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Tuesday, August 6, 2013

A Vacation Update!

     Hi.  Here is the (I'm sure) long-awaited Vacation Update.  It is incredibly detailed (I'm not sure why I was so concerned with telling you guys what we ate?), not my best writing, loaded with pictures, and slightly longer than necessary as almost all vacation updates should be.

Get comfy.

     We arrived on Saturday, but it was just a hard travel day. We had a little snafu with the key code to get into our place (we were originally given the wrong one, just a misunderstanding) so the majority of our afternoon/evening was spent picking up the rental car, getting into the condo and getting groceries. We ended up eating lunch at what would end up being my favorite hang out (a parking lot bar/grill called Duffy's Love Shack).

We grabbed a rotisserie chicken and some rice from the deli to end our day.

All our exhaustion was totally worth it, though, once we realized this was the view from our complex driveway/parking lot.  

Day One (sunday)

     Even though I'm not working outside the home right now, I thoroughly enjoyed NOT setting an alarm, especially for Tim's sake.

     I really wanted to have brunch. We are always in church during most restaurant's brunch hours, so while we were on vacation, I wanted to take full advantage of the brunch-ortunity. That's right. I just mixed the words brunch & opportunity. Take that, English Language!

     We had brunch at a place called Pesce (it had gotten really good brunching reviews). It cracked me up because the inside looked NOTHING like the outside. The outside just looked like a little hole in the wall kind of place, but the inside was really elaborate...big columns and mirrors and pretty windows (they are known for their Italian food).

I thought the food was really good. (Me: an omelet & home fries, Tim: Banana's Foster French toast, in case you were wondering).

We spent the entire rest of the day at the beach right outside our condo.

     That night I burned dinner (why try to blame-shift, right?) so we ordered a pizza. Tim was like, the best sport ever. We ate on the back porch and learned that, apparently, ducks can smell pizza as they all came running as soon as the box hit the table.

 After dinner, we went for a walk.  We found a lookout point with a seating area and watched the lights of St. John. It was so beautiful, I wanted to cry, and I don't know any other way to explain it.

Day Two (Monday)

     The weather was a bit overcast. We had cereal on the back porch and chatted with the neighbor. We relaxed all morning while the clouds passed and had grilled ham/cheese for lunch. We were able to do some snorkeling off the beach, but then it started to rain.

 We did a whole lot of NOTHING in the condo (and it was fabulous).

     And now, to celebrate the end of the day on Monday... a photo collage of iguanas, for no apparent reason at all! Is it terrible that I actually had to NARROW down which iguana pictures to use?  The fantastic thing about iguanas is that they each look they they are intentionally posing for a Senior Photo, and it cracks me up. They are so darn photographable.

     That night (if you're still even reading this, poor you),  we drove to The Crown Bay Marina to look at the boats and eat Chinese for dinner.

 For the record, boats and chinese food are two of our favorite things.... making Monday Night a roaring success. ;)

Day Three (Tuesday)

On our honeymoon, Tim made pancakes one morning, and the tradition lives on.

      After our pancake breakfast, we decided to explore some other beaches. We went to Lindquist (Smith Bay Park) because I had read somewhere that a Corona Commercial was filmed there, and I was honestly curious because the beaches in those commercials are always so fabulous.

  I was right....!!!

We “liked” Lindquist. Don't get me wrong, it is gorgeous. We just loved Sapphire Beach SO MUCH...I couldn't stop thinking about it.

     We also stopped at Coki Beach, and we were asking a police officer where was the best place to park. Then a *gentleman* started directing us to an open spot. He started asking us if we needed to rent beach chairs, etc. and promptly offered to sell us weed (with the police officer standing about 15 feet away). And we said to ourselves "Adventure Awaits!" (while politely ignoring the offer for weed).  

     All joking aside, Coki Beach was probably one of my favorite experiences....not because of the beach at all (or the illicit drug use...haha)...but because of the overall atmosphere. It was so crowded, we didn't even put any of our stuff down, but we enjoyed walking around, eyes wide, jaws hanging open, taking in all the sights.

      There are a few cutesy little beach shops,food places, waitresses taking orders everywhere....tons and tons of locals....loud music, the list goes on.

(Lindquist on the top, Coki on bottom)

We came back to our place for a late lunch and spent the rest of the day at Sapphire.

     Before dinner, we quickly changed clothes and drove up to Paradise Point to watch the cruise ship leave and take in the amazing view. They are doing renovations, so the restaurant/bar was closed.  Tim and I were actually the only people up there, which was really nice. 

Then, Tim made a really yummy dinner which included pork chops and snap peas.

We spent some time at Duffy's, buying souvenir mugs, listening to music and eating really yummy tacos.

For the record, I think we both saw 1:30am which I don't think has happened since we've been married.

A second honeymoon, indeed. (hee hee)!

Day Four (Wed)

     We took the car barge over to St. John. The trip over was about 20 minutes, but it was just really pretty and fun.

     We spent time at Trunk Bay which had some fantastic snorkeling. It's just so peaceful being able to watch the fish. It reminded us so much of Finding Nemo! There were THOUSANDS of really little fish that would just swim right by...their little scales shining in the sun.

     After Trunk Bay, we had lunch at a little pub in Mongoose Junction. Yummy meatball subs, but they lose points for no free drink refills! (Glad we packed a cooler of drinks to enjoy later).

     After lunch, we drove to Hawksnest, The snorkeling was *ok* but not as good as Trunk Bay. However, we did see a stingray and some huge angel fish.

     We took a super-quick trip up to the Annaberg Sugar Plantation Ruins because we didn't want to miss the last car barge back to St. John. This is an awesome place to take pictures, and I'd definitely like to go back again.  

     Once we came back to St. Thomas, we had dinner at Fish Tails and got some ice cream. We also had one last visit to Duffy's. We chatted with a few people there, and enjoyed the music (they played a lot of late 90's/early 2000's music, so I feel like they really cater to the 'people in their early 30's' demographic, haha).  It was a perfect night to end our stay.

(Who doesn't love a good self-timer shot?)

Day Five (Thurs)

     I was really glad we booked plane tickets with a departure in the late afternoon (4:35pm). This made our departure not quite so devastating as we were able to enjoy ourselves before actually leaving.

     After cleaning up the condo, we spent the morning at the beach. I was originally worried that I wouldn't be able to relax because I would constantly be watching the time (I hate that part of my personality...but it just is what it is....I'm getting better, I promise)!

     However, Tim was great in the sense that he was really good about communicating (after five years, he's learned how to 'reign me in,' so to speak). Together, we decided when we wanted to eat lunch, when we wanted to switch to the pool, and when we wanted to get out and air dry (we didn't bring our own beach towels). Then, Tim set his phone alarms accordingly. We were like a well-oiled machine!

Team Young, for the win! :)

     In short, we ate our packed lunches by the pool, swam for a bit and changed clothes in the restroom.   We caught our flight with ample time to grab the pre-flight necessities (i.e. candy & Diet Coke).  Even though it was our last day, I thoroughly enjoyed it.

And now, closing statements....

     I think what made this vacation so successful was the fact that we were determined to have a good time (and it wasn't hard)!

We didn't let anything get to us (read:scorched Alfredo).

     Also, I also made a conscious effort to just live in the moment.

    I tried really hard not to say things like, “I can't believe this is our last night here....” or “....but I don't WANT to go home....” Our last day in St. John, I looked forward to going out to dinner that night....that night...I looked forward to spending some time at the beach before our flight left....and so on.

     We kept telling people this would probably be our last *big* vacation before we have kids, but truthfully, the prices were surprisingly low.  We had such a fabulous time. We are scrimping our pennies, and hoping to go back within a year (Christmas, anyone)?  :)

Trip Details below (because I know  you're all curious).  ;)

Flight:  U.S. Airways, $1,300 (both of us, round trip, no checked bags)

Lodging:  About $850 for 6 nights, this included a cleaning fee.
                 Sapphire Beach Resort ( unit # 344926,

Car:  Budget Rent-a-Car ($300 for 6 days, not required to re-fill gas tank) (side note:  they gave us a tiny, white Toyota Yaris which was just hilarious, and our inside joke for the entire trip.  A far cry from the large, manly, Dodge Ram Tim is used to driving).

Food Center:  $173 (ouch, but that got us at least 2 meals a day all week plus razors, shaving cream, conditioner and a few other toiletries that didn't make it into our carry-ons)

Restaurants:  prices vary, one example- Fish Tails (Fish & Chips, $18)

Car Barge to St. John:  $50, this was our only "entertainment" expense

     We kept the budget low by packing our own lunches, enjoying the free amenities  the resort offered, and ordering on the cheap at restaurants (i.e. sandwiches, burgers, and wraps, and no alcohol).

     It took us less than a year to save up (I don't remember exactly).  I set up an automatic deposit, and just let it build up month by month.

Thanks so much for reading along.  Feeling humbled and blessed by such a wonderful experience with my husband!

Love and the iguanas don't bite,

*Also, I feel like a spoiled brat when I say, "Oh, we're going back at Christmas, we saved up so quickly!"

     For the record, if/when we do go back (if it is just the two of us), I doubt we will rent a car (or pay to take it to St. John).  We will also pack a checked bag with most of our groceries and limit our eating out.  It will not be the glamourous pizza-and-fish-sandwich-eating excursion that it was last time...haha.  

     Also, we don't have cable, Tim is selling his iphone, and EVERY clothing item you see me wearing in these photos came from the Gap Distribution Center (like an outlet FOR an outlet!)

...all sacrifices we are willing to make if it means we can do fun things like travel together.

     I just never want to give off the impression that we have more money than we actually do. She says, while petting her rescue dog and typing on a Macbook that a man in the airport called "Vintage."  

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