Our Ship Comes In
Wednesday. Hump Day.
This is the day our luck changes (well, with the exception of the crustacean conspiracy).
Let’s start with the weather. For the first time this entire trip the day dawns bright and clear, not a cloud in the sky.
It’s a glorious sight.
I wish I could say the same about my “cold.” I’m sincerely hoping at this point it doesn’t turn into anything worse, if it hasn’t already. I barely have a voice, and there’s some other, nastier symptoms I won’t go into.
But I refuse to let it slow me down.
Let’s take this morning, for instance. I wake as the sun is rising, 6:20 AM, and even though I know I should probably stay in bed and rest, the siren call of the beach proves irresistible.
I check in with the kids to see if anyone else hears it.
In truth, I think they just hear me. But at least two are game.
Zoe, Aaron and I slip quietly out the door and down the back path to the beach. Mercifully, we run into no other guests this morning.
We trek the beach to the far end, even climbing around the shipwreck to the other side, shimmying over clusters of boulders, jumping from perch to perch. We push as far as one can possibly go without cloven hooves.
Yes, I can hang with the kids. I just pray I don’t fall and break a hip to add to my physical misery.
Road Bay is absolutely gorgeous this morning, reminding me why we chose to stay here in the first place. Believe me, I am ready to leave Pelicans. Just not this beach.
Back at the villa we find that Mark and Lauren are up and the French guests are gone. This gives us the chance to enjoy coffee on the terrace one last time, listening to a the birds and soaking up the beauty of the view.
If only we knew the treat that’s coming our way.
But first we have to pack and move out of here. That’s the big drag of switching lodgings mid-trip. It’s bad enough packing once, let alone twice. And why is it that everything never fits back in the same suitcase it came in?
At least we can stuff all our odds and ends into the car, especially since we wizened up this time and rented a Hyundai Tucson instead of a Jeep. This way we can fit us AND our luggage inside its cabin.
Leaving this place, I realize, is bittersweet. I’ve actually grown quite fond of it. Just not so fond of its Proprietress.
But it is beyond time to close this chapter of our trip. We snap a few last pictures, bid adieu to Pelicans and Road Bay, and set out on the next one.
The road to Nat’s Palm Grove is not long, necessarily, but it is winding. And bumpy. There are spots in the road where you have to slow to barely a crawl. It feels like the very scraggly, scrubby end of the earth.
However, if you know about Nat’s, and if you’ve been to Savannah Bay, it feels like coming home when you catch sight of those palm trees blowing in the wind.
There’s about four hours of lag time between check out at Pelicans and check in at our new villa. Time which could be perfectly filled with some of Nat’s crayfish and Johnny cakes.
Nat’s warm hospitality is legendary, as are his crayfish and Johnny cakes. It’s been on the itinerary since I started it two years ago. So we are saddened when our young waiter tells us that Nat is not in today, and crestfallen when he informs us they have no crayfish.
Once again it’s a crayfish conspiracy! Darn this weather!!
Mark and the kids order ribs and chicken.I decide I am splurging on the lobster.
Looks delicious, doesn’t it?
Too bad it doesn’t taste as good as it looks.
The chicken and ribs are good, though. Stick with them if you go (although maybe you’ll be lucky enough to find crayfish). And definitely some Johnny cakes.
It’s quiet in the restaurant. Too quiet. It needs music. Or Nat.
And the young man waiting on us does not seem too interested in doing so.
We decide not to linger.
Especially when Junks Hole and Savannah Bay await. And, unlike our last visit, we are wearing actual shoes!
Apparently we have forgotten how hot the sun the sun can be without any clouds to obscure it. Zoe is looking quite red by now (that alabaster skin!), and Lauren is still recovering from the weekend’s overexposure.
We decide it’s time to take a break from all that sun. Besides, we need stop by Best Buy and Tropical Distributors to pick up refreshments for the next villa.
Don’t you love an island where a liter of rum is cheaper than a gallon of milk? Unless, of course, you have three teenagers who drink milk. By the gallon.
All we have to do now is find the villa.
I suddenly have butterflies in my stomach.
I should give you the backstory. Because, well, there’s always a backstory, isn’t there?
We found this villa last year on the Vacation Rentals link on TripAdvisor. It was listed as “Stunning Sea Feathers Villa.” Not the most original name, but if the reviews and pictures of it are accurate, it will truly be spectacular.
It’s just that at the point in time we reserved it, there had only been seven reviews. And of those seven reviewers, only one had posted more than one review. Between the time we booked and now, more reviews have been posted. But three of the four of these were from one-time posters, and they were all from Ohio. Not that I don’t trust posters from Ohio, being one myself. But they were all glowing reviews. From one-time posters. All from the same area. Which is the same area that the emails from the owner had come.
I am a little suspicious. This isn’t my first rodeo.
And we all know how those other rodeos have gone down.
For verification I have brought with me copies of all our email correspondence, as well as the email the villa’s owner had sent before we left the States. All seven pages of it, full of information she thought might be helpful for our stay, along with detailed instructions on how to find the villa. Sounds good, right?
But once burned…
No, make that twice…
You can’t blame me for being a little gun shy.
I am hopeful for this place. With luck, it will be half as beautiful as the pictures.
We follow the detailed directions. Pass the light pink house, turn right, turn right again on the next road (this is a road?!), then find the villa on the right, the one with the green roof.
We pull into the driveway.
And step out of the car.
And look around in wonder.
Not only does “Stunning Sea Feathers” live up to its name. It surpasses it.
It’s as if we have stepped out of our car and into the pages of House Beautiful.
The villa is listed as three bedrooms and three baths. In reality it’s four bedrooms, two upstairs, two down. The owner does not advertise the fourth because it does not have an en suite bath, and perhaps doesn’t have the ambience of the others. Which we find laughable. Compared to our previous digs, even this bedroom is the Ritz Carlton.
The kitchen is gorgeous, with stainless steel appliances (including a wine refrigerator) and dinnerware that looks straight out of Pottery Barn. There’s even a paella pan. A PAELLA PAN. You have no idea how excited those words make me.
But not only is there one kitchen. There’s a SECOND one on the lower floor!! JUST AS BEAUTIFUL AS THE FIRST! Just maybe not quite as well equipped.
The downstairs has its own living area. Which, I must say, does not look your average basement.
The living area upstairs is open-aired, with a large dining table and several seating areas. Beyond that are more seating areas outdoors on the balcony overlooking the pool and Saint Martin.
Yes, a pool. Our own pool, with comfortable loungers and a table with an umbrella.
There’s also shuffleboard and a cornhole game.
Cornhole? If you’re from the East or West Coast, you may not know what this is. But if you’re from the Midwest, you’ll know what I’m talking about. There is no way the owner of this villa is not from Ohio.
And the entire villa is surrounded by a well-maintained garden, full of flowering bushes, seating areas, and winding paths.
Did I mention this villa has four bedrooms? A room for everyone to have their own. That is more than our own home has to offer.
The kids scatter to make their claims.
I can tell already we will be spending more time at home base.
And truly, I think the only reason I’m able to pry them away for dinner is because there is absolutely no food to be found on the premises.
Thank heavens. Because tonight is Wing Night at the Ferry Boat Inn. And you know already how I feel about wings. Add to that the proclamations of love for FBI’s cheeseburgers by a certain regular TripAdvisor poster, and we can’t possibly miss this dinner.
Still, it’s not until long after the sun has gone down that we head out to Blowing Point and the Ferry Boat Inn.
The parking lot is filled to overflowing. We’re lucky to find a spot at the far end. We’ll be even luckier to find a seat in the restaurant.
Even before we reach the steps to the restaurant, we see some familiar faces. It’s Angela and Lynne!
We exchange hugs, and I tell them how happy we are that we ended up in the same place for their last night. “Oh, yes,” Angela says. “Paula told us about this place, how we had to come for Wing Night.”
“Paula?” I ask.
“Yes, Paula Green. We met her the other day.”
Paula Green. The same Paula Green with whom I’ve been playing messaging tag this whole time. Who by now must think I’ve been purposely avoiding.
And at long last, we meet Paula and her husband Peter face to face. And miraculously, they’re not mad at all. In fact, they’re just as thrilled to meet us as we are them.
We chat with the Greens for quite a while as we wait for a table for five to open. They have been on the island for several weeks already, and will be here for the remainder of the month. We compare notes on our children, the crazy weather, our mutual love of Anguilla. It feels like we’ve known one another for years.
Finally a table opens, and by luck it’s nestled between the Greens and the party of our new and dear friends from Canada.
The kids, of course, are famished by now, and exhausted. We need food, and we need it now.
Our server informs us there are exactly three burgers left in the entire establishment, so if we want them, we should claim them now.
Three cheeseburgers, three kids. That works.
Mark and I order wings. Not that we have much of a choice. But it’s not like it’s a hardship either. Because: wings!
I do discover, though, that hot wings and sunburned lips do not a happy match make.
The other discovery I make is that the FBI’s rum punch is one of my favorites (I am thrilled when, a few months later, a TripAdvisor member shares the recipe on the forum!).
It comes as no surprise, I’m sure, that we don’t last much longer.
We say goodbye to our (old by now) friends from Canada, and make tentative plans to meet up later with our new friends the Greens.
As tempting as it would be any other time to take a late night swim, I recognize that will not be happening tonight, at least for me. I am completely and utterly done.
I make sure the kids are squared away with their sleeping arrangements, and check that Mark is set for now, then crawl into the enormous, and enormously comfortable, bed with a wad of Kleenex, where I will rest assured that our little family has this entire, beautiful place all to ourselves.