Who says college kids have all the fun? I've spent spring breaks hunting for the "perfect" Sand Dollar on a Sanibel Island beach, watching major leaguers at spring training games, along with my little leaguers, and exploring the Grand Canyon with a couple of young hikers who were thrilled to become Junior Rangers.
Such a tough decision! Should I stay stretched out on my lounge chair, waiting for the smiling beach boy named Ben Pierre to bring me a frothy concoction or make my way across the white sandy beach for a dip in the clear, turquoise water? Maybe I should go to the infinity pool -- 7,000 square feet lined with blue mosaic -- where the chairs are set right in the water.
Boiling mud pots, rain forests, and a drive-in Volcano. All that and spectacular beaches, too, on the Caribbean island of St. Lucia, which promises a lot more than your typical resort getaway. With a culture that has borrowed from both the British and French -- the small island midway between Martinique and St. Vincent changed hands some 14 times before finally gaining independence in 1979.
Welcome to Beaches Resort in Turks and Caicos -- the family resort of the Sandals brand -- where the littlest vacation goers like Milo Greenspan rule. Milo may only be four but he drove his family's vacation decision -- straight from Chicago to this resort. "He's been asking for the last two years to come to Elmo's Beach," explained his mom Catherine. "And if he's happy, I'm happy."
The bride and groom say their vows in front of the sea under a canopy billowing in the wind, their guests sitting in front of them on white-covered chairs. There’s no one else on the beach. It couldn’t be more romantic or beautiful. I’m watching from my balcony of my room at the Gansevoort on Turks and Caicos, where the wedding couple and their 80 guests have been ensconced for the last few days.
We’re stretched out on the white sand beach staring at the turquoise water. We didn’t have to fight for beach chairs and though I’m told the Gansevoort Turks & Caicos (www.gansevoorttc.com) is sold out this weekend courtesy of a wedding. It is only 91 rooms. Neither the beach nor the drop-dead gorgeous pool (have you ever seen cushioned lounges that rest in a few inches of water?) are crowded.
Milo Greenspon may only be four but he drove his family’s vacation decision—straight from Chicago to Beaches Resort in Turks and Caicos.
We sit on the deck overlooking the ocean, palm trees and St Lucia’s most famous site--The Pitons, the two tall lava cones that differentiate this Caribbean island. We’ve stopped at Jalousie Plantation, spread over a 192 acres on what was once a working sugar plantation just outside the town of Soufriere in between Pitons. We are staring right at the mountain—right next to us!
It’s not even 10 am and already they are handing out the rum punch! We’re on a catamaran courtesy of Carnival Sailing that will take us from the north part of the island where we are staying at The Landings resort to the town of Soufriere (which translates to “sulfur in the air,” we’re told). Along the way we have spectacular views pf St Lucia’s claim to fame -- Petit Piton and Gros Piton.
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!