28 October 2013

Ahhhh, Anguilla! October 2013: Part Four

Sunrise seen from the bed.
It's Monday morning and we can hardly believe that our trip is already more than halfway over.  We had another pretty sunrise, and this time, instead of rolling over to doze after making my sunrise photo, I get up and make some coffee and take the early sun out on the pool deck before it gets too hot.  There's been some rain overnight and the birds are darting back & forth to the little puddles of water that haven't yet been absorbed by the earth. 

As with the previous days, we eat breakfast in the villa.  DH made French toast with the last egg and bread slices we had on hand.  We'd been prepared to eat it with nothing but butter and perhaps a little dollop of raspberry preserves, but we found some maple syrup, along with cinnamon and nutmeg, in one of the cabinets and thus we really treated ourselves. 
I love these brightly colored shutters at Savannah Gallery

We left the villa around 10:00 after packing up our beach bags.  Our destination for the day is Shoal Bay East, particularlyTropical Sunsets, but along the way we stop in at Savannah Gallery in the hopes that it might be open.  We got there about ten minutes after the stated opening, but nobody was there.  The sign also says open by appointment, but since we were only browsing and not intent on purchasing anything, we didn't want to do that.  We'll have to try our luck next time we're on island. 

We stop by AARF, the Anguilla Animal Rescue Foundation, on the way to Shoal Bay East to drop off a couple of carriers and to check in with them to make sure we're all set for our departure--we've volunteered to transport two kitties back to the States, about which more anon. From AARF, we take some of the backroads to Shoal Bay East and pass this house, which I've always liked because of the cheery colors, but now they've added about a dozen airplanes to their outdoor decor.  Check it out:

An abandoned Anguillian chattel house on a back road
When we enter the Shoal Bay area, we usually turn right to go to Elodia's, but they were closed to put in a new floor, so we turned left to hit Tropical Sunset, a place we'd heard great things about but somehow had never managed to visit during our various Anguilla vacations. A friendly young woman came out to greet us and she offered to set up a single umbrella off to the side for us in the shade of some palm trees. We had brought our own chairs, which were more comfortable for sitting, but they offer lounge chairs for rent, too.
Exterior of Tropical Sunset
Looking left from our umbrellas 
Looking right from our umbrella 
Oy, what terrible crowds!
It was pretty blissful.  There were some people already set up on the beach (turns out they were daytrippers from St. Maarten) but it was beautiful and serene--just the way we like it.  We read, played in the water, walked on the beach, made photos, and in general blissed out for a couple of hours until lunch time. 

Ronnie Bryan
Right before we went up to eat lunch, Ronnie Bryan caught up with us.  I'd emailed him to let him know our itinerary that day to see if he could meet up with us to fill out the car rental paperwork--usually we have lots of time to do that, but with such a short trip I was afraid we might leave the island without that happening!  He's such a great guy, that Ronnie, and he's done as much for our enjoyment of Anguilla as anybody we've met on the island. 

DH at our railside table 
That's actually my cleverly-disguised Kobo, not the classic novel.
For lunch we opted for a couple of rum punches (alas, a little too sweet) as well as some bottled water. DH was craving a simple hot dog and I liked the sound of the grilled shrimp kebabs, which came with rice & peas and a little cole slaw.  The menu offered a pretty good variety in a wide price range, everything from hamburgers & hotdogs to a crayfish or lobster platter, and there was a sandwich board of specials, too.  We debated ordering a dessert but passed--we wanted to make sure we were extra-special-hungry for dinner that night. Our bill for the day came to $45, and that included both a $5 charge for use of the beach umbrella and a clearly-marked service charge.  In other words, half of what our bill at Garvey's Sunshine Shack was from two days before.  Garvey's food was better, but the locations were about par in my book.  I liked the seclusion better at Garvey's, but I think it's clear that Tropical Sunset wins for better value. We liked both very much and intend to be repeat visitors next year.

Self-explanatory, methinks
This was the perfect portion for me, but a hungrier person might wish for  more.
The bar at Tropical Sunset
Love this sign from behind the bar. Nice juxtaposition with the Tylenol, too.
After lunch we did a repeat of the morning, but after a walk I was feeling so relaxed that at one point I was actually dozing upright in my chair.  DH apparently stole a photo or two of me with my mouth agape, but I deleted them when he wasn't paying attention. While I love the soothing sounds of the surf, I don't typically fall asleep when at the beach, so snorting myself awake was as much a surprise to me as to those in my immediate listening area. 

Note the AARF logo on my cap
What is the reading equivalent of double-fisting a drink? I had this
 book as well as my e-reader for a full complement of reading experience.
Our little spot in the shade
Around 4:00 we packed up because we wanted to make sure that Sea Spray was still open on our drive home. Sea Spray is the little sherbet-colored cottage at the Sandy Ground roundabout that houses a cute gift shop as well as Iced & Easy, a smoothie place.  Pamela, the proprietor, is a fellow animal lover and AARF supporter and we always look forward to our visits with her. She was busy that day painting a selection of Christmas ornaments that sell like hotcakes during high season.

Here's Pamela, mixing up our rum punches
Here was the day's smoothie selection
(you can also mix & match your favorite flavors) 
These are her cute ornaments
We love Pamela's rum punch--it's among my favorites, right up there with the rum punch from Ferryboat Inn and the Ti punch from Straw Hat.  It's not too sweet, plus it's very strong.  I mean VERY strong. And at only $6, it's not a bad price, either. The three of us chatted for a while and Pamela shared  some very useful information when we made the offhand comment about missing our usual breakfast places on this trip--Bonjour Cafe was open and serving breakfast daily down in Sandy Ground.  The name was vaguely familiar to me from reading Nori's blog but we'd never been there, so we vowed to try it out the next morning. 

We left Sea Spray and drove all the way out to Best Buy to pick up some more water and other items.  The place is huge and it looks like all of the expats on the island shop there.  The selection was certainly fantastic if you're looking for US  (and other international) brands for packaged foodstuffs.  I didn't really check out the meat & poultry section, but for produce I'd still suggest shopping at the roadside fruit stands. However we did see this product, which was just begging to be photographed. Inconceivable:
I don't think this word means what you think it means...
At least we headed home to Sweet Return to get ready for dinner that night.  It was opening night at Dolce Vita and to say that we were excited about that would be to engage in the most careless of understatement. At last we would be able to dine in our of our favorite places on the island!
Our going-out clothes (and in my case, makeup)
It was not a propitious beginning when we walked up and they didn't have our reservation that I had made that morning.  I started to get a little panicky, thinking that every single Viceroy guest would be there for opening night and there wouldn't be enough room for us, so I stammered out in desperation, "B-b-but I called.  This morning.  I called this morning and spoke to a man." Yup, that's apparently my idea of being helpful and not at all redundant.  But all was well and they had a table for two--turns out that I had made my reservation with Abbi himself (the owner) but that he'd been driving and answering his cell phone when I called).

Our beachside table
When the server came by to take our order, I was slightly disappointed that, despite being the first night open, the bar was not stocked with things that I assumed would be staples: bourbon, fresh mint, and limoncello--this last item being unusual because the restaurant traditionally serves shots of limoncello with their desserts. Still, it's not a hardship to sip on a gin and tonic, so we both did just that while perusing the menu. We shared the arugula salad with candied walnuts and sliced pears, and then DH chose the eggplant rollatini (the wonderful dish he'd had last time) while I decided to try the papardelle with duck sauce based on the recommendations on various travel forums. 

DH's eggplant 
My duck pappadelle
Both were good, but the rollatini wasn't quite as good as last time.  It was a little heavy with the ricotta. And while mine was tasty and I enjoyed it while it was at the table, it didn't sit well with me as the night wore on. We shared a glass of red wine, though, and sat looking out at the boats anchored in Sandy Ground--or rather, trying to make out the boats from the little lights atop the sailboat masts, as it was quite dark. We weren't very hungry, but we did want dessert, and it turned out that the limoncello cheesecake was every bit as good as what we remembered. In fact, it was practically perfect. Three cocktails, one glass of wine, one salad, one entree, and one appetizer (the eggplant) brought our meal to $98, with a service charge clearly marked. We made our reservation for the next night as we left, just to make sure that it was accounted for.  ;)
The perfect ending to our meal.


  1. I love all of your holiday posts :) The place looks really stunning. And foods look tasty.

  2. Dolce Vita is at the top of our list when it comes to AXA restaurants.
    We always enjoy our meals there.
    If you get a chance, perhaps you could please ask Abbi if and when Anguilla Seafood is going to open and if he can answer that question, maybe you could also find out for all of us what day of the week the restaurant will be closed.
    Muchos gratias and...
    ...may your last day be filled with sunshine.


    1. Pepper, we're actually home already so I can't ask him those specific questions. I asked Abbi about AXA Seafood House and he said that he's got a 2-star Michelin chef from the continent coming in to helm it. Don't know which nights it will be closed, but it will be a casual-style (but I imagine pricy) place with international seafood specialties.

    2. Really?
      I had heard that Silvestro (late of Luna Rosa) was supposed to be running it. Interesting turn of events.
      Wish I knew when it was scheduled to open.
      :-) Pepper24

    3. Does Silvestro have 2 Michelin stars? Maybe they're one and the same. Or is it possible that I have Abbi and Silvestro confused, and that I was actually speaking with Silvestro? Maybe that's it.

  3. Beautiful photos, making me antsy to get back there in just over a month!!

    1. Then it will be my turn to be envious of you and live vicariously through your photos !

  4. Emily - I love your reviews, they are always such fun to read and packed with information - I did not know that Pam sells ornaments.
    Your pictures are really great - your blog is a treasure, a place to return to time and again.
    Thank you so much.

    1. Awww, thank you, Ellen. I appreciate everything you do for Anguilla so much, and I so value all of your own contributions to the various travel boards.

  5. Oh I love the ornaments. My husband and I have a tradition of buying an ornament from locales we visit for the first time. Shoal Bay looks to serene. I can't wait to get there!!

    1. Pamela's ornaments are great--definitely worth stopping in to check out!

  6. Ahh, so Best Buy is...gotcha.

    Well, these pictures are gorgeous, as usual. We're gonna have to hang out some time and you can explain to me at some length what about this area makes you love it so much (while beaches are beautiful, I tend to equate them with boredom).

    Yet another reason why I need to tag along as your minstrel on one of these trips.

    1. Ahh, yes. Best Buy on Anguilla is not the same as the US chain of the same name.

      We should hang out ALL the time, not just some time. Just sayin'. As soon as I figure out how to tesser, that is.

  7. You always look so relaxed and happy in your travel photos! I enjoy your very detailed posts, even though there is zero chance I will take similar trips in the near future. It is so much fun to enjoy your travels vicariously.

  8. Hi Emily,

    Bimbo is actually a big bakery corporation here in the US (I have former colleagues from Avery who work there and it is a good company with many employees here) - but the name does throw you, doesn't it, especially since some really top shelf MBA's are working there :)

    We also went to Dolce Vita this time (altho Abbi - is part owner, not the only owner of Dolce Vita - is not my fav person and now is also "involved" with the new AXA Seafood - no one is really sure what he is doing - both, or only the one???), and I had previously had the duck you had and was disappointed last year. So this year we both had the lasagna which was excellent ($26) and caesar salad (split one and it was very good) with 2 glasses of wine that were $9/glass and water. Their lasagna is exceptional, and worth the price. Our bill came in slightly higher than yours, but we were ok with it and happier than last year there, so all is good. I had forgotten about the limoncello shot at the end of the meal, so that was a pleasant surprise with the bill and I left more than the service charge charged, since they did a great job in spite of a table of 18 and a table of 8 that came in right after we arrived for our reservation. We had a couple next to us with their 6 year old son who just watched videos on his electronic device and the father played on his ipad - why do they even bother to eat on the water if they are only focused on machines the whole time?!?!?!?

    Glad they were open while you were there. We always go in Nov just so everything is open for the most part. Would hate to miss any of our favs :)


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