Anguilla by Joe Gavula

Ok, here we go...

We came over on the ferry from St. Martin to Anguilla - cost $9 each plus $2 departure tax. The taxi ran about $12 for the trip from the airport to the ferry and $7 on Anguilla from the dock to the Seahorse. It runs $25 each to fly from SXM to AXA.

Our initial impression of Anguilla was it was not a pretty island - more scrubby looking than we expected but in a couple of days we changed our minds - it just has a different kind of beauty. The beaches are gorgeous and the best we've seen and the people are so pleasant and genuine that we were quickly converted to Anguilla lovers.

We stayed at Seahorse Apts and really enjoyed it - basic but private and everything you really need. The owner, Ronni, is as helpful as she can be and just a really nice person. We stayed in one of the beach units -(there is a duplex on the beach and the 3 more apts up a short path - any of them would be great. The beach is very small but private with easy snorkeling. There's a bbq grill, table, hammock just above the beach and the sunsets were terrific. The moonlight on the water wasn't half bad either. We were the only ones there for the first two days and then a couple from Canada came to stay 3 weeks. The location is out-of-the-way but you aren't far from lots of restaurants and great beaches.

It was very hot while we were there and several people mentioned it was hotter than normal. It rained a couple of times for a short while. Ronni said they were waiting for the Christmas winds (but they come in Nov.).

Driving was no problem once you got the round-a-bout figured out. Must buy a temporary license - $6. Ronni had a car waiting for us at Seahorse through Thrifty - $195 including license - a Suzuki Fronte 4 speed - no a/c. It was nice to have it waiting 'because we arrived on Sun and the stores were closed. We drove to Johnno's for dinner - Ronni gave us directions.

Shopped for groceries at Proctor's and Vista - Vista takes credit cards and is centrally located.

Be sure to take some insect repellent - had quite a few mosquitoes particularly at dusk & no "see-ums" (which nothing seems to repel). We just used Cutter's and were fine.

Beaches - drove around the entire island one day and looked at a lot of beaches - didn't go into any of the hotels though. All the beaches were beautiful and deserted - Shoal Bay east was the busiest and Rendezvous Bay was my favorite of the big beaches - you can see it from the Seahorse beach. Spent one day at Scilly Cay - it was fun and relaxing - the rum punch was very good - the lobster very good also - but high priced - $40 for lobster and $35 for crawfish.

Shoal Bay East - spent an afternoon on this beach - really great beach, wide and easy walking, not crowded and home to Uncle Ernie's - had burgers and beer - great and cheap.

Little Bay - a great small beach but I almost chickened out . You have to climb down a rope (maybe 30-40 ft) from a rocky small cliff. I did it but the height did bother me - once you get down there it is well worth the effort and climbing back up is much easier. It is nice for snorkeling and just beautiful - another couple came after about 20 mins. but that was it.

Palm Grove- Drove to Palm Grove and had a beer at the bar - was surprised to see about 10-15 people there - it is pretty remote. It was a pretty beach with some snorkeling and we watched the sail boats go by.

We found we used the beach at Seahorse quite a bit so we didn't really go stay on any of the others. It was so handy to be able to get a beer, take a nap in the hammock, etc. It is small but there are chairs and the water is just great, it feels very private.

We think that we should go back so that we can try all the ones we missed.

We ate at several for dinner but by the end of the week we were getting to the point we couldn't eat anymore - generally speaking they had large portions of food. A 10% or 15% service charge was added to your bill at every place we ate.

Johnno's - went on Sun night after we arrived - had great food - lobster and good music - everyone really enjoying themselves - great to watch the sunset. Lobster about $22.

The Old House Restaurant - ate breakfast there twice - fresh eggs were terrific - Joe really enjoyed them - good service - moderate price.

Smugglers - nice location and atmosphere - the food wasn't as good as I expected, had lobster soup, snapper and mahi-mahi shrimp kebabs - good but not great. Lucy's Harborview - nice atmosphere and view - but dinner was not that good - had lobster and snapper with shrimp - OK but would not go back - seemed a little expensive.

The Pepper Pot - had rotis for lunch and watched the kids get out of school - 2 rotis with salad and 4 Heinekens - $20.

Blanchards - absolutely the best meal on our vacation - wonderful atmosphere, very elegant but relaxed - had blackened lobster which Joe said was the best of the whole trip - I had spicy grouper which was terrific - had 2 salads - drinks - coffee for $100 - I highly recommend Blanchards. It was also the busiest restaurant - make reservations. We saw everything as far as clothes - one woman had on a wedding dress and another one cut-offs with a crop top - I would wear something nice but not too dressy.

Tropical Penguin - on Sandy Ground - Stopped and had a fish sandwich and a beer for lunch - very good and would have liked to go back for dinner but ran out of time - moderate in price.

Cyrils' Fish House - Island Harbour - decided to try it because we met the owner at Uncle Ernies giving out his card to everyone. Really very good - liked the decor and music - Joe had garlic crusted snapper which was very good and I had lobster with angelhair. Moderately priced and worth the drive. The rum punch was great too.

Reefside - on Shoal Bay East - had a terrible snapper sandwich - other items might be good but our fish was not!

Ferry Boat - close to Seahorse Apts - went there our last night. Our second favorite restaurant on our trip - really good food. Had French onion and black bean soup which was some of the best I have had, then snapper and a seafood casserole that was outstanding. John waited on us and is quite a character - we were his last customers and we stayed for awhile - he bought us an after dinner drink and told us about a hundredjokes. Very moderate in price - about $80 for a wonderful meal. That's it - we ate well and ften!