by Anita Davis
While our islands are so close together geographically, they can seem a world away when you are going about your everyday business. When your "everyday business" is villa rentals, there are no excuses for not being intimately acquainted with our properties and the neighboring islands. So, it is required that we pay regular visits to our sister isles, dine in restaurants, visit the local sights and stay in the villas. As you may well imagine, it's tough work, and someone has to do it. It may as well be us!
On arrival, our friends at L&S Jeep Rentals were right there with a smile and a spiffy 4WD vehicle. And off we went, trailing Bernadette, the villa manager for beachfront villa Sol y Sombra, where we would be staying for the next couple of days. Soon, the wicked scent of BBQ tantalized us, and we noted a restaurant called Island Pot on the way... making a mental note, we drove on. As we arrived at the villa, we were captivated by the fragrance of a meal being prepared for us by Chef Chet. We quickly settled in, showered and made our way to the outdoor dining area, which had already been set for us, and enjoyed an appetizer of bruschetta topped with a velvety mixture of tomatoes and herbs and a mellow pumpkin soup. This was followed by tender, pan-seared snapper filets atop a bed of whipped island sweet potato with a vegetable melange. For dessert, we were treated to a warm pumpkin cake with dark chocolate drizzle topped with a very creamy vanilla ice cream. From start to finish, we happily chatted while the chef and his assistant May took excellent care of us.
Sol y Sombra, ever elegant, was in high form and ready for the new season. We noticed that the laundry room in the Main Villa is now available to guests, with a small washer and dryer there. Three private bedrooms overlook the tranquil infinity pool, while the Tennis Suite presides over a fully-quipped court. Just beyond the pool and a small gathering of Virgin Gorda's famous boulders, is the powdery, white sand Little Trunk Bay Beach. The villa's tennis court was later witness to a vibrant match, which was bravely played and sadly lost (we won't name names here). A variety of joyous blossoms painted the property with fuschia, violet, red and blue, and hummingbirds were intrepid in their pursuit of nectar. The effortless ease with which the villa staff went about their day belies the daily necessities to maintain such beauty; we remain impressed and truly grateful to represent this villa.
The next day, we were on our way to see three new properties for potential inclusion in our portfolio and meet their owners and managers. One of the properties overlooks the Pond Bay, another is in Nail Bay and the third is located very close to the area of Sol y Sombra. We will be sure to update our e-news list members when those come online, and things look very good indeed! During our travels, we marveled at the beautiful ocean vistas, brilliant florals, and a variety of greens in the trees and grasses, from kelly to forest. While out, we paid visits to both Buck's Marketplace and Rosy's markets, both to pick up a few things for ourselves, and to check the offerings. Many familiar American brands are on the shelves, as well as British products like McVities Ginger Nuts and Jacob's Cream Crackers. Rosy's also has a House and Home right next door.
Keeping an eye on time, since we had a dinner with Bernadette planned, we again drove past the now renowned Island Pot (to us, at least... everyone we'd encountered sang its high praises!) and determined that we would first dine at the Mine Shaft, then abscond to the roadside eatery later to pick up some goodness to partake in the next day. As the sun set, we happily availed ourselves of Sol y Sombra's pool, alternately swimming and floating, relishing the warmth of the Caribbean sun and making light conversation.
Well, the Mine Shaft Cafe was rocking with jolly spirits and great food - the staff delivered cheerful service, and we ate well, even to the ice cream parfait dessert, which two of us decided to eat while telling everyone else "hands off!", it was that good. The restaurant's exterior area has been expanded, so now more people can dine al fresco, and it was a perfect night - with singing crickets, cool breezes, and streams of conversation and laughter to and fro. Following dinner, we dashed off to Island Pot, picking up our BBQ to take back to the villa for the next day. A midnight snack not out of the question, we tucked in for a quick taste and were enchanted by the one-of-a-kind sauce, which featured delightful citrus undertone. We put away the rest, and the next day, we lazed over a sumptuous brunch featuring the BBQ, fruits, yogurt, and local buns.
Soon, it was time to depart, and we bid a wistful farewell to stately Sol y Sombra, our Caribbean Queen at the water's edge.
Sol y Sombra photos: Don Hebert