21 January 2024

Anguilla XV: New Year's Eve Eve and Old Year's Night (and Day)

After a round of gin & tonics (gins & tonic?) to shake off the day’s travel, we walked up the beach in the most beautiful purple twilight to get to SandBar, which is one of our favorite restaurants on the island. We knew we’d want dinner on the earlier side after being vertical for 16 hours, and given the GST that makes everything more expensive than you think, we appreciate the pricing on their small plates!

It’s unbelievable, looking back at my photo library, that I didn’t take pictures of any of our food, but I did manage to snap a photo of my cocktail – the porn star, featuring passionfruit and prosecco. When my husband and I traveled here in November 2022 with our friends, we appreciated how vegetarian-friendly the menu was, and I’m happy to say that Chef Carrie has even expanded some of those offerings since. We ordered four small plates: the charred broccoli with chili crunch, the roasted beet salad with goat cheese, the tuna poke with creamy chili sauce, and the mahi bites with Carib batter. I enjoyed each one immensely, and my husband, whose taste buds were still in recovery from our bout with Covid earlier in the month, was especially pleased with the textures of the salad and the tuna poke.

I'm a sucker for anything with passionfruit

Our table for two was right along the edge of the beach, so in between savoring each bite, we could gaze out at all the sailboats and watch other people walk the beach in search of their evening repast. We were a tad concerned when the live music set up was immediately behind our table, but the talented young woman who performed, Jennique, had the perfect volume, even for those diners seated adjacent to her. They had a dessert special of a lemon mousse served with raspberries that was the perfect not-too-sweet-but-light bite for ending our meal on. 

Our table, front and center

Exhausted, we walked back home along the beach, letting the colored lights at Roy's guide the way. (Not that we need real guiding, mind you. All we had to do was go to the beach and turn left. I just liked to think of those lights as "home.")  We had a nightcap at the bar and to close out our tab from earlier, enjoying our chat with Romero and Patrick, who were both behind the bar, before climbing upstairs. After closing all the louvered windows, shutting all the curtains, and turning on the a/c, we tumbled into bed, ready to greet the morrow. 

And the evening, and the morning, were the first day. I woke up first, which is typical, while Michael dozed on, so I got up to take inventory of the apartment and our immediate surroundings. Never having stayed in Sandy Ground before, we weren't sure whether our location (either generally, or our specific location above a popular restaurant) would be noisy into the night or not, and I'm delighted to report that it was not. Granted, we travel with earplugs (both of us), sleep mask (just me) and use the white noise app on our phones overnight to combat the effects of snoring (mostly mine), but I think even travelers without those accoutrements would find it a peaceful place to sleep.

Cheery tables with a view

We went down early for breakfast and ordered omelets (delish) with johnny cakes (natch). The breeze was pleasant, the coffee was hot, the portions were huge (alas, no photos), so we lingered there for a while to plan our day before taking our leftovers upstairs to store in the fridge for breakfast later in the week. 

Lovely Sandy Ground, sparkling in the sun

We decided that the first order of business would be to walk the beach to get our bearings of where all the restaurants and beach bars are. A little recon, if you will, for our evening when we would somehow have to stay awake between dinner at 7:00 and the fireworks at midnight. 


We walked almost all the way to Elvis, pausing to snap photos here and there, or pet a dog, or say good morning to all whom we passed. I didn't realize that Johnno's had a new spot there, I'm not sure I'd ever heard of the Lit Lounge before, and the Criss Conch Shack had definitely expanded since my last visit -- it was great seeing new and new-to-me spots pop up! Eventually the heat got the better of my husband, so we hied back to the apartment to pack a beach bag for the day. We'd decided at breakfast to try setting up at The Place for thenext several hours.

I love the part of Rendezvous Bay where The Place is. The tone has changed quite a bit since the days when it was my favorite spot on the island, but you still can't beat the view and the overall gorgeousness of the beach. We got a pair of chairs with an umbrella, but the umbrella was broken so that one section of the canvas flapped in the wind and didn't provide as much shade, but they didn't seem very invested in either moving us, fixing it, or giving us a different umbrella. We made the best of it by applying more sunscreen and concentrating on the positives of the situation, which were numerous. 

We spent a couple of happy hours reading and dipping in the water before moving up to the restaurant to order lunch. I've always found it a good rule of thumb to move from the beach up to the beach bar before I get hungry, and I was especially glad to have done so today. Our drinks arrived right away, but our food took almost 45 minutes to get there; two other tables ordered were brought to us before our order eventually arrived. Not a huge deal, but I suspect that our food order might have got lost because it was definitely not very busy.

It's not a hardship to sit in a beautiful place with your favorite person, sipping a Ting, and wait for your food, but I am glad that we didn't wait until we were hungry to go up there. My fish tacos were perfectly fine, as was my husband's order of fried calamari, and we didn't want a huge lunch anyway since our supper would be Italian. 

I hadn't anticipated seeing all of the Christmas 
decorations on the island. It made me smile each time!

We enjoyed our time at The Place, and would certainly return again in the future, but the broken umbrella combined with the actual lunch itself does make me rethink the overall value I've always attributed to it before. The location is spectacular, though, so if you're not in a hurry do give it a try.

We took a couple of Tings back to our beach chairs and spent more time on the read-swim-walk circuit before packing up and heading home to Roy's, where we took one last dip in the ocean before we headed upstairs to take a brief nap and then get ready for dinner. About which, more anon!


  1. Another great read, loving it all Em. Thank you.

  2. Nothing like a Ting on the beach....BTW, you are twins

    1. Twins?! Anyway, I'll be following along when you take your next trip to the island.

  3. Wow....reading about the beauty of all of it made me feel like I was actually there myself...thanks for sharing...


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