I've planned about a dozen ways to spend my summer vacation this year, each one more satisfying than the last. If all goes well, I'll have two weeks or just a smidgin more to play around with, which is ample time for two islands, and if my husband acquiesces, I might even be able to squeeze three islands into it. The only factor that remains unchanged in all of these glorious permutations is our time in Grenada. Ahhhh, Grenada. For one thing, it may well be our favorite island. For another, more prosaic reason, it makes economic sense (aren't you glad I didn't say cents?) since we have a free stay there. Two years ago a wonderful Grenada website sponsored a contest for people to write about their vacation. The writer of the winning trip report, voted on by forum members, would receive a free stay at this fabulous little villa. Since I had stayed at that same villa in 2006, I knew exactly how special it was, so I wrote my little heart out, bribed my husband and other forum members to vote for me, and the prize was mine!
Grenada is an amazing island and I'm constantly surprised why more Americans don't travel there. Probably because it actually takes some effort--it's much easier to get there from the UK and even Germany. Coming from the east coast I have a relatively easy travel day, getting there about 16 hours after leaving home; most Americans have to overnight somewhere along the way, usually Miami.
I took this photograph while my husband and I were reading at Morne Rouge in Grenada. It's a stunning crescent of beach with incredibly calm
and clear water, peppered with palm and almond trees for shade, and anchored at one end by a funky little beach bar. This is the place where my husband and I go when we want a quiet day reading on the beach. It's fun chatting with the vendors who come by and then ambling up to the bar at the restaurant called Sur La Mer to grab an ice cold Ting (a refreshing carbonated grapefruit drink) or rum punch, depending on the time of day.
This photo shows Morne Rouge from the road above it. Sur la Mer is the low-lying white building on the far end. You can see how crowded it is! Like I said, I don't know why more people from the US don't travel to Grenada. It's got everything I like: rolling green mountains, beautiful uncrowded beaches, a thriving West Indian culture that hasn't been watered down by mass tourism, funky fishing villages, a charming downtown on a picturesque harbor, and most importantly, Grenadians. Grenadians have shown a collective indomitable spirit since the devastating hurricanes back to back in 2004 and 2005.
So, basically, Grenada for us is a done deal. Now I just have to decide what island(s) to pair with it this trip. Do we go back to Bequia so my husband can appreciate it better? He suffered an awful gout attack on our visit there in 2006, so what he remembers has been blurred by a cloud of pain and painkillers (and I ain't talkin' about the liquid kind!). There's a great place there that offers a ridiculously low rate for the value it provides that we'd like to try. Or maybe we spend a few nights on Antigua, reminiscing about our wedding there back in 2003. Or perhaps we try a new island, one like Anguilla that will allow my long-suffering husband to indulge in his favorite vacation pastime of nothin' but limin'. I'm constantly having to balance my inclination to be on the go with his inclination to stick his butt in a chair and read all day. He indulges me more than I deserve, actually, and he's even admitted that as annoying as my insistence is to make him get out and see things, he always appreciates it in retrospect.
Honestly, our choice will probably come down to the financials more than anything else. I'm waiting for American Airlines to announce their summer fare sale and then I'll probably pick my other island(s) from whatever is most cost effective. Usually we could rely on our frequent flyer miles to get us wherever we want to go, regardless of price, but our FF accounts are down to zilch since our wedding present to my brother and sister-in-law was tickets for their honeymoon. Wherever we choose, it will be amazing. Though there are certainly destinations we've not fallen in love with, we've never had a bad vacation. As much research as I put into these trips, anything that doesn't live up to our expectations would be my responsibility, and one that I shoulder gladly.