28 July 2012

Sunday Funday in Anguilla

Okay, y'all, the further away in time that I get from my trip, the harder it is to remember what we did and in what order, but I'm pretty sure this is all more or less correct, based on the time stamps from my photos.  Ha!

We love Smokey's, but we tend to avoid it on Saturdays when the crowds show up and the music plays, so Sunday seemed like the perfect time to hie ourselves there.  After breakfasting at home and enjoying the morning on Barnes Bay, we headed over to Cove Bay, probably one of our top favorite beaches on the island: another perfectly long crescent of white sand, with just enough of a peak of St. Martin in the distance and a few fishing boats to provide visual interest.  Because it can be SO tiresome pondering the sea and the horizon.  Know what I mean?  Yeah, me neither!

It was quiet when we arrived, with only one other table being occupied (incidentally, by the Blanchards), so we had our pick of the place.  We settled into a shady spot with some cold Tings and a large bottle of fizzy water because it was pretty hot and rather still and we weren't quite ready to order lunch. Both Mo and Felix came by to check on us, remembering us from previous visits, and so did the the owner of Koal Keel (uh, oh--I didn't write down her name.  I want to say it started with either a K or an K. Lisa, perhaps?) to thank us for having breakfast there the other day and for blogging about it.  She'd been reading the blog and apologized that her website hadn't been updated to reflect their closing dates.  We had a nice visit with her, hearing about Anguilla in the Old Days.

Mo's rum punch--strong, but a little too sweet for my taste. 
We noticed when we pulled up to Smokey's that there was a large white tent set up outside on the sand, so a little while later when the music started up, we were less surprised than we would have been.  I have to say, it was pretty nice being there with the music, and I'm glad we didn't know about it ahead of time because we probably wouldn't have gone, and thus would have missed a very enjoyable lunch. To wit: one hotdog, one grilled veggie sandwich, one rum punch, and the best damned book I read on the entire trip (The Dog Stars by Peter Heller.  Review forthcoming).

The public access point to Cove Bay
We stayed until about 3:00 or so, and by that time the white tent had filled, and so had most of the tables, both inside and out. It was still pretty hot, so we headed back to Rendezvous Bay for a swim and a walk along the beach there to enjoy the stronger breezes there. We set up near the grouping of sea grapes that separates Anguilla Great House from the Sunshine Shack (alas, closed), made friends with another dog, and enjoyed the rest of the day.

Rendezvous Bay
A storm came up around 5:00, though, so we decided to pack up and head back so we could clean up for cocktails at Viceroy--we were heading out to meet CloudyDae and her husband, who were visiting Anguilla for the first time.  The storm passed, but clouds lingered in the sky for a rather hazy sunset, but Viceroy kind of overloads you with visual stimulation anyway, so it was all good.  We arrived about 6:15, so that there would be plenty of time (and plenty of light) before sunset for me to make some photos of the property before meeting up with CloudyDae, because while the Viceroy may not be my first choice of places to stay on Anguilla, it's pretty spectacular--the formality of the lines & the architecture, the objets d'arts scattered around, the sheer, luxe comfort of the furnishings--it all adds up to a place that, while not giving off an Anguilla vibe, gives off a pretty nice vibe nonetheless.

A Giacometti-like sculpture at the Viceroy bar
After shooting a few pics, we bellied up to the bar to order a round of cocktails, where the prices are not for the faint of heart--I think it cost us $36 for two gin & tonics--but at least they give you snacks.  In our case, some edamame and plantain chips with a spicy fruit chutney. Before too long, in walked CloudyDae and Mr. CloudyDae, looking tired but happy after another full day in the sun.  We exchanged notes about all of our trip highlights and settled in to watch the sunset together from the patio.

Here's a pic of CloudyDae and me.  Not sure what the moon-like thing in the upper corner is.

Sunset over the Viceroy villas

Caribella, seen from the Viceroy
Before we knew it, we were about to be late for our reservations at Straw Hat for dinner, so we parted with regret and made out way down to Meads Bay. That place is such fun--we just love the staff, who seem to enjoy working there as much as we love dining there, and Peter is always such a great host.  When we arrived, it was to hear Peter patiently trying to explain to the wedding guests who had booked the entire Frangipani for the weekend that they needed to make a reservation for his restaurant, especially if it was a large party, and that the empty tables they saw on the patio were reserved for people who called ahead.  Like us. On cue, we stepped forward and he showed us to our table, right on the patio's edge closest to the water.

We usually order the crayfish and stewed goat but opted to think outside of our local/comfort boxes this time around, to great success.  DH selected the pork belly, which is an item the new chef has introduced to the menu, while I opted for the crispy snapper.

Why, yes, that IS a bed of rich, creamy mac & cheese underneath that pork!

A truly crispy snapper
Both of them were excellent and we each kept trying to create a diversion (think: Princess Bride) so we could stick a fork undetected into the other's plate until we felt it would be better to just have Peter roll us back to our car.  I think we even skipped dessert that night, though that definitely seems out of character for us.  And by us, I mean me.  Perhaps I filled up on their unrivaled Ti Punch, which ties with the Ferryboat's for best rum punch on the island for me, and that is affecting my memory even in retrospect.  It doesn't really matter, I guess, but what I do recall is how quiet we were after dinner that night, because we knew that when we woke up the next morning, it would be our last full day on Anguilla.

Coming up next: Rainy Days and Mondays Always Get Me Down


  1. That was awesome - thanks for the fresh perspective on another side of AXA that we're less familiar with.


  2. Loved the sunset over Viceroy villas with the big fat pink and white cat cloud overseeing the entire thing.
    Just looking at the visitor entrance to Cove Bay gave me a lump in my throat, (we used to "own" it you know, till yiz all came around!)
    Thanks Em.
    Loved my trip down memory lane till it's my time to shine again. Still have to figure out just when though.

  3. Love to read your writing and now I have a new book to read with your latest recommendation. Thanks!

  4. Emily, another great read about all my favorite spots. We were at Smokey's several nights last trip BECAUSE of the music. Straw Hat is one of our "do not miss", their staff is a lot of fun and the food never disappoints.
    As always, your writing is terrific, felt as if I was right there with you.

  5. We are lucky to have you as a member of our group. Great read.

    By the way, DH and I just finished "Unbroken" on your recommendation and loved it. So thanks.

    You've probably already read this but my favorite book this year is "The Sense of an Ending" by Julian Barnes. If you've already reviewed it, throw the link out on Yuku Anguilla, 'cause I'm curious what you think.

    We enjoy our lunches so much at Straw Hat that I'm afraid we have been neglecting it for dinner. Do love their Ti Punches as well. Next trip it's on the list.

    Hope your blog takes off. Wouldn't miss one of your Anguilla reviews for the world!

  6. Emily.
    Another good read and a vicarious trip to AXA. You sure you don't want to write books instead of selling them?


  7. Emily,
    Your blog is always a treat. Its a mini vacation for me.
    So glad you discovered Anguilla, again and again!


  8. After reading "A Trip to the Beach" in 2009, my wife and i just had to meet the Blanchards. That year, on our trip to St. Martin, we took a day trip to Anguilla and visited their restaurant only to be told that they were back in the states visiting friends. Did get a tour of the place. Enjoy reading about Anguilla and your time on the island. Great pixs, also. You can read more about Anguilla, as well as St. Martin, by visiting my stories at http://lifewithldub.blogspot.com/ Click on the link for the islands when you open it. Larry

    1. Hi, Larry, and thanks for the comment. I'm off to check out your site now...


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