01 July 2011

Anguilla: Our last day...

Take-out from Geraud's

Tuesday: went to Geraud's early to buy pastries to bring back home to eat: almond croissant and raisin/pecan sweet roll.  Ate on balcony. Already melancholy, which will color our experience of the entire day.  The hammocks at Gwen's are exuding their siren call and we are helpless to resist.  Luckily for us "Mr. Anguilla" has made himself scarce, but Terraine is there, and she's a sweetheart who puts us very much in mind of one of our granddaughters.  Neither one of us is particularly hungry, so we shared a burger and got to chatting with a couple sitting next to us, Noah & Salem,  honeymooners from Houston.  We have definitely seen more honeymooners on this trip than previous ones, and Noah & Salem confirmed one of my suspicions: they chose Anguilla because it looked so beautiful on The Bachelor.  Surprisingly, however, they chose Viceroy over Cuisinart.  Say what you want to about that awful TV show (and I've said plenty!), it does seem to be bringing in new visitors to the island.  N&S left and we moseyed over to "our" hammocks where we spent the rest of the afternoon. 

The beautiful Bethel Methodist church

Detail of the St. Gerard's Catholic church door

Wallblake House
On the way back to Caribella we stopped at Wallblake House to take some photos and were surprised to see someone sitting there at a desk--her name is Lily and she's a PhD candidate at the University of Southampton but working on Anguilla for now--she's an underwater archaeologist and was instrumental in helping to get the new Heritage Trail off the ground.  She'd like to start something similar with an underwater snorkel trail.  We chatted for a while and made a donation to the Heritage Trail and headed home to Caribella, but first we stopped by Devonish Gallery for the first time--in fact, it's our first gallery visit on Anguilla, full stop.  We picked up an a/p etching by St. Martin artist Sir Roland Richardson and a small oil painting by Barbara Clark, plus a small piece of pottery to take home--and we ran into Noah and Salem once more.  We had urged them to rent a car while on the island and apparently they had done just that, with their first stop being Devonish gallery.  We also chatted with Lydia (Lidia?) who works at the gallery about Anguilla, comparing notes about our favorite restaurants.  She has many family members who are very good cooks, including an uncle who works at Oliver's, which made me resolve to put them near the top of our list next visit of places to try. 
Surf at Barnes Bay

More Barnes Bay

 Back to Caribella--there were much bigger waves and a stronger undertow than usual when we went for our last swim at Barnes Bay.  We were just thinking about getting out when we saw a large, dark brown shape past our feet near the breaking surf--maybe a sting ray?--the water was too churned up to see more than an outline, so that clinched it for us.  I took a few photos of  the waves, the average of which was probably 18".  Very surprised at change in beach just over course of two week visit--the shape and lines of Barnes Bay beach radically changed during our stay. 

Straw Hat
Usually our last dinner on the island would be at Veya, but once we learned they would be closed, we chose Straw Hat and had been looking forward to it--we always have such a good time there!  Took a big bag of children's books to drop off--at least they know what to do with them, as opposed to the staff at the little bookstore who always seemed confused when I brought them books.  Anne greeted us and gave us a very nice table and we ordered the grilled snapper with choice of sauce & two sides (me) and the stewed goat (DH).  Best goat we've had anywhere--and we try to order it on every island we visit.  And have I mentioned before how much I love the Ti punch at Straw Hat?  So piquant and full of fresh lime juice--makes your mouth pucker right up!   Anne comped us our dessert as a gesture of thanks for our repeat visits, which was so sweet and thoughtful of her, albeit completely unnecessary -- the caramelized bananas were one of the best desserts we had on the trip.  Dinner came to $100, plus additional tip. 
The lights at Straw Hat

Travel day(Wednesday): woke early and started packing.  When most of our suitcases were ready to go, we headed out to Geraud's for one last time, getting there shortly before 8:00, so at least most of their selections were still available.  We each had an almond croissant, though I was tempted to get another Bostock (they take almond croissants and chocolate croissants, mash them up, soak them with rum, and sprinkle powdered sugar on top.  how could that possibly be bad?), but I held back. We also ordered a lovely baguette sandwich with ham, cheese, and butter to go so we could have one last bite of Anguilla while waiting in St. Maarten. We sipped our coffee, read our books, and when we both looked up at the same time, we had tears in our eyes.  Clearly even two weeks is not enough in this place that gets under our skin and in our hearts.  We were starting to go through the motions of leaving when a woman stopped by our table to say hello--she's been coming to Anguilla for years with her family and had been reading my blog--I'm afraid her kind words disarmed me completely and tears sprang to my eyes again.  Gosh, I'm such an easy mark!

Oh, Gwen's, how we miss you!
 After that, it's a matter of biding our time until leaving for the airport.  Back at Caribella we try to read on the balcony a little longer but we end up pacing like restless animals in a cage.  After changing into our traveling clothes we loaded the car, said our goodbyes to Vandra and Gloria, and drove first to the post office to mail my postcards (sidebar: although I wrote about a dozen postcards, most of them mysteriously disappeared, so I only had a few that I mailed.  I'm hoping that the kindness of strangers will prevail and that someone finds them and mails them.  if you didn't get a post card from me and I usually send one to you, it's not because I didn't write one--promise!), and then onward to the airport.

My husband decided he would rather fly over than take the ferry, so we booked with Anguilla Air Services, which was $80 per person.  The flight was delayed by almost 30 minutes, but that was fine since we had plenty of time to connect in St. Maarten.  Clearing immigration was fast and once again, there was literally nobody on hand at customs, so we walked through and checked in at the American Airlines counter.  We paused in the food court to eat our yummy baguette from Geraud's and then bided our time until it was time to go upstairs.  The woman working our security line was perhaps the most unpleasant TSA-type employee I've ever encountered, barking orders at all of the passengers with a real snarl.  Ahh, good times!  Flight itself was uneventful, which really is the main thing, but connecting in MIA is a nightmare, about which I'll say more in my closing notes.  We got to our connecting BDL flight just in time, but flight was delayed for weather reasons.  We got home and tumbled into bed around 2:00 am on Thursday, feeling that we were a world away from Anguilla in both distance and essence. 


  1. Dear Emily:
    I felt your pain in this post, that departure always kills me, but I try to remember the good times we had and the fact that we will return in 6 months, that keeps me going.
    Thanks again for a great read.

  2. I am sad it's over..but alas, there is always new adventures...I loved reading..love you



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