Julie & Gens's 10th Anniversary

This was our second trip to St Barts. The first time was our honeymoon. We booked Flamands Blue but it wasn't available for our entire stay, so the first two nights we stayed at Les Ilets de la Plage. My wife, Julie, planned our trip and had a list of beaches and restaurants we had to visit. Thanks to the forum and Jeff, the amazing owner of Flamands Blue, we were very well prepared. Thanks to all who had posted so many helpful tips and great reports. Here's our first attempt summarizing our great 10 year anniversary trip.

Part 1 - Friday through Sunday. Friday: We flew out of Charlotte and arrived around 3:30. No issues with the flight or transfer. We toured around in our convertible Mini and stopped by a local supermarket. (Gen forgot to mention that we got lost on our way to the hotel- quite the feat since it is literally a stone's throw away from the airport! -Julie) After purchasing some essentials - a bottle of wine, cheese, and bread, we headed back to the hotel. It had rained a little earlier, so we sat by the pool under the gazebo to enjoy our snack. A few hours later, we took a walk on St Jean beach and ended up at La Plage. Unfortunately, I forgot the camera at the hotel. The food was delicious, and everyone that worked there looked like models. What a way to start our vacation! (Gen was very enamored with the view- and he was sitting with his back to the ocean...Julie) The next day it rained again, so we headed to Gustavia. We did a little shopping and the rain tapered off just in time for lunch. We drove to Shell Beach and relaxed at Do Brazil. The Mahi burger was amazing. The sun came out, so we headed back to the hotel to change. The rest of the afternoon was spent at St Jean. The clear, blue water and soft, white sand looked like it had been photo-shopped! I couldn't believe how beautiful it was. Dinner was at a spot highly recommended by the forum. The goat cheese salad and 4 cheese pizza at Andy's were delicious. We were stuffed! Day 2 ended with a lot of sun, food, and wine. The next day we drove to Le Guanahani for a visit. This is where we had stayed for our honeymoon. After reminiscing we headed back to St Jean to have lunch at Sand Bar. I think this is the best lunch view that we had all week. We checked out of our hotel and moved to our villa in Flamands. We really enjoyed Les Ilets and would definitely recommend it to anyone, especially if you want to stay right on the beach. The open air rooms we very cool and the pool was always deserted. Flamands Blue was great. The views are amazing. Jeff's greeter was off the island so he called us and took us on a phone tour of the villa, along with lots of recommendations. We still had a few more hours of beautiful sun, so we drove out to Governeur. I can't think of any other place with so many beautiful beaches on one island! Dinner was at La Langouste and was another first experience for me. I had never seen a 4 pound lobster! The waiter was so nice and even let me hold the lobster that was soon going to be our dinner. The first three days quickly came to a close. Beautiful beaches, delicious food...what more could you ask for?

Monday: I have a terrible habit of waking up really early while on vacation (also on weekends). Luckily there is plenty of room at Flamands Blue to spread out! Here I am enjoying my book and the view.

After Gen woke up we went to Petite Colombe for breakfast. It was really hard to choose. It looked gloomy but we decided to chance it and drive out to Governeur. Jeff had suggested a forum favorite, Santa Fe, for lunch so as to admire the view. The plan was a nice morning at the beach with a delicious lunch. We unpacked the car, set up the chairs, and then the rain rolled in. Gen is a trooper (or perhaps just stubborn) and swam in the rain but I sat in the car and finished my book. It went pretty fast from a slight drizzle to a pretty heavy and steady rain so even Gen had to admit defeat. We stopped back at Petite Colombe for lunch goodies to take back to the villa, which made the girl behind the counter laugh. Lunch (sandwich for me, the daily special of lasagna for Gen) was accompanied by a bottle of rose and a dip in the Jacuzzi. Here's Governeur before the rain rolled in.


For dinner that night we met up with a friend from the forum, Andi, and her husband. We had a drink at l'Oubli and then walked over to Eddy's for dinner. Eddy was there of course, and told us about his upcoming vacation to Europe and wherever the wind blows him. It was a great night with some new friends.

Tuesday: At Jeff's suggestion (sensing a theme?) we booked the full day snorkeling trip with Jicky Marine. It was a full house with 5 other couples on the boat but it didn't seem crowded at all and everyone was delightful. We absolutely loved the trip. We sailed over to Isle Fourchue, snorkeled for a bit, had lunch on the boat, and went back in for a quick dip before heading back to Gustavia. I thought the full day trip might be too much but I actually wished we had more time! There was a huge barracuda swimming right under our boat and the captain threw in some leftover chicken for him to feast on. The weather was great, which at this point was kind of miraculous as we had quite a bit of rain so far.

Back to the villa of our pre-dinner ritual of Jacuzzi and Caribs. Tuesday night dinner we drove out to Lorient to Table de Jules for dinner. The restaurant is lovely and the food was good but it wasn't one of our favorites. It's hard to describe but the atmosphere just wasn't doing it for us. That said, the prix fixe menu is a great deal.

Wednesday: Gloomy morning again. Gen did kind of a run-hike hybrid down to Flamands and out to Colombier. I stayed at the villa because first, I don't run unless someone is chasing me, and second, I sprained my ankle pretty badly at the beginning of the year and unstable foot paths are not my friends. So I was all rested and ready to go out for our massage and lunch special at the Carl Gustaf. And this leads to my only gripe of the trip (but it's a pretty big one). I had booked and paid for the lunch and massage package in March. I had a receipt and a confirmation. We arrived and they had no record of the reservation. Moreover, they don't even offer the package anymore! I was pretty upset, especially since it was another rainy day and it would have been perfect for a nice spa day. Also, you know, confirmation and receipt in hand. They offered to book us with the breakfast/massage or dinner/massage on another day and at first we went ahead and booked for that Friday but the longer I thought about it, the madder I got so we ended up just cancelling the whole thing later that day. Which lead to another issue, that we had to get a refund and whoever was on duty wasn't able to process the transaction so we had to wait by the phone in the villa for 2 hours for the manager to call. It was a frustrating experience to say the least. So Gen knew I was upset but luckily after knowing me for pretty much half my life, he knows what makes me feel better- beer and cheeseburgers! By that point the sun was fighting hard to peek out from the clouds so we went down to Le Select and had a leisurely afternoon.

Happy again. After that it was a trip out to Saline which was beautiful of course and was the scene of my second fight with a beach umbrella (the other was on Governeur- beach umbrellas 2, Julie 0). Back to the villa for Jacuzzi and mixed it up with wine instead of Caribs! I know, we're crazy. Dinner on Wednesday was at Les Bananiers, which we absolutely loved. It was so unfussy and relaxed, locals coming in to pick up pizzas, the chef's wife and baby at the table next to us. To us, Les Bananiers is the type of restaurant everyone should have in their neighborhood. If it was down the street from me, I would be in there all the time.

Thursday already! So sad. Gen went for another hike/run to Colombier. He took some great pictures.

from the path that snakes up the hill behind IdF and Taiwana.

he got back we went down to IdF for some beach time. It was really windy, I felt extremely exfoliated.

never had sand in my ears before! All kinds of new experiences. Once again, we saw the rain clouds rolling in so we went up to the restaurant for lunch a little early. Lunch was great, Gen had the noodle bowl with chicken and shrimp and I got the tuna tartare with avocado. Oh yeah, and frites! It cleared up for a bit after lunch so we enjoyed the pool for a while. Then...

was one die-hard couple who stayed out in the deluge. I admire their commitment. We headed into Gustavia for some souvenirs. M'Bolo has a fun selection of flavored salts and sugars in pretty little jars. We also enjoyed the wall o'rhum. We picked up some of the vanille sec and hibiscus. Then out to La Cave for some wine to take home. The owner was really nice and saved us from accidentally buying a bottle of Sauternes. Back to the villa for the pre-dinner Jacuzzi. Dinner that night was at Le Gaiac. Amazing food and service. We sat right by the pool which was all lit up. I bet the view during the day is amazing. Gen wants to go back to try the brunch. I think I can be talked into that. Friday we woke up to rain. Again. I was bummed because we had planned to go down to St. Jean and rent chairs at Eden Rock for the day. But at about 10:00 the rain cleared up and we headed down. I know a lot of people think it's silly to pay for chairs but I thought it was totally worth it. The service was great and I appreciate the sturdy umbrellas.

We also had a very cute kitty companion for a while until he found someone who would feed him. Gen went snorkeling on the other side of the rock and I just floated around in St. Jean Bay. Can't beat it. They were also offering massages in a little cabana right on the beach but we didn't do that. Instead of lunch again at the Sand Bar (we tried not to repeat restaurants) we walked over to Kiki e Mo for sandwiches. Then back to our umbrellas for the remainder of the afternoon. My favorite day.

 On our honeymoon our favorite restaurant was Wall House so we decided that would be our final dinner on the island. It was a great decision. Jeff is friends with the owners, Bernard and Julien, and he called down and told them to give us the royal treatment which they certainly did. We also ran into Andi and her husband again, plus none other than Phil and Amy! As soon as we saw the flashes going off we knew who it had to be! And then it was Saturday, aka departure day, aka the worst day. Our flight wasn't until mid-afternoon so we went down to Lorient. I found a good shady spot and Gen went out snorkeling. He said he saw some good fish. Back to the villa to pack up (sad!) and then lunch from Maya's To Go. We got a table outside but guess what? If you guessed rain, give yourself a pat on the back. After lunch we realized that we had left our chargers at the villa so we sped up the hill to grab them. This is a great example of the island hospitality- the housekeeper, Fi, had found the chargers and had called down to the airport so they could find us! So nice. So finally we made it back to the airport with all of our possessions and prepared to depart this beautiful island.

It looks like I'm smiling, but I'm crying on the inside.

So long, St. Bart's. Until next time...well, until next time we'll keep lurking on the forums and reliving our vacation through all of you!