Thursday, June 4, 2009

Going Back... to Virgin Gorda

I WISH! B and I had such an amazing honeymoon at Little Dix Bay in Virgin Gorda. We/He picked that spot for several reasons, including a) we wanted to go someplace that people we knew had gone and loved (his parents celebrated their wedding anniversary there a few years ago), b) a direct flight from Atlanta (plus a little puddle-hopper), c) it fit the "warm, beach, massage" requirements I set early on, plus it had walls around its bathrooms, which, believe it or not, some "honeymoon spots" do not. Note to B: We are not there.

The crazy thing about the honeymoon was that I didn't really have a chance to look forward to it. Normally I love thinking about trips, planning and researching them, and picking out what to take. This time, due to the buzz about the wedding, I didn't really do any of that! So now I want to go back, mostly so I can have the amazing pina coladas again, but also so I can look forward to it a little!

We flew out Monday morning from Atlanta and arrived in St. Thomas around 1 in the afternoon. "Those poor saps," I told B, looking at all the people waiting to board the plane back to the states. Not us! Right across the runway from the airport was the Virgin Islands University, so we figured we'd transfer B there for his last year. Brilliant! We're never leaving.

Our charter captain, Will, met us with a little sign that said "Kappel" (but no hat) and ushered us to the little four-seater on the other side of the airport. We took off for the 15 minute flight to Virgin Gorda, admiring the dots of islands below us and the fact that we could see through the gorgeous water from the windows of the plane!

We arrived at the airport (read: 1 runway and a small garage-sized building), where we were met by the Little Dix Bay representative, who shuttled us the five minutes to the resort, filling us in on a little local information along the way. No crime on the island, "everyone knows everyone here."

Pulling into the resort, we passed the welcome area and cruised straight to our beach villa, where we were met by a hotel representative and welcomed into our suite. "There are no locks on the doors," he said. "No keys in paradise!" He also pointed out the restaurants, pool area, and the kiddie care building. "You come back for the five year anniversary and leave the triplets there," he said. Ha!

We quickly changed and headed out to the beach, strolling the pristine sands and dipping our toes in the water to relax after a day of travel and nine months of wedding-related (fun!) hubbub.

We got ready for dinner that night (the famous seafood buffet) and headed to the Pavilion to feast on crab legs, lobster, salmon, tuna, shrimp, and pretty much anything else that swims and is edible.

After an amazing dinner, we strolled home, waving off the friendly golf carts that offer to take you everywhere, and worked off a fraction of our dinner on the way to the villa.

The next morning, we headed to the spa for our couples' massage. There are no words. The spa was all open air and totally silent, including the area around the natural stone hot tubs and the infinity pool. We were taken to a private villa with a porch overlooking the ocean for an indulgent hour that I wish could've lasted a lifetime!

Wednesday, we got started by (of course) taking a few pictures of our villa and indulging in a room service breakfast of croissants and fresh fruit on the back porch before heading off on the snorkel day sail, which took us and five other couples out for a day of reef-peeking, laying out, and gourmet lunches on the edges of the catamaran. We returned around 3, marveling that we hadn't even been at the resort for a day yet and already it felt like a (wonderful) lifetime!

Highlight so far? Watching B hit his ring hand on just about every rock in the room (think outdoor shower) and anything hard at the resort. Bless his heart, it made him so frustrated. "I keep dinging it!" he'd say. First time for jewelry. He'll learn, dings happen! Nothing you can do.
We spend some time in the afternoons floating around our bay, or taking the Hobie Cat out for a spin, sitting by the gorgeous pool, or just laying in our lounges under the beach hut in front of our villa. Corona Ad, Take 5!

Each night before dinner, B would shower and sit outside with a book or magazine in his fabulous LDB robe with a run cocktail and enjoy the sunset while I got ready. In our newly married life, I've decided we definitely need robes, rum, and a back porch. Always.

That night, we had dinner on the beach, a fabulous thing LDB does where they actually set up a table for you on the beach with tiki torches and white linens...quite possibly the most romantic thing I can imagine. We dined on lobster and steak (and yes, more pina coladas for me) just inches from the water with the stars glowing above us. Heaven.

The other nights, we dined in either the Pavilion (more casual) or the Sugar Mill (adults only, and toes-in-the-sand elegant. During the day, we either ordered room service breakfast or went to the buffet at the Pavilion, and often got lunch at the Beach Grill or packed for us in the picnic baskets that they'd prepare for you. We were on the "Full American" meal plan, which we soon realized was aptly named!

Thursday we did the beach lunch on a remote shore with some of the other people from our resort. They staff went ahead of us, setting up beach umbrellas, a delicious grilled spread, and a steel-drum band. We spent about three hours simply enjoying the music and exploring the beach. The best part? At one point, the sky opened up and rain began to pour down, despite the continued bright rays from the sun. B and I snuggled up under our umbrella and let the rain come. Amazing, and so cozy.

That afternoon, we hiked into town, about a ten minute trek, and "shopped" the yacht club for boats and just peeked into a few stores before watching the sunset over the harbor of Spanish Town.

On Friday, we rented a car and drove the island, all eleven miles of it. We started off with a trip to the Baths, a wonderful beach-and-cave situation that you can explore and enjoy as one of the island's national parks. We had fun climbing around the caves and snapping pictures where we could before packing back in the car and heading off to explore.

When we got back in the car, I rolled down my window to let some of the heat out then realized ten minutes later that, yeah, there was no way it was going back up. Whatever, I'm in for the natural look. Until the rain starts.

Let me paint this picture for you: B's at the wheel, driving the scary, rail-less mountain roads up over Mt. Gorda while rain is beating down on the windshield and I'm helplessly holding up a soon-to-be-soaked beach towel to keep some of the deluge out. I'm laughing, B's telling me to get in the backseat, and then we realize that the wipers are less wipers and more car-wash fringe, carefully smearing the rainwater around the windshield. Classic!

We survive the drive and visit a few other resorts on the island by ferry, then cruise back home, where we are infinitely glad to be after a long, crazy, fun day.

Highlights? Chickens and roosters everywhere, a sign asking that you not release stray dogs or cats into the forest, and a buffet set up (all alone) on the side of the road surrounded by goats. Oh, and the British telephone booth that turned out to be a shower and the "Irish Pub" that played forlorn music the entire time we drank beer at the Bitter End Yacht Club.

We got back in time to change and head out for the sunset cruise around the islands, complete with delicious appetizers and, of course, fabulous drinks. Jimmy, our bar guru throughout the week, was fantastic, saying, "This cooler better be empty when we get back, otherwise, when you buy a beer tomorrow, I'm selling you the same one you already paid for tonight!" Booze cruise, it wasn't, but it was close!

On Saturday, we loaded up for a private beach drop on Mountain Trunk, where we spend a few hours snorkeling, lunching, and reading by ourselves with the gulls and our beach chairs. So peaceful. So perfect.

We spent Saturday and Sunday hanging by the pool and on the beach, soaking up every last drop of sun and coconut milk before packing up and flying home on Monday afternoon. Will, our fabulous captain from before, flew us back over the islands while we toasted with beer (B) and Champagne (me) before landing at the St. Thomas airport, where our roast beef sandwiches were promptly confiscated and we were reduced to "sad sap" status of those waiting to board the plane back to Atlanta. It seemed appropriate that, as we waited to board, they called for zones 2-7, creating a crushing cattle call and thrust us back to the American mindset, away from the peaceful tropical way of life. We hung back and let the others crowd in, eager to enjoy our final few minutes on the islands.

Before I got on the plane, I made B promise that we'd come back, someday, and without the triplets.


cp said...

wow, i really want to take my take home final now... really... sike. i want to go to there. now. without the triplets. but with the hot husband (mine, not yours) in the terry cloth. need to work on that one.

~Z~ said...

Sounds AMAZING. ~;o) I'm glad to finally get the stories to go with the beautiful pictures. I'm happy you guys had such an awesome time.