09
Mar
11

My New Happy Place

February in Ottawa is tough. Annually, it is when I feel I’ve hit a wall, and I begin counting the days til springtime. The winter rut was broken up this year by a week in paradise, and I’m not sure if it’s better or worse that way (because other places with better climates begin to pull at me). I spent a week in the Caribbean in the middle of February with the illustrious @ryananderson. Anguilla, a small island in the British West Indies, is now (and probably forever) unequivocally my happy place. Particularly, bobbing in the waves on Meads Bay in Anguilla. For context, this is Meads Bay:

Pictured is the view from the restaurant on Meads Bay, Straw Hat, which is attached to the beautiful Frangipani resort, as well as a view from the beach. The reason no waves are visible is that the powdery sand slopes considerably to meet the ocean. The waves are large, and crest with force, but once you swim past where they crest you can just move with the flow of the ocean. It is beyond relaxing, and as we’re still getting snowstorms on occasion, I find myself mentally traveling there at least once a day.

There were other memorable aspects to the trip beyond the beautiful beach at Meads Bay. Several other beaches figure into the beauty of the island. There are a total of 33 beaches on Anguilla, which is only 16 miles by 3 miles at its widest point. I think we saw about 11 or 12 of them, mainly because of repeat trips to Meads Bay and Shoal Bay. Exploring the island, we found that just about everywhere we went we had a memorably delicious meal. I’ve got a few different posts planned just about the food, primarily about the Cuisinart resort, which has its own hydroponic farm (with some of the most candy-like cherry tomatoes I’ve ever tasted). It’s quite an easy thing to eat local (and eat well!) when the fish you eat can arrive fresh to the restaurant within 20 minutes.

I’ve just decided to get the ball rolling with this post, as there are so many things I want to write about.

The beginning of the trip was very…eventful. We caught an early flight from Ottawa to Newark, with only an hour to make our flight to the French and Dutch Island of St. Maarten to stay for 2 nights. Unfotunately, someone on our Ottawa flight suffered a medical emergency, and our plane was delayed by 2 and a half hours, so we missed our flight to St. Maarten. We made the best of it, as we were comped a night in a Ramada near the airport, and it was easy to get to New York using the Aiport Shuttle and Train. (Flights from St. Maarten leave only once a day, and we were unable to be re-routed through another city.) We had a delicious Italian meal at Il Corso near Times Square, and sought out the Greenwich Village bar DaddyO’s. We’d seen it on The Best Thing I Ever Ate for their Herbaceous Mojito – a delicious concoction of cilantro, jalapeño peppers, limes, and pineapple. It was well worth not making it to St. Maarten just to try that delicious drink – so perfectly balanced! We’re now trying to replicate it at home, since trips to New York are few and far between (though now, I’m sure we’ll visit DaddyO’s on every trip).

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We made it safely and easily to St. Maarten the following day. We stayed at the Radisson resort, which greeted us with a delicious rum punch upon our arrival. It was a remote resort and it would have been difficult to explore the island with the limited time we had, so it was just as well that our trip got broken up. It is so easy to completely relax in the Caribbean climate, and the Radisson made it so easy. The following day we relaxed, swam a bit and made our way to the ferry terminal, in order to boat across to Anguilla. 

One of the beautiful things about Anguilla is that it has no cruise ship port or international airport, so it must be arrived at either by ferry (about 30 minutes from St. Martin’s French side) or by chartered plane. We loaded our luggage onto the ferry and took our trip across. Rocking in the waves, we couldn’t see much of Anguilla until we were pretty much there. We got out, went through customs, grabbed a taxi and went to the aptly named Paradise Cove, pictured below. (Note for Canadians: our debit cards do not work in Anguillian ATMs or banks, so it’s a good idea to have cash. US dollars are accepted pretty much everywhere). We were warmly welcomed by the owner, Mrs. Sherrill Hughes, who made our stay an absolute delight. She and her wonderful staff arranged everything we could want – car rentals, restaurant reservations, boat trips, a cooking class – we were in such good hands, our trip was exactly what we wanted it to be.

Once there, our week was filled with amazing food, boat trips, exploring the island, and relaxing on beaches. It’s a trip I would wholeheartedly recommend to anyone. Anguilla has a well-deserved reputation as one of the friendliest places in the Caribbean, and no one will hesitate to make you feel welcome. It’s so inviting that we met one man who visited the island 14 years ago and immediately bought a house. Other tourists we ran into were returning for their 4th or 5th time. It’s a place that gets into your soul, and I can’t wait for my next visit. In the meantime, I’m happy to look through my copious photos from the trip and relive those memories.

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1 Response to “My New Happy Place”



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