There’s something to be said for direct flights to out of the way places.
We are taking Jet Blue’s new nonstop service from JFK to St. Lucia, a small island near Martinique and Barbados. But instead of taking all day with connections in Miami or San Juan, we arrive in a little more than four hours. Nice!
Less than 200,000 people live on St Lucia, which is only about 27 miles long and less than 10 miles wide. It is a much more interesting island than many in the Caribbean with its rain forest, volcano and local culture that has borrowed much both from French and British—both of whom at times maintained a bitter rivalry for the island. It changed hands 14 times, though it was British for more than 100 years and finally gained independence in 1979.
Our taxi driver Leon Annius, who has lived his whole life here, keeps up a running commentary in the hour-plus drive along windy roads as we wend our way to the North part of the island, crossing through the rain forest. It’s so lush! So green! Martinique, he tells us is just 20 miles and about an hour and a half by boat.
“St Lucia is a lot different because it is so green and so natural,” says Rene Isaac, a native St. Lucian and US Airways pilot who is my seatmate on the flight from New York.
I already love the place and that there is so much more to do here than beaches.
I’m here for a girls’ getaway with two of my oldest friends. We’re staying at a new RockResort named The Landings (www.thelandingsstlucia.com). It’s ideal for girls, couples or families because it is all spacious condo-like units (ours has a balcony hot tub!) with full kitchens, multi baths and bedrooms. All on 19 beachfront acres on Rodney Bay near the northern tip of the island.
There still is some construction here but you don’t really see it with its tennis courts, adult only pool and one the kids will love with its water fountains. For boaters, there is a private yacht harbor, sail boats, kayaks, snorkels and more.
The kids club is complimentary (I like that) and there is a huge spa. The resort is getting ready for the holidays (and teens) with plans to put in a pool table, other games, teen spa treatments, horseshoes and bocci ball. With the sumptuous units, it would be an excellent place for a family to kick back for a few days—especially if you can snag a good rate.
Too bad it is dark when we arrive.
We hustle right out to another new resort, Cap Maison. for dinner. It’s all units too, though the architecture is different (more Moorish) and it is smaller–just 49 units. I love the little area with a table on a rock with waves crashing around. I hear a wonderful marriage proposal was made there—roses and the ring sent down in a basket from the bar above. Could it be more romantic?
We eat a sumptuous dinner at a restaurant that is getting raves from foodies in places like Food and Wine magazine. Calamari and cucumber salad, lobster bisque, scallops, snapper, duck breast…yum! We can hear the waves from our perch on the terrace. We see lights twinkling in the hills.
We toast to good friends and a beautiful new place to explore.
But after a long day of travel, we’re happy our hotel is just a few minutes cab ride away. I’m asleep as soon as I hit the oh so comfortable pillow.