An October 2003 trip
to St. Barthelemy by kevchef
Quote: For our 10th anniversary, we wanted something memorable and new. We found it in St. Bart's. The people were great, the accommodations were stylish and fresh, the food was incredible, and the beaches were to die for.
We were to stay at the Eden Rock but because they were scheduling some work on their roof during the time we were to stay, we were told our room wouldn't be available. Their loss was our reward, as we chose a villa up in the hills above St. Jean instead.
Some friends of ours had stayed in the Villa Soleil for their honeymoon a few months back and had heard about our troubles at the Eden Rock, so they recommended we stay right where they had been. They were adamant that we would love it and so we took their advice and reserved the villa for a week through St. Barts Properties. We saved about 1500 euros and gained a private pool, a beautiful little villa, privacy, and a wonderful little setting that no hotel could ever begin to match.
We had spent months reading all of the recommendations on what to do while in St. Barts and our list of must see's and do's grew and grew. Some things we got to and some we didn't but we enjoyed everyday basking in the sun and absorbing the local Caribbean French spirit and culture.
It took us a while to finally get there (figuratively speaking that is, it was only a few hours from Virginia by plane) but as we began our decent towards the airport in that little puddle jumper, our worries faded and we quietly blended into the life that is St. Barts. From the second we arrived, everyone was most helpful and full of smiles. Even after we discovered that my wife's bag didn't arrive on our flight, the airport staff convinced us not to worry and that her bag would arrive on the first flight out from St. Maarten the next morning. Since we both do a bit a traveling, we had already prepared by packing everything we might need for that evening and next day. Jill had brought a lovely sundress for that evening and a sexy swimsuit for the next day, what more does a 36-years-young woman really need? We picked up a Samurai Suzuki 4x4 from Gumps and headed through St. Jean and up to our Villa.
My wife and I have been lucky enough to have done a bit of traveling through the BVI's, and St. Barts seemed to strike a note with us. We had heard that you needed to be a tycoon to afford it, but we found that you could spend as much or as little as you wanted and have a great time. This was our 10th anniversary and we really couldn't have picked a better spot. I finished four novels and the complete works of John Keats (something I'd wanted to do for some time). We had purchased backpack chairs and so we were able to carry everything we needed for a day at the beach and still have our hands free. We visited every beach on the island at least once. While snorkeling, sun bathing, and relaxing, I remembered what is truly important in my life and why I decided to marry this wonderful lady ten years ago.
We now have two small boys (2 and 4) to help us make our lives complete and we can't wait to return to St. Barts with them on our next visit. My children will love the beaches as much as we did and now we can take the time to find our next villa on the island with a pool and room for a few more. Who knows, I may even bring my mother-in-law. One thing for certain is we will definitely be back. Many thanks to the locals for making us feel welcomed in these uncertain times. We truly are grateful and will remember your generosity.
I leave you all with these words:
As we each go on our search for what life means to each of us, please remember this.
"Probaremos muchas fruta en nuestra vida. Algunas fruta ser·n amargas y algunos ser·n dulces. Algunos nos obtendr·n bebido, y algunos nos enfermar, pero ellos todo nos alimentar·. Nosotros no siempre podemos ser capaz de escoger las fruta que comemos, pero podemos procurar escoger con quien compartimos estas fruta."
"Si sus fruta son amargas, sus amigos dar·n usted rega. Si sus fruta lo obtienen bebido, entonces usted reÌr· entre amigos. Si la fruta lo obtiene enfermo, sus amigos le llevar·n hogar. Si su fruta es dulce entonces usted recordar· que usted estaba con amigos cuando usted aprendiÛ el significar de la vida."
"We will sample many fruits in our lifetime. Some fruits will be bitter and some will be sweet. Some will get us drunk, and some will sicken us, but they will all nourish us. We may not always be able to choose the fruits we eat, but we can attempt to choose with whom we share these fruits."
"If your fruits are bitter, your friends will give you water. If your fruits get you drunk, then you will laugh among friends. If the fruit gets you sick, your friends will carry you home. If your fruit is sweet then you will remember you were with friends when you learned the meaning of life."
Kevin & Jill Allen
1. The tranquility and seclusion of Gouveneur's white sand beach; without a doubt one of the most beautiful beaches I've ever seen anywhere in the Caribbean.
2. Colombier, for the sense of Alexandre Dumas and the "Count of Monte Cristo" and of course more turtles than many will see in a lifetime. Hint - swim out towards the old blue freighter that's been moored there for a few years now.
3. The Run along Flamand's Beach to Colombier and then the trail up and over the steep trail back to Flamands. My wife runs half-marathon trail runs and she and I did the run in 45 minutes. I was dead...anyone that could do it quicker is either an Olympian or is hitching a ride back down. Wow! Great workout!
4. The Boulangerie in St. Jean. Every morning at 6:00 when the roosters would start to wake ( I loved the sound of the roosters talking to one another from across the valley) we'd wake, get into our Samurai and drive to pick up almond and chocolate croissants, two diet cokes, and two French baguettes for the day.
5. The Match for wine, cheese, bottled water, prosciutto and a fresh melon daily. The true essentials
6. Wine and Mohito's at the Tapas Bar in the Eden Rock with appetizers. Wow!
Views that can't be beat, service that is discreet yet attentive (not easy to pull off), and food that makes your mouth water just thinking about it.
7. Andy's Hideaway for nice plate of pasta and wonderfully quirky service.
Both my wife and I loved it. Cheap and Cheerful.
8. Maya's Togo for take out lunches and late night nibbles. They use fresh herbs in ways I hadn't even thought of. They recognized us immediately as we walked in each day and greeted us as if we were their best customers and that week we did our best to live up to the honor. Wonderful little place.
9. La Gloriette for a romantic night out without breaking the bank. Great value and great service. We seemed to see the staff all over the island as our week progressed and they always said hello and asked how our week was going. From the smiles on our faces, it was easy to see we were loving it.
10. Le Select for the "CB in paradise", fries and a Red Stripe. I couldn't avoid at least trying it out and we liked it so much, we went back another night. It was packed both nights with locals. Complete hole in the wall that most would avoid if they didn't know better. We'll be back again. (Jimmy Buffet himself was at the bar that evening. He was in town attending a funeral of friend who had tragically died in a plane wreck.)
11. The Baz Bar in Gustavia for drinks and people watching. Great ambiance, good drinks, and the bird's eye view to see the who's who pass us by. We had pina coladas and rum punches to help cool us off from the heat of day.
12. The little outside restaurant just off Shell Beach, I'm not sure what the name was but it is a must visit for us next time We found it halfway though our week and loved it. The Sandwiches are great and you've got to try their homemade tea. We loved sitting at a table and watching the beautiful locals and their kids play in the surf. The kids were on vacation from school that day and we were happy to see them soak up the sun with their families. The Bartender offered me a complementary rum shot as we paid the bill and he joined me in a toast to Life. This sort of service seemed to be typical everywhere we went.
13. Being pleasantly surprised by my wife going topless and in a thong each day on the beach. I would have never guessed she'd do it but she looked great and it didn't hurt our love life each afternoon as we sought shelter from the noonday sun. I think it was hotter in our villa than on any beach. Icing on the cake.
Newport News, Virginia