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Trip Report Days 1-3 #240185
11/18/2020 05:45 PM
11/18/2020 05:45 PM
Joined: Feb 2009
Posts: 76
Atlanta, GA
BenP Offline OP
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BenP  Offline OP
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Joined: Feb 2009
Posts: 76
Atlanta, GA
I’ll try and keep this nice and tidy so you all will get a little taste of our travels and hopefully know what to expect if and when your plans allow you back on SXM.

My wife and I have been coming off and on to SXM for 20 years. We first started as day trippers coming from Anguilla and eventually started staying for our week long vacations primarily on the French side. Once we found Grand Case it was game over for us. Great restaurants within walking distance from VRBO places and then with the arrival of Airbnb we could usually find a place that fit our family needs. Sometimes with our kids and sometimes without now that they’re grown and living their best lives.

We usually hit the beach of the day around 9am, bake in the sun, read, eat lunch and then back to our villa by 3pm. Relax, adult beverages at 5pm and dinner around 6pm. Evening’s are spent enjoying the quiet time together listening to the waves lap at the shore. As the shampoo bottle says “rinse and repeat”

Day 1(11/14) Arrived from Atlanta at 2:50 (on time) and made our way to immigration. The normal shuttle bus ride from the aircraft to the terminal was about half as packed as the normal sardine-like ride. I’m not sure the number of buses they used but it was an obvious attempt to limit the exposure due to COVID-19 I’m sure. A quick temperature check while we waited in line and then we were sent to a health screening table where we showed our pre-approval document and lab results. We then went through immigration in record time. Lesley met us with our car and we were off to our villa in Grand Case. We’re staying on the south side of town, a little too far to walk to our restaurants but a very short drive. First night’s dinner is Papadan’s Pizza in Mt. Vernon. Awesome thin crust pizza! Charred crust with pepperoni and mushrooms hits the spot every time.

Day 2 (11/15) Spent the day at Orient Bay at Le String Beach Bar. $20 US for two chairs, umbrella and two drinks. Jean (formerly at Rainbow Cafe) runs the beach service. He said he’s helping out until December when Rainbow Cafe should reopen. Lunch was okay but nothing fancy. My wife and I shared some fried mozzarella sticks and a avocado-crab roll. Dinner was at La Villa in Grand Case. I had the John Dory encrusted in almonds and butter. It was just as good as the last time! Molten chocolate cake with vanilla ice cream for desert, fabulous! Maria had the vegetable tart and finished with pistachio creme brûlée which made her very happy.

Day 3 (11/16) We drove to Karakter’s for the day. It’s a great beach experience if you’ve never been. Very laid back atmosphere with the kitchen being operated out of an old bus. Lunch was Tuna tartar served with a salad and fries. Their food is always fresh and tasty. They’re going to starting a new VIP type experience very soon on the large structure adjacent to their current bar. It’s a huge deck with private cabanas and private showers. Your cabana will include a private chef and champagne. The cost for the day will be $250 but the food will be extra. Details are supposed to be on their Facebook page soon. We stopped at the Carefour market in Cole Bay on our way home and picked up some salami, Brie and a baguette for dinner. It was our “cheap” night and tasted great. Everything taste better when you’re looking at your private bay with the lights of Anguilla as a back drop.

Day 4 (11/17) Drove to Friars Bay but nobody was open. Disappointed since it’s a nice quiet beach and the chairs are free as long as you eat at the restaurant. Drive back to Orient Bay and went to Bikini Beach for the day $20 euro for 2 chairs, 2 tables and a umbrella. Lunch was excellent! I had the fish sandwich with fries and Maria had the antipasti salad which looked incredible! It was a pesto covered burrata on a bed of greens with artichoke hearts, prosciutto, roasted peppers, beets and assorted fruits. Dinner was going to be back in Grand Case at Piazza Pascal but it has changed hands and become Il Patio. The new owners changed the name two weeks ago as well as the menu. The chef was brought in from Italy and they really do a good job. The restaurant seating is still the same upstairs open air patio arrangement with Italian music piped in over the speakers. I had the Calabrese pizza and was impressed. Thin charred crust, spicy tomato sauce, Italian sausage, grilled peppers and black olives. My wife had the Tagliolini, which was mouth watering! We both had the Tiramisu for desert which was both light and rich. We were not disappointed.

Sorry I haven’t figured a way to share photos yet. I’ll keep working on it and hopefully have a way to get them posted before we leave. More to come.

SXM Sponsors
Re: Trip Report Days 1-3 [Re: BenP] #240187
11/18/2020 05:57 PM
11/18/2020 05:57 PM
Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 16,433
Auburn, WA
SXMScubaman Offline
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SXMScubaman  Offline
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Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 16,433
Auburn, WA
"The cost for the day will be $250 but the food will be extra."
WOW. Not for me.

Re: Trip Report Days 1-3 [Re: BenP] #240193
11/18/2020 06:31 PM
11/18/2020 06:31 PM
Joined: Mar 2001
Posts: 16,749
Ohio
ruralcarrier Offline
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ruralcarrier  Offline
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Posts: 16,749
Ohio
Thanks for the report, looking forward to more. The first night pizza sounds excellent.


J.D.
Re: Trip Report Days 1-3 [Re: BenP] #240237
11/19/2020 10:30 AM
11/19/2020 10:30 AM
Joined: Apr 2008
Posts: 2,748
Connecticut
The_Lurker Offline
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The_Lurker  Offline
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Posts: 2,748
Connecticut
Quote {We usually hit the beach of the day around 9am, bake in the sun, read, eat lunch and then back to our villa by 3pm. Relax, adult beverages at 5pm and dinner around 6pm. Evening’s are spent enjoying the quiet time together listening to the waves lap at the shore. As the shampoo bottle says “rinse and repeat”}



This sounds like our kind of day in SXM.
Enjoyed your report!!!
wink



Re: Trip Report Days 1-3 [Re: BenP] #240243
11/19/2020 11:32 AM
11/19/2020 11:32 AM
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 14,102
Brookfield, CT.
pat Offline
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pat  Offline
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Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 14,102
Brookfield, CT.
Ben,

TY for taking the time and making the effort to do such a nice trip write-up - lots of ideas for future visits.

With ref. to Friars Bay, are you referring to FBBC and are you certain about the free chairs with meal purchase? In past years visits I know that was always the case but within the last year or so I recall reading they were charging like ten dollars for chairs even with meal purchase. I wondered at the time if that was for chairs or for the mattresses since their chairs were the hard plastic type but I never asked the poster at the time. IMHO, either way it was still a good deal and we love FBBC food.

Again, many thanks and looking forward to future installments.


Respectfully,

pat



"Always keep your words soft and sweet, just in case you have to eat
them."
Re: Trip Report Days 1-3 [Re: BenP] #240244
11/19/2020 11:51 AM
11/19/2020 11:51 AM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 79,021
Central Florida!
Carol_Hill Offline
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Carol_Hill  Offline
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Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 79,021
Central Florida!
Thanks for the beginning of the report. Sounds lovely so far. Looking forward to hearing more, for sure!

That Karakter deal sounds a little expensive to me also.

With regard to pictures, it really is very easy. Click on "use full editor". Then click on Attachment Manager, select files to attach and Voila!!


Carol Hill
Re: Trip Report Days 1-3 [Re: BenP] #240249
11/19/2020 12:27 PM
11/19/2020 12:27 PM
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 14,102
Brookfield, CT.
pat Offline
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pat  Offline
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Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 14,102
Brookfield, CT.
There will always be those willing to pay simply to 'see and be seen' but as far as I'm concerned, it's the same beach and I sure wouldn't pay that kind of money.

I'm still surprised they were granted the right to build a structure that sounds like it's pretty good-sized right there on that particular beach, particularly with showers and such. Can't help but worry about the environmental sustainability but I'm sure the people who granted the permits took all that into consideration. Yeah! Right! We were on the beach the day they made Jorritt rip out his deck because of lack of appropriate permits and his enlarged deck encroaching onto the beach and damaging it.


Respectfully,

pat



"Always keep your words soft and sweet, just in case you have to eat
them."
Re: Trip Report Days 1-3 [Re: pat] #240265
11/19/2020 02:53 PM
11/19/2020 02:53 PM
Joined: Feb 2009
Posts: 76
Atlanta, GA
BenP Offline OP
Traveler
BenP  Offline OP
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Joined: Feb 2009
Posts: 76
Atlanta, GA
Pat, your memory is better than mine! The cost was $10 if you ate at the restaurant for the chairs. The chairs are aluminum with the mesh material covering them, no cushions. I'm thankful for the member who posted yesterday about them being closed Monday and Tuesday when they were here or I wouldn't have gone back to see if they were open again. The road looks to be rougher than I remember especially the last 1/4 mile or so.

The Friars Bay Sailing School was in full force today as well! Looked to be about 20 middle school age kids learning to sail. The beach was really quiet until about 11am with only a couple of other families there. The restaurant got a pretty good lunch crowd considering the lack of people at the beach. There were probably as many people laying on their towels in between the FBBC and the other restaurant that's closed as there were in the chairs.

Another gorgeous weather day!

Re: Trip Report Days 1-3 [Re: Carol_Hill] #240266
11/19/2020 02:55 PM
11/19/2020 02:55 PM
Joined: Feb 2009
Posts: 76
Atlanta, GA
BenP Offline OP
Traveler
BenP  Offline OP
Traveler
Joined: Feb 2009
Posts: 76
Atlanta, GA
Thanks Carol for the picture posting advice!

No excuses on my next installment!

Re: Trip Report Days 1-3 [Re: BenP] #240267
11/19/2020 02:56 PM
11/19/2020 02:56 PM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 79,021
Central Florida!
Carol_Hill Offline
Traveler
Carol_Hill  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 79,021
Central Florida!
I have an ulterior motive--just want to see some pictures! smile


Carol Hill
Re: Trip Report Days 1-3 [Re: BenP] #240280
11/19/2020 07:11 PM
11/19/2020 07:11 PM
Joined: Feb 2006
Posts: 1,056
PA
biglar Offline
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biglar  Offline
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Joined: Feb 2006
Posts: 1,056
PA
You're really making me jealous! We aren't coming until April! Keep up the writing. Makes me feel as if I'm right on the beach with you.

Re: Trip Report Days 1-3 [Re: BenP] #240310
11/20/2020 10:57 AM
11/20/2020 10:57 AM
Joined: Jul 2001
Posts: 7,129
St Louis, MO
SXMNorm Offline
Traveler
SXMNorm  Offline
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Joined: Jul 2001
Posts: 7,129
St Louis, MO
Thanks for taking time to post. Looking forward to pics and rest of report.


Next SXM visit - January/February 2022
Re: Trip Report Days 1-3 [Re: BenP] #240348
11/20/2020 03:33 PM
11/20/2020 03:33 PM
Joined: Feb 2009
Posts: 76
Atlanta, GA
BenP Offline OP
Traveler
BenP  Offline OP
Traveler
Joined: Feb 2009
Posts: 76
Atlanta, GA
First time posting photos so let’s see how they come out. Should be Le String, Karakter’s, Friar’s Bay, Il Patio plus a couple of photos from our balcony in Grand Case.

Attached Files 64755CEB-095F-4FD8-B586-53B225564EF0.jpeg58012586-9BD5-41C9-937D-C8FF3996EFC9.jpeg53B63267-774C-494C-9239-FDD8DD9C5714.jpegDA512CDA-B745-42F3-B513-FAF9C313EFB0.jpeg57734DE2-F7FF-4E02-9DDB-C8C5988008EB.jpegE3485531-1D85-4101-8C34-62924430CFA5.jpeg
Re: Trip Report Days 1-3 [Re: BenP] #240350
11/20/2020 03:43 PM
11/20/2020 03:43 PM
Joined: Feb 2009
Posts: 76
Atlanta, GA
BenP Offline OP
Traveler
BenP  Offline OP
Traveler
Joined: Feb 2009
Posts: 76
Atlanta, GA
Top left obviously is Le String, the next photo is is entrance to Il Patio to the right of Voila!! (freshly paved street in Grand Case!), Beach view from Karakter’s, Tuna tartar from Karakter’s was ridiculously good!, Friar’s Bay view, view from our balcony in Grand Case.

Re: Trip Report Days 1-3 [Re: BenP] #240351
11/20/2020 03:45 PM
11/20/2020 03:45 PM
Joined: Dec 2004
Posts: 4,793
Massachusetts
boucharda Offline
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boucharda  Offline
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Joined: Dec 2004
Posts: 4,793
Massachusetts
Nice...easily rotated

Re: Trip Report Days 1-3 [Re: BenP] #240352
11/20/2020 03:45 PM
11/20/2020 03:45 PM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 79,021
Central Florida!
Carol_Hill Offline
Traveler
Carol_Hill  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 79,021
Central Florida!
Thanks for the pictures. Good thing we can flip them by clicking on them! grin A lot of people have problems with that, I'm not sure why.. The one with the kind of green chairs, I swear though, I never could figure out the correct way to display it!! grin


Carol Hill
Re: Trip Report Days 1-3 [Re: BenP] #240354
11/20/2020 03:55 PM
11/20/2020 03:55 PM
Joined: Feb 2009
Posts: 76
Atlanta, GA
BenP Offline OP
Traveler
BenP  Offline OP
Traveler
Joined: Feb 2009
Posts: 76
Atlanta, GA
I think I took the Friar's Bay photo standing on one leg balancing a spicy bloody mary in my other hand!

I wonder why the Karakter's photo posted upside down.....I definitely did not try that!

Re: Trip Report Days 1-3 [Re: BenP] #240358
11/20/2020 04:01 PM
11/20/2020 04:01 PM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 79,021
Central Florida!
Carol_Hill Offline
Traveler
Carol_Hill  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 79,021
Central Florida!
OK, re Friar's Bay. The Karakter one, not sure about.

Last edited by Carol_Hill; 11/20/2020 04:02 PM.

Carol Hill
Re: Trip Report Days 1-3 [Re: BenP] #240372
11/20/2020 07:48 PM
11/20/2020 07:48 PM
Joined: May 2002
Posts: 4,745
Kennys Offline
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Kennys  Offline
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Joined: May 2002
Posts: 4,745
Do enjoy your stay .

Re: Trip Report Days 1-3 [Re: BenP] #240381
11/20/2020 10:12 PM
11/20/2020 10:12 PM
Joined: Feb 2011
Posts: 157
Virginia Beach, VA USA
B
barryvabeach Offline
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barryvabeach  Offline
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B
Joined: Feb 2011
Posts: 157
Virginia Beach, VA USA
Ben, thanks for the post. We have reservations for Feb further up the beach near Rainbow, and are still on the fence about whether to go. BTW, our first visit to SXM, we stayed in Simpson's Bay, second visit Mt. Vernon . Once we found Grand Case, I can't think of a nicer place to stay - the beach is nice, and walking to dinner is a joy.

Re: Trip Report Days 1-3 [Re: BenP] #240388
11/21/2020 08:05 AM
11/21/2020 08:05 AM
Joined: Feb 2009
Posts: 76
Atlanta, GA
BenP Offline OP
Traveler
BenP  Offline OP
Traveler
Joined: Feb 2009
Posts: 76
Atlanta, GA
Barry,

We couldn’t agree more! The new pavement, not only down along restaurant row area, but also the last mile coming into town from Marigot really freshens the area up. That “little triangle” where the downtown road hits the main road is still in disarray as of yesterday. There was a concrete truck up there near Rainbow but I couldn’t tell what they were doing.

Enjoy your stay!

Attached Files C44897C7-B25A-42EE-B02B-17A4C5F47D07.jpeg
Re: Trip Report Days 1-3 [Re: BenP] #240391
11/21/2020 09:03 AM
11/21/2020 09:03 AM
Joined: Feb 2011
Posts: 157
Virginia Beach, VA USA
B
barryvabeach Offline
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barryvabeach  Offline
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B
Joined: Feb 2011
Posts: 157
Virginia Beach, VA USA
Ben, thanks. While we stay near Rainbow, I normally walk all the way down to the rocks on the southern end each day, so I am sure I have passed by where you are staying many times. Hope you enjoy your stay.


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