13 July 2010

How I spent my summer vacation, part VIII

Early morning out on our balcony. Loved that place!

Anguilla Day 3

I was craving some pastries so I drove off to find some, but alas, I didn’t have much luck. I went to Geraud’s first, forgetting that they’re closed on Mondays. Then I tried next door at Gee Wee, but they only had baguettes, so I bought one. Then I stopped at the new little bakery called Top of the Tray. She only had muffins in her glass case, so I bought a couple, along with some juice, and headed back to Caribella for breakfast.

Photo of me at Forest Bay; the charming Coral Reef Bookstore

We spent the morning driving around here & there and eventually made our way to the little bookstore named Coral Reef. Clearly the buyer there is quite discerning—I was impressed to see one of my favorite books of the year, The Singer’s Gun, by Emily St. John Mandel, among the fiction selections, as it’s from a small literary press called Unbridled. So while the selection is not large, it is very carefully chosen and I recommend readers on the island to stop by and support it when you can. We bought three Eastern Caribbean field guides to help us identify local flowers, birds, and fish. They also have a used paperback book swap, or you can buy a used book outright for only EC $5.

Clockwise from top left: Cove Bay; me at Smokey's; Smokey's
seen from the beach; DH reading at Smokey's

From there we drove to Cove Bay to have lunch at Smokey’s, which was also a first for us. We picked the table with the most shade and sat down to enjoy our books and the view until the kitchen was open. I chose the vegetable pizza and DH had a hamburger. Both were good, but we agreed that we should have split one or the other because each of us only ate half of what we ordered. A Carib and a Ting, one mango sorbet and one t-shirt brought our total to US $60, plus additional tip. We really liked the laid back vibe at Smokey’s and the two servers were so friendly. We’ll definitely go again on our next trip but plan to spend the day there using their beach chairs & umbrellas.

Cove Bay. The colors still look unreal to me!

That afternoon we had appointments with Margaret at Anguilla Alternative Wellness Service for a massage and a reflexology treatment. Because of her age, she no longer travels with her heavy massage chair, so we went to her home in Forest Bay, and one of us read out on her porch whilst the other was receiving treatment. She was amazing! Two hours later, we felt like new people. We enjoyed it so much we booked her for a funky foot bath detox treatment the next day (more on that anon). She reduces her prices in June, so while we were expecting to pay $85 for the reflexology and $100 for the massage, it was only $55 and $75, respectively.

Margaret's place in Forest Bay

We booked Straw Hat for dinner that night—what a fun place that is to dine! Unpretentious, nice location, and doing a great job of walking that fine line where a relaxed atmosphere meets upscale dining. It also consistently has the most congenial staff that we’ve met with on the island, which earns high marks from us. We began with a house salad (DH) and the warm tomato tart (me). The salad was good but nothing out of the ordinary, but mine was really quite excellent. DH moved on to the curried goat (outstandingly succulent) while I had the lobster & crayfish spring rolls (very good—and the appetizer portion was just right for me). For dessert we shared the banana bread pudding, which was also very good, particularly the rich caramel sauce topping. I had a glass of their trademark ‘ti punch, which was my favorite rum drink on the island this trip. (NB: I don’t know how Peter did it, either, but he recognized us as repeat customers, welcoming us back. It could have been a lucky guess, I suppose, but when I asked how he knew, he said, “Weren’t you here last year?” Just chalk it up to my Santa Claus companion, I suppose.)

Sailboat seen from our balcony at Caribella. Love that muted
palette, even though it meant lots of rain!

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