Well……here goes. Been to St. Martin multiple times but have never posted a trip report. I hope it will not be too disjointed. Also, we didn’t take many photos. Sorry. We just don’t like carrying our cell phone when we are out and about.
Flights- Took Delta both ways from Portland, Maine. No issues to speak of. On the flight back (the 27th) we were late into Atlanta because of being re-routed. Apparently, there was some severe weather off the east coast so we zigged and zagged our way up from the southwest. Haven’t had to sprint from one terminal to another in a long time. Made for a VERY close connection to our Portland flight.
Lodging- Stayed for the first time (and our last) at Mount Vernon 1. Rented a condo through VRBO. There were some good things about it……………Good location to access the Orient Bay area and beach. The pool was very nice. We had been told it had been upgraded and it was well done. Last, but not least, it was inexpensive (which is why we booked there in the first place). Having said all of that, it had issues as well. The place is just depressing. The buildings desperately need repair and painting. The parking situation is horrendous. It’s situated on a hill and you are walking up and down whether you are going to the pool or the parking lot (which feels like its a quarter mile from the top units). Finally, lots of cats and dogs roaming around. I like animals fine but there were just too many hanging around all of the units. Felt sorry for them. In closing, we knew (sorta) what we were getting into when we booked because of the price, but will look for something else next time we go.
Weather – We were there for 10 days (April 17th through the 27th). We had a couple of days when it was pretty windy but overall had no complaints. Even though it had been predicted to rain several days toward the end of our stay, it actually didn’t rain on us until our very last morning. You just can never predict what its going to do.
General Island Impressions – We stayed on the French side for the entirety of our visit. Typically we go to Philipsburg at least once during our stay but didn’t want to deal with the Carnival crowds this time. The island looked great. Very green and lots of blooming flowers in the Orient area. Had been reading on TTOL this past fall about the drought situation but fortunately didn’t see any long term effects. This may sound odd but Julie and I both felt safer this time than in past visits. Can’t really say why exactly. I will say it felt like there were less people on the island than in past visits (and this is the same time of year we always come). Also, I had prepared myself for the crazy motor scooters but it wasn’t nearly as bad as I had expected. Again, just fewer of them on the road than in the past.
Meals - Ah……. The food. We visited a lot of our regular haunts but had also decided to seek out new destinations. Discovered a place called Le Taitu on Mount Vernon Road (just before Sol e Luna). It was fabulous. Same owner for 25 years. Not sure how we missed it in the past, but it will be a regular stop in the future. Classic Creole style with incredibly fresh seafood. Very reasonable prices as well. Pirate Hideaway – On Orient Beach just down from Orange Fever. The owner (Gillian) is a treat to visit with. She also serves classic Creole cuisine. I had oxtail stew the first time and it was as good as I’ve ever had. Julie had the fish of the day with a creole sauce and rice and beans. Yum. Gillian will also fix you breakfast (which we did on our last morning). No menu for breakfast; just show up after 9:00 and she’ll take care of you. Al Dente – Went here based on the TTOL recommendations. Their lasagna is to die for (enough said). Will definitely go again. Hidden Garden – Grand Case. Again, went on the suggestion of TTOL reviews. Went on Sunday night when they had live music. Got our beef fix for the week. Nice young couple that really are committed to your having a great experience. We also visited some our past favorites; Bistro Caribes, Piazza Pascal (got to meet Donna’s new grandbaby) and La Villa. Each was just as good as we had experienced during past visits. Finally, I wasn’t going to say anything about it but I have to comment on our experience at Orange Fever. It wasn’t good. The service was terrible and the food was not as I had remembered. We went for lunch on Wednesday and it took over 2 hours. As I say, I wasn’t going to comment on it but over the course of the next 3 days I had 2 other couples we met on the beach talk about how bad it had become. It’s a shame, but we won’t go back.
Whew………………….this got to be a lot longer than I intended. All said and done, we had a fabulous time. Home now and getting for our summer season here in Maine. Can’t wait until we are planning our next trip.