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Thread: Honeymoon (and first time!) trip report: June 17th-23rd

  1. #1
    Lake is offline
    SBH Member Joined: Jan 2013 Waco, TX Posts: 46

    Honeymoon (and first time!) trip report: June 17th-23rd

    Hello to all! I have been looking forward to being able to contribute something to this board for a long time, and now I (hopefully) will get the chance to do so.

    My bride and I were married on June 15th and were flown to Dallas that evening by my uncle and cousin. It was a small plane and at first my wife balked at the idea, but the flight went smoothly and at the very least it prepared her for the Winair hop. We were supposed to leave the following morning, but after a passport fiasco our trip was delayed a day (don't ask, we don't talk about it). We arrived in St. Maarten the evening of the 17th and stayed at the Sonesta Maho. We flew out the next morning to finally arrive where we were supposed to be. The flight was a lot of fun, we both really enjoyed the nose-dive before planing out.

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    Moe Moulinier from Wimco (splendid guy) met us at the airport, helped us with our car rental, then led us up to Villa SAS. It was just as I had been picturing it in my mind for the previous 6+ months of anticipation.

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    Anxious to get to the beach, we unpacked and changed into swim suits to head down to St. Jean beach. It was a beautiful day. We had lunch at the Sand Bar. I had the fish sandwich while Jenn had the prosciutto pizza. Both were great. We really enjoyed the people watching and plane watching at St. Jean that day. The water felt perfect and it was so nice to just be there.

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    That night we ate at Le Select as we were trying to find a place to watch the US men's national team World Cup qualifier. All you ladies out there, stop making that face at me, she insisted! She knows how much I love soccer and the team and wanted to be supportive. Anyway, we couldn't find anywhere showing it as there was a basketball game that night, so we settled in at Le Select. Later on that week I felt like we wasted a dinner opportunity, but we were both tired and just happy to be there, so the "cheeseburger in paradise" hit the spot.

    The next day we decided to try Gouverneur, but it started raining shortly after we got out there. Thankfully it turned out to be our only day of rain for the week. We went back to the villa and then into Gustavia for some window shopping and the like.

    For dinner that night we went to Wall House - excellent. I had the mahi and Jenn the salmon. I probably should have ordered a steak or the duck here, but the fish was wonderful. It was so strange, and this is something we encountered the whole week, but for a good hour we were the only people there. I guess I shouldn't have been surprised. It's a wonder more restaurants don't close in the low season.

    Thursday we went to Saline and it was just beautiful. The surf was really powerful and I enjoyed being in the ocean. My poor wife was walking back to the beach from the water and got blindsided by a gigantic wave. She was pretty careful in the waves after that. We drove up to Grain de Sel only to find it closed, so we drove around and went to Le Piment. It was perfect for lunch, then we tried Gouverneur again and it was very nice.

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    Dinner that night at La Table de Jules was awesome. Tuna tartare was to die for, the tenderloin was indeed tender and apple crisp for me and chocolate mousse for her. As you can see, the mousse was not in the least bit cared for. Wear bug spray! I was eaten alive. We had an after-dinner drink that night at the Sand Bar. The ambiance down there was really nice. So peaceful and relaxing. We were so impressed with Eden Rock the whole week.

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    Friday we booked massages at Guanahani and spent the day there. As we were walking down to the beach after the massages, Jenn's leg brushed up against the tail of an iguana and it nearly scared her to death. We were walking down the stone steps off to the side of the drive and I guess the fella had just crossed. She let out a scream that sent shivers down my spine. He was HUGE. She wasn't too keen on much adventuring after that, but I did get her out to do a bit of hiking around the point around Guanahani.

    Aside from that incident, we had a great day. Lunch there was great: smoked salmon sandwich and painkillers, my favorite island drink. They put us right up next to the water. It was very peaceful. We hiked around the point for a bit and really enjoyed that, it was very windy and the views were great.

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    We went to Eden Rock for dinner that night. This was our favorite place of the trip. I really like how the restaurant is tiered, and the views, of course, are spectacular. The food was excellent, my best meal. I had a pineapple julep that was delicious and Jenn a Bellini. We started with the lobster tacos, then I had the snapper and Jenn the shrimp. My snapper was heavenly: succulent, melt-in-your-mouth fish seasoned to perfection in a buttery but in no way heavy "sweet and sour" sauce that is nothing like Asian food. Simply fantastic. Jennifer had the molten chocolate cake for dessert while I got the caramel ice cream sundae. I made the better decision, though she swears that isn't the case.

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    For our final beach day we went to Flamands, and again, it was like we were the only people on the island. It was very windy and we had to turn our faces at times to avoid getting peppered with sand (an issue all week, that normally the case?), but we had a great day. We ate at IdF and split the mixed grill of fish which was the perfect size for lunch. The staff was so friendly, but they were everywhere we went all week. I thoroughly appreciate kindness because it seems often it is neglected on a day-to-day basis at times in the States.

    For our last dinner we made a reservation (though I have no idea why, there were 2 other couples that night) at Le Gaiac. We decided to get a nice bottle of wine and had a 2004 Chateau d'Armhailac, a Bordeaux that I will highly recommend for cab lovers. On Amy and Phil's recommendation we had the parmesan and truffle spaghetti - rich and excellent. Jenn had the mahi ravioli which she has raved about for days. I was disappointed with my filet mignon - it was very tough and chewy, though the flavor was good. We were simply too stuffed for dessert that evening. The staff there, of course, was wonderful.

    We ferried over to St. Maarten the next morning and met up with my family (minus 1 brother) and some family friends to hop on a cat for another week of Caribbean bliss. We rented through the Moorings, a 4600. We went St. Maarten --> Anguilla --> St. Martin --> Colombier --> Gustavia --> Ile Fourche --> St. Maarten.

    A few quick notes about the boat trip:

    -The diving at Ile Fourche was absolutely excellent. I think that was my favorite night on the boat, as we moored, explored the island, dived (dove?), and cooked right there on the boat.
    -We ate at Barrel Stay in Anguilla and it might have been my favorite meal of the 2 weeks. Great British chef with a lot of personality, right on the beach. Food was top-notch.
    -For our last night in the harbor of Gustavia we stumbled upon Bagatelle. Looking for pizza originally, we settled on this spot only to find after we had sat down and ordered drinks that there would be no pizza that night, as "the guy that does it didn't show up." My dad was not happy (we were trying to eat a little cheaper also after a dinner at Eden Rock the night before), but the meal turned out to be absolutely fantastic. I had the duck and it was cooked perfectly. Everyone had a great meal. The tuna tartare was heavenly as a starter. Great little place.
    -My dad's favorite places on the island are Maya's and Pipiri Palace, so we were sad to find that they were both closed.
    -One day we sent the women to the beach and my dad, brother and I rented mopeds. ****THIS IS AN ABSOLUTE MUST-DO.**** We had a great time, one of the highlights of the trip.

    Final thoughts for first-timers:

    -Even after scouring this forum for months leading up to the trip, we still felt overwhelmed at all the options for food and things to do on the island. So do more research! We were scared we would miss out on something. For the most part I thought we did pretty well.
    -Eden Rock, Wall House, Table de Jules (formerly Massai) are great spots. Eden Rock was our favorite (I think I've mentioned this before) and a must-do.
    -If you do a spa day at Guanahani the beach chairs are free (at least I certainly hope they are, we weren't asked to pay for them). On that note, beach chairs and the service that comes with them are nice, but they are expensive. We had beach chairs at our villa that we could take to the beach and these served us just fine.

    Overall, we had an excellent time. I know that the next time we make it back we'll better know what to do and where to go.

    (more pictures to come)

  2. #2

  3. #3
    JEK is offline
    Senior Insider Joined: Jan 2004 In the ether . . . Posts: 51,667
    Excellent trip report -- you geographically covered the island and gastronomically covered some great restaurants! Thanks for the detail and photos and when is your next trip?
    The Marius 100th Birthday Party -- June 5, 2023

  4. #4
    Lake is offline
    SBH Member Joined: Jan 2013 Waco, TX Posts: 46
    Ehhh, next trip won't be for a while I'm afraid. I am in medical school and this was really our last true summer break. There's a possibility that we could be back after my 4th year in 2016, but we'll have to see. We can't wait for our return!

  5. #5
    NHDiane is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Aug 2003 New Hampshire Posts: 6,937
    What a terrific report, first-timer or not, you crammed a lot into your stay. I agree that this forum is superb, especially checking it out for your first visit to SBH. But, there is nothing like setting out on your own and finding places on your own. As you may have read here, many members are frequent-flyers to this island and they continue to discover new things! It never gets old...You're an adorable couple, and I do hope this won't be your last visit. Thanks for posting your thoughts and pictures.
    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
    amyb is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Apr 2008 Glen Cove,L. I., NY Posts: 25,035
    This is a fantastic report. Your wedding and honeymoon should provide a load of happy memories to last your whole life long.Stay happy and start planning your next visit.

    Congrats and best wishes....you make a stunning couple
    Remember Yesterday, Dream About Tomorrow, But Live Today.

  7. #7
    Karen is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Mar 2007 Chester, VA Posts: 1,100
    Fantastic! You did cover a lot of ground and ocean while you were there. Congrats and may you have many years of wedded bliss.

  8. #8
    tim is offline
    Moderator Joined: Jun 2003 Vélo, Virginia Posts: 16,823
    Lake,

    Thank you for the terrific photos and reporting. I'm glad you had a wonderful time and that you shared it with the Forum
    The best moderation is the least moderation.

  9. #9
    GramChop is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Jul 2007 Austin, Texas Posts: 16,917
    Two more satisfied (and downright adorable) customers! Your trip report was a delightful read, Lake. Thank you for posting it. Prayers for many years of marital bliss.

    ...and Moe IS indeed a delightful (and dreamy) guy!CameraAwesomePhoto.jpg
    The waves of the sea bring me back to me.

  10. #10
    andynap is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Oct 2002 Philadelphia Posts: 43,474
    Lake you and Jenn did it up right. Great report and your wife and mom are beautiful. Good luck in med school and hope you return soon.


    Andy

  11. #11
    rivertrash is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Aug 2005 Tyler, Texas and Beaver Creek, Colorado Posts: 4,615
    Thanks for the great report, Lake. Glad you had a good time and hope you get back to the island quicker than you think.
    To the optimist the glass is half full.
    To the pessimist the glass is half empty.
    To the engineer the glass is simply too big.

  12. #12
    Goooner is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Aug 2012 Posts: 1,050
    One tip for soccer -- next time, check out Andy's. He's a Manchester United fan (but still a great guy) and he should be able to point you in the right direction.

  13. #13
    marybeth is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: May 2004 Pittsburgh, PA Posts: 3,244
    Great report and pictures, you're such a cute couple. We, too, had a honeymoon passport snafu, and now have been married 23 years...so I'd say you're off to a good start!

    Congrats and good luck with med school!

  14. #14
    BBT is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Feb 2008 Posts: 11,049
    Sounds like your started this of right.some great memories to look back on while you are immersed in your studies and something to look forward to when you are practicing. Best of luck with your studies and marriage
    "St. Bart's is Crack for Vacations." Credit given to EDW

  15. #15
    Jilllit is offline
    SBH New Member Joined: Jul 2013 Posts: 1
    Precious couple, excellent report, great pics!

  16. #16
    tim is offline
    Moderator Joined: Jun 2003 Vélo, Virginia Posts: 16,823
    Jillllt, welcome to the Forum!
    The best moderation is the least moderation.

  17. #17
    andynap is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Oct 2002 Philadelphia Posts: 43,474
    Quote Originally Posted by Jilllit View Post
    Precious couple, excellent report, great pics!
    Any relation to Lake or Jenn? :)


    Andy

  18. #18
    Dorocke is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Apr 2004 Charlotte, NC Posts: 2,404
    What a great report! You guys are adorable! Congratulations! (On Saline waves... I lost a pair of $300 sunglasses to Saline and almost did it again just a couple years later.)
    Ashley (formerly "AHowell")

  19. #19
    Mrsm6-7-08 is offline
    SBH Member Joined: Jan 2013 Long Island Posts: 180
    Congratulations on your wedding!!! What an amazing honeymoon!!! Your review was perfect!

  20. #20
    MIke R is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: May 2003 Stinson Lake - New Hampshire & Provincetown - Cape Cod Posts: 52,003
    very nice...thanks for sharing
    "When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace" Jimi Hendrix

  21. #21
    bkeats is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Jul 2010 Nuevo York Posts: 588
    Great report. You did your honeymoon the reverse of ours. We chartered from Moorings and did almost the same trip as yours. We got our first taste of SBH when we anchored off of Gustavia and stayed for 2 days. Good thing that the next day, we dropped the boat off and got on the plane to fly back and spend another week. That was 17 years ago. We keep coming back. I'm just bummed that we have not been back this year and may not be able to return until March of '14. I'm still working on convincing my wife that we should do T-giving on SBH so maybe there's a chance for this year still. But you've been bitten by the bug and you will be back.

  22. #22
    Lake is offline
    SBH Member Joined: Jan 2013 Waco, TX Posts: 46
    As you can attest, bkeats, the Moorings trips are fantastic and a great deal of fun. Being in charge of a 46-foot cat on open water is pretty exciting. We'll be back to do both!

  23. #23
    Valerie is offline
    SBH Member Joined: Apr 2009 Maryland Posts: 176
    Lovely report! Sounds like y'all had a fantastic honeymoon. I would love to hear more about your charter. We're doing a bareboat out of St. Martin this Fall so I'm getting in serious planning mode. Our first visit to our favorite island by sea! It will be our first visit to Anguilla and St. Martin (with the exception of the airport!) so please share any tips you may have for those two islands!

  24. #24
    KZ1300A1 is offline
    SBH Member Joined: Jan 2009 Houston, Texas Posts: 361
    Very nice! Thanks for posting. My wife and I were married in St Barths last year at the villa we stayed at.
    Incidently my wife is from Waco. Cheers!

  25. #25
    Jim Kelly-Evans is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Nov 2010 Philadelphia and Fire Island, NY Posts: 857
    Great report! Congratulations on your wedding and best wishes for the future!
    "I'd rather have a bottle in front of me, than a frontal lobotomy." - Dorothy Parker

  26. #26
    bkeats is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Jul 2010 Nuevo York Posts: 588
    Hi Valerie
    We've done three charters out of SXM. Gone as far as Nevis. If you are going for one week, that will basically give you time to hit a few spots on the north coast of SXM, Anguilla, Ile Fourche, Colombier and Gustavia. Assuming you are coming out of Oyster Pond, your choices arr to either head north or go SE to Fourchue. If north, I will suggest going to Grand Case. Skip Orient/Pinel b/c its way too crowded. Barely any swing room at anchor. You can dinghy ashore in Grand Case ang get a great meal. From there, I would head to Angulla. Unless things have changed, the only anchorage is Road Bay. I have not been to Anguilla in a while so I really can't speak to places there. Sandy Island is a good lunch stop. Then head back to SXM and visit Marigot. That's a good overnight spot. From there I would head to Fourchue if you didn't go there first. When the sun goes down, the stars really come out since there won't be a light anywhere near you. From there, Colombier is a stop you have to make. Finally Gustavia. That would be my itinerary. Hope you find this helpful.

  27. #27
    GayleR is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Nov 2002 Toronto, Canada Posts: 1,958
    Lovely report. Congratulations!

  28. #28
    Whojay is offline
    SBH New Member Joined: Dec 2013 Posts: 1
    Enjoyed your report.
    What a beautiful couple and honeymoon!

  29. #29
    Eve is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Jun 2008 Boston Posts: 8,017
    So perfect! Congratulations!

  30. #30
    stbartshopper is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Dec 2013 Indianapolis, Indiana, U.S.A. Posts: 7,702
    Although a late reply, your trip report was fun to read as it was clear that the two of you had a 'ball.' The waves at Saline are often dangerous with a strong undertow. We know a number of people who have been injured- ribs, chest bruises etc from them. Le Gaiac almost alone must have been quite romantic! It looks like you were outside on the side 'dock' for dinner from the picture at Eden Rock which is a great place to see the fish (tarpon?) and enjoy the breezes. Guanahani and lunch at the Indigo is one of our favorite days when we are there. From wherever and/or whoever gave you all of the tips and advice in addition to the Forum about the island did you well!

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