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Final Summary – Highlights and Observations #255388
05/11/2021 10:03 AM
05/11/2021 10:03 AM
Joined: Apr 2003
Posts: 662
Northern Michigan
dolfer Offline OP
Traveler
dolfer  Offline OP
Traveler
Joined: Apr 2003
Posts: 662
Northern Michigan
We just returned from 14 wonderful days of sun and fun on the island. This past year was not a good year for most people in the world. For us it was one of opposites. My wife is a business owner and a top-flight account and she had the busiest and most harrowing year of her business. Her customer’s needed her more than ever and as usual she rose to the occasion but at the cost of spending much more time at work. I am retired and due to covid basically didn’t leave the house for a whole year. My point, we both needed this time away, together.

SXM and the Belair was the perfect solution for our covid blues. We knew it was a bit of a risk traveling anywhere but our reasoning was that we were vaccinated and even being around home was a risk so we decided to take that risk and we are really glad we did.

Highlights

Eighty-plus degrees every day, eighty-degree water temps were a balm for our soul. We swam (floated) every day, multiple times a day and loved every second.

The Belair – What can I say, we love this place. It’s small, safe, intimate, clean and has everything we need. Comfortable rooms with comfortable furniture and beds, a small but usable kitchen and a large set of sliding doors that face the ocean. This trip we were super spoiled with a ground floor unit and we had about fifteen steps from our porch to the sand and our assigned beach chairs. A small, clean pool directly connected to the Gingerbread Café that serves breakfast, lunch, happy hour (with Bradley, a great bartender who’s laugh is contagious) and dinner. There is a small but surprisingly well stocked mini-store on-site. A big plus for us is direct sidewalk connection with Divi Little Bay giving us access to all they offer including Gizmo’s Beach Bar and another mini-store, café and lots more. Every morning we would walk into Divi over to the Great Bay side of the peninsula.

The Island - We did several drives around the island and compared to our September 2018 trip everything looked better. Less ship wrecks, less visible damage, more businesses open and more new cars. (In the twenty plus years visiting the island I do not remember seeing so many new cars). Traffic wasn’t bad but anyone that knows driving on the island, one broken down car or truck can cause a major traffic jam. A plus for us, I know the island well enough now that I can drive anywhere on the island without a map. It’s almost like traveling back to the home town you no longer live in. It all looks familiar but your excited to drive around to see what has changed and what hasn’t.

The people – SXM really is ‘the friendly island’ and it’s not a contrived tourist slogan – it's the truth. The locals are all friendly and usually with a little prodding most are willing to share their story. For us it is one of the major reasons we come here.

Kenny’s Car Rental – A trip to the island without seeing Lesley...well it just wouldn’t be the same. Thanks Lesley. Wow and what a beautiful new car this year. Fabulous.

Observations

Philipsburg looks a little sad. We are not frequent shoppers here but we do enjoy walking the waterfront and have always enjoyed hanging at The Blue Bitch. I know the cruise ships being dormant have had a major effect on the island economy and I hope that will start to turn things around. Grand Case was a disaster on our last trip. Glad to see it back to business. Marigot was also looking more normal too.

Ship watching has always been a pastime for my wife and I whether its near home watching 1000’ Lake Freighters or the cruise ships in Saint Martin. Using the MarineTracker app we find the name and where it has been or is going is fascinating to us. There is always ship traffic at The Belair being so close to the main port. This year – the cruise ships were really acting crazy. I know, skeleton crews, keeping the ships clean and running. But what are those crews doing when the ship hangs out at anchor for days somewhere off island?

Food – I know that the plethora of restaurants is one of the major attractions of the island. Due to covid concerns we decided to eat at only outdoor type settings but also to do more cooking at ‘home’. We were very excited to see how well the Carrefour in Cole Bay has been rebuilt. This store is great, I know maybe not cheap but still cheaper than eating out. We loved the food available here, the fruits and veggies, the salmon even the beef seems better than back at home. Maybe it’s like camping, everything tastes better. I detailed the meals out on our daily report but to reiterate the places we went and like: Gingerbread Café, great menu and great food and drink, SMYC still our go-to breakfast, Chesterfields and Avantika our two new favorites, Mark’s Place always good and lots of food, Buccaneer Beach Bar – still a favorite, great coconut shrimp and fabulous fries.

Well that’s all for now. Cannot wait to return but then my wife always points out, the worlds is a big place.


Dolfer

SXM Sponsors
Re: Final Summary – Highlights and Observations [Re: dolfer] #255392
05/11/2021 10:21 AM
05/11/2021 10:21 AM
Joined: Apr 2008
Posts: 2,493
Connecticut
The_Lurker Offline
Traveler
The_Lurker  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Apr 2008
Posts: 2,493
Connecticut
It was so enjoyable reading your reports.
Sorry we didn't run into each other.

We did visit the Divi a couple of days and enjoyed the calm water and Gizmo's .
The second day there Gizmo's was very crowded and lots of partying going on, so we left to find
a snack back at BSV.

Great Summary....we need these to refresh our memories.

Re: Final Summary – Highlights and Observations [Re: dolfer] #255393
05/11/2021 10:24 AM
05/11/2021 10:24 AM
Joined: May 2002
Posts: 4,399
Kennys Offline
Traveler
Kennys  Offline
Traveler
Joined: May 2002
Posts: 4,399
Thanks very for the kind words and do stay safe . We still have to deal with our Daughter's Wedding in Toronto for September .

Re: Final Summary – Highlights and Observations [Re: dolfer] #255396
05/11/2021 10:31 AM
05/11/2021 10:31 AM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 75,736
Central Florida!
Carol_Hill Offline
Traveler
Carol_Hill  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 75,736
Central Florida!
Thanks for sharing your trip with us, and your summary also. Eric does taxes and bookkeeping, and it was a trying year for him, for sure. My business on the other hand, was dead dog slow. Anyway, so glad to hear that SXM continues to soothe what ails us all! We are looking forward to that in just a few weeks!!


Carol Hill
Re: Final Summary – Highlights and Observations [Re: dolfer] #255397
05/11/2021 11:00 AM
05/11/2021 11:00 AM
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 13,422
Brookfield, CT.
pat Offline
Traveler
pat  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 13,422
Brookfield, CT.
Mitch,

Great summary and so many of your thoughts echoed ours from approximately the same time span. This was a different but much needed trip for us, too, so I understand your realities and truly appreciate you sharing them with us.


Respectfully,

pat



"Always keep your words soft and sweet, just in case you have to eat
them."
Re: Final Summary – Highlights and Observations [Re: dolfer] #255404
05/11/2021 12:13 PM
05/11/2021 12:13 PM
Joined: Apr 2003
Posts: 662
Northern Michigan
dolfer Offline OP
Traveler
dolfer  Offline OP
Traveler
Joined: Apr 2003
Posts: 662
Northern Michigan
Thank you all.


Dolfer

Re: Final Summary – Highlights and Observations [Re: dolfer] #255405
05/11/2021 12:50 PM
05/11/2021 12:50 PM
Joined: Jul 2001
Posts: 654
Okemos, Michigan
NumberCruncher Offline
Traveler
NumberCruncher  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Jul 2001
Posts: 654
Okemos, Michigan
Thank you for all of your wonderful reports! We are going from lower Southern Michigan to the Island next week. We were using your reports to plan our trip with. Can you recommend a marine tracker app for me. Thanks, John

Re: Final Summary – Highlights and Observations [Re: dolfer] #255410
05/11/2021 02:48 PM
05/11/2021 02:48 PM
Joined: May 2017
Posts: 22
Attleboro, MA
B
belair209 Offline
Traveler
belair209  Offline
Traveler
B
Joined: May 2017
Posts: 22
Attleboro, MA
Enjoyed your reports. Been coming to Belair since 1991. We were there in January. Belair and the rest of the island was empty thanks to Covid, a surreal time, but the staff at Belair as well as everyone we encountered on the island went way out of their way to make us feel as welcome as always. Glad to here that visitors are coming back. Already ticketed for 2022.

Re: Final Summary – Highlights and Observations [Re: dolfer] #255411
05/11/2021 02:50 PM
05/11/2021 02:50 PM
Joined: Jun 2009
Posts: 4,025
Portland, OR
jazzgal Offline
Traveler
jazzgal  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Jun 2009
Posts: 4,025
Portland, OR
Enjoyed all of your reports and especially the nice words about Divi. I can't wait for my three weeks there in just a few more weeks.


[Linked Image]
Re: Final Summary – Highlights and Observations [Re: dolfer] #255415
05/11/2021 03:45 PM
05/11/2021 03:45 PM
Joined: Dec 2004
Posts: 4,336
Massachusetts
boucharda Online content
Traveler
boucharda  Online Content
Traveler
Joined: Dec 2004
Posts: 4,336
Massachusetts
Great report....re: BBB...same as before?

Re: Final Summary – Highlights and Observations [Re: dolfer] #255417
05/11/2021 04:35 PM
05/11/2021 04:35 PM
Joined: Apr 2003
Posts: 662
Northern Michigan
dolfer Offline OP
Traveler
dolfer  Offline OP
Traveler
Joined: Apr 2003
Posts: 662
Northern Michigan
Ah The BBB. It was actually better than I remember. We started at the bar and met the manager Martha and had a wonderful conversation with her. Moved down to two very comfortable lounge chairs right at the waters edge and continued our bar tab down there. We had great service from a young man Jan and the coconut shrimp and fries were GREAT. They were crispy tasty and hot and served right at our free beach chairs. The setting was awesome too. Lots of boat and people watching. Pelicans are everywhere but here we saw them plunging like arrows into the bay. All-in-all a fabulous day!


Dolfer

Re: Final Summary – Highlights and Observations [Re: dolfer] #255420
05/11/2021 06:09 PM
05/11/2021 06:09 PM
Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 14,308
Auburn, WA
SXMScubaman Offline
Traveler
SXMScubaman  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 14,308
Auburn, WA
Thanks for all the highlights of your trip. I'll not so eloquent but try.

Re: Final Summary – Highlights and Observations [Re: dolfer] #255438
05/12/2021 06:29 AM
05/12/2021 06:29 AM
Joined: Jul 2011
Posts: 1,194
Westchester /NYC
Colour1 Online mad
Traveler
Colour1  Online Mad
Traveler
Joined: Jul 2011
Posts: 1,194
Westchester /NYC
Glad to hear that BBB is back up and running!! It's one of our go to places for a burger!! We must have just missed it's grand reopening!! Sounds like free chairs with your lunch orders/drinks. I'm one of those guys that hates to pay for chairs if we are going to spend the DAY on someone's beach front!! We're "All in"! Thanks for taking the time to post a really nice detailed report of your take on of the island. On the note of the new cars. IMHO, I think because, Irma destroyed so many cars, new ones had to replace those gone. Still so many lovely vessels abandoned. (photo, Pink Iguana)

Attached Files Pink Iguana 2018.jpg

Sand Gravity, got to love it!
Re: Final Summary – Highlights and Observations [Re: dolfer] #255444
05/12/2021 08:02 AM
05/12/2021 08:02 AM
Joined: Apr 2003
Posts: 662
Northern Michigan
dolfer Offline OP
Traveler
dolfer  Offline OP
Traveler
Joined: Apr 2003
Posts: 662
Northern Michigan
They're working on that too. They have identified 106 wrecks and more that are scheduled to be all removed, detoxed and recycled. Good news.


Dolfer

Re: Final Summary – Highlights and Observations [Re: NumberCruncher] #255484
05/12/2021 02:47 PM
05/12/2021 02:47 PM
Joined: Sep 2003
Posts: 18,025
St Maarten
BillandElaine Offline
Traveler
BillandElaine  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Sep 2003
Posts: 18,025
St Maarten
https://www.marinetraffic.com/en/ais/home/centerx:-12.0/centery:25.0/zoom:4


Elaine
*********************************
God Bless the broken road....

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