Country Living...Island Dreaming

December 29, 2010

An Anguilla Escape

Some of my favorite beaches in the world are on the wonderful island of Anguilla which is a long narrow island just 9 miles north of St. Martin (about a 20 minute ferry ride or even quicker plane ride if you are not afraid of puddle jumpers like I am!)  My first experience there was on a snorkeling trip from St. Martin back in 1994. 
On that trip, we were taken to an amazing spot on the Anguilla coast called Little Bay.

We snorkeled around the reef and to this day, we still say it was the best snorkeling experience of our lives.  I have never seen so many fish.  We would swim through schools and schools of them.  It felt like a dream.

With wet hair and bathing suits, we had lunch at this charming little shack of a restaurant in Crocus Bay called Roy's Place.  (Roy's Place is now called Roy's Bayside Grill and has moved to a section of Anguilla called Sandy Ground).

From there we headed over to a tiny, tiny little island called Sandy Island.  It doesn't even look real does it?

It had some great reefs.

Can you believe how tiny it is?

The only thing on this island were a bunch of palm trees and a bar!

From that snorkeling trip, we vowed that someday we would come back to Anguilla for a vacation. 

We did return in March of 2001.  We stayed at a resort on Meads Bay called the Frangipani Beach resort that was not well known and surprisingly inexpensive at the time...

Such a charming place and we really lucked out with our room!

See those two arches right there?  That was the entrance to our beachfront suite only steps from the water!

Here is a view from the water.

Here is the living area.

You can see the water thru this window.

And here was our bedroom.  Such an amazing view.

I want to be back there right now!

Love those rustic tile floors.
Here was the terrace restaurant where we had breakfast everyday.  Since then, a restaurant called Straw Hat from the island has moved to this spot at the Frangipani.

We went to lunch one day at a restaurant called Old House.  Pretty view of St. Martin, huh?

We cracked up over this place - the 7-2-11!  My husband is a big Diet Coke drinker and we tried two other places before finally finding his precious Diet Coke here. 

There had been a bad hurricane since our amazing snorkeling trip back in 1994.  This picture is what was left of Sandy Island!

But they still managed to have a shell of a bar!

Here is the boat that took us out this time - The Chocolat.  Rollins was our captain and his wife, who is a chef, provided our meal.
Here is Johnno's Beach Stop.  We stopped here for a rum punch and a Red Stripe Beer when we first arrived on the island.  I had been trying to call a restaurant called Mango's for reservations that night but could not reach them.  We started chatting with two men at Johnno's and one of them happened to be David, the owner of Mango's.  So, he set us right up with an 8:30 reservation.  We ended up loving the place.  They had a guy playing the guitar and taking requests.  We stayed pretty late, requesting songs and singing along.  Great time!  It actually seemed like one of those places where a famous person might just get up and sing a few songs.  I guess the Jersey in me always thinks that will happen since Bruce Springsteen has been known to do that at the Jersey Shore...(The Stone Pony).

I loved the way everyone was so laid back on the island.  One day there was a bike race and I swear the entire island just stopped to watch it.

One day we stopped for lunch at Ship's Galley in Sandy Ground and the waiter brought us our food and said, "Sorry it took so long...the chef went out to run some errands so I cooked it myself".  We just cracked up!  The food was ok but definitely worth the laugh!

We also enjoyed a restaurant called Blanchard's just a few steps away from our hotel.  It was excellent food, and decorated so beautifully.  I wish I took some pictures!  The owners actually wrote a book about packing up and moving to the island to open a restaurant...

I brought the book with me to the restaurant, hoping I would get them to sign it.  Unfortunately, they were not there.  When we arrived back at the hotel, a taxi driver walked past me and saw I was carrying the book.  He said he was mentioned in the book - he ended up being "Teddy the Taxi Driver" from the book who always ate the Caesar salads at the bar at Blanchard's.  So HE ended up signing my book...very funny!

We also ate at Oliver's , Straw Hat, Mango's (as mentioned above) and my favorite - Pimm's at Cap Juluca.  Pimm's was excellent from the service to the atmosphere and the food was perfect. 

A "must do" lunch on our list - the famous Scilly Cay - pronounced "Silly Key".  It is a tiny island restaurant just off the coast of Anguilla which serves the most amazing lobster and crayfish...and very strong rum punches.  It's so funny, to get there, you wave and a boat comes across to pick you up!

Here I am enjoying one of the rum punches.  I look like I am having trouble standing!

I miss you Frangipani!  If you want to see what the hotel looks like these days, click here - 
The website is really beautiful and gives you a real feel for the resort...better than I was able to do with my 35mm film camera from back in the day!
On their site, click on Accomodations, then Suites and you will see how the exact room we stayed in has changed!  The kitchen has been redone, curtains taken down and the walls have been painted blue.  I think I prefer the white walls when we stayed there.  I like the way it looks with the dark woods.  I would have copied the pictures and brought them over to my blog for you but I don't really know how PLUS I am so terrified of any kind of copywrite infringement that I am overly cautious with that sort of thing!

Have you had any Anguilla experiences?  If so, did you love it as much as I did?

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December 25, 2010

A Late House Tour

Since I never got around to posting my Christmas-Decorated House Tour, here is my house before Christmas.  Believe me, you wouldn't want to see the messy post-Christmas tour now!


The table in the foyer.

Here is the only decorated part of my living room.

My dining room staged for my Caribbean Christmas Tablescape.

Here's my kitchen when it was decorated for my Trees and Topiaries Table Setting.

And here are some Christmas cards hanging in my doorways...
I know it's not a very creative (or neat) way to display them,
but hey, this is what I do.

Some gingerbread houses my kids decorated.  
Can you guess which one was made by the 7 year old and the 4 1/2 year old?

A wreath in the kitchen window.

And onto the family room.

I was out of firewood and needed to fill the red container
so I took this wreath and these amaryllis flowers...

And made a quick Christmas arrangement.

We got this ornament at Disney last month.  
Yes, we went there instead of the Caribbean this year...I am still crying... 
No actually it was really a lot of fun!

The mantel started out like this..

Then I thought I wanted more red so I changed a few candles.

Normally, I switch out the artwork
for a red poinsettia wreath over the mantel, 
but this year I was too lazy.  Oh well...

I know my Christmas decor isn't very Caribbean inspired...sometimes I think my blog should be called Calypso AND the Country instead of Calypso IN the Country...oh well.  (Kind of like how I used to get confused between the title of the show, Sex and the City vs. Sex in the City...)

Thank you to everyone who has read my blog.  I look forward to sharing my ideas and stories with you in 2011.
Best wishes for a happy and healthy holiday season to you all!

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