This May was our 21st trip to Anguilla! Once we found this gem of an island in 2002 we have looked no further for a perfect beach destination. I will never forget our first day in Anguilla in June of 2002. We arrived on the Eagle at night from San Juan and stayed at Cap Juluca. That first morning we arose with the sun as we were so excited. Maundays Bay in all its glory was a heavenly sight – that turquoise water and white sand was spectacular! Cap Juluca was offering a boat excursion this day and we decided to join as we thought a great way to get to see a lot of the island. We first snorkeled at Little Bay, then had lobster lunches, rum punches and lots of dancing at Scilly Cay. We then went to Shoal Bay. The boat anchored a little beyond Elodias. At this moment I felt I was in the most beautiful spot I had ever been. The sand was even whiter than Maundays and the many shades of blues were so mesmerizing. We spent several hours floating, swimming and walking the beach. We enjoyed more dancing at Elodias and rum punches. We still keep in touch with persons we met on this excursion. To this day this spot on Shoal Bay has my heart and every time I return I get that same vivid feeling of sheer beauty and extreme happiness!
So of course every return visit to Anguilla we return to this exact spot, set up our chairs and reconnect to our memories of this first time on Shoal Bay. In May the water is calm, crystal clear and so warm. This end of Shoal is very peaceful. A beach does not get any better!
This May offered new hotels and restaurants. We always enjoy walking the length of Shoal Bay. This year it was nice having Zemi at the far end to grab a cushy seat with toes in the sand and enjoy a cocktail and even a lobster pizza. The hotel was very good looking! I hope high season brings them more business as it seemed extremely empty.
Manoah (the old Ku) had its restaurant and bar open even though the main hotel will not open until November. The front few units pictured below should be open as I write. Yes the hotel will change the look of Shoal Bay but I think this resort is super good looking and nice to have a high end resort as an option in the center of the bay. We enjoyed two lunches here which were very good, great Mt. Gay and tonics, buckets of Coronas and the most comfortable and good looking chaise lounges and umbrellas. Natasha was the bartender and she took wonderful care of us. The loungers and umbrellas were $20 even if you dined there. Perhaps in high season the chairs will only be available to hotel guests. During our 9 days on island we had 8 wonderful sunny days. There was always a breeze and we did not see a single mosquito. We enjoyed 4 days on Shoal and 3 days on gorgeous Meads Bay. Meads in May is as Shoal – very calm and warm – and offers a huge swath of blue. Each day we set up at Jacala. How lovely to set up here for the day to enjoy swims, floating and then have a most perfect lunch! Jacala has great lounge chairs and umbrellas as well as the short little chairs that we pulled to water’s edge.
We often walk the whole length of Meads from the little cove beyond Carimar
to the Viceroy,
where we enjoy a swim in the little cove below the Aleta pool,
and then on to Barnes Bay where we walk to the end and enjoy yet another dip in this little cove. It is so hard for me to not get in that water!
We love Barnes Bay. The sand is a warmer color of tan, often good for shelling and just so very quiet. I think it would be lovely to stay on Barnes!
Lunch at Jacala is a treat! Eli, Charmes, Sharon and of course, Jacques and Alain take super care of us. Jacques and Alain take such pride and care with everything they do. We had all our favorite foods – Grilled Crayfish, Lobster Risotto, Watermelon Salad, Mahi Mahi poached in Olive Oil, Chilled Cucumber Soup with Tomato Sorbet, Calamari Risotto, Tuna Tartar. Jim always asks Alain to make his Snapper Ceviche served with Coconut Milk and Cucumber which he serves in a coconut shell – divine!
In addition to our lunches we enjoyed one dinner at Jacala. The atmosphere at night is different – so special, very romantic. The palm trees dance in the breeze and glow with white lights. White table cloths and candles dress the tables. Often there is a spectacular sunset!
We dined at Hibernia two evenings. For many years Hibernia was not a place we dined as I am not really into Asian inspired food while in Anguilla. However after they remodeled – the dining area is now open-air with a lovely pool and garden – we decided to give them a try and we are so glad we did! HIbernia is special and not to be missed!
Mary Pat’s attention to detail is top notch. She sets a most beautiful table. She remembered that Jim loves French Burgundy so upon receiving our reservation request several weeks before arriving to the island she sent Jim a list of 2005 Burgundies which are not on her list but which she would offer to Jim. What a treat! The food that Raoul prepares is innovative, fresh and delicious. For appetizers we so enjoyed the Smoked Fish Plate served with toasted homemade brown bread and a horseradish and ginger cream cheese, a Trio of Tuna prepared three ways – Gravlax, Smoked and Cured, and the Sashimi Plate with Wahoo, Scallop, Crayfish and Conch. Entrees were also delicious. My favorite was the Crayfish sautéed out of the shell with vanilla, lemongrass and roasted onion and yam. This crayfish was so tender and incredibly sweet. Mary Pat told us that sauteing crayfish out of the shell results in a slightly different flavor and texture than the more commonly grilled crayfish. I am still dreaming of this taste!
Of course no meal at Hibernia is complete without the homemade Rum Raisin Ice-Cream served with a snifter of aged rum. The dessert is served in a lovely bowl with long silver spoons to savor every luscious bite.
We did try one new place for a dinner after reading such stellar reviews about Cove Castles and Marc Alvarez. I was sorry they changed their menu the week before to a Prix Fixe – 3 course meal – as there were several offerings I wished to try however the meal was still excellent. The restaurant had 5 tables that night and the atmosphere had a good energy. Jim, a chef by profession, introduced himself to Marc and he was so friendly. Marc enjoyed showing Jim his special restaurant equipment – a wood fired pizza oven and a most special wood burning grill made by Grillworks. Jim enjoyed a special of the night which Marc recommended – grilled Baby Octopus served over homemade Squid Ink Orecchiette. He started with the fried Conch served with a tangy lemon aioli.
I enjoyed the Grilled Cherry Tomato and Burrata Bruschetta and the homemade Lobster and Pea Ravioli.
Unfortunately we felt the dessert lacked the flavor and innovation of the other two courses but would still return. Upon leaving Marc came over to our table and suggested we come for lunch to try his pizza and said he would happily set us up on lounge chairs with and umbrella to enjoy the day on the beach. We did just this on our one cloudy day.
Lunch was wonderful. Marc made us a great salad made with little gem lettuce, avocado and tomato dressed in a vinaigrette made from olive oil and a most lovely vinegar.
We also devoured 2 pizzas – a Bianca and a Margherita – AND a piece of the freshest snapper which he grilled on his wood fired grill. A most wonderful way to spend a cloudy day!
Every May since 2004 we stay at Fletch’s Cove Villa in Little Harbor. This one bedroom, 3 bathroom ocean front villa with spectacular views, pool and gardens is a special property! The owners keep this home impeccably maintained. We love the central location and the upscale neighborhood. The housekeeper, Cecile is the sweetest lady and she takes special care of us. We feel like family!
The Master Suite is on a second floor and has its own deck where we enjoy sunrises, our morning coffee and stargazing in the evening.
Fletch’s Cove has a nice little beach which is shared with the most beautiful Las EsQuinas and its owner, Robin! How fun to be in “her hood!”
Jim loves to cook in several nights depending on food availability. This May was awesome! We procured lots of fresh produce and plenty of seafood – lobsters, crayfish and queen snappers!
A most favorite meal of the trip was Jim’s special Spiny Lobster Salad. Simply fresh grilled lobster with lemon juice, olive oil, basil, salt and pepper. It is a recipe he got from a dear Italian chef friend, Ezio, from the Cafe Santa Fe in Todos Santos – such a simple recipe and such terrific flavor! I so love Spiny Lobster as I think this species is much sweeter than Maine cold water lobster.
Rainbow Farms is always a treat. Noel and Duke actually recognized us on the road and yelled Hello! I know they meet a lot of people and we were touched they remembered us and made a point to greet. Rainbow had lots of tomatoes this year, great wild arugula and basil.We ventured to the East End to find the new Sensational Flavours. What a nice size farm they have. When we visited they were in between planting but we still managed to get a favorite item – Seasoning Peppers! These bright red peppers have the perfume of a habanero however not the heat! Jim lightly dresses them with sherry wine vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper and grills them on the barbecue – Oh so good!
Each morning we started the day with fresh coconut water. What a treat – so better than the bottled or canned coconut water we get in Colorado. Almost daily we visited the road side stand selling produce from Dominica. These “jelly nuts” or young coconuts gave us two large glasses, so refreshing and good for us!
Tropical Flowers continues to have two of our favorite Chardonnays – Cakebread and Ferrari-Carano for a better price than we can get at home! Grand Vin De France has wonderful French and Italian wines. Their new location is so nice – brand spanking new with ample parking. Gerauds is right next door. We got many baguettes and chocolate chip cookies and oh yes, many coconut danish. We never experienced any long lines or congestion as persons stated in prior months. All the girls were super friendly and I think they love their new space!
We enjoyed drinks from Elodias – We do miss Carol but her darling niece, Jakita is there with a big smile! We enjoyed talking with Junior, watching the boats race bye, swimming, floating, strolling. A perfect last day!
Our last evening we enjoyed staying in at the villa. We had a feast! Grilled Seasoning Peppers and Eggplant, Lobster Pasta, Bread from Gerauds, left over Pizza from Cove Castles, Arugula Salad, plenty of Wine and an Amazing View!
Another fabulous vacation in Anguilla! Somethings Old, Somethings New, Nothing Borrowed and Lots of Blues!