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Trip Report in Progress #236191
10/05/2020 11:05 AM
10/05/2020 11:05 AM
Joined: Sep 2004
Posts: 254
F
freedomfighter Offline OP
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freedomfighter  Offline OP
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F
Joined: Sep 2004
Posts: 254
Hello All, We are FINALLY on the island! Had to push back our reservations 3 times since May, but we made it.

My wife and I, and our best friends scheduled our Covid tests on September 21st, for tests to take place on Monday, Sept. 28th at Passport Health in Sarasota, Fl.. We had our results by 8 pm on Tuesday, filled out the online form and uploaded our test results to the SXM portal. Within an hour we had our approval for entry into St Martin. Left home on Thursday, drove to Miami and stayed at EB Hotel, where we had booked a park and fly package (https://www.ebhotels.com/miami/packages). Hotel was very nice, I would reccomend it. Hopped on the hotel shuttle at 8 am for a 10:45 flight to St Martin. We were all flying business class, but even the Priority lines at AA were surprisingly long. AA does check both your Covid test results and Approval For Entry form. Our flight was probably 75% - 80% full. The service in first class wasn't what it used to be. A bag of snacks and full selection of booze were available. In flight service was great! We arrived on time in St Martin, passed through immigration more quickly than any of our 17 previous trips, grabbed our bags, and met up with Michael and one of his helpers for a short ride to the Unity Car Rental office. Paperwork was quick and easy, and we left with two SUVs and headed to Care Four in Cole Bay. Picked up groceries and made it to our villa ariund 4 pm. We have stayed in this neighborhood many times, but this is our first time at Albacore (https://dream.villas/rooms/orient-bay-572-572). Beautiful villa with amazing views and awesome pool! We were met by Samantha who filled us in on everything we needed to know about the villa. After unpacking and showering, we headed to Le Piment in Orient Village for a great meal and fabulous service. We guys had the blackened ribeye, the girls both got pizzas. They also have great Rhum Punches with a hint of passion fruit flavor. Perfect end to our travel day!!!

Day 2: Breakfast in the villa, then off to the the south end of Orient to rent chairs and umbrellas from Cedrick. Including the four of us, they had a total of eight customers on the beach. We walked the entire length of Orient and marveled at the amount of destruction still visable from Irma. Had lunch at Le Telegraphe in the village. After a dip in the pool and cleaning up, we were off to dinner. Got some incorrect info from a local about restaurants that were open. We headed over to Sunset Beach Cafe in Grand Case only to find out that they are only open for breakfast and lunch. Had noticed that Spiga was closed when we drove bye, so we headed to Bistrot Caraibes. They were also closed. Headed over Sol de Luna. Closed too. Oh well, back to the village. Le Piment couldn't seat us as they were packed. Went next door to La Trattoria. Food was good, but the service was lacking due to them being overwhelmed by the size of the crowd. The places that are open are prospering!

More to come soon!

SXM Sponsors
Re: Trip Report in Progress [Re: freedomfighter] #236193
10/05/2020 11:14 AM
10/05/2020 11:14 AM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 73,641
Central Florida!
Carol_Hill Offline
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Carol_Hill  Offline
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Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 73,641
Central Florida!
Glad you arrived! So good to hear some news from the island! Sounds lovely so far, despite the communication issues about restaurants. Even pre-Covid, I preferred meals in Orient Village versus Grand Case.

How is the road through the middle of Grand Case? Is the Super U open in Hope Estate, as someone else reported the one in Marigot is closed.

Enjoy!!!


Carol Hill
Re: Trip Report in Progress [Re: freedomfighter] #236194
10/05/2020 11:15 AM
10/05/2020 11:15 AM
Joined: Oct 2008
Posts: 5,770
Bradenton, FL
Winterstale Offline
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Winterstale  Offline
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Joined: Oct 2008
Posts: 5,770
Bradenton, FL
We heard a rumor over the weekend that US citizens weren't being allowed into SXM - guess they were wrong! Glad you finally made it - have an amazing time!


[Linked Image]

Re: Trip Report in Progress [Re: freedomfighter] #236196
10/05/2020 11:38 AM
10/05/2020 11:38 AM
Joined: Feb 2019
Posts: 675
B
bran Offline
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bran  Offline
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Joined: Feb 2019
Posts: 675
glad all went well and hope you have a great time.

Re: Trip Report in Progress [Re: freedomfighter] #236206
10/05/2020 02:12 PM
10/05/2020 02:12 PM
Joined: Mar 2001
Posts: 15,952
Ohio
ruralcarrier Offline
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ruralcarrier  Offline
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Joined: Mar 2001
Posts: 15,952
Ohio
Thanks for the update.


J.D.
Re: Trip Report in Progress [Re: freedomfighter] #236213
10/05/2020 02:57 PM
10/05/2020 02:57 PM
Joined: Jan 2002
Posts: 6,946
Yonkers, NY
fabila Offline
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fabila  Offline
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Joined: Jan 2002
Posts: 6,946
Yonkers, NY
Thanks for the update. Looking forward to reading more...

Re: Trip Report in Progress [Re: Winterstale] #236214
10/05/2020 02:59 PM
10/05/2020 02:59 PM
Joined: Mar 2001
Posts: 15,952
Ohio
ruralcarrier Offline
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ruralcarrier  Offline
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Joined: Mar 2001
Posts: 15,952
Ohio
Originally Posted by Winterstale
We heard a rumor over the weekend that US citizens weren't being allowed into SXM - guess they were wrong! Glad you finally made it - have an amazing time!

They have been "allowed" since August 1. There are restrictions but nothing to the "rumor" you mention.


J.D.
Re: Trip Report in Progress [Re: freedomfighter] #236216
10/05/2020 03:43 PM
10/05/2020 03:43 PM
Joined: Sep 2004
Posts: 254
F
freedomfighter Offline OP
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freedomfighter  Offline OP
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Joined: Sep 2004
Posts: 254
Day 3: Breakfast at the villa, then off to Pinel. The ferry was about half full, most everyone was wearing masks while waiting, and on the trip over to the island. Karibuni was closed, but Yellow Umbrella was packed! Got chairs, umbrellas and Mai Tais, which were delicious. Had a late lunch around 2:30 pm. By that time, all the fish selections were sold out. Had cheeseburgers and fries, which were good. Left Pinel at 4:30, nobody wore masks on the return trip. Had snacks at the villa and enjoyed the pool and Ma Doudou in the evening.

Day 4 (today): Emailed an order to Emma at Fabulous Feasts for dinner today and tomorrow. It was a rainy morning, so we didn't head to the beach until noon or so. Nobody home at the south end of Orient, so we turned left and got chairs at Sun Beach Clubber. There were maybe 20 people there. We walked the entire length of Orient again today. Along the entire stretch of the beach, there were 3 options; Sun Beach Clubber, Le String, and Bikini. The places that were open had small crowds. During our first 4 days on the island, we have not encountered any other Americans on the French side. I'm sure that there must be a few, but not many. The roads between the airport and Grand Case are in horrible condition! You might be able to go 20 - 25 MPH in that stretch. Beyond Grand Case, the roads are better. The road through Grand Case is in bad shape too. The island is still a LONG WAY from recovering from Irma. Very sad, to say the least. We are hoping that when we return next May, things will more resemble what we enjoyed on our previous trips. Time will tell...

Re: Trip Report in Progress [Re: freedomfighter] #236229
10/05/2020 04:58 PM
10/05/2020 04:58 PM
Joined: Mar 2001
Posts: 15,952
Ohio
ruralcarrier Offline
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ruralcarrier  Offline
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Joined: Mar 2001
Posts: 15,952
Ohio
Thanks for another update.


J.D.
Re: Trip Report in Progress [Re: freedomfighter] #236246
10/05/2020 07:25 PM
10/05/2020 07:25 PM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 73,641
Central Florida!
Carol_Hill Offline
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Carol_Hill  Offline
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Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 73,641
Central Florida!
FF--thanks for the update. Enjoy the rest of the trip!!!


Carol Hill
Re: Trip Report in Progress [Re: freedomfighter] #236328
10/07/2020 07:35 AM
10/07/2020 07:35 AM
Joined: Sep 2004
Posts: 254
F
freedomfighter Offline OP
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freedomfighter  Offline OP
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Joined: Sep 2004
Posts: 254
Day 5: Quick drive to Orient Village to pick up croissants at the bakery. OMG, they were amazing! Drove to the south end of the beach and parked. Cedrick was open today. Found out that he is closed every Monday. Walked the entire length of the beach at 10 am, and passed a total of 5 other walkers. It is so weird, but also very cool to have the entire place all to yourself. After our walk, we headed back to the villa to veg out around the pool for a few hours. When we were medium rare, we decided to get out of the sun and head over to the Ma Doudou "factory". The gate was open and so was Ma Doudou. This is our 18th trip to the island, but we brought another couple who are newbies. They were like kids in a candy shop at the rhum shack! We loaded up on Rhum, then back for another walk on Orient at 4 pm. This time, we passed 3 other walkers. Dinner at the villa, compliments of Emma at Fabulous Feasts, capped off another amazing day in paradise!

Re: Trip Report in Progress [Re: freedomfighter] #236334
10/07/2020 08:17 AM
10/07/2020 08:17 AM
Joined: Aug 2010
Posts: 261
vacanakey Offline
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vacanakey  Offline
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Joined: Aug 2010
Posts: 261
Thanks for the daily reports....most appreciated. Sure hope visitors start returning to the island in more normal numbers soon. Can't help but feel sorry for the people and business owners on the island. Damn shame....

Re: Trip Report in Progress [Re: freedomfighter] #236335
10/07/2020 08:20 AM
10/07/2020 08:20 AM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 511
Rbailey Offline
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Rbailey  Offline
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Posts: 511
Originally Posted by freedomfighter
. Walked the entire length of the beach at 10 am, and passed a total of 5 other walkers. It is so weird, but also very cool to have the entire place all to yourself.


Now you know what it was like in the '70s.

Re: Trip Report in Progress [Re: Rbailey] #236340
10/07/2020 08:40 AM
10/07/2020 08:40 AM
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 13,097
Brookfield, CT.
pat Offline
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pat  Offline
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Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 13,097
Brookfield, CT.
Originally Posted by Rbailey
Originally Posted by freedomfighter
. Walked the entire length of the beach at 10 am, and passed a total of 5 other walkers. It is so weird, but also very cool to have the entire place all to yourself.


Now you know what it was like in the '70s.


Back then it was easy to spend a day seeing absolutely no one. CO or not was NOT an issue back then. 😉😉


Respectfully,

pat



"Always keep your words soft and sweet, just in case you have to eat
them."
Re: Trip Report in Progress [Re: freedomfighter] #236363
10/07/2020 09:39 AM
10/07/2020 09:39 AM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 73,641
Central Florida!
Carol_Hill Offline
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Carol_Hill  Offline
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Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 73,641
Central Florida!
Thanks for the report! Carry on! toast


Carol Hill
Re: Trip Report in Progress [Re: freedomfighter] #236368
10/07/2020 10:06 AM
10/07/2020 10:06 AM
Joined: Apr 2008
Posts: 2,323
Connecticut
The_Lurker Offline
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The_Lurker  Offline
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Joined: Apr 2008
Posts: 2,323
Connecticut
Thank-you!

So nice to hear.

Re: Trip Report in Progress [Re: freedomfighter] #236460
10/07/2020 09:03 PM
10/07/2020 09:03 PM
Joined: Mar 2017
Posts: 359
Sarasota, Florida
deputydog1157 Offline
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deputydog1157  Offline
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Joined: Mar 2017
Posts: 359
Sarasota, Florida
We were on the island in June of last year and your reports are making us want to get back there. We live in Sarasota and drove to Fort Lauderdale for the great rates that JB had. We rented a condo in Orient Village and spent 5 of the 7 days letting sand gravity tale its effect! That was also when we went to the Ma Doudou factory in Cul-De-Sac. Much like your newbies, it was our first time at the rhum shop and we brought back a lot of their small bottles as souvenirs and gifts. The gentleman at the store spoke no English and we speak no French but we were able to work it out. Really liking your reports and making us want to leave Sarasota for a Saint Martin fix.



[Linked Image]
Re: Trip Report in Progress [Re: freedomfighter] #236849
10/12/2020 07:56 PM
10/12/2020 07:56 PM
Joined: Sep 2004
Posts: 254
F
freedomfighter Offline OP
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freedomfighter  Offline OP
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F
Joined: Sep 2004
Posts: 254
Got home early this morning. During days 5 -9 we settled into a routine of picking up awesome breakfast selections at the bakery in Orient village, taking them back to the villa for breakfast, hanging out around the pool for awhile, heading down to the South end of the beach and renting chairs from Cedrick. Many long walks up and down our favorite beach. We finally did run into other Americans toward the end of our stay. On Friday, Cedrick probably had close to 20 customers, which was huge! Saturday was very rainy, which pretty much eliminated any beach time.I believe that we had dinner at Le Piment 4 times. The food and the service were top notch and friendly every time! I had mentioned that the roads from the airport to Grand Case were in bad shape. In retrospect, it was POURING down rain as we traveled that route on our first day. Having traveled it in the opposite direction, without the rain, it wasn't really that awful. Still a LOT of post Irma destruction visible, which is heart-breaking. All in all, another great trip that we are very thankful for being able to finally take. Navigating departure at the airport was quicker and easier than expected. Flying AA (at least in business class) was still pleasant. Lord willing and the covid doesn't rise, we have reservations for St Martin next May. Leaving for Aruba in less than two weeks, which looks to be more difficult, with more hoops to jump through than St Martin!

Re: Trip Report in Progress [Re: freedomfighter] #236851
10/12/2020 08:04 PM
10/12/2020 08:04 PM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 73,641
Central Florida!
Carol_Hill Offline
Traveler
Carol_Hill  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 73,641
Central Florida!
Thanks for the update. Was wondering what was going on with you. Would be interested to hear your report from Aruba. (And I'm really envious of you, just returning from SXM and then on to Aruba. Good for you!!!)


Carol Hill
Re: Trip Report in Progress [Re: Carol_Hill] #236853
10/12/2020 08:08 PM
10/12/2020 08:08 PM
Joined: Sep 2004
Posts: 254
F
freedomfighter Offline OP
Traveler
freedomfighter  Offline OP
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F
Joined: Sep 2004
Posts: 254
It was supposed to be St Martin in May, Aruba in October. Didn't include Covid in our plans...

Re: Trip Report in Progress [Re: freedomfighter] #236854
10/12/2020 08:10 PM
10/12/2020 08:10 PM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 73,641
Central Florida!
Carol_Hill Offline
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Carol_Hill  Offline
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Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 73,641
Central Florida!
Hey, Covid has put everyone's plans into disarray. This year will be our first year since 1989 that we will not be in SXM. cry


Carol Hill
Re: Trip Report in Progress [Re: Carol_Hill] #236858
10/12/2020 09:12 PM
10/12/2020 09:12 PM
Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 13,147
Auburn, WA
SXMScubaman Offline
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SXMScubaman  Offline
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Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 13,147
Auburn, WA
First year since 99 for us.

Re: Trip Report in Progress [Re: freedomfighter] #236860
10/12/2020 09:59 PM
10/12/2020 09:59 PM
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 13,097
Brookfield, CT.
pat Offline
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pat  Offline
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Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 13,097
Brookfield, CT.
If our Nov/Dec 2020 trip doesn’t happen it will be the first year since 1973 we haven’t managed at least one SXM trip each year. Not gonna’ think that way. Maybe I need more positivity in my life?!


Respectfully,

pat



"Always keep your words soft and sweet, just in case you have to eat
them."
Re: Trip Report in Progress [Re: pat] #236861
10/12/2020 10:37 PM
10/12/2020 10:37 PM
Joined: Oct 2013
Posts: 613
Perryman, Maryland
B
bdeeley Offline
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bdeeley  Offline
Traveler
B
Joined: Oct 2013
Posts: 613
Perryman, Maryland
You are one of the good ones, you all will make it to the island.


DREAMS are made of SUN & SAND

[Linked Image]
Re: Trip Report in Progress [Re: freedomfighter] #236869
10/13/2020 08:05 AM
10/13/2020 08:05 AM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 73,641
Central Florida!
Carol_Hill Offline
Traveler
Carol_Hill  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 73,641
Central Florida!
Pat--I really hope you are able to go! As you say, think positive thoughts!


Carol Hill
Re: Trip Report in Progress [Re: pat] #236882
10/13/2020 10:49 AM
10/13/2020 10:49 AM
Joined: Oct 2013
Posts: 613
Perryman, Maryland
B
bdeeley Offline
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bdeeley  Offline
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B
Joined: Oct 2013
Posts: 613
Perryman, Maryland
Would someone add their trip to the calendar, it feels very lonely there!


DREAMS are made of SUN & SAND

[Linked Image]
Re: Trip Report in Progress [Re: freedomfighter] #236883
10/13/2020 11:07 AM
10/13/2020 11:07 AM
Joined: Sep 2004
Posts: 254
F
freedomfighter Offline OP
Traveler
freedomfighter  Offline OP
Traveler
F
Joined: Sep 2004
Posts: 254

Re: Trip Report in Progress [Re: freedomfighter] #236935
10/14/2020 09:58 AM
10/14/2020 09:58 AM
Joined: Dec 2010
Posts: 338
Detroit
bluejacket Offline
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bluejacket  Offline
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Joined: Dec 2010
Posts: 338
Detroit
Great photos. Thanks for the reports.

Re: Trip Report in Progress [Re: freedomfighter] #236939
10/14/2020 10:19 AM
10/14/2020 10:19 AM
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 13,097
Brookfield, CT.
pat Offline
Traveler
pat  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 13,097
Brookfield, CT.
I want to add my thanks to those already given regarding both your trip report and your photos. So many of us are living vicariously through these efforts so they truly are appreciated.


Respectfully,

pat



"Always keep your words soft and sweet, just in case you have to eat
them."
Re: Trip Report in Progress [Re: freedomfighter] #236942
10/14/2020 10:28 AM
10/14/2020 10:28 AM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 73,641
Central Florida!
Carol_Hill Offline
Traveler
Carol_Hill  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 73,641
Central Florida!
FF--I missed the link to the photos before. I'm not sure I'm seeing the whole photo, with the Dropbox deal on there? Just a suggestion, perhaps you could try to use the feature here to upload your photos directly here? Just use the ATTACHMENT MANAGER, in Full Editor mode. If you have questions about how to do that, let me know..


Carol Hill
Re: Trip Report in Progress [Re: freedomfighter] #237083
10/15/2020 02:34 PM
10/15/2020 02:34 PM
Joined: Sep 2004
Posts: 254
F
freedomfighter Offline OP
Traveler
freedomfighter  Offline OP
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F
Joined: Sep 2004
Posts: 254
Thanks Carol. Hope this works.

Attached Files 2020-10-04 11.46.21.jpg2020-10-04 13.26.22.jpg2020-10-04 13.26.27.jpg2020-10-06 07.03.54.jpg2020-10-06 12.36.42.jpg2020-10-06 14.11.28.jpg2020-10-06 14.19.36.jpg2020-10-07 06.14.45.jpg2020-10-07 22.51.06.jpg2020-10-08 11.54.34.jpg2020-10-08 11.55.21.jpg2020-10-08 11.56.19.jpg2020-10-09 18.47.55.jpg2020-10-08 16.22.36.jpg
Re: Trip Report in Progress [Re: freedomfighter] #237084
10/15/2020 02:48 PM
10/15/2020 02:48 PM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 73,641
Central Florida!
Carol_Hill Offline
Traveler
Carol_Hill  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 73,641
Central Florida!
Ah, lovely!! Thanks!!


Carol Hill
Re: Trip Report in Progress [Re: freedomfighter] #237091
10/15/2020 04:28 PM
10/15/2020 04:28 PM
Joined: Dec 2004
Posts: 4,024
Massachusetts
boucharda Offline
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boucharda  Offline
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Joined: Dec 2004
Posts: 4,024
Massachusetts
Nice pics....

Re: Trip Report in Progress [Re: freedomfighter] #237155
10/16/2020 11:19 AM
10/16/2020 11:19 AM
Joined: Nov 2009
Posts: 3,045
Maryland/DC Metro
BeachKitten Offline
Traveler
BeachKitten  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Nov 2009
Posts: 3,045
Maryland/DC Metro
Beautiful shots, thank you for sharing!

The island looks lush and green. Blooming flowers, ahhhhhh you're killing me! wink


"It is good to do nothing all day, and then to rest" wink
Re: Trip Report in Progress [Re: freedomfighter] #237381
10/18/2020 05:54 PM
10/18/2020 05:54 PM
Joined: Oct 2002
Posts: 1,070
RI
jomarc Offline
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jomarc  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Oct 2002
Posts: 1,070
RI
Thank you for posting your trip reports and the beautiful photos!

We have not stayed in the Orient area in many years and I miss it. We just stayed in Beacon Hill and the drive to Orient Beach grew tiring as the days went on. Unfortunately we never made it to Grand Case or Orient Village for dinner. One of my regrets of the trip.

Have fun in Aruba!


Jo-

A smile is a curve that sets everything straight.

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