Upon boarding a private boat called ‘Fun Time’ on the Dutch side of St. Martin, an Anguillan named Captain Livingston kindly helped my family and me step onto the power boat, offering us a “variety” of beverages: Red Stripe, Heineken, and water. We started crossing the channel on our way to Anguilla. I knew I was approaching my “second home” as the tranquilizing warm breeze and the smell of salt air brought me to serenity. Warm smiles welcomed us as we walked through the ferry terminal. Our rental car was waiting for us in the parking lot, thanks to Ronnie Bryan. As we drove through the island, seeing colorful Anguillan homes, men playing a game of dominoes, and children walking home from school in their sophisticated uniforms, I realized I was back in my happy place, finally!
We arrived at Villa Panarea (IDP PAN) on the west side of the island and were thoroughly impressed. The colorful décor provided a feeling of being in a tropical escape, especially the infinity pool and patio overlooking St. Martin. Maurine, the housekeeper, welcomed us with open arms and updated us with the latest island news and action. Around 6:00 PM we enjoyed cheese, crackers, and a glass of Sauvignon Blanc with our close friends, Stan and Fran, and watched the most amazing sunset. At this moment, we knew that this villa would be our annual vacation hideaway.
The next day, after a delicious Mexican dinner at Picante, we arose with some coffee and fresh croissants from Geraud’s Bakery. Slowly getting our plans together (already running on island time) we decided to make our way toward Shoal Bay East, our favorite beach. As we walked down the path near Madeariman and Uncle Ernie’s, we saw our local friends Ray de Man, Fabrizio, Auntie B, Kendan, Jamal, and many others, who immediately remembered us, saying “Hey! Farrington!”. Our four chairs we always request were sitting in the same perfect spot: less than five feet from the crystal clear water. Shoal Bay East is the epitome of an escape from reality. Laying in the warm sun then taking a refreshing dip as the tiny fish tickle your feet is quite an enjoyment: dipping and flipping! Around one o’clock, we decided to go to Sea Sand at KU Hotel for some sandwiches and burgers. Shaquille and Jessica made the experience even better. Later we grabbed a rum punch at Uncle Ernie’s (great drink prices) and watched yet another fascinating sunset.
We enjoyed this vacation for the next two weeks, embracing every second of it. This tiny, low-key island is the perfect place for total relaxation, great food, and friendly locals who will never forget you. On our departure, the countdown began with 364 days…depressing but exciting at the same time!