10 July 2013

On the Road to Maundays Bay, Where the Flying-Fishes Play...

Long Bay, facing west(ish)
This year was our seventh trip to Anguilla since 2009--we had to add it up on our fingers a couple of times to arrive at the correct number--but we had never really spent any time to speak of on Long Bay. I knew after seeing fellow Anguillaphile Lee's photos that I'd want to see its beauty for myself. To get there, we followed the signs to Oliver's restaurant, then parked in the lot there and walked down the restaurant's stairs.  It made me sad that Oliver's is closed because it's got such gorgeous views and I imagine it would be a lovely setting for lunch or dinner.

Oliver's, seen from the beach
Oliver's interior
I planned for us to get an early start and spend a full morning there, but I made one grave calculation: there is no shade to be found on Long Bay beach for love or money. We realized that right away, so rather than walk the beach laden with our beach chairs, we left the chairs next to Oliver's restaurant and simply walked along the water's edge towards the western end.

Sandy Island, seen (with major zoom) from Long Bay
All of the photographs here were made within the span of about an hour or so, with three different cameras (a Leica digital SLR, my camera phone, and an old point & shoot digital), facing into and out of the sun.  Only a couple of them have been touched up at all, and that was using the "enhance" button in iPhoto. Long Bay is gorgeous, but beyond that, it was both full of character and completely empty.

Looking right (east) from Oliver's
Looking left (west) from Oliver's
We were the only folks actually on the beach and the only other people we saw at all were some gardeners trimming the foliage on one of the mammoth luxury estates.

I'd swear that it doesn't look like the same beach from one photo to another in most of these pictures.  On our walk back to Oliver's from the far western point, a storm came up and we made it back to the car just in the nick of time before the bottom fell out of the sky.

DH, with Viceroy way in the background
Dark clouds rolling in
More dark clouds

And yet more
We decided that we totally deserved breakfast at Geraud's for our efforts.  Actually, it didn't take much justification to stop at Geraud's for any meal.  I think we went there about ten times over the course of our two-week trip.  On the drive there, we took the scenic tsunami evacuation route and passed by my favorite little church on the island. Can anybody tell me whether it's still used as a place of worship?

And by happy accident, I discovered my true, absolute, most favorite pastry.  We got there a little late, so all of my usuals were sold out: no almond or chocolate almond croissants, no coconut, pineapple, or cheese Danishes.  All they had were a couple of cinnamon rolls and some lemon Danishes. Bummed,  I chose the lemon but as soon as I bit into it I was in heaven.  Perfectly piquant, rich lemon curd surrounded by flaky pastry.

On the Road to Maundays Bay, with salt pond in foreground and St. Martin in background
Over breakfast, I convinced my husband that we should spend the day at Maundays Bay and thus cross a second Anguilla beach off of our bucket list.  Like with Long Bay, we had stepped foot on Maundays, but only just.  We'd never become really acquainted with it, if you will.

Cap Juluca, the only resort that sits on Maundays, is really gorgeous and a place that has long captured my imagination, architecturally speaking.  If DH and I were resort people at all, and if we lived in, ahem, a higher tax bracket, I would totally want to stay here. As it was, it can feel a little intimidating driving up to the resort, what with their beautifully manicured grounds, their custom-made speed limit signs, and their guard shack whose express purpose looks like it is for keeping out the riffraff like us.

Not 15 mph. Not 20 mph. But 17. I appreciate your precision, Cap Juluca!
They couldn't be friendlier, I'm happy to say. We drove up, explained that we wanted to use their beach for the day and possibly stay to have a late lunch, and they provided us with a guest pass to put on our dashboard. We drove to the guest car park and walked towards the sea grapes on Maundays Bay.  Cap Juluca provides public access to two beaches, Cove and Maundays, but that end of Cove Bay is pretty wild and offers no shade. I commend Cap Juluca for making it so easy and well-marked for non-guests to access both beaches. Anguilla law says that all beaches are public up to the high water line, but I don't think the law says that resorts have to make it easy for the riffraff public to get there.

Beautiful, calm Maundays Bay 
CJ resort--villa on the far end of the beach from where we were sitting
More of the villas at CJ
Thus, we settled our beach chairs under the sea grapes, surprised by how comfortably breezy it was, and enjoyed our books for a couple of hours. We were the only ones on that part of the beach, but staff members would occasionally walk by on the paths behind us and greet us.

Wide view of most of the beach from our chairs
Around 1:45 I looked up and saw a dark cloud rolling in, so we packed up our bags and rushed to the car.  For the second time that day, we beat the heavy rain with mere seconds to spare.  We drove from the car park to Blue, the beach restaurant, which we were told by the guard was the only restaurant open for lunch, but I'm fairly sure I saw people eating at Spice, too.

View from our table at Blue
Anyway, the service was very friendly, and one of the ladies remembered us from our visits to The Place, where she works on occasional days. It was raining hard as we first sat down but it cleared up within 20 minutes.  We enjoyed the setting at Blue, but it was extremely expensive--our lunch came to $85, and that was a sans-alcohol meal.  The same items (fish sandwich, hamburgers) were 1.5 to 2 times the cost of other places, like Ocean Echo. It was pretty good, but I'm not sure I'd rush back there to dine when there are so many other options on the island.

Interior of Blue
Another interior shot
I ordered the fish sandwich, which had homemade tartar sauce and a mango/papapa concoction, which I really enjoyed. DH opted for the steak sandwich. One bottled water to share, plus an iced tea and a Diet Coke, and one serving of ice cream (three scoops per serving) -- not what I'd call an extravagant meal.  The steak sandwich was fine but nothing special, and they got our ice cream order wrong.  I'd asked for vanilla, coffee, and pistachio but we received chocolate instead of coffee. The ice cream was a little bland, even the chocolate flavored scoop.

Steak sandwich with side salad

Fish sandwich with fries

Unfortunately mediocre ice cream
By that time, it was time for us to head back home to shower off and change clothes, then drive back to AARF for a second visit to play with pups and kitties.  This time I planned ahead by taking a couple of antihistamines and borrowing DH's long sleeved shirt to button up to my chin when playing with the kitties in particular so that I wouldn't get hives again.

Both of us were pleased to hear that some of the dogs from our visit the week before had already been adopted to homes in the States, but my heart broke to learn that Perry, that super-sweet, affectionate little kitty, had not. She was just as sweet as before, tucking her head under my chin and nuzzling, with her loud and contented motor going the whole time. Definitely the most cuddly kitty I've encountered in any animal shelter. If anybody is reading this who would be willing to adopt her, please let me know.  AARF can make arrangements for dog and cat transportation off-island to the US and Canada very easily!!!

Sweet, affectionate Perry 
Tintin helps give the kittens some exercise by playing with the feather stick. They LOVE climbing up the  mesh!
Two kitties here climbing up the mesh
We were pretty tired from our day-long adventures, so when we left AARF, we decided to just pick up some takeout food from Blanchards Beach Shack again and eat it on our balcony at Caribella. We decided on the nachos with two sauces to supplement with salad fixings already at home, and we sipped margaritas while waiting for them to get ready. It's a lovely setting, but I think that must be the hottest section of Meads Bay--less breezy than either end of the beach.

DH at Blanchards Beach Shack
Note my AARF tee underneath my borrowed linen shirt
Around sunset, Viceroy provided us with a couple of spectacles.  They actually have a flat screen TV that is big enough for us to see from our unit at Caribella. Some kind of car race was on.  In a spectacle of greater ramification was the barge at Viceroy that foundered (is that the right word?) offshore and had to be tugged in with greater effort than usual.

Check out the flatscreen tv there.  Have you ever seen a bigger one?


  1. We got hooked on the lemon Danish at Gerauds in June. Real Lemony !! don't think they had them last year. The speed limit in our gated community in Fl is 14 MPH. Even lower than Cap but nobody pays attention to it

    1. It made me wonder if 17 mph was the normal number equivalent of kph, but I'm not quite so facile with my metric conversion with that as I am with Celsius/Fahrenheit.

      That lemon Danish is amazing and I will now order it every time. Damn my eyes if this drive up the popularity sufficiently for it to be sold out by my next visit.

  2. As usual, your pictures are spectacular. I really, really wish I could adopt by phone little Perry but my cat is old, very hostile and territorial and Perry might not survive.

  3. So, I find myself reading through your updates a little more slowly, and in "installments" because I just don't want this trip to end! Your photos are gorgeous.

    And I had to chuckle at "17 mph" ... I wonder how folks come up with those kinds of calculations? Do they hold a focus group? Consult police stats? Consult astrological charts? Like, why not 13? 14? 16? Why is the magic number 17? LOL

    1. My one guess is that 17 mph = a reasonable number in kph. But I like their signs, nonetheless!

  4. I agree on the cost of lunch at Blue. We ate there once, and that was the end of that. It was a lovely view, but Anguilla is loaded with lovely views!

    At Geraud's everything is amazing, although I had to say my heart sank a bit when I read that all the chocolate croissants were gone - those are my favorites!


    1. lest I strike fear in the heart of dozens, I hasten to say that I meant that they were out of chocolate croissants by the time we arrived that day. NOT that they no longer serve such items.

  5. Emily,
    I have so loved reading your Blog and wishing we were there with you. You are eloquent and your photos are amazing.

    So many of your days were spent in similar ways to ours except that we tend to stay on the villa patio instead of beaches but that doesn't mean we don't enjoy the wonderful Anguilla sand. We walk daily on them, stopping for lunch and/or pastries along the way. You make our mouths water with your dining reports. My fave at Geraud's are the coconut danish but the apple are pretty darn good as well.
    Love, love, love the pup your DH is holding and I hope he's adopted before we get there in February,otherwise, I fear I'd have to do some DH arm twisting to bring him home with us.
    Thanks so much for taking the time to take us all along with you!

    1. Oh, I love the coconut danish, too. My favorite combination so far is one coconut, one lemon, and a decaf iced latte.

      Maybe you can go by and play with pups when you're on island, too. And thanks for reading!

  6. The little church in your photo is the Mahogany Grove Lutheran Church where services are held during the winter season. The interior is quite charming and the parisheners most welcoming.

    1. Any reason why it's only during winter season? That's curious to me. But thanks for giving me the info--I hadn't known there was a Lutheran community on the island.

    2. The ministers come from the US for, I think, two week stints. The times we have been there, the congregation was comprised mostly of expats--I don't think the Lutherans have been able to convert many native Anguillans!
      I very much enjoy your reports and photos and look forward to your next visit. I find that your restaurant opinions are much along the lines of ours.

    3. During our February stay, we met a couple that were both Lutheran pastors and had traveled from Seattle to stay for 2 weeks and conduct the services at Mahogany Grove. My understanding is that the Grafs, who are members of the congregation and I think own Skiffles villas (South Hill), organize this in exchange for a discounted stay. They have more that are willing to travel to Anguilla and volunteer to conduct services during the winter, so I think that's why the seasonal services.


    4. That's so interesting to me about seasonal services. There's something about that church that really speaks to me--so small, so quaint, so quiet, but I'm convinced there are stories lurking beneath its surface.

  7. Actually, 17 mph is not a round number in km/h: 27.35. A nice round 25 km/h would be 15.5 mph and 30 km/h would be 18.64 mph.
    For a second I thought that they would play a trick and mean 17 knots (nautical miles per hour) but that does not work out either: 17 knots = 19.56 mph = 31.48 km/h.

    This is not a demonstration of superior mental arrithmatic. There's an app for that...

  8. At one time Oliver’s was my very favorite restaurant, I loved everything about it, food, service and setting were all divine, but then the service went way down hill and on our last visit I witnessed Oliver screaming at a waitress and that was it for me.
    Long Bay is such a beautiful beach, seems as if the people who own the mansions are never there.
    That is a very cool picture of your DH with Viceroy in the background – I have never walked that direction and most times do not walk too far as the sand is so deep, and I am alone and bit afraid of what may be lurking, so thanks for the peek.
    If I was going to stay in a resort, it would be Cap Juluca all the way, I think it is perfect in every way. Their staff is top of the line, they are all friendly and nice and that goes a long way in my book. That must be Shaquita at Blue she works at Cap and The Place, she has Andrea’s spirit!
    That picture of you with Perry Cat, is just adorable – you should frame that – you look really good.
    This past weekend Viceroy had “popular star” Sean Kingston, from Jamaica, and they had “VIP seating”, I heard they were not allowing locals in. They never fail to amaze me with their arrogance.
    Lovely Emily, thank you.

    1. VIP seating at Viceroy? For what? I checked out the Viceroy website beause somebody told me there'd be fireworks, and they were offering VIp seating for those and the concert to follow: $1,000 per table, which seats six and includes one bottle of champagne/sparkling wine. Can't imagine!

      You're right--it must have been Shaquita. The name sounds familiar but I don't remember seeing any name tags...

      Long Bay is really gorgeous. If you and I are ever on Anguilla at the same time, you and I can walk down to the end & back while our men stay behind to chat. Deal?


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