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Thread: what keeps you coming back?

  1. #1
    charlieh is offline
    SBH Member Joined: May 2006 Greensboro, NC Posts: 293
    This could be a worn out topic, but I'm curious why the regulars keep vacationing on SBH. There are other destinations that are easier to reach and less expensive.

    For me the French aspect was #1. Then the relaxation aspect of a small island.

  2. #2
    MIke R is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: May 2003 Stinson Lake - New Hampshire & Provincetown - Cape Cod Posts: 52,003
    least expensive per diem vacation we do....hands down...my weekend in Bar Harbor Maine and Burlington Vermont this fall will be far more on a per diem comparison
    so that's one reason


    habit......don't fix what ain't broken...so that's another reason

    Auberge @ Petit Anse... after 12 years in #17 its home away from home...no stress..no worries...same experience every year...we realy like that about a vacation...and Petit Anse is still the quietest most peaceful little cove we have ever experienced anywhere on the water...

    its not about the food..its not about the spas...its not about the shopping...its not about the parties....its not about the people....its not about any of that

    its about an island that still ( knock wood ) has an environment which lets us fly under the radar, on complete disconnect from the world, and do nothing but catch up with each other...good for the soul ( and the marriage )



    "When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace" Jimi Hendrix

  3. #3
    Skeeter is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Dec 2006 Posts: 3,119
    I hate to admit this, but Mike's right about the cost being reasonable, at least when traveling with the twins. We paid a lot last trip, but we paid about the same for our Maui trip.

    What Vickie and I love about the island is that we have both a sense of seclusion along with some great food. When we can find a spot on a beautiful beach all to ourselves, and then have dinner at places that rival top spots back home (and can eat like that every night) we are pretty happy. It helps that my phone doesn't work on the island.

    We are still not sure what we will do next year though. It might be nice to go to Crete to see her family, and a return to Maui might also be nice. The twins are too young to enjoy Paris, so that's out, at least for a trip with the twins. I've tossed out the idea of leaving the twins home and heading for Bora Bora. We will see.
    Has moved on to a reality-based existence.

  4. #4
    MIke R is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: May 2003 Stinson Lake - New Hampshire & Provincetown - Cape Cod Posts: 52,003
    why do you "hate to admit this" ????
    "When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace" Jimi Hendrix

  5. #5
    NHDiane is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Aug 2003 New Hampshire Posts: 6,937
    Mike pretty much said it all for us as well. The familiarity, although not a good thing for some, gives us a much more relaxed vacation. We know what to expect - we are well passed the "new and discovery" type of vacation. We still only spend two weeks a year on SBH but we have found no other island that gives us the same rush when we get off that plane. If you know your way around, it is quite reasonably priced. We have only been traveling there for 7 years but I guess we're still "newbies" compared to some here. But it never gets old, right???
    Emma Peel: I suppose Mother warned you about women like me?
    John Steed: Until now, I didn't know there were women like you.

  6. #6
    goldold25 is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Sep 2003 Fairfield County, Connecticut Posts: 540
    Quote Originally Posted by Mike R
    least expensive per diem vacation we do....hands down...my weekend in Bar Harbor Maine and Burlington Vermont this fall will be far more on a per diem comparison
    so that's one reason


    habit......don't fix what ain't broken...so that's another reason

    Auberge @ Petit Anse... after 12 years in #17 its home away from home...no stress..no worries...same experience every year...we realy like that about a vacation...and Petit Anse is still the quietest most peaceful little cove we have ever experienced anywhere on the water...

    its not about the food..its not about the spas...its not about the shopping...its not about the parties....its not about the people....its not about any of that

    its about an island that still ( knock wood ) has an environment which lets us fly under the radar, on complete disconnect from the world, and do nothing but catch up with each other...good for the soul ( and the marriage )


    Our regular life fortunately allows us to really appreciate the small, the slow, the timelessness, the ambiance of St Barts in the off-season. New York and the daily commute can be exhausting. I just got a text from my other half and she's on the 7:05 PM train home and will walk in the door at around 8:20 PM. She departed the homestead this morning to catch the 6:37AM train. We have such a precise routine it's time to get to St Barts to leave all this behind. And I've been doing it since 1976. 10 days isn't really enough but it'll do.

    Always planning my next trip.

  7. #7
    noel is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Jul 2003 St. Louis, MO & Washington, DC Posts: 2,293
    Quote Originally Posted by Mike R

    Auberge @ Petit Anse... after 12 years in #17 its home away from home...no stress..no worries...same experience every year...we realy like that about a vacation...and Petit Anse is still the quietest most peaceful little cove we have ever experienced anywhere on the water...
    Mike, check out p. 255 of the great book JEK has posted for a little history.

  8. #8
    MIke R is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: May 2003 Stinson Lake - New Hampshire & Provincetown - Cape Cod Posts: 52,003
    Quote Originally Posted by goldold25
    I just got a text from my other half and she's on the 7:05 PM train home and will walk in the door at around 8:20 PM. She departed the homestead this morning to catch the 6:37AM train..

    Understanding that we are all wired differently and no judgement at all intended...but I cannot, on any level, conceive of that kind of commute..especially given I can see my school and shops right outside my kitchen window up here and see my boat outside my living room window down there on the Cape.....maybe I'm just spoiled rotten but I just couldnt do that kind of commute for love or money......heck I get all bitchy when we go out to the lakehouse which is a whopping 30 minutes away from the resort
    "When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace" Jimi Hendrix

  9. #9
    goldold25 is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Sep 2003 Fairfield County, Connecticut Posts: 540
    Someone once asked me, when I was a cop In NYC, why don't you try to get a cop job in a less crazy place? The simplest answer is why would I want to be a cop anywhere else? This is the place where it all happens. The same goes for virtually everything else. If you want to be an emergency room doc go to Bellevue. I haven't been a cop for over 20 years but the same feeling applies to virtually everything else. NYC is, for what it's worth, the biggest, most complicated, fastest most enticing challenge at hand. I guess for some of us that counts. But I found the island of our discussion a few years ago and like the stark differences.

    Would Jim Calhoun leave UCONN at this point? Nah! JoePa is still at it at PSU. But he liked the press box a bit last year. But he'll be back leading the team out in front of 108,000 screaming Penn State fans this year. How can you go downscale after so many years in the mecca? Tough call.

    Always planning my next trip.

  10. #10
    Eddie is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Apr 2004 virginia Posts: 6,890
    I like how I'm always welcomed back, and treated as if I belong, regardless of how long I've been away.
    www.stbartsphotos.com
    Facebook EMH-Photography

  11. #11
    MIke R is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: May 2003 Stinson Lake - New Hampshire & Provincetown - Cape Cod Posts: 52,003
    gold old...yeah I hear ya...born in Brooklyn....raised in Jersey City...couldn't wait to get the hell out!..."they" said it was a "faze" I would "outgrow" once I got it out of my system...."they" dont believe that anymore....LOL


    if you re happy ..thats all which matters
    "When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace" Jimi Hendrix

  12. #12
    Earl is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Jun 2003 Moneta, VA Posts: 4,594
    All true Eddie...all true. That is why we now go twice a year...always want to get back "HOME".
    EARL
    Still Alive and Kickin'!!!

  13. #13
    goldold25 is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Sep 2003 Fairfield County, Connecticut Posts: 540
    Quote Originally Posted by Mike R
    gold old...yeah I hear ya...born in Brooklyn....raised in Jersey City...couldn't wait to get the hell out!..."they" said it was a "faze" I would "outgrow" once I got it out of my system...."they" dont believe that anymore....LOL


    if you re happy ..thats all which matters

    I just hope I don't turn into one of the Gotham escapees who, upon retirement or leaving to get away from it all, tries to "get busy" in the new, slower paced spot. I sincerely hope that all I crave about my annual visit to this oasis of off-season calm can be incorporated into my everyday reality when I pull the plug on the current pace. But it sure is good for the 10 or so days we've been doing it for the last few years.

    Always planning my next trip.

  14. #14
    KevinS is offline
    Senior Insider Joined: Jul 2003 Boston Posts: 19,562
    Charlie,

    The reason why I return to St Barth is quite simple. My time in St Barth restores my soul. Ease of reach and cost are immaterial, but I do know how to control both. Restoring my soul is priceless. And the Sole Meuniere ain't bad either...

  15. #15
    charlieh is offline
    SBH Member Joined: May 2006 Greensboro, NC Posts: 293
    Kevin - I understand your point but am curious if you can explain why you find this at SBH and not another location.

    In other words, why do you think SBH has this affect on you? I also know it may be really hard to explain.

  16. #16
    JEK is offline
    Senior Insider Joined: Jan 2004 In the ether . . . Posts: 51,671
    Charlie,
    From your post a couple of years ago. Are you still in search of the answer?


    No island is perfect for everyone. When we discovered this little piece of French heaven on earth 20 years ago, I fell head over heels in love with the place. We just had our 6th vacation there, but the 1st in 9 years.

    St Barts was the most relaxing and romantic place I had ever been, but those days are now pleasant memories for me. Before hurricane Luis in 95, St Jean Bay defined SBH for me. Now Saline defines it. All the beaches except St Jean seem to be in as good a shape as in 1995, but St Jean looks like it will never come back - at least in my lifetime.

    The roads have always been a challenge, but the loss of mini mokes and the addition of many more cars and cycles on the roads has made driving much more of a nuisance. It is impossible to throw all the money and publicity at SBH and not to expect changes.

    All I know is that the place that I once loved is no longer the "right" place for me. It is still unique and interesting and probably always will be.
    The Marius 100th Birthday Party -- June 5, 2023

  17. #17
    KevinS is offline
    Senior Insider Joined: Jul 2003 Boston Posts: 19,562
    Charlie,

    I've spent time on as many different islands as anyone. SBH works for me. You've already quit on it. Why do you keep asking questions?

  18. #18
    Voosh is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Jan 2007 Detroit Posts: 13,136
    It's our "Hideaway" without long trips and other hassles.

    Loud music? We'll jump in. Restaurant questions? We'll check here first and then do what what we please.

    Time - it works against us. Yet, requires good company, good surroundings, good food, good beaches, good wine and a spirit of "joie...."

    The fun can be found. The absence of fun with "in your face" commercial stuff is not there and appreciated. (At least by us) :P
    Yeah, Yeah - IMHO

  19. #19
    Eddie is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Apr 2004 virginia Posts: 6,890
    Quote Originally Posted by charlieh
    ... why do you think SBH has this affect on you?
    I think you can get as many different answers as there are members. But, I think, all the answers will have one thing in common. There are moments of absolute, overwhelming bliss. It's those instants when time loses meaning, and every sense is heightened. The universe appears whole, and perfect. I don't know how else to describe it.
    For me, it often occurs over a cup of St Barth Blend, on the terrace, in the morning. Or, late night, watching the stars, with a nightcap. Or, at other random times, always unplanned, and always welcomed.
    www.stbartsphotos.com
    Facebook EMH-Photography

  20. #20
    Skeeter is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Dec 2006 Posts: 3,119
    Add to mine what Eddie said. In my limited experience (three trips in four years), we've seemed to find a lot of those odd moments, such as sitting with that cup of coffee, or even something like the challenge of looking at the selections at Petite Columbe to find the perfect pastry (or four) for that morning, where there is just this sense of complete comfort and bliss.

    With regard to Mike's comment of "why do you "hate to admit this" ????"

    Because we have a different context of price. I wish I could find a place that keeps Vickie and the twins happy at $400 per night (and fondly remember when we paid about that for Four Seasons Maui on our first trip there). But traveling with the twins, and knowing her standards, we now spend around $1,000 per night. Still, the other trip we took with the twins was to show them (not that they would remember since they were 10 months old, but I will always remember William taking his first real steps there) Four Seasons Maui, and we paid a bit more there. So, in comparison, the money is not bad.
    Has moved on to a reality-based existence.

  21. #21
    tim is offline
    Moderator Joined: Jun 2003 Vélo, Virginia Posts: 16,823
    My friends.
    The best moderation is the least moderation.

  22. #22
    andynap is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Oct 2002 Philadelphia Posts: 43,589
    Quote Originally Posted by tim
    My friends.

    There you go. So many other reasons too- solitude when we want it, Phyllis reading under a palm tree, good food, nice people, safety and little crime. More.


    Andy

  23. #23
    MartinS is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: May 2003 Snead Island, Florida. Posts: 3,101

    My friends. Old friends and those I haven't met yet...
    Sometimes there's Justice, sometimes there's just us.

  24. #24
    charlieh is offline
    SBH Member Joined: May 2006 Greensboro, NC Posts: 293
    JEK - it's really tough giving up on an old friend, especially one that I liked as much as SBH. The flame is still there and I'm curious to hear what others who have this flame have to say.

    Also I'm not quite sure why this little island has such a strong hold on me. I just think it's a good topic for discussion. Not trying to prove anything.

  25. #25
    pks is online now
    SBH Member Joined: Nov 2004 Raleigh N.C. Posts: 120
    NH Diane, Very well said and as fellow travelers who always stay at villa Everest, we have the same feelings. I'd like to thank you for the book you left at the villa and assigned it for required reading!I read it with much enjoyment last summer and sent for a copy when we got home. The book was the Four Hour work week by Tim Ferriss. Happy to say I'm almost there.

  26. #26
    Voosh is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Jan 2007 Detroit Posts: 13,136
    Re: "I just think it's a good topic for discussion"

    It's a great topic that should, and does, come up regularly. Gives some of us the blues because we're not there and whets the appetite of folks who haven't been there yet.

    What a place to just lay back and be thankful for the good things in life without having crass BS in your face at a, relatively, easy price.

    Hope it stays that way.
    Yeah, Yeah - IMHO

  27. #27
    islander is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: May 2005 Posts: 1,498
    Landing on runway 10 on December 25th, with 50 knots crosswind
    Meeting the local "gendarme" at immigration with a "Bienvenue à St Barth" again...
    Claiming your bag at Winair's desk, because it's not arrived
    Renting that mini cooper with Turbe Car rental, convertible of course
    That morning sunrise over Grand Cul de Sac lagoon, watching the kite surfers...
    That Croissant smell at "La Petite Colombe"
    That bright light over Gustavia harbor in the morning
    Having a brunch at "La Plage" watching the planes landing "from over the beach" (the wrong way)
    The Ti Punch atmosphere at the Select at 6 pm (with a Cheeseburger bien sûr)
    The Crème Brûlée flavour at the Wall House
    Shopping around at the "St Barth French West Indies" shop
    Buying the "parfum au Tiaré" at La Ligne St Barth
    Taking that "ultimate dive" with Bertrand St Barth Plongée
    Taking the 20 min walk to discover the beautiful Colombier beach
    Drinking a cup of champagne under the stars at Villa La Baleine (Rosita's)
    Watching the New Year's fireworks from La Route des Boucaniers" with all the yachts in the harbour "firing the horns"
    Watching sunset from the Carl Gustaf with a "Planters' punch"
    Taking the usual "quatre fromage" pizza by Andy's, with the warm welcome from the tall Englishman (rhum vanille to come)
    Taking the picture of the landing "Winair twin otter" over la tourmente hill
    Having lunch at Do Brazil watching the local kids "jumping the wave" at Shell Beach
    Having dinner at K'fe Massai with Mick's warm welcome
    Getting sun burn in Saline next to the naked "crazy" French locals
    Having a last drink at the "Casa Nikki" (oh well it's only 3 am)
    Meeting the local crowd at Nikki Beach
    Having a "Sushi" at Caviar island
    Going the the Guanahani Spa (well for Madam), while Monsieur is taking his first windsurfing lesson
    Spending a lot of money at Cartier's for Madam's
    Buying a Cigar Montecristo #4 (hecho in Cuba) for Monsieur
    Getting that t-shirt "sorry no telephone"..... for the kids
    Wondering why the "hell" there is no gas available for the car on the island on Sundays
    and why all shops are closed between noon and 3 pm
    and why "La Saladerie" has moved places 3 times...
    and why the dollar is so low compared to the Euro
    and why is all the New York crowd in St Barths on December 31st
    ..........and many other reasons....

    Well that is why I love St Barth (please note "no s") and why I keep going back again and again and again......

  28. #28
    elgreaux is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: May 2003 Saint Barth Posts: 10,212
    Great list, but you'll have to cross off Caviar Island... it closed on Saturday night forever.... the question is if anything will take its place.

  29. #29
    RickyG is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Jul 2006 Naples, FL Posts: 2,829
    For me, its kinda like crack. The first time was just incredible.....fantastic. We keep going back in an atempt to recapture that taste, chasing the dragon. We get close. Probably what keeps me going back is how I feel when I'm not there.
    On second thought maybe I just like the food

  30. #30
    NHDiane is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Aug 2003 New Hampshire Posts: 6,937
    NCTrader - glad you liked my choice of reading and Villa Everest. IMO one of the best villa bargains on SBH. We haven't been there in a few years, only because we are fortunate to have a friend that owns and allows us to stay at her villa. Hubby and I absolutely love Everest and owner Edward. I am happy to say that I am well on my way to the "good life" - aka not working! Will you return to Everest?
    Emma Peel: I suppose Mother warned you about women like me?
    John Steed: Until now, I didn't know there were women like you.

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