Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Caneel Bay

Chris and I just returned from a wonderful five day vacation at Caneel Bay in St. John. As I mentioned in my earlier post, I cannot say enough wonderful things about this resort. We flew from DC to Charlotte Wednesday morning (who can pass up an opportunity for Bojangles?!) and then had a 3 1/2 hour flight to St. Thomas. This is one of the reasons we chose to go to Caneel Bay for our honeymoon. You really can't beat the direct flight from Charlotte. We met a couple on the taxi ride from the airport to the dock that live in Charlotte and got married two and half years ago at the same church we got married in and by the same minister! Talk about a small world. The couple that stayed in the room next to us were also from Charlotte and live two minutes down the road from my parents. On our last morning we had a mother and her two kids come up to us and ask if we were from NC because of a Morehead City t-shirt Chris was wearing and what do you know, they were from Raleigh. So needless to say, NC was representing in the islands over the Fourth of July holiday!

Upon our arrival in St. Thomas we took an open air taxi to the dock where we jumped on the ferry over to St. John. It was a gorgeous boat ride and even better that they immediately served us a rum punch! Perfect way to start off our island vacation.
We wasted no time enjoying our first rum punch
Two cruise ships were in port when we departed for St. John
Boat ride over to the island

We spotted a faint rainbow as we docked in St. John
Caneel Bay is located in the Virgin Islands National Park on St. John. They have several different types of rooms you can choose from that are located throughout 170 acres. They have seven secluded beaches that each offer spectacular views and crystal clear water with warm, white sand. The resort is known for it's casual luxury and impeccable service. There are no televisions or telephones in any of the guest rooms. Who doesn't need a little peace and quiet every once in awhile? What's even better is that you're greeted with a bottle of Cruzan rum and a bottle of champagne upon your arrival.

We met couples on both of our trips that vacation at Caneel Bay on a yearly basis. We've heard people mention that they've searched high and low for another resort that is comparable to Caneel Bay and they've come up empty handed. We even met a couple that live in Anguilla and choose to come to Caneel Bay several times a year for a getaway. The resort is small and even though they have the room to expand they choose not to. This keeps it from getting overcrowded and the service top-notch. Although you can't go wrong with any of their dining options you can easily go into Cruz Bay for many more fabulous restaurants.
Oh Caneel Bay, how we've missed you!
Evening view from our room
Morning view from our room

Caneel Bay has three restaurants; however, considering this is off peak season only two of them were open during our visit. They have a beach grill which is very casual and the the Sugar Mill restaurant which is located in the middle of the resort in an old sugar mill, which provides spectacular views of the water and surrounding islands. One of our favorite meals was eaten at this restaurant on our honeymoon so we decided to eat there twice during our stay. Cruz Bay is about a five minute taxi ride from Caneel Bay and it offers a lot of other dining options and shopping. Several nights we rode over for dinner and to walk around.

Sugar Mill Restaurant
Dinner at the Sugar Mill

View from the Sugar Mill at sunset
We had some of the best meals you could imagine. Fresh everything! Sushi, grouper enchiladas, tuna tacos, snapper, scallops, mahi-mahi, and we both enjoyed lobster tails, lobster risotto and lobster spring rolls the last night. You have to go big on your last night, right?
Fresh sushi & a plantation punch
Our days began with breakfast on the veranda overlooking the crystal clear, blue waters. Following breakfast we'd settle in at one of the beaches to snorkel and float around in the water. Tough life, huh? Around mid day we'd venture to the beach grill for some lunch and cocktails. Our afternoons were spent enjoying the beach and we even gave paddle boarding a try! Let's just say I was the better of the two, ha-ha. Notice I don't have any pictures of Chris giving it a try and that's because after falling off his board three times (two of them before he could even fully stand) he decided to give up.
View from breakfast each morning. Hard to beat!
The Coconut Telegraph kept us informed with what was taking place in the real world
Cheers to five years!

The snorkeling was awesome! Chris even went scuba diving one morning while I enjoyed a massage. Between his dive and snorkeling he saw a nurse shark, several octopus, lobsters, squid, puffer fish, moray eels, stingrays, turtles, barracudas, tarpons, a conch shell and every tropical fish you can imagine. The wildlife is truly incredible in St. John. There were deer running around the resort, donkeys roaming the beaches and occasionally you'd spot a lazy iguana sitting in the grass.

Snorkeling at Hawksnest Beach
I secretly hoped that Chris would find his wedding ring that he lost on the first day of our honeymoon . No such luck, ha!
Frosty pina colada with my toes in the sand, paradise!

Notice the haze over St. Thomas? Any guess as to what it is? It's dust from the Sahara desert that moves over the islands this time of year. Crazy and still hard to believe! Fortunately it seemed to hover over St. Thomas and we had crystal blue skies over St. John.

Dinner in Cruz Bay

We couldn't have asked for a more relaxing vacation. While we did miss Carter, we face timed with him every morning and evening. Call me crazy, but it was just what I needed, especially since this was my first trip away from Carter! I got to see his precious little face first thing in the a.m and right before he went to bed. My mom was also great about sending up pictures and updates through the day. We got back to the house Sunday evening after Carter's bedtime so we didn't get to see him until first thing Monday morning. I swear it felt like Christmas morning. I was so excited to see him I couldn't stand it. I got up early to get showered and ready for work and I must have stared at his video monitor for about an hour waiting on him to finally squirm around so I could go in and get my hands on him. I think he thought it was too good to be true when he saw me because he just stared at me and immediately put his head on my chest and sucked his thumb.

It's hard to beat being thrilled to go on vacation and to return home. Oh the joys of parenthood!

Farewell Caneel Bay. See you in five years.

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