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Thread: Our Sixth Visit: The Same But Different

  1. #1
    Aipotu is offline
    SBH Member Joined: Feb 2008 Connecticut Posts: 283

    Our Sixth Visit: The Same But Different

    Just returned home from a wonderful nine days/eight nights on our favorite island. Is there anything more bittersweet than getting on the plane and flying over Eden Rock and St. Jean to begin the trek home? The pull of emotions at that moment is always so tough.

    In many ways, this was our most enjoyable and relaxing of our visits to St. Barths. The big question for all is what impact Irma had on the island. My takeaway is that the island is the same but different, if that makes sense. It still is a thing of beauty – a mix of quiet, sexy, vibrant and isolated in all the right ways.

    At the same time, the changes are perceptible – roads and walkways that were once shrouded by canopies of leaves are now lined with green rather than covered by it. The walk to Saline is still powerful, and perhaps even stunning for a first timer, but it is different, as is the beach – wider sand, shallower bay, steeper dunes. Governeur is similar in that regard, the picnic area now with out as much shade, the dunes less green. Columbier seems exactly the same (but no turtles or starfish?) but Flamands still looks looks like a war zone, especially at the hotel end.

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    Construction was evident everywhere, especially in L’Orient, St. Jean and to an extreme Pointe Milou. We usually stay on the Pointe, but were so grateful that this time we stayed at a much more quiet villa overlooking Gouverneur. Road work didn’t seem any more or any less than previous trips.

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    The locals strike me as somewhat humbled by what they experienced, and perhaps more grateful for those of us who are among the first to come back. They must be tired with all the personal questions, but you can tell that they were all profoundly effected by what they lived through.

    The weather was wonderful, with plenty of sun, and less humidity than we remember. That was accompanied by a fairly strong eastern wind that was just a tad too strong at the beaches.

    It is impossible to ignore the sargassum; what was a distraction the last time we were there is an all-out assault now. It never interfered directly with our beach time or swimming, but the right side of Saline was basically unusable for either the entire trip. Governeur had to be raked twice while we were there. The build-up was mind-boggling along Grand Fond and along the path to Columbier (though the latter was completely devoid of it). This is not a short-term problem, and I have no idea how the islands are all going to deal with it.

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    As always, meals were fantastic. Bernard did a great job with creole lobster for a dinner in our villa. This was our first experience with Orega, and we absolutely loved it, going back for a second visit. The sushi rolls are perfectly constructed to maximize the flavor of each ingredient, and the wait staff is fantastic. Our other first-time experience was the Eden Rock pop-up in L’Orient, which we liked better than any previous visit to the beach restaurant at the hotel. The location is fantastic, the ambiance a great mix of relaxed beach chic, and the food pretty good. We had never been to the current iteration of La Tamarin – the new lay-out, even with the damaged tree, is beautiful and the food is fantastic.

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    Other highlights were the sunset cruise with Jicky Marine on Wednesday (abetted by very generous flow of drinks), an out-of-this-world villa massage with Cleo and her unnamed partner, and watching the sunset from in front of what has to be the best-located hospital in the world.

    We love the island and can’t wait to get back. And I firmly resolve that this was our last trip of less than ten days. We were so busy relaxing and doing nothing that we never got around to doing all the things we wanted to do!

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  2. #2
    amyb is online now
    SBH Insider Joined: Apr 2008 Glen Cove,L. I., NY Posts: 25,518

    Re: Our Sixth Visit: The Same But Different

    Delightful read. You did so much, all while mastering the art of doing nothing!
    Remember Yesterday, Dream About Tomorrow, But Live Today.

  3. #3
    dadto6 is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Aug 2013 Northern Virginia Posts: 1,808

    Re: Our Sixth Visit: The Same But Different

    Thank you for taking the time to write a very informative report. Sounds like you both enjoyed life to the max

  4. #4
    GramChop is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Jul 2007 Austin, Texas Posts: 17,034

    Re: Our Sixth Visit: The Same But Different

    Super report, David; very happy that you and Julie had such a sweet holiday. Y'all look super chill in these photos (as well as those on Facebook)...the true sign of success! Thanks for sharing.
    The waves of the sea bring me back to me.

  5. #5
    LMAC is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Feb 2003 Northern Virginia Posts: 1,554

    Re: Our Sixth Visit: The Same But Different

    What a wonderful trip report! Glad the vacation was so special.
    Libby

  6. #6
    stbartshopper is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Dec 2013 Indianapolis, Indiana, U.S.A. Posts: 8,195

    Re: Our Sixth Visit: The Same But Different

    Love that shirt at Eden Roc! Glad it was the the most enjoyable and relaxing visit ever to the island! We agree- our worst day is the pack up; drive to the airport; saying goodbye to Odile and flying back over the island to SJU! Thanks for your photos and report.

  7. #7
    cec1 is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Jul 2008 Posts: 5,304

    Re: Our Sixth Visit: The Same But Different

    Thoughtful assessment of the Island today, with a happy ending to your visit! Nice reporting!

  8. #8
    GMP62 is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Feb 2015 Martinsville, NJ Posts: 1,423

    Re: Our Sixth Visit: The Same But Different

    Very nice report! Thanks for sharing your experiences and thoughts with us. Hope you can get back soon!

  9. #9
    TPunch42 is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Jan 2006 San Diego, CA Posts: 1,721

    Re: Our Sixth Visit: The Same But Different

    Thanks for all the great photos. Counting down the days until July and so excited to be back on the island. Glad you had such a restful trip!

  10. #10
    dmed is offline
    SBH Member Joined: Oct 2002 Posts: 27

    Re: Our Sixth Visit: The Same But Different

    what is the name of that villa/

  11. #11
    EasyTime2 is offline
    SBH Member Joined: Jan 2011 Evergreen, Colorado Posts: 52

    Re: Our Sixth Visit: The Same But Different

    The villa is Reflet de la Mer?

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