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Sunday, May 23, 2010

Ellen Visits St. Thomas May 2010

Ellen and I usually spend my birthday together and we always try to do something very special (I loved the hotair balloon ride over Charlottesville, VA). This year, Ellen came to St. Thomas for my birthweek. Soon after she arrived on Sunday, May 16, we went for a swim at beautiful Magen’s Bay. What a wonderful world that allows you to get off a plane and a couple of hours later be swimming in the Caribbean. Later that evening, we had dinner at The Grille at Mahogany Run.

Tuesday, Ellen and I walked around downtown Charlotte Amalie, toured the Amber Museum at Hotel 1829 where I bought a fabulous pair of Caribbean Green Amber earrings (this Amber is thought to be about 20 million years old and is only found in the Caribbean) and then we had lunch at Gladys’ Café.. The music was great. We sang and Gladys sang along. Gladys sings better than we sing. The café is located in one of the attractive alleys with stone walled buildings.

Later we took a drive to show Ellen where George has his sailboat...Vessup Beach.

Wednesday, we went to St. John for the day. Thanks to Laurance Rockefeller, about half of this island , which is less than 20 square miles in area, became a National Park. It has some of the most beautiful beaches you will ever see. George and I sail there on Sundays and usually swim off of Solomon's Bay. Today we will swim at Cinnamon Bay.

Elaine Estern is a watercolorist living on Frank Bay, St. John. We traveled down a road on St. John, not sure of where it would lead. It took us to Coconut Coast Studio on Frank Bay where the works of watercolorist Elaine Estern hang. A fun stop, full of surprises, where Ellen purchased a print of one of the chocolate labs in a hammock. The setting was fabulous.

This is where the artist paints. I was practically salivating thinking of my being able to sit in such a spot and paint all day. Lucky her.

We needed something to drink before heading to the beach at Cinnamon Bay.
Ellen settled for a beer and a seat out of the rain...just a little shower. Strangers don't bother her.

Then we headed for the beach.

Afterward we had a bite to eat at a small barbeque place in Cruz Bay where you watch the cook prepare your BBQ chicken or ribs on a grille. Delicious.

My birthday fell on Thursday. Ellen and I enjoyed a quiet day reading and napping on the deck with warm Caribbean winds keeping us comfortable.
That evening, we had dinner at The Old Stone Farmhouse. Friday was the ultimate day. We boarded the Bimini at 7:30 AM for the best day of the week. We would stop at Virgin Gorda, Norman Island and Jost Van Dyke in the British Virgin Islands. Virgin Gorda is a small island, about 8 square miles. Our guides took us on a hike through granite formations to arrive at what is known as The Baths. Unbelievably beautiful.
We left The Baths to boat over to Norman Island. It is also known as Treasure Island because of a chest of coins hidden by a pirate and later dug up by people from Tortolla. We did not see any booty, but we did see some beautiful fish while snorkelng .

We then were taken to White Bay on Jost Vany Dyke. George and I have been there several times and were happy to go again. The Soggy Dollar Bar is located here. It is said to be the birthplace of the popular drink known as the Painkiller.. The Soggy Dollar bar was named because of the difficulty of navigating one's boat over the coral reef to reach the beach where the bar is located. It is common for boaters to anchor beyond the reef, swim to the beach, and pay for their drinks with wet money. Kenny Chesney’s video for his hit song No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problem was filmed on and around Jost Van Dyke. He also has a home on St. John.

When returning to the US Virgin Islands, you are required to check in at the Customs office on St. John, passport in hand, to declare anything you may have purchased in BVI.

What a wonderful day. We got back home feeling great and we were a bit browner/redder than when we left that morning.

We hurried off to the restaurant to work after we got back home. Ellen helped me at the hostess stand each night and I think she had a good time doing that. Javier is one of our best waiters....

Eric is our bartender.

Hope you had a good visit Melon. I enjoyed our time together and I had a great birthweek. Thank you George.

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