Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Shopping Safari: Marina Cay & Caneel Bay

By Jamee Gregory

The terrace at Little Dix with the real Allison Stern and her namesake boat in the background to the left.
Looking back: The week at sea with the Sterns passes fast. From West End we head to Marina Cay and then on to Caneel Bay on St. John. We investigate the elegant resort’s terrific, well-stocked gift shop, filled to the brim with beach wear, gifts, and ever-tempting copies of newspapers, even if they are days old! We admire the wonderful bronze plaque honoring Laurence Rockefeller who did so very much to preserve the beauty of St. John. Filled with families, the resort seems packed.

We pause for lemonade on the flower-filled deck and catch the sun set. Armed with bags full of Manuel Canovas bathing suits and colorful flip flops the ladies are content while the gents share their Wall Street Journal and New York Times.

We land at Marina Cay where an awful singer scares us away. Before a captive audience he holds court. Perhaps days of sailing have lulled his fans.
Mongose Junction, St. John.
Landing at Marina Cay, beach restaurant on right.
The next day we sail for several hours to lunch at Anegada, an island of such beauty that it rivals the charm of Tahiti. Pristine beach, coral reefs, gently swelling waves; little development keeps this gem unspoiled.

We’re, eager to buy lime marmalade, the specialty at the local bakery, only to find that the baker and jam maker had returned home to England! Oh well, it seems that even perfection grows boring and leaves one longing for rain. We, on the other hand, are enchanted.

Nothing beats lunch at the Cow Wreck Bar and Grill with its dart board and pure-white sandy beach. Giant fresh lobster, pulled from the sea and grilled to order, accompanied by freshly made coleslaw and French fries hits the spot. Banana and strawberry daiquiris quench our thirst after a bumpy ride along a dirt road to this spectacular spot.

This independent island is well worth a visit, even if the shopping is sparse!
Cow Wreck Bar accesssible only by sea.
Beautiful Anegada-Gigi and Leonard under water.
Bitter End Yacht Club on the tip of Virgin Gorda is a fabulous place for kids to learn wind-surfing, snorkeling and sailing. The shops are plentiful and good, catering to a cosmopolitan group of sailors. I find Bora Bora style short shorts and a yellow tee to match.
My orange cowboy hat from Pusser's. Inset: Ronald Weintraub and me in dinghy.
Bitter End Yacht Club, on end of Virgin Gorda.
Next on Virgin Gorda, we arrive at Little Dix, a beautifully landscaped luxury destination, with its wonderful spa. Who knew Virgin Gorda meant Fat Virgin? We loved the gift shop, with polo shirts and caps in every color and straw bags galore.

Next stop, the dour- named Road Town, which has changed in the last few years from a dusty bleak spot to a town filled with new banks and some tempting shops. As money moves through the islands clean ups follow fast.
Little Dix gift shop where they stopped me from taking pictures.
Harriet Weintraub in her hat from Little Dix.
Next day we visit Mongoose Junction, a busy shopping area in St. John. Stores galore offer a last chance to find something special before heading home. Passing from island to island, sharing starry nights with silvery Tarpon fish dancing off the stern and spirited conversations with good friends makes the trip memorable. Our hosts have seen to our every need. We part with fond memories and our souvenirs in hand. How sad to clear customs and leave these beautiful islands behind.
Road Town Marina.
The view from the Lady Allison: the sunset.