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Trip Report Oct. 16-24 #238044
10/26/2020 02:53 PM
10/26/2020 02:53 PM
Joined: May 2007
Posts: 714
East Texas
Jaybird Offline OP
Traveler
Jaybird  Offline OP
Traveler
Joined: May 2007
Posts: 714
East Texas
Carol, I usually don't do these as I do not possess the creative writing skills of board members like Pat, IslandGem and many, many others whose reports I have enjoyed over the years. However, because you asked, here it is. Sorry it is so long. Please excuse any grammar or spelling errors and feel free to edit as necessary. My wife took a lot of pictures but I do not know how to include them with this report. Maybe I will try to post them later.

We flew DFW-MIA-SXM. You can read about our flights down to SXM on a previous thread entitled “AA Experience”. We have been traveling to SXM twice a year since 2007 except post Irma and this pandemic year. While not nearly as long as many on this board, we have found the restaurants we like, dishes we like and beaches we like. Since we only go for 7-8 days we don’t experiment anymore. Therefore, I am afraid many of you will find us boring and repetitious. C’est la vie.

We arrived Friday the 16th. We have to leave our house at 1am to drive to DFW to make it to the island in one day. It makes for a long day. Upon arrival we are tired and hungry. Michael from Unity was waiting for us and we were quickly off to his office for the paper work and to pick up a relatively new Toyota with 14k miles on it. We stopped at Abu Ghazi in Simpson Bay for a shawarma, fries and beer. It hit the spot and we were off to Carrefour on Bush Road for supplies and to Oyster Pond on the French side to check in to Les Balcons. We have stayed here 15-20 times. The accommodations are bungalows that over look Oyster Pond. The units are all owned by different individuals and are decorated to their individual tastes. We have stayed in several different units and have 2 or 3 we always request based on availability. There are 20-25 units in the complex and we were the ONLY guests until the last night when two guests checked in. Our first and last nights dinner is always at Yvette’s in Orleans. It is one of our favorites. My wife had the conch salad and I had the creole snapper filet. Both were delicious as usual.

Saturday the 17th it was pastries from Bread and Butter then off to Orient for the day. We arrived to cloudy skies and a light rain. Cedric had only 5 sets of chairs and umbrellas set up and none were occupied. We decided to leave for a while and drive through Grand Case. As others have said it still looks terrible 3 plus years after Irma. We stopped at Super U in Hope Estate to pick up a couple of things we could not find at Carefour. We really liked this store and plan to get our provisions there next trip. We went back to the beach and had lunch at Orange Fever. I had the Mahi with Chef Christof special sauce and my wife had the shrimp salad served in a half pineapple. Both were very good. Orange Fever is one of our go to restaurants on Orient. After lunch the skies cleared and we spent the afternoon under the yellow umbrellas. There was less than 20 people on the south end of the beach. Dinner Saturday night was at Mark’s. I had the grouper filet with rice & peas and salad. My wife had then seafood salad. The seafood salad is huge and she took half of it home.

Sunday the 18th. Breakfast in the bungalow consisted of slices of baguette with melted gouda, bacon and raspberry jam. Simple but tasty. The day was spent at Orient. The busiest day of our trip with visitors and locals. For a while it was as close to pre Irma as I can remember with 20-30 people in the water in a big circle visiting. I estimate 75 people on the beach. Lunch was left over seafood salad. Dinner was at Lee’s in Simpson Bay. We go there once or twice each trip for the grilled mahi. We love it. The fish is grilled with a garlic sauce and I order extra on the side. Prior to dinner we met Andy Siegers of DAS Cigars for a drink and to pick up some cigars for a friend. Andy was born on SXM and it is always fun to visit with him.

Monday the 19th. Breakfast was the same as yesterday and off to Orient for the day. Brought snacks for lunch. Beach was slow again. Maybe 15-20 people. Dinner tonight was at a Lolo in Grand Case. Only two were open. Sky’s the Limit and the one on the water behind Talk of the Town. I don’t know the name of it but that’s where we ate. I had the shrimp creole and my wife had the grilled mahi. There was so much food on the plate there is no way we could eat it all. We gave it a hell of try though!!

Tuesday the 20th. See the last two days for breakfast. It was Orient again today. It was sunny and beautiful and we got a lot of sun. We brought sandwiches from the bakery in Orleans for lunch. Some friends who live in Cupecoy met us today and we had a lovely day catching up with them as it had been 2+ years since we had seen them. The Perch came to them with menus and let them order and served them in their chairs. While that is normal at some places, I had not seen the Perch do it before. The beach was busier today with 30+ people. The fish were very aggressive today. I mean VERY aggressive. Dinner tonight was at Mark’s again. I had the grouper again but with scalloped potatoes this time. My wife had the shrimp marinara. The food here is good and very consistent.

Wednesday the 21st. See the last three days for breakfast. Don’t worry as we are now out of gouda and the baguettes are gone. We took the day off from Orient as we have had a lot of sun. We decided to go to the Marigot market because we were told it was open on Wednesday and Saturday. It was dead. Maybe two shops open. We drove on to Phillipsburg and parked at Bobby’s Marina. The boardwalk and back street were almost vacant with most of the stores closed. It was sad to see. We drove back to Friars Bay to have lunch at Gutside. It is one of our favorite restaurants on the island. It is owned and operated by Ritchard and Lourdes. They are delightful people and it is so much fun to visit with them. Ritchard mans the kitchen while Lourdes runs the front. His creole dishes are some of the best we’ve eaten. The only downside is their irregular hours. Always call before going. We both had the creole mahi served with rice & peas, cole slaw, sliced avocados and plantains. It was delicious as always and a lot of food. So much food that we skipped dinner tonight. Lourdes sat at our table and visited while we ate since we were the only patrons. She recommended we try the stew conch next time.

Thursday the 22nd. We had pastries and croissants from Bread and Butter. The girls there always allow me to massacre my attempt at their language. It is fun to try and they laugh and correct me. It was off to Orient for the day. Still slow but the weather was beautiful. Lunch today was a homemade meat and cheese tray with crackers, grapes and olives we bought at Super U. Dinner tonight was Lee’s again. Our server was Lee’s son. He said they had gone from 20 employees to 5 since Covid. How sad. Lee and his wife were there and we visited for a few minutes. As you have read before the parking is horrendous but since it is slow we had no problems. We both had the mahi again.

Friday the 23rd. Croissants and pastries again. Orient was dead. Less than 10 people there all day. Today was our last day on then beach so we cleaned out the kitchen and had snacks for lunch. As I stated earlier we have our first and last dinners at Yvette’s. We shared a conch salad as an appetizer and both had the pan fried snapper filet with rice & peas, salad and plantains. Typical island creole food that we love. We visited with Felix and Corinthia for a few minutes then back to Les Balcons for an early night because we know tomorrow will be a long travel day.

Saturday the 24th. We pack and head to Mary’s Boon for a final lunch on the beach. I had the shrimp Cesar salad and my wife had the mahi burger. Both were good and washed down with a Carib and BBC. Then to Unity to turn in the car and to the airport. It is the first time to get mobile boarding passes for PJIA for us and since we did carry on only we went straight to passport control, security and the gate. Very easy. We arrive home the same time we departed, 1am. Didn’t even take the suitcases out of the car. Straight to bed. We booked Les Balcons for October of next year but hope to go back sooner if the pandemic subsides.

SXM Sponsors
Re: Trip Report Oct. 16-24 [Re: Jaybird] #238046
10/26/2020 03:02 PM
10/26/2020 03:02 PM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 76,376
Central Florida!
Carol_Hill Offline
Traveler
Carol_Hill  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 76,376
Central Florida!
Yay!! Thanks so much! Trip reports can never be too long! Sounds like you do have your favorites, and stick by them, which is great! Glad you were able to get there and enjoy so many things you have enjoyed over the years. Thanks for taking us along.

As far as pictures, they are really VERY easy. Just click on "Use Full Editor" and once that comes up, click on Attachment Manager, and upload your pictures directly. If you have any questions, let me know.


Carol Hill
Re: Trip Report Oct. 16-24 [Re: Jaybird] #238048
10/26/2020 03:29 PM
10/26/2020 03:29 PM
Joined: Aug 2010
Posts: 318
vacanakey Offline
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vacanakey  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Aug 2010
Posts: 318

Thanks for sharing, Jaybird!

Always nice to read a trip report...especially these days.

Re: Trip Report Oct. 16-24 [Re: Jaybird] #238049
10/26/2020 03:39 PM
10/26/2020 03:39 PM
Joined: Mar 2001
Posts: 16,334
Ohio
ruralcarrier Offline
Traveler
ruralcarrier  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Mar 2001
Posts: 16,334
Ohio
Thanks for the report. Mark's Place is a long time favorite of mine and Orange Fever as well, when over that way. It has to be sad to see Marigot and Philipsburg so dead.


J.D.
Re: Trip Report Oct. 16-24 [Re: Jaybird] #238055
10/26/2020 03:58 PM
10/26/2020 03:58 PM
Joined: Dec 2008
Posts: 330
blackmercedes Offline
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blackmercedes  Offline
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Joined: Dec 2008
Posts: 330
Ahh....The Gutside!!!! Richard and Lourdes are so nice. Food GREAT. Super Fun atmosphere!!!

Re: Trip Report Oct. 16-24 [Re: Jaybird] #238057
10/26/2020 04:07 PM
10/26/2020 04:07 PM
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 13,527
Brookfield, CT.
pat Offline
Traveler
pat  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 13,527
Brookfield, CT.
Jaybird,

I think you’ve got all the skills you need and then plenty more to do trip reports and I thank you for taking the time and making the effort to do so. I hope You realize that now we know you can not only do them but do them well so there will be more pressure during future trips......

Your trip sounds much like most of ours - breakfast in - usually pastries or toasted baguette - most days while watching the activity on the beach in front of us, and then time at a favorite beach or perhaps even the pool where we stay, topped off by dinner at any number of favorite spots some of which we seem to share. We love Marks and a few of the other eateries you named. My mouth is watering just thinking about what you’ve written.

Thank you so much for taking the time to share your stay - clearly it’s been enjoyed by those of us who are still living vicariously through the experiences you’ve shared..


Respectfully,

pat



"Always keep your words soft and sweet, just in case you have to eat
them."
Re: Trip Report Oct. 16-24 [Re: Jaybird] #238069
10/26/2020 05:47 PM
10/26/2020 05:47 PM
Joined: Jan 2008
Posts: 714
Western MA
S
SandS Offline
Traveler
SandS  Offline
Traveler
S
Joined: Jan 2008
Posts: 714
Western MA
Thank you for the report. It was interesting to us because we never visit the French side. We do visit Mark’s Place & Lee’s. We are going to be needing many trip reports because we just canceled our February vacation,

Re: Trip Report Oct. 16-24 [Re: Jaybird] #238071
10/26/2020 06:12 PM
10/26/2020 06:12 PM
Joined: Apr 2008
Posts: 2,544
Connecticut
The_Lurker Offline
Traveler
The_Lurker  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Apr 2008
Posts: 2,544
Connecticut
I really enjoyed your report!!

You mentioned 2 places we have been trying to get to for years---Yvettes and Gutside.
I can't wait until April to get to them! .

Thank-you for taking the time to share.
My kind of vacation!!!!

Re: Trip Report Oct. 16-24 [Re: Jaybird] #238074
10/26/2020 07:07 PM
10/26/2020 07:07 PM
Joined: Jan 2002
Posts: 7,075
Yonkers, NY
fabila Offline
Traveler
fabila  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Jan 2002
Posts: 7,075
Yonkers, NY
Enjoyed your report. Thanks for sharing.

Re: Trip Report Oct. 16-24 [Re: Jaybird] #238077
10/26/2020 07:50 PM
10/26/2020 07:50 PM
Joined: Oct 2002
Posts: 1,098
RI
jomarc Offline
Traveler
jomarc  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Oct 2002
Posts: 1,098
RI
Your trip report was a very enjoyable read!

We left the island on the 15th and just missed you two.

It sounds like things are looking up, especially on Orient. We never saw more than 15 people on the south side of the beach.

You visited quite a few of our favorite restaurants too!
A couple of regrets for us were not visiting Grand Case or Gutside. The construction in Grand Case was an issue for us.

I look forward to seeing your pictures!


Jo-

A smile is a curve that sets everything straight.
Re: Trip Report Oct. 16-24 [Re: Jaybird] #238127
10/27/2020 01:19 AM
10/27/2020 01:19 AM
Joined: Dec 2005
Posts: 1,953
Royersford, PA (30m NW of Phil...
Biturbo Offline
Traveler
Biturbo  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Dec 2005
Posts: 1,953
Royersford, PA (30m NW of Phil...
Thanks for the report. It sounds like a nice relaxing time. We've also stayed at Les Balcons and can vouch for how nice it is.


"In a yellow El Camino, listening to Howlin' Wolf" - Lucinda
Re: Trip Report Oct. 16-24 [Re: Jaybird] #238129
10/27/2020 05:15 AM
10/27/2020 05:15 AM
Joined: Jun 2009
Posts: 4,095
Portland, OR
jazzgal Offline
Traveler
jazzgal  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Jun 2009
Posts: 4,095
Portland, OR
Thanks for the trip report. Now, for pictures! tonguea


[Linked Image]
Re: Trip Report Oct. 16-24 [Re: Jaybird] #238132
10/27/2020 06:44 AM
10/27/2020 06:44 AM
Joined: Mar 2011
Posts: 348
East Haven, CT
Wingman Online content
Traveler
Wingman  Online Content
Traveler
Joined: Mar 2011
Posts: 348
East Haven, CT
Thank you so much for your report. It sounds like you had the perfect trip, glad you enjoyed it.

Re: Trip Report Oct. 16-24 [Re: Jaybird] #238160
10/27/2020 09:55 AM
10/27/2020 09:55 AM
Joined: Jul 2001
Posts: 7,125
St Louis, MO
SXMNorm Offline
Traveler
SXMNorm  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Jul 2001
Posts: 7,125
St Louis, MO
so true Carol, Trip Reports are never too long, especially when you're sitting at home. Thanks, Jaybird, for taking the time and keeping track of your activities and post.


Next SXM visit - January/February 2022
Re: Trip Report Oct. 16-24 [Re: SXMNorm] #238262
10/27/2020 07:44 PM
10/27/2020 07:44 PM
Joined: May 2007
Posts: 714
East Texas
Jaybird Offline OP
Traveler
Jaybird  Offline OP
Traveler
Joined: May 2007
Posts: 714
East Texas
Originally Posted by SXMNorm
so true Carol, Trip Reports are never too long, especially when you're sitting at home. Thanks, Jaybird, for taking the time and keeping track of your activities and post.


Norm, I spent many hours on the balcony looking at OBBR!!!

Re: Trip Report Oct. 16-24 [Re: Jaybird] #238337
10/28/2020 03:28 PM
10/28/2020 03:28 PM
Joined: Jan 2008
Posts: 12,949
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
islandgem Offline
Traveler
islandgem  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Jan 2008
Posts: 12,949
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Thanks Ron for taking the time to write a trip report! I really miss meeting up with you and Carla on our favourite island. Maybe we can schedule a trip in April or November to get together again. I will miss my November trip this year, but hopefully things will settle down and travelling will be safer in 2021.




Re: Trip Report Oct. 16-24 [Re: Jaybird] #238590
10/30/2020 07:24 PM
10/30/2020 07:24 PM
Joined: Dec 2008
Posts: 403
Near Chicago
LovesSXM Offline
Traveler
LovesSXM  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Dec 2008
Posts: 403
Near Chicago
Thanks for your trip report. It was nice to hear about your stay.

Re: Trip Report Oct. 16-24 [Re: islandgem] #238711
11/01/2020 08:04 PM
11/01/2020 08:04 PM
Joined: Jan 2008
Posts: 12,949
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
islandgem Offline
Traveler
islandgem  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Jan 2008
Posts: 12,949
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
An enjoyable evening a few years ago.

Attached Files IMG_0471.JPG



Re: Trip Report Oct. 16-24 [Re: Jaybird] #238730
11/02/2020 08:22 AM
11/02/2020 08:22 AM
Joined: May 2007
Posts: 714
East Texas
Jaybird Offline OP
Traveler
Jaybird  Offline OP
Traveler
Joined: May 2007
Posts: 714
East Texas
Yes it was. Thanks for sharing the memories.


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