Grenada by Susan Gilpin

Grenada is a beautiful island and we do intend to return. We've found that one visit is just not enough to know a place if you've enjoyed being there. The lovely soft-spoken, graciousness of Grenadians is certainly one of the island's greatest attributes and one of the reasons we would return.

We stayed at the Mahogany Run Residences on Morne Rouge. It is very small and quite pleasant. We were met at the airport by the hotel manager and driven to the Residence. Each morning one of 2 delightful young ladies came and fixed our breakfast when we called and said we were ready for breakfast. We had a small kitchen and ate lunch in so we could splurge for dinner. Morne Rouge beach was about 100 yards away. Seaweed was a problem at one end of the beach, but walking beyond the designated vendor area (there were no vendors) solved the seaweed problem. The water on Morne Rouge is very gentle as this beach is very protected. It is almost like swimming in a lake. The Rum Rhunner uses this as one of their "secluded" beaches. We fortunately were off the beach each time they arrived. We had two problems staying here that would probably prevent us from returning--except we loved the management and the people that worked here. 1. It is away from Grande Anse and the main area where the restaurants are located, which required extensive use of taxis at night. 2. The disco Fantazia 2000 which is owned by the neighboring resort is RIGHT there. Wednesday night we were rudely awakened by car alarms, screaming "kids", etc. We really thought about moving elsewhere. For some reason we decided to stay. Friday and Saturday night were dead quiet!

A tour of the island is a must. We were fortunate in finding a guide that we thought was excellent through "happenstance". We called for a taxi to go to the grocery to get stuff for lunches. As we talked with the driver and started asking questions we realized that we were in the company of a well-informed, well-spoken gentleman whose company we enjoyed. He mentioned that he gave tours. He is based at the Ramada Renaissance and a member of their drivers association. After some debate we decide to take a tour with him rather than some of the well known companies. Spending 4-5 hours in Volvo sounded a lot better than a van.

Our tour was outstanding and fun. We were treated like friends that had come for a visit. We felt like we were getting special treatment, but I'd guess that each "client" feels that way. Our first stop was the spice plantation. We were the only tourists there and had an engaging and wide ranging conversation with the plantation guide: spices - comparative education. Next stop was the nutmeg processing plant. Really intriguing. Again one-one with the plant guide. Passed through gorgeous countryside on the way to the rain forest with a stop a banana plantation and an interesting perspective on banana exportation ( main export). Our final stop was Annandale Falls, one of the few that do not require hiking to. Absolutely gorgeous. Also had educational conversations concerning the nuances of horn honking: if you come up behind a group of women walking down the road, you'd better toot or you'll get "some kind of a tongue lashin' ."

I was intrigued by people carrying things on their heads that were obviously very heavy. Seems our guide's grandmother used to call all of the grandchildren to help her find something she'd misplaced. You guessed it! It was on top of her head and she'd forgotten she'd put it there!!

The two beaches that we got to were wonderful. Both had plenty of shade if you needed to get out of the sun. We preferred Grand Anse but it was a long walk from where we were staying and straight down a very step hill, which of course, meant straight uphill coming back. A couple of weeks of walking/hiking would certainly put one in prime shape! We did notice that most of the tourists, except those that seemed to be staying at the Spice Island Inn seemed to be younger than we (51 and 59).

We really enjoy trying different restaurants and there are some really outstanding choices. We went to the following restaurants and here are our impressions.

  1. Southwinds--the food was OK. Service was spotty. Provides free transportation from your resort in the most uncomfortable van we've ever been in. Advertises a good view. Depends on where you sit. We were tired and not yet on "Caribbean time" so I'm not sure our evaluation is fair. Doubt that we'd go back.
  2. La Belle Creole--Food, ambiance and service were excellent. A very romantic setting. Their rum punch was the best. Same owners as Spice Island Inn, but we liked the restaurant here better than Spice Island Inn.
  3. Coconut Beach AKA the French Restaurant--our favorite. We went here twice. Tables are right on the beach. You can eat inside if you prefer. The food is wonderful and the two young ladies that wait table delightful. First time we ended up having a very interesting conversation with the French couple at the next table. HINT: If you go in rainy season, spray your feet and legs with Off, Cutters, or some such thing because this is prime season for sand fleas and
  4. La Dolce Vita--wonderful Italian/ Continental cuisine. Nice ambiance and good service. Crowded even in off season. This is fairly new and is not in guide books. We had a hard time deciding whether to return here or to Coconut Beach.
  5. Canboulay--Gorgeous view of St. George. Highly over rated. My dinner was okay. Paul ordered the Shrimp with spicy peanut sauce for an appetizer which arrived with 2 shrimp! His main course was also skimpy. We were not looking for huge portions, but his were down right stingy. Also one of the items listed as a part of my dinner on the menu never materialized and it was one of the reasons I ordered that particular thing. Desserts were excellent as was the service. The hostess (owner?) was very gracious.
  6. Spice Island Inn--initial service was spotty. We were never offered a cocktail, but we opted to have wine with dinner and would not have had both anyway. Dinner was good, but we can eat pretty much the same thing in a nice restaurant in the US. The coffee was the WORST that I have ever had! It tasted ( I think) and looked like dirty dishwater. Really disgraceful! The setting is very romantic.

Hope this was helpful to anyone considering visiting this lovely island.