids chase kittens through the vineyards while the grown ups drink wine on the terrace, and no one seems to be in a hurry. My boyfriend and I met up with another couple and we rented two adjacent rooms for three nights; we wished we could have stayed longer. Breakfasts were wonderful--homemade apricot jam made from a tree on the property, creamy yogurt, coffee, little almond cookies baked by their daughter, etc. We spent plenty of time at the beach--Alyko cove was quiet, wild, gorgeous--but we also had a lot of fun exploring the island in our rental car. A rental car is a must if you want to enjoy everything the island has to offer--including climbing Mt. Zas, the highest peak in the Cyclades. The little mountain towns in the foothills are also magical, and the portera in Naxos Town is a very special place to be at sunset (bring your swimsuit to bathe in the harbor and see the sky turn pink behind the ancient gate).
A real Naxos highlight was the food--since it's an agricultural island, all of the vegetables, fruit, meat, and cheese are local and crazy flavorful. We couldn't find a mediocre meal, no matter where we went, but Axiotisa, a restaurant visible from the central yard in Scala Apartments, was the highlight of our trip in Greece and Turkey. The food lovingly prepared by Evangelia in the main kitchen was also very, very delicious--don't miss it. Evangelia and Nikos even make their own wine on the property, and they were generous with this home brew and conversation. Overall, they were fabulous hosts in the grand tradition of warm Greek hospitality, and my girlfriend Carina and I will be back the next summer we can spare!