Archive for the ‘St. Kitts’ Category

St. Kitts — Part IX: Miscellaneous

April 13, 2012

These photos finish up my reporting on Bill’s and my February trip to the Caribbean island of St. Kitts. If we had the opportunity to return, would we? Yes! The friendly residents of St. Kitts and the island provided entertainment, a variety of activities, beautiful sites, serenity, great food (including seafood) and a sense of safety.

To see the photos in slideshow view, click on one of the thumbnail photos.

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For “St. Kitts — Part I” click here.
For “St. Kitts — Part II: Vervet Monkeys” click here.
For “St. Kitts — Part III: Lobster” click here.
For “St. Kitts — Part IV: Caribelle Batik at Romney Manor” click here.
For “St. Kitts — Part V: Mr X’s Shiggidy Shack” click here.
For “St. Kitts — Part VI: Brimstone Hill Fortress” click here.
For “St. Kitts — Part VII: The Beach(es)” click here.
For “St. Kitts — Part VIII: Plant Life” click here.

(Click here to go to Louise Gunderson Shimon’s blog’s home page.)

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St. Kitts — Part VIII: Plant Life

March 20, 2012

This view is from the Shiggidy Shack restaurant/fun spot on the Caribbean side of St. Kitts. We were intrigued by the cactus growing out of the top of this rocky formation. (Click on image to enlarge.)

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Three weeks ago I was more excited than I am now about these St. Kitts plant life photos. Some aren’t in the best of focus, and some of the plants can be found in Iowa (at least at Reiman Gardens on the Iowa State campus!). Post them, I will.

Any identification of the plants is a result of conversations with St. Kitts guides/residents. Hopefully everything is accurate. I’m still waiting to learn from someone on Nevis (near St. Kitts) the identification of the cotton-like tree, and also the plant with prickles (or thorns) that can cut skin.

If you want to enlarge any of the photos below, click on a thumbnail. To enlarge more, click on “Permalink.” Sometimes clicking another time will enlarge even further.

I’ve got one St. Kitts post yet to go. It will include miscellaneous photos. Then onward and forward to other topics.

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For “St. Kitts — Part I” click here.
For “St. Kitts — Part II: Vervet Monkeys” click here.
For “St. Kitts — Part III: Lobster” click here.
For “St. Kitts — Part IV: Caribelle Batik at Romney Manor” click here.
For “St. Kitts — Part V: Mr X’s Shiggidy Shack” click here.
For “St. Kitts — Part VI: Brimstone Hill Fortress” click here.
For “St. Kitts — Part VII: The Beach(es)” click here.
For “St. Kitts — Part VIII: Plant Life” click here.
For “St. Kitts — Part IX: Miscellaneous” click here.

(Click here to go to Louise Gunderson Shimon’s blog’s home page.)

St. Kitts — Part VII: The Beach(es)

March 17, 2012

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I wanted to do a post about beaches pretty much just so I could show this tractor-on-the-beach photo.

This image is of the beach at the St. Kitts Marriott. The photo was taken when Bill and I were beach-lounging one afternoon when Marriott personnel prepared to serve dinner-on-the-beach to hundreds of hotel guests. It was fun people-watching as this tractor, with wagon in tow, came slowly across the beach delivering hundreds of bottles of beverages to the mini-bars set up for the evening’s dinner. Being from the Midwest and having seen tractors out in fields mostly planting, combining or tilling (i.e., agriculture-related work being done), I thought it intriguing that this tractor was on the beach hauling rum, beer and other beverages.

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I imagine the beaches on St. Kitts are much like those at many other tropical destinations. My Lonely Planet* book recommends four beaches on St. Kitts, of which Cockleshell Beach, called an “activities beach,” is one. (The other three are South Friar’s Bay for “activities,” North Friar’s Bay for surfing, and White House Bay for snorkeling.) In the thumbnails below, I’ve included a couple of photos from Cockleshell Beach.

Lonely Planet* says about Cockleshell Beach, “On the southern tip of the island, this is a pretty but busy beach with views across to Nevis and calm waters that are great for splashing. Several bars, restaurants and water-sports concessionaires help create a party vibe from about midday onward. Local women offer massages in the tree shade. If you like it quieter, head to Banana Bay, the next beach to the right.”

We arrived at Cockleshell Beach in the morning before it was busy at all, therefore seeming serene. However, we did see little stands along the beach that we assume came to life later in the day for massages and/or beverages.

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For “St. Kitts — Part I” click here.
For “St. Kitts — Part II: Vervet Monkeys” click here.
For “St. Kitts — Part III: Lobster” click here.
For “St. Kitts — Part IV: Caribelle Batik at Romney Manor” click here.
For “St. Kitts — Part V: Mr X’s Shiggidy Shack” click here.
For “St. Kitts — Part VI: Brimstone Hill Fortress” click here.
For “St. Kitts — Part VII: The Beach(es)” click here.
For “St. Kitts — Part VIII: Plant Life” click here.
For “St. Kitts — Part IX: Miscellaneous” click here.

*Caribbean Islands, Lonely Planet, 2011, p. 682

(Click here to go to Louise Gunderson Shimon’s blog’s home page.)

St. Kitts — Part VI: Brimstone Hill Fortress

March 8, 2012

Bill and I give a thumbs-up to the Brimstone Hill Fortress as a “must see” when visiting the Caribbean island of St. Kitts.

A brief history of St. Kitts’ Brimstone Hill Fortress is given in this first YouTube video. The second YouTube video in this post shows the hairpin turns of the narrow road leading toward/away from Brimstone Hill Fortress. You’ll learn more facts in the somewhat stilted first video, but I think the second video is more fun!

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Lonely Planet* says Brimstone Hill Fortress “is an exceptionally well-preserved example of 17th- and 18th-century military architecture. Far larger than you’d think, this vast old military stronghold was built by the British with slave labor and offers insight into the violent and tumultuous past of the former Caribbean colonies.”

Lonely Planet* continues by saying, “Nicknamed the ‘Gibraltar of the West Indies,’ Brimstone Hill perches atop an 800ft volcanic cone and is one of the largest forts in the Caribbean. As a major British garrison, it played a key role in the battles with the French, who seized the fort in 1782 after the 1000 British soldiers inside were besieged for 30 days by 8000 French troops. The British regained it through the Treaty of Paris the following year. By the 1850s the fort was abandoned.” “In the 1960s major restoration was undertaken, and much of the fortress has been returned to its earlier grandeur.”

In the same building as the Fortress’s gift shop, visitors may view a 9-minute video documenting the history of the Fortress. I recommend taking the time to watch the video before ascending to the top of the hill. Allowing an hour at the Fortress is plenty, or allow two if you want to do a lot of exploring.

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Click on one of the thumbnails to view them all in a slide show. To view the photos even larger, within the slide show mode click on the “permalink” button. At this point, some of the photos (when the hovering mouse cursor shows as a “+” sign) can be enlarged even further by clicking on the photo one more time.

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*Caribbean Islands, Lonely Planet, 2011, p. 683

For “St. Kitts — Part I” click here.
For “St. Kitts — Part II: Vervet Monkeys” click here.
For “St. Kitts — Part III: Lobster” click here.
For “St. Kitts — Part IV: Caribelle Batik at Romney Manor” click here.
For “St. Kitts — Part V: Mr X’s Shiggidy Shack” click here.
For “St. Kitts — Part VI: Brimstone Hill Fortress” click here.
For “St. Kitts — Part VII: The Beach(es)” click here.
For “St. Kitts — Part VIII: Plant Life” click here.
For “St. Kitts — Part IX: Miscellaneous” click here.

(Click here to go to Louise Gunderson Shimon’s blog’s home page.)

St. Kitts — Part V: Mr X’s Shiggidy Shack

March 6, 2012

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Our Lonely Planet book* says about Mr X’s Shiggidy Shack, “Lanterns on battered picnic tables on the sand put you in instant party mood at this popular joint. On many nights bands hook up to the generator and jam; on others, karaoke drives many to drink (more). Thursday is bonfire night.”

A bunch of us went to Shiggidy Shack (on the Caribbean side of St. Kitts) on a Thursday night. We got it all: a beautiful sunset, the limbo, a band, karaoke, bonfire, fire-eater, rum punch and good food. Bill and I arrived minutes before the recommended 6:00 for snagging a group of tables…well before sunset.

Let the pictures say 1000-times-infinity words!

Click on one of the thumbnails to view them all in a slide show. To view the photos even larger, within the slide show mode click on the “permalink” button. At this point, some of the photos (when the hovering mouse curser shows as a “+” sign) can be enlarged even further by clicking on the photo one more time.

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* * * * * * * *

For “St. Kitts — Part I” click here.
For “St. Kitts — Part II: Vervet Monkeys” click here.
For “St. Kitts — Part III: Lobster” click here.
For “St. Kitts — Part IV: Caribelle Batik at Romney Manor” click here.
For “St. Kitts — Part V: Mr X’s Shiggidy Shack” click here.
For “St. Kitts — Part VI: Brimstone Hill Fortress” click here.
For “St. Kitts — Part VII: The Beach(es)” click here.
For “St. Kitts — Part VIII: Plant Life” click here.
For “St. Kitts — Part IX: Miscellaneous” click here.

*Caribbean Islands, Lonely Planet, 2011, p. 681.

(Click here to go to Louise Gunderson Shimon’s blog’s home page.)

St. Kitts — Part IV: Caribelle Batik at Romney Manor

March 5, 2012

Except for a quick stop at a t-shirt place during our last day on St. Kitts, Caribelle Batik at Romney Manor was the only place on the island where I shopped…twice. The first time, cruise ship travelers crowded the little boutique, making it inefficient to maneuver around the shop. However, the good thing about being there with the cruise ship travelers was that it guaranteed a demonstration of the batik process.

UPDATE March 6, 2012: A YouTube video of a Caribelle Batik demonstration is immediately below.

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This woman is conducting a batik demonstration within the walls of Caribelle Batik at Romney Manor on the Caribbean island of St. Kitts.

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If you click twice on this photo, you'll zoom in on the detail of the wax design on this fabric, as well as the hot wax kettle.

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A couple of days later we returned. (Since our first visit, I had decided I wanted to purchase a few items. I also wanted to take photos of flowering plants on the grounds.) Arthur Jones, our taxi driver, suggested he get us to Caribelle Batik before the cruise ship traffic descended upon the grounds. We scurried to get there; I finished my shopping and photography just as the cruise ship traffic arrived.

I don’t know where the garments (shirts, dresses, etc.), handbags, placemats, potholders, cosmetic bags and too much more to remember are constructed. I do know that Caribelle Batik is the main (only?) outlet for selling their products, offers batik demonstrations, “exhibits” batiked fabric hanging on the lines outdoors, and has absolutely gorgeous plant life on the extensive grounds of Romney Manor.

My Lonely Planet book* says about Romney Manor, “Just above Old Road Town, the 17th-century Romney Manor sugar estate once belonged to the great-great-great-grandfather of Thomas Jefferson. Since 1964 it has been the home of Caribelle Batik, which sells handmade batik wraps, dresses, wall hangings and other items. There is also a small workshop where you can watch the colorful fabric being made. Don’t leave without a stroll amid the palms and poinsettias of the glorious gardens**, which are guarded by a magnificent 350-year-old*** saman tree.”

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Saman Tree - 400 years old

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If you click on one of the thumbnail images below, you can view all of them in a slideshow.

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For “St. Kitts — Part I” click here.
For “St. Kitts — Part II: Vervet Monkeys” click here.
For “St. Kitts — Part III: Lobster” click here.
For “St. Kitts — Part IV: Caribelle Batik at Romney Manor” click here.
For “St. Kitts — Part V: Mr X’s Shiggidy Shack” click here.
For “St. Kitts — Part VI: Brimstone Hill Fortress” click here.
For “St. Kitts — Part VII: The Beach(es)” click here.
For “St. Kitts — Part VIII: Plant Life” click here.
For “St. Kitts — Part IX: Miscellaneous” click here.

*Caribbean Islands, Lonely Planet, 2011, p. 683.

**In a future St. Kitts post, I’ll include more photos of the grounds.

***The sign at the Romney Manor entrance says the tree is 400 years old.

(Click here to go to Louise Gunderson Shimon’s blog’s home page.)

St. Kitts — Part III: Lobster

March 3, 2012

This photo was taken as our taxi driver drove past this young man who was standing at the edge of the road. (Click twice on photo to enlarge.)

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Freshly caught lobster was available at many St. Kitts restaurants. Bill and I enjoyed lobster at three restaurants during our St. Kitts stay: Serendipity, The Beach House, and Mr. X’s Shiggidy Shack.

All three restaurants offer beach-side dining. The Beach House is the most elegant of the three (but even so, it’s fine to wear a nice casual shirt and shorts). Serendipity is not as elegant but still very romantic (or, if not in the mood for romance, still a lovely environment where you can watch twinkly cruise ships depart in the night for the next port), and Shiggidy Shack not elegant at all but definitely a ton of fun.

From these three restaurants, the lobster was most (very) expensive at Serendipity, next most expensive at The Beach House, and least expensive at Shiggidy Shack.

Bill and I had lobster at Serendipity on Valentine’s Day when it was offered as a special entree. We neglected to ask the server the price when she recited the specials to us. It’s probably a good thing, because we are so glad we ordered it, but probably never would have given it a chance had we known the price! We each were served three lobster tails (so…a total of six tails) which made us wonder if we had mistaken the server; we wondered if it was intended to be lobster “for two.” When we asked the server, she said that, “No,” it was meant per person. We had the leftover lobster the next day when we combined it with a Caesar salad for lunch at the beach.

Lobster at Mr. X's Shiggidy Shack on the Caribbean side of St. Kitts. (Photo taken by Vicki Boeke. Click on photo to enlarge.)

For the price, the lobster was worth it at each restaurant. I liked the Serendipity lobster best. There was something about the sauce that was different and more delicious to me than regular garlic butter or any sauce I had ever had with lobster. Bill liked the lobster best at The Beach Club; the garlic butter there was pretty amazing. (Oh, and the blue cheese butter and the banana walnut butter for the rolls was…yum!) And at Shiggidy Shack, the lowest priced lobster of the three restaurants, we definitely got our money’s worth with lots of lobster and tasting better than any lobster back home. (Plus, at Shiggidy Shack, we also got g-r-e-a-t entertainment. I’ll report more about that in a future post.)

If we had it all to do over again, to which of these restaurants would I go? All three of them!

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For “St. Kitts — Part I” click here.
For “St. Kitts — Part II: Vervet Monkeys” click here.
For “St. Kitts — Part III: Lobster” click here.
For “St. Kitts — Part IV: Caribelle Batik at Romney Manor” click here.
For “St. Kitts — Part V: Mr X’s Shiggidy Shack” click here.
For “St. Kitts — Part VI: Brimstone Hill Fortress” click here.
For “St. Kitts — Part VII: The Beach(es)” click here.
For “St. Kitts — Part VIII: Plant Life” click here.
For “St. Kitts — Part IX: Miscellaneous” click here.

(Click here to go to Louise Gunderson Shimon’s blog’s home page.)

St. Kitts — Part II: Vervet Monkeys

March 2, 2012

Vervet monkeys were plentiful on the Caribbean island of St. Kitts when Bill and I were there in February. (An overview of our vacation is here.)

If the monkeys had an easy “out,” as soon as they were noticed they’d scamper away.

At least some of the locals consider the monkeys to be a nuisance.

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For a close-up of the image immediately above, click on it twice.

To fully enlarge the thumbnails below, 1) click once on an image, 2) then click on the “permalink” button, and 3) click on the image again.

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For “St. Kitts — Part I” click here.
For “St. Kitts — Part II: Vervet Monkeys” click here.
For “St. Kitts — Part III: Lobster” click here.
For “St. Kitts — Part IV: Caribelle Batik at Romney Manor” click here.
For “St. Kitts — Part V: Mr X’s Shiggidy Shack” click here.
For “St. Kitts — Part VI: Brimstone Hill Fortress” click here.
For “St. Kitts — Part VII: The Beach(es)” click here.
For “St. Kitts — Part VIII: Plant Life” click here.
For “St. Kitts — Part IX: Miscellaneous” click here.

(Click here to go to Louise Gunderson Shimon’s home page.)go to Louise Gunderson Shimon’s blog’s home page.)

St. Kitts — Part I

February 29, 2012

In February, Bill and I spent almost a week on the Caribbean island of St. Kitts. (Click here for a map of the island.) We thoroughly enjoyed the combination of spending time touring the island (including the rain forest), swimming in the Atlantic and reading/relaxing on the beach, drinking lots of rum punch (since the beer selection there was lousy), and three times eating freshly caught lobster. Almost everywhere was evidence of St. Kitts’ sugarcane industry and plantations of the past. The daytime temperatures were pretty consistently in the lower 80s; nighttime in the lower 70s.

We stayed at the Marriott on the Atlantic-side’s Frigate Bay. Because of our pleasant experience and not having stayed anywhere else on St. Kitts to use for comparison, I would probably stay at the Marriott again. (Although, if just Bill and I returned without family and wanted a more isolated and serene destination, Ottley’s Plantation Inn* would warrant investigation.) Our Mariott room had a view of the ocean which, of course, was wonderful. The beach was fine, especially because it was dotted with available cabana-type structures. (The Marriott’s chaise lounges were not all that comfortable). The main drawback, in our opinions, of the Marriott was that the quality of its restaurant food wasn’t all that good. We ate our evening meals off-site whenever possible.

Our first full day on the island included a four-hour tour with Mr. Edwin Burt (or, “Burt” as he called himself) of Greg’s Safaris. The second day was Valentine’s Day and included morning meetings for Bill, time at the spa, and a dinner overlooking the Caribbean at the Serendipity restaurant. Our third day included a full-day tour around the entire perimeter of the island and dinner at the Marriott. This day we explored the impressive Brimstone Hill Fortress. The fourth day was simply spent at the beach, later having a sunset dinner (with entertainment and bonfire) at the Shiggidy-Shack beachside restaurant on the Caribbean side of the island. The morning of the fifth full day was spent retracing some of our paths of previous days so that I could practice photography. That afternoon we were beach-bound again followed by another beachside dinner, this time at the Beach House restaurant.**

The trip was very scenic and calm with action to be found when we wanted it. Within a couple of years or so, the Christophe Harbour development on the southern peninsula should be completed. Time will tell how much this affects the current non-touristy-feeling of the island.

If we were to go back, we’d probably try to take in a day-trip to the neighboring island of Nevis and an extra day at the beach.

Bill and I are not golfers. However, we heard from friends that the Royal St. Kitts Golf Club has a spectacular setting spanning between the Caribbean and the Atlantic. We also heard that Marshalls restaurant and the Carambola Beach Club restaurant are highly recommended, and that the catamaran excursions are fun and lovely. Some other possible activities include zip lining, a tour by train (on which several people recommended we not go), snorkeling, tours ascending a volcano, ATV tours, horseback rides, hiking in the rain forest, and I’m sure much, much more.

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Me, Arthur Jones (our "new best friend" St. Kitts taxi/tour driver) and Bill.

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Except for our Jeep safari day, all of our transportation (including our day-long tour on day three) was provided by Arthur Jones. The motto of Arthur’s taxi service is, “One day at a time.” His cell phone number is 869-663-7845. (Yes, I do have Arthur’s permission to post it here.) Arthur aims to please. He’s friendly and very knowledgable about the island and beyond. His business card says, “Island Tours, Southeast Peninsula Tours, Rain Forest Tours, Downtown Shopping, Dining-out, and much more.”

To enlarge any of these photos, click on them once, or maybe even twice.

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Pictured is St. Kitts' Robert L. Bradshaw International Airport. The arrow points to the terminal. We were lucky to be included in a charter flight. Otherwise, with regularly scheduled flights, it would have taken us approximately 20 hours of travel time to get from Iowa to St. Kitts.

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Mr. Edwin Burt of Greg's Safaris took us on a four-hour Jeep tour that included the rain forest, which we are just about to enter in this photo. We also enjoyed his rum punch picnic!

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This photo was taken before we entered the depths of the rain forest.

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I’ll continue to add photos from our trip.

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*One of our lunches was at Ottley’s Royal Palm Restaurant. The grounds seemed very lovely. While it is probably more isolated and serene than we might like, my Lonely Planet book rates Ottley’s as “Top Choice.” Also, during our lunch at Ottleys, a woman who is assisting with a book about 100 places to stay in the Caribbean said that Ottley’s Plantation Inn is the only place on St. Kitts that will be included in the next edition of the book. She said that two places (on St. Kitts) in the last edition of the book did not past muster and will not be included in the next edition.

**At the Beach House restaurant, we had a 7:30 reservation. If we had it to do over again, we would make a reservation for a half-hour before sunset.

For “St. Kitts — Part I” click here.
For “St. Kitts — Part II: Vervet Monkeys” click here.
For “St. Kitts — Part III: Lobster” click here.
For “St. Kitts — Part IV: Caribelle Batik at Romney Manor” click here.
For “St. Kitts — Part V: Mr X’s Shiggidy Shack” click here.
For “St. Kitts — Part VI: Brimstone Hill Fortress” click here.
For “St. Kitts — Part VII: The Beach(es)” click here.
For “St. Kitts — Part VIII: Plant Life” click here.
For “St. Kitts — Part IX: Miscellaneous” click here.

(Click here to go to Louise Gunderson Shimon’s blog’s home page.)