Back and Trying to Catch Up

Okay, so it's been a while since the last post.  "Real life" stole time away from my ability to keep the site up to date.  

We have since traveled back to Anguilla, Nevis and are headed to Bequia soon.  Hurricanes Irma and Maria have devastated much of the Caribbean, but the strength and perseverance of the people there have made it possible for rental homes, hotels and restaurants to reopen slowly but surely.  I'll post information and direct links to sites that will have more detailed information on the recovery efforts.  

The best thing you can do to help is to make a trip down there!    

Mango Art Studio

We had the pleasure of meeting the delightful and knowledgeable Julie Savage Lea at her very own Mango Art Studio.  The studio is located along the main road, up above The Fig Tree and Gingerbread.  You can't miss the yellow wall.  It's located in a home that Julie rented for years and used as her studio.  You can make an appointment to stop in, or check for the "OPEN" sign on the gate when passing by.  

Julie was so sweet and friendly, and our children loved hearing her tell stories about Bequia from back in the late 70's when she first happened upon the island.  She told us about the house and its architecture, how the road used to be dirt when she first started painting there, and we learned a little more about the culture and lifestyle of the island.  Of course, the art on display and for sale is beautiful, but we thought Julie herself was the highlight of our visit to the studio!  

Here are some links to further information about Julie and Mango Art Studio:  

http://www.juliesavagelea.com/2009/02/welcome-to-my-paradise.html

http://www.begos.com/bequiart/

http://www.mango-art-studio-bequia.com

Sunshine's, Nevis

Sunshine's on Pinney's Beach in Nevis is kind of a staple -- you gotta go.  How can you go all the way to Nevis and not enjoy one of Sunshine's famous Killer Bees?  

Although it is set back from the beach (like all restaurants on Pinney's Beach), it's just a short walk from the water (see photo below that will give perspective).  We prefer to go somewhere where the kiddos can play on the beach and in the water right in front of us while we're ordering and waiting for our food, but Sunshine's makes up for it by having a trampoline and swing set to keep the young ones entertained.  And it's all about keeping the kids happy, isn't it?  ;-)  

The food at Sunshine's is basic, but good, fresh and decently priced.  During the week we visited Nevis, we lunched at Sunshine's twice.  The kids loved the hot dogs and burgers, and the adults enjoyed fish sandwiches and lobster salad.  

Pizza in the Virgin Islands!

The crew of our most recent (albeit nearly 4 years ago) catamaran charter have embarked on a new journey and they are finding great success!  Sasha and Tara Bouis recently opened Pizza Pi, a floating pizzeria, in the US Virgin Islands.  We have not had a chance to visit and sample the pizza yet, but if Tara's cooking aboard Soterion was any indication, the pizzas she is whipping up are sure to be THE BEST!!  

We look forward to crossing paths with Sasha and Tara in person someday, but for now, please visit them on my behalf, and be sure to tell them that The Beach Path sent you!  

If You're in the Philadelphia Area...

...you MUST try the food at The Jerk Pit!  Located in the brand new Rosemont Farmer's Market, its delicious, authentic Jamaican yumminess is something you just can't pass up.  They will readily offer samples with a smile, so at least give it a try.  My son thought the very best thing about it was that they sell Ting (which we cannot get anywhere else around here).  He took one sip, closed his eyes, sighed and was taken back to a beautiful Caribbean beach...  Ahhhhh...  

The Jerk Pit, Rosemont, PA

Lunch at Golden Rock Inn, Nevis

Golden Rock was the perfect place for us to relax after our hike up Mount Nevis.  We had certainly worked up a hunger and thirst!  

The property is absolutely gorgeous and it is worth a poke around to explore the gardens and grounds before you leave.  There are numerous spots to have a seat and enjoy the beauty and serenity around you, so make sure to take the time to wander the grounds while you're there.  The designers of the property have preserved and used what they can of the original structures and ruins, resulting in a unique and special place.  And the food was delicious, to boot.  


Mount Nevis Hike

Something you must do while visiting Nevis is take a hike -- up Mount Nevis, that is!  We are not a family of avid hikers, so I can assure you that it is not a difficult or extremely strenuous hike.  We did get a little winded, but it's nothing that someone in decent shape and health can't handle.  

We drove to the Golden Rock Inn and used that as our starting point.  They have a wide variety of walking sticks to borrow and they supplied a map to help guide us on our way.  The walk started by taking us through a rural neighborhood of sorts.  Seeing that gave us some real perspective on local life and culture -- very different from what you see in other areas around the island.   

We were expecting mosquitos galore, but there really weren't many.  It was a relief because it would've been a miserable hike if we had had to deal with swatting at them the entire time.  

We did not see any monkeys on our hike, but we saw evidence of them.  And of other animals.  (Can you say "scat"?)  The path was easy follow, and having the map helped us decide when it was the best time to stop and head back.  Figure on at least an hour each way, probably longer.  We went as far as a spot where we had a nice view, then decided it was time to head back for our well-earned lunch and drinks back at Golden Rock.  


Is Chikungunya Having an Effect on Caribbean Travel?

Over the past few months, the virus called chikungunya has continued to make its way throughout the Caribbean, including parts of Central America.  It is carried by the Tiger Mosquito and causes fever and severe joint pain.  Other symptoms include muscle pain, headache, nausea, fatigue and rash.  The joint pain can last for a few days or a few weeks. In rare cases, it may go on for months.  

Currently, there is no vaccine or cure for chikungunya.  As long ago as 2010, NIH tested an experimental chikungunya vaccine with very hopeful results.  Researchers continue to work on the vaccine, but it is unknown as to when it could become available to the public.  

I am currently conducting research for our annual spring break trip and am wondering if we should be concerned.  Will a good dose of DEET keep us chik-v free?  How prevalent is it, really?  

A contact in Anguilla told me that some of her friends have contracted it and it's not that bad.  And if you are vigilant about using mosquito repellant, you're fine.  But what I've read online makes it sound much more serious than that.  If anyone has any insight or experience, I would love to hear from you!  Please Contact Us!  

Chrishi Beach, Nevis

We visited Chrishi Beach twice during our Nevis week -- once during the day and once for dinner.  

The little tiki bar on the beach is really cute, serving up perfect, refreshing, island-y juices and cocktails.  (Note:  The beach is a little rocky/coral-y, so you'll have to go down towards the ferry dock to swim.)

The dinner and service were great -- we only wished we had eaten there earlier in the week so that we had time to dine there twice!  We had mahi mahi and burgers, plus dessert.  Everything was delicious.  

The vibe was a little "Euro" which made it funky and hip, a nice night out.  


Summer and Fall Specials at White Bay Beach Villas!

I have to be honest and say that we have not stayed at White Bay Beach Villas, but friends of ours have and loved it.  How can any place on Jost Van Dyke not be awesome, right?  

Anyway, they have just posted a special for 20% off 5 nights or more between now and November 15, 2014.  

Check it out!  White Bay Beach Villas, Jost Van Dyke, British Virgin Islands

Last Minute Special for Ti Kaye in St. Lucia!

If lower-than-normal temperatures and heavy rains have you looking for a quick getaway, Ti Kaye has a fantastic deal for last-minute travelers.   

Book between now and June 10 for travel through July 15 and receive a 30% discount and $100 resort credit when you stay a minimum of 5 nights.  Such a deal!  

While you're on their site, explore their other specials -- they have quite a few listed.  

Ti Kaye St. Lucia Specials

Yachtsman Grill, Nevis

We enjoyed two dinners here and spent two afternoons on the beach here.  Yachtsman Grill is right on the beach at Hamilton Beach Villas & Spa.  There is construction on the property as they build more villa units, but nothing interfered with our experience.  The property is lovely and in a great location, right on the beach.    

The staff is very warm and friendly.  (Our first night there, the bartender took a lobster out of the tank so our son could get an up-close view, which was fun.)  Our visit coincided with the NCAA Mens Basketball Tournament, and Yachtsman Grill had a fun contest going on in honor of March Madness.  Pay $1 to take a shot at the basketball hoop -- if you made it, you won a beer.  If not, you lost your dollar.  They're pretty serious about it, too!  I had to beg a little bit for them to let our 9-year old son take some shots just for fun.  

The menu includes fresh fish specials, pizza and pasta.  Everything we ordered was fantastic!  Here's one piece of advice -- don't skip The Coconut Lime Pie.  It is scrumptious!  

As far as going during the day, keep in mind that Yachtsman Grill has more of a restaurant feel to it than a beach bar feel.  But the beach is gorgeous, the chairs are right there to use, and the bar is always open.  We did end up hanging out here on two separate afternoons because we felt we had found a quiet spot that still had the food and drink amenities we like.  

Double Deuce Restaurant, Nevis

We weren't quite sure what to expect from Double Deuce.  We thought it was more of just a beach bar, although located a ways off the beach.  It is considered to be located on Pinneys Beach, but you cannot see the water line from the restaurant.  But while on island, we drove by, got a feel for the place, and read dining suggestions that were in our villa.  We decided to give it a shot and we were not disappointed!  We only wish we had gone earlier in the week we were there so that we would've had time to eat there more than once.  

We found it to be more of a restaurant, that just happened to have a vibe that makes one want to stay and hang out for a while.  The service was friendly and helpful and the food was delicious!  Other guests were friendly as well.  While I was perusing the menu on the chalkboard, one diner told me the burgers were not to be missed, same with the banana toffee pie.  The advice was spot on -- they were fantastic, along with the lobster cocktail and fresh mahi mahi.  

For daytime visits, there is a pool with deck and chairs.  At all hours, there is a trampoline, pool table and ping pong table.  Our kids loved being able to play and jump before and after eating, while we lingered at the table, guilt-free.  

Highly recommended!  

Important Notes:  

* The prices on the menu are in Eastern Caribbean dollars, so don't be scared off!  (Conversion rate is roughly 2.6 dollars EC to 1 dollar US.)  

*  Double Deuce only accepts cash or travelers checks -- no credit cards!  

Fishing in Nevis with Caribbean Catch

We are so glad that Caribbean Catch showed up in our searches for fishing charters before our trip to Nevis.  We had a fantastic time out on the water, as well as bumping into Hugh and Louisa a few times throughout the week.  We felt like we made new friends and we're thrilled to be able to promote their new charter business here on our site!  

Hugh and Louisa are a young couple who moved to Nevis just a couple of years ago.  This is the beginning of their first full season with the charter boat and we are sure they will succeed!  What is unique about Caribbean Catch is that they are flexible and accommodating.  We weren't sure if we wanted to fish the whole time or maybe jump out to swim and snorkel a bit.  With them, we were able to wing it.  We agreed that if the fish weren't biting, we'd do something else.  The fish weren't exactly jumping in the boat that day, but we ended up sticking it out, just moving to different spots and depths.  We ended up getting four fish, including one that got away and half of a spanish mackerel (we believe a hungry shark came along and grabbed a bit as we were reeling it in).  

Regardless of the amount of fish, it was a great time.  The boat is big, clean and comfortable.  The kids liked the view and ride from up on the fly bridge.  Louisa was ready with drinks and snacks for all.  Hugh and Louisa are good company -- we felt at ease and enjoyed getting to know them. 

Bequia Beach Hotel - New Website and Estate Villa!

The Bequia Beach Hotel has launched their new website and it's beautiful!  Check it out here:  Bequia Beach Hotel

 

When you are browsing the site, be sure to look at the information for the all new Estate Villa that is now available for rent on the hotel property.  It is absolutely gorgeous and perfect for families traveling together.  You get the privacy and comfort of your own villa, but the wonderful amenities of a resort -- pool, restaurant, bar, concierge, etc.  

When we visited last March, they were still working on completing the construction and finishes.  I can't wait until we have an opportunity to see it in person!  

Estate Villa at Bequia Beach Hotel