It was so great to return to our home away from home after skipping last year's trip. This was our 13th trip to Anguilla in 17 years of marriage. We always try to go the week of my birthday and our anniversary, only missing a couple of years for the birth of our two daughters and a couple of others for scheduling conflicts. It remains our adult getaway where we can spend a week as a married couple as we did on our honeymoon and first anniversary, before we became parents as well.
Travel - Took AA from Dallas to Charlotte on Friday night. Then AA to SXM on a 7:30am flight Saturday morning. No delays and an uneventful trip. Arrived and had a couple of drinks at the bar by the Ferry Terminal before boarding Calypso for the short trip over. Hopped in our Rental car from Ronnie Bryan at the Ferry Terminal and we were checking in by 1pm. Note: Ronnie Bryan now offers Docusign, so all paperwork was complete before we arrived on the island. We picked up the car at the Ferry Terminal and left it at the airport on departure. Seamless process. Our return flight was on Seaborne from AXA to SJU and then on AA to DFW. Bags checked all the way through and both flights were on time.
Lodging - Once again we returned to Cuisinart. They again put us in the same room that they always do. It is our favorite and they have accommodated our request every year. It's like having our own place there, without the strings attached. Francisco and Jose at the beach bar are fantastic as was all of the other staff. We did head over to the Reef one morning. My wife wanted to do the Aqua Cycling class. She was the only one willing to work that hard on her vacation, I guess. She basically received a private training session for $35. Staff took us on a tour of the rooms. They are really nice with HUGE closets and big balconies. But it's not enough to move us from our room at Cuisinart.
Day 1 - After checking in, we went for a quick swim and then drinks at the beach bar. I walked down the beach to say hello to Garvey. The Sunshine Shack has really grown. Knowing him since his days as the bartender at Cuisinart, I was really proud of what he has accomplished so far. We headed to Pumphouse for a burger. Fantastic as always. We then hopped over to see Elvis. We had one or two drinks there and then we were so wiped out from the travel, we hit the bed by 9pm.
Day 2 - Woke up refreshed and ready to hit the beach. We stayed on Rendezvous Bay for the day. Took our morning (if 11am is still morning) walk down Rendezvous. Ran into Garvey on the way back. He knew we were stopping in for lunch later so asked us what we wanted to order and he would put it in for us. We ordered the Lobster and a Chicken and Shrimp Kabob Special. Came back at 1:30 for lunch and he had it ready to go. The staff he has working for him are incredible. We had planned on eating lunch and returning to our lounge chairs, but then Mystic Vybz started playing and we never left. They gave my wife a nice small bottle of champagne when we finally departed as a gift for Mother's Day. We had dinner at Picante (excellent as always). The pulled pork is a must! Finished the evening with a drink at Elvis'.
Day 3 - Spent another day on Rendezvous. It was a little windy this day. But just lounged on the beach. Had lunch at Cuisinart. Pizza and a Salad. Good, but expensive. Went to Sunset Lounge at the Four Seasons for a Sushi Dinner. Excellent as always. Back to Elvis' for a few drinks to end the night.
Day 4 - Spent the morning at the Reef. Good breakfast them wife did Aqua Cycling and I went and used their gym. Took a little morning swim in their pool before heading to Gwen's to spend the day on Shoal Bay. Gwen's are still my favorite ribs on the Island. Her lounge chair setup was fantastic and the seas were really calm that day. As we left that afternoon, we went on a drive to the far west end of the island to see the Arch. We had never seen it before. It was a beautiful spot and we were the only people around. Had dinner at Trattoria. I go there for the Nonna Maria and it did not disappoint. Wife had the lobster ravioli which she also enjoyed. After all that pasta, we drug our tired bodies back to the room to turn in early.
Day 5 - Spent the morning on Rendezvous and then headed to Scilly Cay. Disappointed to hear that Eudoxie has not been doing so well. Not the same without him there. But his sons are working hard and the food quality is still top notch. Stuffed, we headed back to Cusinart and hung out at the beach bar for a while. Went for a light dinner at Pumphouse with their awesome nachos and a caesar salad. While eating, since we were the only one's there, the bartender came over and sat with us and we started chatting. I started talking about the days when it was just Pumphouse and Johnno's for nightlife in Sandy Ground. I started telling her about this sweet girl who bartended at Pumphouse when we were on on Honeymoon who's name was Donna. I told her then Donna left several years later and we hadn't seen her since. She then said, "let me introduce myself. my name is Donna". It was a great moment. She said she knew that she remembered us from somewhere and that's why she came over. We spent the next few hours chatting about old times.
Day 6 - Headed to Straw Hat for breakfast with plans to spend the day on Mead's Bay. After breakfast, which was great, the waiter mentioned they had chairs and umbrellas complimentary to guests who ate at the restaurant. So we plopped ourselves down. Walked the beach several times and did a lot of swimming. Had lunch at Blanchard's Beach Shack. Street tacos are great and has to be the only place where you can get Pabst Blue Ribbon in Anguilla. Went to Roy's to eat. Less than desirable experience. You can read my review on Roy's separately. From there we headed to have a drink at Pumphouse and Elvis' to celebrate my birthday. It was a good way to end the evening.
Day 7 - Stayed on Rendezvous for the day. Great Day! Nice breeze and calm water. Went back to see Garvey for lunch. Wife had his famous broiled snapper and I had the chicken. Once again, we planned on a short time here, but stayed until almost 5pm. Got some quality time to catch up with Garvey and also some other guests we met while there. Went back to the Pumphouse for dinner that night. I wanted another shot at that burger. Wife had the nachos this time. Both were fantastic again. Finished up the evening at Elvis'.
Day 8 - Last full day and we soaked it all up on Rendezvous. The wind really died down and there wasn't a cloud in the sky. So the morning was HOT! We went back to Sunshine Shack for lunch. Wife had the lobster and I had the chicken and rib combo. Cloud cover rolled in just after lunch which made for nice napping weather on the beach. We celebrated our anniversary with our first trip to Da'Vida. I cannot recommend this place more. My only complaint is that there was too much food. My wife had the Chinese Spiced Chicken and I had the Chicken Pad Thai. Both were excellent. We went by Pumphouse and Elvis' to say good bye to our friends. Headed back to the hotel to pack our bags.
The week went by way too fast!!!! Until next year!