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Trip Report part 2 Feb 21 - 23, Simpson Bay and Grand Case #185143
02/23/2019 12:41 PM
02/23/2019 12:41 PM
Joined: Feb 2011
Posts: 41
Virginia Beach, VA USA
B
barryvabeach Offline OP
Traveler
barryvabeach  Offline OP
Traveler
B
Joined: Feb 2011
Posts: 41
Virginia Beach, VA USA
So this is part two. I think I left off spending midday at Karakters. Due to some miscommunication and poor planning, we left there early in the afternoon to go back to Grand Case, shower, then return to Simpson Bay area for dinner. The trip back to Grand Case took maybe 20 minutes, and we left Grand Case around 5 and got to the causeway maybe 25 to 30 minutes later. By the time we got off the causeway, cars were stopped up to the traffic circle in both directions - actually, cars were at a standstill going the other way on the causeway. We weren't too concerned because we saw a mast go by and assumed the bridge was opening. Shortly after that we saw cars going the other way, so we thought the bridge must be open and we would be rolling soon. Well, it took until about 7 pm to get over the bridge - traffic was just at a standstil - never figured out why. We finally parked and walked the last few hundred feet to Toppers, since it was quicker than driving. Topper and his wife were busy working the room - they were having a band or a show, so the main dining room was sold out, but they had narrow tables opposite the bar and we ate there. Drinks were good, and the food was pretty good bar food.

The next day we stayed in Grand Case for the beach, then went to Al Dente in Cul de Sac. We got there shortly before 6, and there was a group of 8 waiting at a table outside the front door. They said they had been there several times before and the food was good. There was no sign on the door, but they said they guessed it would open at 6. When it didn't open by 6:15 we went back to Grand Case and ate at Blue Martini. It seems like more of a bar than a restaurant, but it is pretty interesting setting, mostly outside, though some areas had fabric panels above them, and others had tin roof. They also had a large jinja game, an a Christmas Tree shaped out of Heinkin bottles. The menu seemed pretty limited, so check it before you go, but I had the tuna with sesame seeds, and my wife had the vegan burger, and both were excellent.

Today we set out for some other beaches. We went to Grand Cayes - a little tough to find, though it appears to be near the recycling area. It was pretty windy, and some algae had blown up on the beach, and so we decided to move on. We then went to Anse Marcel. The last time we were there , there was a hotel on the right side, and restaurant in the middle , and a public section of the beach to the left. It looks like nearly everything was wiped clean. The beach club is totally rebuilt, though I think it is much further back, they were renting chairs at $22 for two chairs and an umbrella. We did not want to go to the beach club, so we brought chairs and went to the public side, which did not have very much sand exposed, the water came right up to the fence in most of the area.

I am having trouble uploading photos, but this is the view from the public area. [img]https://photos.app.goo.gl/vj9MbESnraeYBMP9A[/img]

It got cloudy, so we came back to Grand Case. Grand Case has one bakery on the main road ( it says N7 on Google Maps ) but I prefer the bakery Bon Pain on Rue de Escoles - which is the side street that leads into Boulevard de Grand Case at Bistrot Caribes. The staff person was very friendly and as we were paying for our items and we getting ready to leave she asked how long we were staying. When we said we were leaving tomorrow, she said wait, I must give you something and gave us an extra croissant . While that was nice enough, we were a little distracted when we left , and left behind a coke. We were walking down Grand Case boulevard a few minutes later when a car stopped, and the driver asked if we were the couple that had just left the bakery - he told us that we had left our coke behind. People say it is a friendly island, and with that I agree.

I think this is my last update, since we are going back to Piazza Pascual for dinner tonight.

Overall, I think the island has come quite a long way. My wife was concerned that she would be too depressed by all the devastation, but that did not happen. While there are many areas that are still devastated, the housing near Anse Marcel appears to being completely reconstructed, there were other areas that did not look that much different from 2017 when we were last here. The people are as friendly as ever, and they certainly can use the tourism dollars. At no time did we feel unsafe, and while I may be mistaken, it appears that they have greatly speed up the arrival process at the airport - we got through immigration long before our luggage made it to the pick up area.

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Re: Trip Report part 2 Feb 21 - 23, Simpson Bay and Grand Case [Re: barryvabeach] #185145
02/23/2019 12:50 PM
02/23/2019 12:50 PM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 69,723
Central Florida!
Carol_Hill Offline
Traveler
Carol_Hill  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 69,723
Central Florida!
Thanks for the reports. Sometimes traffic just STOPS and it seems there is no reason for it.. Glad you're having a good trip. Safe travels home!


Carol Hill
Re: Trip Report part 2 Feb 21 - 23, Simpson Bay and Grand Case [Re: barryvabeach] #185148
02/23/2019 01:15 PM
02/23/2019 01:15 PM
Joined: Apr 2005
Posts: 6,407
Long Island, New York
sxmmartini Offline
Traveler
sxmmartini  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Apr 2005
Posts: 6,407
Long Island, New York
Thanks for the trip report. Sorry you missed Al Dente not sure what the restaurant hours are?


"I generally avoid temptation unless I can't resist it." Mae West
Re: Trip Report part 2 Feb 21 - 23, Simpson Bay and Grand Case [Re: barryvabeach] #185165
02/23/2019 03:13 PM
02/23/2019 03:13 PM
Joined: Feb 2007
Posts: 3,236
Rhode Island
RonDon Offline
Traveler
RonDon  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Feb 2007
Posts: 3,236
Rhode Island
If that was on Thursday the causeway closed 8pm -12 that may have added to traffic. But as Carol posted; sometimes traffic stops for unknown reason

Re: Trip Report part 2 Feb 21 - 23, Simpson Bay and Grand Case [Re: sxmmartini] #185176
02/23/2019 04:24 PM
02/23/2019 04:24 PM
Joined: Mar 2017
Posts: 458
Maine
SXMbeacher Offline
Traveler
SXMbeacher  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Mar 2017
Posts: 458
Maine
We arrived at Al Denta around 6:15, and walked in to an empty house. The, French waiter? that has been there for a few years, told us they opened at 6:30, but invited us in and took our drink order. This was in 2017. We have always had that particular waiter, and his service and the food has always been excellent.

P.S. Thanks barryvabeach for your informative trip reports



[Linked Image]


Re: Trip Report part 2 Feb 21 - 23, Simpson Bay and Grand Case [Re: barryvabeach] #185361
02/25/2019 08:54 AM
02/25/2019 08:54 AM
Joined: Jan 2008
Posts: 141
New Jersey
filet2u Offline
Traveler
filet2u  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Jan 2008
Posts: 141
New Jersey
We are leaving Sunday and can't wait we too were concerned... is there anything we can bring that they need on the island... other than tourist dollars.?


People ask me why St Martin I say the best food the best beaches. Two different experiences on the same island
Re: Trip Report part 2 Feb 21 - 23, Simpson Bay and Grand Case [Re: filet2u] #185364
02/25/2019 09:03 AM
02/25/2019 09:03 AM
Joined: Sep 2003
Posts: 17,026
St Maarten
BillandElaine Offline
Traveler
BillandElaine  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Sep 2003
Posts: 17,026
St Maarten
Everything we need can be bought on the island. I know someone who desperately needs a pair of size 13 shoes. Young adults leaving orphanages need furniture, kitchen stuff. The possibilities are endless.


Elaine
*********************************
God Bless the broken road....
Re: Trip Report part 2 Feb 21 - 23, Simpson Bay and Grand Case [Re: barryvabeach] #185368
02/25/2019 09:16 AM
02/25/2019 09:16 AM
Joined: Jul 2001
Posts: 6,978
St Louis, MO
SXMNorm Offline
Traveler
SXMNorm  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Jul 2001
Posts: 6,978
St Louis, MO
Thanks for the report. We also encountered that stand still traffic. Never could figure it out.


Next SXM visit - October 25-Nov8, 2019, Jan23-Feb11, 2020

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