Trip report April 8-15....not in order....
Another week at Sea View apartments on Sandy Ground for the great rate of about $90 US/night. Best location in our opinion to stay for the value and walking proximity to restaurants, beach bars, activities, and nightlife. We rented a Wrangler from SummerSet for the week to go from beach to beach.
It was nice to see Dad's bringing another facet of service to Sandy Ground in the six months since we've been back. Ribs, chicken, and whole snapper were as good as we've had at just about everywhere else in Anguilla. Tables and chairs in the sand is always a plus. Bring your own mint if you want a mojito though ;) Dolce Vita did not fail to uphold the "best lasagna on earth" prize in my book for 3 years in a row. Seafood risotto also dynamite.
CuisinArt beach bar was very kind to us....I was allowed to rent a Hobie Cat regardless of not being a resort guest...IMO Rendezvous Bay has the best wind for sailing. The ladies bartending beachside allowed me to pirate their radio via Bluetooth from my phone to play my "island playlist" which everyone liked. They had 6 fresh coconuts for the "frosty coconut" signature drink...we didn't let them go to waste. Met the new exec chef Jasper who is from NY and enjoyed his grilled snapper ...'Stopped in to say hello to Bankie at the Dune where he was limin' and being his usual irie self ;)
Met a nice woman from Fire Island who shared her Cuban sandwich from Gerauds with us and told us about Limin' Boutique on the west end. Colleen loved the sand-filled pendants and iPhone cover with Anguilla beach images imprinted on them at the boutique. Gerauds "nicoise wrap" is an amazing wrap sandwich that we tried and went back again for another day.
It was a lucky morning that we got to Le Bon Pain (late...10:30 am) hoping to find two last pieces of quiche which we WERE lucky enough to get as if reserved for us. Ham and cheese it was and a chocolate walnut croissant.
SBE never fails to deliver...warm greetings by Ray and a packed cooler of drinks and grilled chicken from "Valley the chicken man" above Sandy Ground. Good to see progress being made at the old Ku hotel where I stayed a few times in the past. There was a massage table and masseuse in between Madeariman and Mack and Hanks as well as a Bijoux Boutique in the sand. Everyone was doing brisk business. I even saw a young woman bringing menus to those who asked for them from Uncle Ernie's for food served to you at one of Rays chair/umbrellas....great to see this heightened level of service even if temporary. I can deal with $5 parking, I don't know why the lot you usually park in was off limits. Trouble in paradise?
Gwen's kept our hammock use limited as we got there late in the day but her rum punch is still my favorite and there's always a zen-like feel driving the car through those sea grape trees to get there.
We scored an umbrella at Nat's this trip which allowed us to stay longer. Snorkeling still my favorite at junks hole. There were two local fisherman hunting welks while we were there....note for next time to follow their example and catch dinner ourselves if possible...welk soup from the corn soup lady is yummy.
Captains Bay always reminds us that life is a gift. The sunset is amazing here like it is just about everywhere in Anguilla but very remote. Great place to escape to for more tranquility wrapped in blue and nobody around.
Anacaona was kind to allow us to use a few unoccupied beach chairs and umbrella and their strong wifi signal in return for purchase of a few cocktails from their "sand pit" bar. A short walk to Blanchards from there for gazpacho and rare tuna, and Viceroy was also kind to rent a Hobie cat to me as a non-guest however the wind at Meads that day was light.
Pumphouse saw us quite a few nights where it was nice catching up with some locals we know, dining, dancing, and imbibing. I have to say that ladies night last Tuesday was a bachelors dream come true....there was me and about 5 other dudes to the 40 or so women there dancing and having a great time. Thursday was the Musical Brothers...we've avoided in the past because of the elbow to elbow crowd but we lucked out this time with room to the bar and dance floor...did we have fun dancing and dancing!!
A highlight to the trip was Elvis' "MamaWanna" bush rum from St Croix. I won't dwell but it has medicinal properties to it that are unique. Someone said its liquid Viagara....they might be right ;)
Da Vida on Sunday was crowded but the service was good and Omari always a pleasure to hear. I have to say that there were a lot of beach lounge chairs with people's towels or a pair of flip flops on them as "reserved" however those people rarely returned if ever to these chairs and a lot of people had to go without. I suspect that now that Ce Blue is open and occupied that beach chairs will be harder to come by. After waiting an hour for people to return to a chair reserved with a flip-flop...the waiter told us to take it which we did and oddly nobody ever returned to claim they're shoes. We shared a lobster and stayed until 4:30.
On da rocks was pretty quiet and we both ate 10 crayfish together ...their coleslaw is made with coconut and it's some if the best we've had. Colleen bought me another shirt since the first one was stained in a carpentry project last fall. Glad to see the script on the back is still "the drinking will continue until the economy improves".
Kens pork was not "finish"...we grabbed two orders and bounced down the road with sticky fingers and saucy lips. I wish I could make it at home but I'm not even going to try.
The seven days went by quick...viceroy for tapas, Little Bay, and the sunshine shack were on the list but just not enough time to get there. We stayed in St Martin for two days prior to ferrying over to AXA and had a nice time there and would probably do it again as a fun contrast to Anguilla. Lots of good food options on the French side. Anguilla seemed as if it's made more progress in growth in the last six months than it has in our previous bi-annual visits. We loved pointing out all the subtle differences and look forward to returning as always in November.
As I write we are in Newark airport waiting for our connect to Albany. Our town up north is in a blizzard right now and I'm still in shorts with a suntan and bug bites on my legs. When is Scotty going to be able to just beam us up and down to expedite the process of security checkpoints, customs, and formality. The customs cops here in New Jersey rifled through my carry-on and commented on all the sand scattered throughout it like it was cocaine. Welcome back to New York. TSA is about as warm and friendly as a 13 day old ham salad sandwich found in the bottom of your crisper drawer. Anguilla is well worth it.