27 July 2014

It's Friday -- I'm In Love (With Anguilla, of course)

Pano of Barnes Bay in the morning sun
The day dawns bright and clear again, so we take another walk on the beach before breakfast -- this time, with camera in hand. One of the things about Mother Nature is that Barnes Bay always looks a bit different from one visit to the next, and it can even change radically during the course of our two-week stay.  This year, the beach was smoother and wider in many parts, particularly the far ends by Arbron (west) and Viceroy (east). Barnes Bay had never looked so smooth and even, but by the time we left, there was nearly three vertical feet of erosion immediately in front of Mango's restaurant.
One of two breakwaters that Viceroy constructed
How much of this is to do with the breakwaters constructed by Viceroy and the subsequent heaping piles of sand that they keep on hand, and how much of this is to do with the natural ebb and flow of the beach, I could not say.  It still strikes me as utterly asinine and arrogant in equal measure for them to think they can control the sea. But here are some photos from our walk, starting with the eastern end by Viceroy and ending by our swimming cove by Arbron.
Long shot, looking toward Viceroy
Where DH is standing here was nothing but sea & cliff last year

Second breakwater
I've never seen such a calm pool of water in front of Viceroy
 on the Barnes side of the resort
The beach is quite full in front of Arbron here
The entry into our swimming hole has never been so gradual
A flowering sea grape on the Viceroy cliff
A flamboyant in all of its flaming glory, on the Viceroy
cliff above the beach. These are my favorite Anguillian trees.
Barnes in front of Arbron, looking toward Caribella
After our walk, we head back to Geraud's for breakfast.  Again.  This time I eschew pastries for another breakfast sandwich, and I've got pictures this time because it wasn't the same old, same old. I had the breakfast BLT, which is different from a traditional BLT in that it comes with avocado and a fried egg. As usual, the breakfast sandwich was HUGE and I took half of it home with me.
Check out those tomatoes!
It's a very nice touch that Geraud's includes an
extra cup of ice with our iced coffee order. 
Our bill came to about $24 (before presenting the Anguilla card), and that included a baguette to go, and since I basically got two meals out of my breakfast sandwich, I'm thinking that's a pretty good deal.  After that, we head back to Caribella to pack a beach bag and then head to The Place.  We got there a bit earlier than we expected (10:30 am!), and a bit earlier than they were expecting guests, as they were repairing one of the steps when we arrived.  But they were very gracious and told us we could go ahead and set up shop with our books if we didn't mind the noise.

We didn't.  And in fact, we got in some serious reading.  Despite the loveliness of the setting, we pretty much had our noses buried in our books for a solid two hours, but that enabled DH to finally finish reading The Goldfinch.  And since it's damned near 800 pages, it's no wonder it took him several days to get through it. Two brief showers came up before lunch, and they were almost enough to drive us to seek shelter, but we put our books under our towels and decided to wait them them both out.
Rendezvous Bay
Around 1:00, we headed up to the shaded pavilions for lunch.  By that time, there was quite a small crowd accumulated, including a large party from Argentina on a sailboat, seated right next to us.  Now mind you, Mo had the day off because he was away for a conference, so poor Dave was hopping just trying to keep on top of everybody's orders.

I mentioned several posts back, when we went to Picante for dinner, that we would run into Jovaughn again; well, he came to have lunch at The Place with a friend, but on his way back up from the beach to the seating area, he was waved over by the large Argentine group because they assumed (wrongly) that he was working there.  I'm not sure that I'd have been as gracious as he was, but after trying to convince them that he didn't, in fact, work there, he went to find out the answer to their questions and brought them menus, to boot.  They continued to pester him with questions and he kept trying to help, much to the irritation of his friend, who by now was waiting for him to join her for lunch.  I asked him later about it, and he just shrugged and said he didn't mind helping out because he could clearly see that they were understaffed that day.  We chatted a bit more with him after they finished their lunch and very much enjoyed his company.

I'd heard, both from Dave and a couple of patrons earlier in the week, that the specialty hamburger at The Place was well worth trying.  I usually order fish of some kind, but the day before I had seen the burger in question and experienced a pang of food envy.  The Place burger is large patty (1/3 lb, maybe?), topped with bleu cheese and bacon, and piled high with caramelized onions, and served with French fries and cole slaw.  It was pretty decadent, but if DH hadn't been helping me, I never would have finished it.  He opted one last time for the coconut shrimp, which he gallantly shared, despite there being only 5 shrimps per serving.

After lunch, we went back to read on the daybeds.  I was rather feverishly working my way through a fast-paced sci-fi thriller called Lexicon, so I was both startled and gratified when, an hour later, Dave checked in to see if I was ready for my daily afternoon infusion of rum.  I allowed that I was, and he brought me my new favorite drink, this time with a generous float of rum on top.

Another hour's worth of reading or so, and it was time for us to gather our things settle the tab.  On our way out, we met Clifton Gumbs, the chef, and got Dave to pose for a photo, too.  He also mentioned that they'd decided to stay open two more days and elicited a promise from us to return on Sunday (alas, we'd already made plans for Saturday, thinking they were going to be closed).
Chef Clifton Gumbs
The infamous Dave
On the spur of the moment, we decided to drive by Dune Preserve and Cuisinart on the way home, largely because I couldn't figure out Dune is west of Cuisinart while the road to get to it is east of the Cuisinart main entrance. (The answer: an interior service road, of sorts)  We had contemplated stopping at Dune, but there were no cars in the lot, so we retraced our steps back to Cuisinart and decided to take the scenic route back through the golf course.

The main entrance off the main road
Despite the overcast afternoon, it was very pretty.  It's been more than two decades since I hit the links (my mom's the golfer in the family, not me), but I admired the grounds.  Beautiful, and outside of the greens and fairways themselves, not overly manicured or fussy.  Still, the amount of water it must take to keep it looking the way it does makes me shudder a little bit.
Not exactly a stunning sunset, but we still like
 being present for each of them, cocktail in hand
Back at Caribella, we quickly clean up for the sunset and dinner, feeling a frisson of excitement about trying out a new restaurant. Inspired by our Anguilla Card, we decide to try out Flavours restaurant at LaVue  hotel, overlooking Sandy Ground. I especially appreciated that they informed us on the phone, when making the reservation, that they were expecting a very large party (25+) that night at 8:00. We booked a table for 7:30 and were thus able to get our orders in to the kitchen before they got swamped.

Well, the location is perfectly lovely.  Decked out with white curtains that billowed in every alcove, we appreciated the breeze that the elevation afforded.  In fact, outside of Gwen's beach bar in the east end, this was the breeziest meal we'd ever experienced on the island, and I was grateful that I'd chosen a long-sleeved shirt for the occasion.

The menu isn't extensive, but it offers something for almost everyone, with the exception of vegetarians, though I have a few friends who would have enjoyed sampling the veggie side dishes. All of the entrees come with two sides, so I selected Uncle's Pork, which is a grilled tenderloin with my choice of sauce (smothered onions for me) with the garlic & chive mashed potatoes and fried plantain.  It was excellent, though I ended up taking some home with me.

DH didn't fare quite as well, unfortunately. Opting for the grilled fish of the day, which was snapper, he was very disappointed when it arrived at the table with an undisclosed heavy lemon cream sauce, which completely overpowered the fish.  The vegetables were egregiously over-salted, too, so he left most of everything except the garlic mashed potatoes behind. Still, the value was good, even before taking off the 10% discount afforded by the Anguilla card -- two cocktails, a large bottle of water, and the service charge all came to $88, which falls decidedly on the lower end of the dinner spectrum on Anguilla --  and we were treated to a lightning show and a thunderous amount of rain during our meal.

We exited for the carpark by way of the swimming pool, which looked so lovely and inviting.  I took some photographs, but the low light made for some very grainy images, so here's a photo from the hotel's website.  I love Caribella, but I confess that I do miss having a swimming pool, and it was all I could do not to abandon myself to those luminous waters. I also loved the table & chairs at one end of the pool that looked like each chair had been carved from one solid piece of wood. They were extremely heavy but quite eye-catching.
Photo is from LaVue website


  1. Stunning photos, as usual...love the selfie of y'all. Wish I could have been there to try the golf course....

  2. I cannot get over the changes in Barnes Viceroy area, that area was all sand - a large frontage, where there is now water, seems as if the breakwater is taking away from their beach!
    Love the Pepperpot at Flavours and DH loves the pork - that lemon sauce does not look appealing. One night when we were there I was so cold that they brought out a shawl, which I thought was a nice touch!
    Wonderful pictures and writing Emily, thank you for your time.

    1. I almost chose the Pepperpot, but I thought it might be on the heavy side. Next time we'll know to ask about any sauces. I just need to talk my DH into going back!

      It's so interesting to me how radically different Barnes Bay must look at different times of year. It looked better to me this summer than it's ever looked before, and yet you say that it was less beach than what you saw earlier. Wouldn't it be nice to be there year-round and watch it all come and go?

  3. Emily, I've SO been enjoying your trip report, as always. Lately my work has afforded me little "hooky time" so I pop in and get my fix and get right back to work. This morning I decided if I can take enough time to read your excerpts as they come, the least I can do is let you know how much enjoyment they've been giving me. Frankly, I hate the thought of them ending! Thank you for the mental vacation in this unusually cold summer in Northern Michigan!

    1. Thanks for taking the time to read AND comment, Janet. I appreciate it! I follow the doings of a small bookstore in Petoskey, MI, and it's been so strange hearing about the cold and rain that they've been having.

  4. McLean and Eakin, perhaps? Love that store!

    1. That's the very one. Indie booksellers occupy a small world and we tend to know each other, if not personally, then by reputation. I've never been there, but I feel like I know the Norcrosses and the store.


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