Terrific and Terrifying - only a 4 Letter Difference
We are in the middle of a vacation on one of the most beautiful islands I have ever visited. From my experience, Kauai is probably its closest rival. But, Kauai is about seven additional hours in the air from our home in NJ. Our villa is perched high on a mountainside facing east and overlooks a sea dotted with moored sailboats, numerous bays and little uninhabited islands. The larger land mass of St. Thomas is visible in the distance. Many of you may have been here before - perhaps on a college camping trip (those were popular in my days) or on a cruise ship stop. That is how we discovered this lush, eye-popping island.
I always dreamed of returning for an extended time. My memories from the quick taxi tour of St. John included: gasping at the stunning views, losing count of the empty pristine white beaches carved into the mountainside and most of all, marveling at the foresight of the Rockefeller family to buy most of the island and protect it from random developers who would undoubtably mutilate it down the road. Speaking of ‘green’, the islanders are devout. Only recyclable bags, no plastic in food store (yes, they wrap food in newspaper), no flushing on yellow, lights and AC off when not home and so forth - it’s serious business here. As it should be everywhere if we want to slow down the decay of our planet.
So, we are back for a couple of weeks, and while not college age when my idea of sunscreen was baby oil, we are well covered from the tropical sun and taking in the views while we explore the island and attempt to stay alive on the harrowing roads. I’ve even been informed that this morning we are going on a hike - Yikes!
Fortunately, I don’t get car or sea sick, but I do not like scary drop offs or blind hair pin turns and everywhere, and I mean everywhere, straightaways are the exception. The roads were once carved into the island as horse trails - later to be paved into two lane roads. It's a great strategy for island preservation and very poor for safety and delicate stomachs. But, after four days, we have mostly desensitized and adjusted our average speed to about 15 mph.
The food has been fresh and delicious and it’s wonderful to have our own kitchen and avoid unnecessary resort calories. Dinners out have been excellent - fresh fish and chefs working to outshine each other with creative use of island spices. And the cocktails, how does clove and lemon infused ice cubes with bourbon sound? Pretty damn good! And with family visiting on and off, the restauranteurs have factored in many variations of kid friendly meals.
But, back to terrifying. Our lap pool was designed to add the “wow” factor to the villa and indeed it does. It also adds the “gasp” factor as it abuts to the edge of the cliff and you know kids... They always find a way to scare the crap out of you. Although we forbid climbing, sitting or standing on the edge, they regrouped and invented flying jumps that, depending on where we are sitting, can look like they are sailing over the edge. Not a set up for little ones or the lily livered.
The long and short and always the final question is, would we return or recommend to others? And the answer is absolutely! Especially if you have a dream to experience an unspoiled island, have your grandkids swim with baby sharks and sea turtles and become restored after a long cold winter. There’s only one requirement, you have to have a strong stomach!
Have you experienced this splendid paradise?