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Anguilla eXcellent Adventure + SXM Trip Report #20315
06/08/2013 12:07 PM
06/08/2013 12:07 PM
Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 3,455
Virginia wishing STJ
TomB Offline OP
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Pull up a chair under an umbrella and put on your reading glasses this could take awhile.

[Linked Image]

Our vacation included 3 days in St Maarten and 7 in Anguilla. While on vacation I updated a daily blog with pictures and stories of our activities of the day. Here is the link if you would like the whole story with pictures. Anguilla eXcellent Adventure

Like most blogs it goes backwards in time, but if you would like to start at the beginning there is table of contents on the right. Just expand the month of May and you will see the first post. At that point one can page through in chronologically.

The Short Version:

The trip was amazing and we experience so many great things! Here is a recap of the highs and lows.

Lodging:
SXM – Towers in Mullet Bay. The units may be a little tired and could use some attention to AC system, but I would return no question. Crews were busily working on the exterior and the grounds were immaculate. I cannot say more about the staff and how friendly and helpful they were. – Excellent Experience!

AXA – Carimar Beach Resort. I almost do not want to say anything about this beachfront resort and keep it a secret, but that is not fair. A TTOL Board member got us pointed to Carimar, and we are so glad she did. This place was a perfect fit for my wife and me. Absolutely beautiful, great location, the units everything one could ever need or want, staff was over the top. Just look at the pics on the blog. Some people may give it a negative hit because of no pool. Not me – Who needs a stinkin’ pool when the sea 40 paces away. AMAZING!

Before I get started on the about our eating experiences, I should add that it is damn near impossible to find a bad meal in Anguilla. This trip from the get go was about good food and decompression time – Both were had in big spoonfuls.

Food:

Best Find: Bon Appétit (Pelican Key, SXM) - Off the beaten track, but the mussels were Outstanding!

Best Service: (Straw Hat, Meads Bay) – Hands Down! Excellent Food and Outstanding Service made it a magical night.

Best Food: Veya (on the way to Sandy Ground) – The food and wine list just outstanding! Service not so good, but what came out of the kitchen blew me away.

Best Dessert: My wife and I would probably split on this one. She would go with Blanchard’s homemade ice cream – amazing flavors with every bite. Me I would have to go with Dolce Vita’s Tiramisu. Yep it is a classic and every Italian restaurant does it, but the preparation of Dolce Vita’s chef was just excellent. It was a really wanted after a very good meal - right time and right place.

Best Deal: (Which is hard to find in Anguilla) The award goes to: E’s Oven. From the chef’s treat all the way to last bite this meal dollar for bite was hard to beat.

The Single Best Thing I put in my mouth (This is a tough one) – Jacala (Meads Bay) The calamari risotto with provençal flavors truly a culinary delight.

Best Surprise: Picante Mexican Restaurant – Mexican in the gourmet island capital? Absolutely wonderful! The Guacamole and Chips is a must! The food was wonderful, and the meal can be very reasonable if you can stay away from the top shelf margaritas.

Favorite Breakfast Place: Well that would be Geraud’s Patisserie. It is the only place that we tried - Frequent and Often.

Favorite Lunch Place: Blanchard’s Shack – Reasonable and had something for everybody. Treat yourself to a Mango Coloado.

Best Dining Experience: Blanchard’s – The food, service, and ambiance all came together and all were excellent. It did not make the top of any category in my estimation, but was just a wonderful evening. Even better it was a short walk from Carimar.

Things we did I definitely would do again:

Anguilla Day Sail Race - Sounds crazy running around the island to see the next leg of a sailboat race, but I can tell you it was some kind of fun. Plan your vacation for the week of May 30 – you will have a blast. Sure glad we stumbled into it by chance. Plan to make a day of it!

Sunday School with Bankie and Friends – Not sure I have ever had a more relaxing day in my life. Sitting in a shack listen to John Lloyd’s “Springer” beautiful voice and guitar work. When Bankie joined in for a few numbers it was just over the top!

If you are Catholic, a Sunday on Anguilla is not the time to skip Mass. I recommend it to all. Very up lifting and such nice people.

Things which were a little disappointing:

Snorkeling on AXA… I have to say that any day you have a mask on your face and fins on your feet it is a good day. The snorkeling on Anguilla or if you take a day trip to Prickly Pear it is just so-so. However, I would still carry my mask and fins back to Anguilla. If I did not have fins and mask with me, I would have never been able to take the shark picture… Did I get your attention – check blog.

Dune Preserve Monkey – I sure wish they would let the monkey free. Tied up animals or swimming with captured dolphins just doesn’t seem humane to me – IMHO.

Caveat:

I broach this subject as if I was walking on glass, but I do so because it needs to see the light of the day. Before going out to dinner one night we stopped by Elvis’ Beach Bar. It was very slow and it was just us and another couple. My wife and I had one Rum Punch and chatted with the other couple who were newlyweds. After our one drink we left for the restaurant where we had dinner reservations. After one glass of Prosecco, I noticed an immediate change in my wife. Eyes dilated, slurred speech, and just a general feeling something was wrong. By the second course she was no longer under control and extremely uncomfortable. She had only a few sips of the wine we ordered with our dinner and after two strong coffees with dessert, but things were not getting better. We departed the restaurant clueless of what was going on. She was walking like a sailor heading back to the ship after liberty, but we made it to the car safely.

The next day we told the story to a neighbor at Carimar. She later found a similar event at the same place on Trip Advisor (Early May). I was still upset about the event, but uncertain of the how and why. I told the story to a female bartender at another bar a few days later, and with lowered eyes and embarrassed she said it was highly possible that my wife’s drink had been tampered with. I cannot nor will not accuse anyone of what I suspect occurred. So I offer a caveat to all – That when your drink is being made at Elvis’ Beach Bar you watch the process or just avoid it all together. Ladies – Bring a Wing Man!

Wrap up:

Albeit besides the caveat, we had a great trip! Spending a few days in SXM allowed us to slow down to an island tempo before going to the complete decompression state we achieved in AXA.

There were some pretty special people we met along the way who were also visiting the island. AXA is small enough that you keep bumping into each other at the beach, restaurants, or day trips. Those who are lucky enough to call AXA home were so friendly and helpful. Anguillans smile and laugh as much as any group I have ever met.

[Linked Image]

Yes it was an excellent Adventure


“Every time I open a bottle of wine, it is an amazing trip somewhere!” José Andrés
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Re: Anguilla eXcellent Adventure + SXM Trip Report [Re: TomB] #20316
06/09/2013 01:18 AM
06/09/2013 01:18 AM
Joined: Feb 2008
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Las Vegas, NV, USA
Ellen777 Offline
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Your blog was one of the best I have ever read, I am so glad you had such a great trip to my favorite island. And I am sorry to hear about your Elvis encounter. I can only wonder what their motivation is.
We used to travel all over, once we found Anguilla we have not gone anywhere else. We can hardly wait to get there and never want to leave.
Thanks so much for all your time, it was fun to travel along.
Luck to you,
Ellen


Life's a beach
Re: Anguilla eXcellent Adventure + SXM Trip Report [Re: TomB] #20317
06/09/2013 08:46 AM
06/09/2013 08:46 AM
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VIRGINIA
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BEERMAN Offline
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Tom, I really enjoyed following your blog. Nice photo's!! The Elvis drink bothers me <img src="http://www.traveltalkonline.com/forums/images/graemlins/cloud.gif" alt="" /> Our next trip is with 4- 18 year old girls, I WILL be talking to them about not letting their guard down, the wing man rule is the best advice! Aside from this, It looked like a wonderful vacation and seeing your son on the Eagle was priceless <img src="http://www.traveltalkonline.com/forums/images/graemlins/Cheers.gif" alt="" />

Re: Anguilla eXcellent Adventure + SXM Trip Report [Re: BEERMAN] #20318
06/09/2013 11:35 AM
06/09/2013 11:35 AM
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Posts: 3,455
Virginia wishing STJ
TomB Offline OP
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Thanks guys for the nice words.

We still really do not know what or why happened that night. My post was strictly a caveat not an accusation. But Beerman you are correct and prudent to be cautious with the girls on your upcoming trip. Young, and it appears Old, Ladies can be a target. (BTW - I am safe my wife does not play on TTOL <img src="http://www.traveltalkonline.com/forums/images/graemlins/jester.gif" alt="" /> - She would have my butt if she knew I said old.) <img src="http://www.traveltalkonline.com/forums/images/graemlins/jester.gif" alt="" />

Thanks for taking a look and following along.


“Every time I open a bottle of wine, it is an amazing trip somewhere!” José Andrés
Re: Anguilla eXcellent Adventure + SXM Trip Report [Re: TomB] #20319
06/10/2013 08:41 AM
06/10/2013 08:41 AM
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Western MA, USA
Quidam Offline
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Tom, Thanks for the report. I will read the full version shortly.

We also encourage visitors to attend a church service if possible. The way that Anguillans dress and participate makes every Sunday seem like Easter. We have been there for Mother's Day many times and it is an event.

Sorry to hear about the possible spiked drink. Elvis has always been welcoming to us (and we drink beer).

Glad you had a great time. I'm sure you will be back (for 10 days instead of a split vacation?)


Anguilla July 2021
Re: Anguilla eXcellent Adventure + SXM Trip Report [Re: Quidam] #20320
06/11/2013 07:51 AM
06/11/2013 07:51 AM
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TomB Offline OP
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Quidam,

We truly fell in love with Anguilla and the friendly people. It was funny you would mention Easter, because that is exactly what my wife said when we walked out of the Church; "I want to come back for Easter"

As for our one bad experience I still offer just a caveat, because we cannot confirm that is what happened, but it is the only loose end.

Not sure about 10 Days... I am afraid I would never return. I just may buy that house on Meads Bay. Hmmmm... maybe if we get 52 of our friends together we could go in together. <img src="http://www.traveltalkonline.com/forums/images/graemlins/jester.gif" alt="" />

[Linked Image]


“Every time I open a bottle of wine, it is an amazing trip somewhere!” José Andrés
Re: Anguilla eXcellent Adventure + SXM Trip Report [Re: TomB] #20321
06/14/2013 10:25 PM
06/14/2013 10:25 PM
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surf Offline
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Did you try snorkeling at Little Bay?? Nice report


Welcome to Jamrock
Re: Anguilla eXcellent Adventure + SXM Trip Report [Re: surf] #20322
06/15/2013 09:11 AM
06/15/2013 09:11 AM
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TomB Offline OP
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We did not not make it to Little Bay this trip. We have snorkeled there back in 2010 when we came over from SXM for a day. Little Bay is a special place and we enjoyed the snorkel. As I said, anytime I have a mask and fins on - it is a good day.

As general comment it is not as alive other places we have gone.


“Every time I open a bottle of wine, it is an amazing trip somewhere!” José Andrés
Re: Anguilla eXcellent Adventure + SXM Trip Report [Re: TomB] #20323
06/15/2013 02:46 PM
06/15/2013 02:46 PM
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irina Offline
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So the snorkeling in Shoal Bay East was no good also?
Curious.
irina

Re: Anguilla eXcellent Adventure + SXM Trip Report [Re: irina] #20324
06/16/2013 02:24 PM
06/16/2013 02:24 PM
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TomB Offline OP
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irina - "No good" is not what I would say. I had a great snorkel in E Shoal, and even saw a really cool eel, but I have snorkeled in much better places.

If planning a trip to the Caribbean and Snorkeling was Priority 1 - I would not recommend Anguilla.

Beautiful Beaches
Nice People
Great Food
Ultimate Relaxation
Music

Now we are talking Anguilla's strong points.


“Every time I open a bottle of wine, it is an amazing trip somewhere!” José Andrés
Re: Anguilla eXcellent Adventure + SXM Trip Report [Re: TomB] #20325
06/18/2013 01:18 PM
06/18/2013 01:18 PM
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irina Offline
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I think Shoal Bay East was much better 20 years ago. That reef was in good shape back then. But yes, I agree Anguilla and SXM are NOT snorkeling destinations.
Great trip report, thanks
irina

Re: Anguilla eXcellent Adventure + SXM Trip Report [Re: TomB] #20326
07/01/2013 09:53 AM
07/01/2013 09:53 AM
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Wilmington, Delaware
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Loved reading it all...we are headed to AXA for the 1st time in Feb and can't wait! Thanks for sharing:)


all you have to do is smile, smile, smile
Re: Anguilla eXcellent Adventure + SXM Trip Report [Re: LisaMcG] #20327
09/26/2013 06:56 PM
09/26/2013 06:56 PM
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joester Offline
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wow - great blog! maybe we need to consider Anguilla instead of Antigua.....


tener corazón de oro
Re: Anguilla eXcellent Adventure + SXM Trip Report [Re: TomB] #20328
09/27/2013 04:48 PM
09/27/2013 04:48 PM
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I always enjoy reading your trip reports. This time I also really enjoyed your blog. Makes me want to leave--now--for some of that white sand, beautiful water and warm friendly people.

Sue

Re: Anguilla eXcellent Adventure + SXM Trip Report [Re: joester] #20329
09/29/2013 01:44 PM
09/29/2013 01:44 PM
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TomB Offline OP
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Quote
joester said:
wow - great blog! maybe we need to consider Anguilla instead of Antigua.....


If you are looking for a place you never been... Anguilla is a VERY NICE option.

I am ready to return and tomorrow would not be soon enough.


“Every time I open a bottle of wine, it is an amazing trip somewhere!” José Andrés
Re: Anguilla eXcellent Adventure + SXM Trip Report [Re: TomB] #20330
10/09/2013 04:17 AM
10/09/2013 04:17 AM
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Ellen777 Offline
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Yes, agree, Tom wrote a terrific trip report, loved every minute of it. Now you need to go back Tom, so we can enjoy more of your adventures.


Life's a beach
Re: Anguilla eXcellent Adventure + SXM Trip Report [Re: Ellen777] #20331
10/09/2013 09:31 AM
10/09/2013 09:31 AM
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TomB Offline OP
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In the process of some major remodeling on the house so no trips in the immediate future... unless... I win the Anguilla Beaches Bright Lights Contest!

A good cause with good odds (when compared to Power Ball)

I have a strong feeling that I may be returning to Anguilla before Christmas <img src="http://www.traveltalkonline.com/forums/images/graemlins/Grin.gif" alt="" />

Little twist on the Blues Brothers: It is 1700 miles to Blue Water and White Beaches...We have two suitcases, a bunch of frequent flyer miles and 30 chances with our name on it. <img src="http://www.traveltalkonline.com/forums/images/graemlins/Clapping.gif" alt="" /> <img src="http://www.traveltalkonline.com/forums/images/graemlins/Clapping.gif" alt="" /> Let's Hit It!

Last edited by TomB; 10/09/2013 09:33 AM.

“Every time I open a bottle of wine, it is an amazing trip somewhere!” José Andrés
Re: Anguilla eXcellent Adventure + SXM Trip Report [Re: TomB] #20332
10/10/2013 07:01 AM
10/10/2013 07:01 AM
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 14,653
Brookfield, CT.
pat Offline
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Tom,

While it doesn't appeal to everyone, we feel the exact same way about Anguilla.

It's heaven on earth IMO and for anyone who hasn't been there, it really is worth a look/see and your blog is perhaps the first step for many.

And I truly doubt it will EVER go the way of St. Martin/Sint Maarten and that is a good thing in my book. And I do love St. Maarten, too, but I think the entire Island lost its way with all the over-development, none of which stops us from visiting a few times a year.


Respectfully,

pat



"Always keep your words soft and sweet, just in case you have to eat
them."
Re: Anguilla eXcellent Adventure + SXM Trip Report [Re: pat] #20333
10/11/2013 07:43 AM
10/11/2013 07:43 AM
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TomB Offline OP
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Quote
pat said:


(Anguilla) And I truly doubt it will EVER go the way of St. Martin/Sint Maarten and that is a good thing in my book. And I do love St. Maarten, too, but I think the entire Island lost its way with all the over-development, none of which stops us from visiting a few times a year.


That topic could be a thread that would go on forever. The changes in SXM in the last 25 years have been overwhelming.

It is interesting to me how each island has handled or managed their growth as the demands from the hordes in the North (that be us)continues to increase. And I think will continue to increase in the coming the years.


“Every time I open a bottle of wine, it is an amazing trip somewhere!” José Andrés
Re: Anguilla eXcellent Adventure + SXM Trip Report [Re: TomB] #20334
10/12/2013 04:59 PM
10/12/2013 04:59 PM
Joined: Apr 2001
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Brookfield, CT.
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You couldn't be more right about that, Tom, and if you think 25 years has brought changes, try 40. It's a shame to many of us 'old-timers' to see the island as it is today but sadly, to those who come behind us and didn't know it 'back in the day' they are just as enchanted at the concrete and glitz as we were with the pan music and the donkeys and all the low-rise hotel rooms. May not like it but I do get it.

We used to stay on the ground floor of a two story mostly wooden building and now we stay on the 7th floor of a concrete and steel high-rise, so let she who is without sin.......

I guess it's a matter of perspective and my hope is that Anguilla holds fast to its promise of maintaining a true Caribbean island atmosphere. At least the ocean and the sands are fairly constant.

Time will tell, won't it.... <img src="http://www.traveltalkonline.com/forums/images/graemlins/handshake.gif" alt="" /> <img src="http://www.traveltalkonline.com/forums/images/graemlins/handshake.gif" alt="" />


Respectfully,

pat



"Always keep your words soft and sweet, just in case you have to eat
them."
Re: Anguilla eXcellent Adventure + SXM Trip Report [Re: pat] #20335
10/13/2013 05:12 PM
10/13/2013 05:12 PM
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Ellen777 Offline
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No Pat, sadly, they want more development, fast food joints, jet skis and maybe even casinos. I am thankful I knew it when, happy that the locals will get more income, sad that my paradise is rapidly changing.


Life's a beach
Re: Anguilla eXcellent Adventure + SXM Trip Report [Re: Ellen777] #20336
10/16/2013 10:24 PM
10/16/2013 10:24 PM
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michelpr Offline
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Tom - thanks for sharing this wonderful blog. I was riding the fence on Anguilla. Now I want to go so badly. A little worried about our food budget. I have so enjoyed all your pictures and information. We have air miles too and plan to use them to go there (at least part of the time). Thanks so much.

Re: Anguilla eXcellent Adventure + SXM Trip Report [Re: michelpr] #20337
10/17/2013 09:28 AM
10/17/2013 09:28 AM
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Western MA, USA
Quidam Offline
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Michel,
Don't let a food budget worry you. While Anguilla is know for its high end dining, there are plenty of local places where you can get a great meal for little $$. Once you make you plans we will fill up your dining schedule for you!

Visit anguillaforum.com for more Anguilla info.


Anguilla July 2021
Re: Anguilla eXcellent Adventure + SXM Trip Report [Re: michelpr] #20338
10/17/2013 10:18 AM
10/17/2013 10:18 AM
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Posts: 3,455
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TomB Offline OP
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Michel,

Food and Wine is our hobby - maybe passion is a better word. We went to Anguilla with a budget set aside for high end dining and wine - and we did just that! We enjoy it so much that we exceeded our budget and I did not care.

Do not worry you will not starve there are other many options for food on the island that are not over the top. <img src="http://www.traveltalkonline.com/forums/images/graemlins/Wink.gif" alt="" />

I will be watching for Quidam's recommendations because next time we will probably not have a budget for a gourmet gastronomic getaway. In fact our place at Carimar had a wonderful kitchen which was well stocked and the only thing we used was the coffee maker. When we vacation we usually do a lot of our own cooking, and only go out a couple times during the week.

However do bring something casual but elegant for at least one fine dining experience. <img src="http://www.traveltalkonline.com/forums/images/graemlins/Clapping.gif" alt="" />


“Every time I open a bottle of wine, it is an amazing trip somewhere!” José Andrés
Re: Anguilla eXcellent Adventure + SXM Trip Report [Re: TomB] #20339
10/26/2013 04:32 PM
10/26/2013 04:32 PM
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Posts: 588
Las Vegas, NV, USA
Ellen777 Offline
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Tom - good luck - great odds for a good cause! Worth a shot! <img src="http://www.traveltalkonline.com/forums/images/graemlins/Groovin.gif" alt="" />

Quote
TomB said:
In the process of some major remodeling on the house so no trips in the immediate future... unless... I win the Anguilla Beaches Bright Lights Contest!

A good cause with good odds (when compared to Power Ball)

I have a strong feeling that I may be returning to Anguilla before Christmas <img src="http://www.traveltalkonline.com/forums/images/graemlins/Grin.gif" alt="" />

Little twist on the Blues Brothers: It is 1700 miles to Blue Water and White Beaches...We have two suitcases, a bunch of frequent flyer miles and 30 chances with our name on it. <img src="http://www.traveltalkonline.com/forums/images/graemlins/Clapping.gif" alt="" /> <img src="http://www.traveltalkonline.com/forums/images/graemlins/Clapping.gif" alt="" /> Let's Hit It!


Life's a beach
Re: Anguilla eXcellent Adventure + SXM Trip Report [Re: Ellen777] #20340
10/27/2013 09:52 PM
10/27/2013 09:52 PM
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TomB Offline OP
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Well it is a two bedroom at Carimar...
We could double our odds <img src="http://www.traveltalkonline.com/forums/images/graemlins/Wink.gif" alt="" />


“Every time I open a bottle of wine, it is an amazing trip somewhere!” José Andrés
Re: Anguilla eXcellent Adventure + SXM Trip Report [Re: TomB] #20341
10/31/2013 11:39 PM
10/31/2013 11:39 PM
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Las Vegas, NV, USA
Ellen777 Offline
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Hey Tom, win or lose, you did a good thing to help someone, thanks for taking the time to enter.


Life's a beach

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