It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of good luck, it was the age of bad luck, it was the epoch of human kindness, it was the epoch of utter stupidity, it was the season of juicy cheeseburgers, it was the season of tough ribs, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had beaches and blue skies before us, we had metal detectors and grid searches before us.
But let's start with the best of times, shall we?
We arrived on a picture-perfect August day, collected our rental car, and made a beeline for Coconut Palm Villa on Mead's Bay.
The larger of two separate villas comprising Twin Palms Villas, Coconut Palm has three full ensuite bathrooms, one half bath, two outdoor showers, and a private pool, and if all of that is not enough to keep you sand-free, then I don't know what is.
The living areas were accented with colorful pops of lime and turquoise, and lots of doors, windows, and skylights to let in air and light.
And did I mention the roof deck with the panoramic view of Meads Bay, and the umbrella and lounger setup on Meads?
But all of that paled in comparison to having three bedrooms: One to sleep in, one to store my clothes and shoes in . . . and one for ironing in.
I decided that the upstairs bedroom, in its own pod across from the main house, would be my hair and makeup prep area. Angel loved the idea, figuring that if I was tucked away in a separate building, I wouldn't be able to yell out every five minutes for him to bring me something I'd left in the main house or downstairs. And he was right; I didn't yell. I texted him instead.
After depositing our things in their designated bedrooms, we quickly changed into swimsuits, then popped down the road to the island's cutest little beach bar, Waves.
I mean, even the bathrooms are cute.
These squishy, oversized beanbags are perfect for napping, or for passing out after a few of Waves' colorful rum punches. Po-tay-to, po-tah-to.
You should always match your drink to your dress . . . and to that pillow you will need after a few rounds.
We sipped our way to sunset, then finally headed back to Coconut Palm to take in the view and get ready for dinner.
I'd made dinner reservations at Picante, our go-to choice for a warm, welcoming first night on island.
We'd decided to keep our reservation even though the owner, Chloe, had messaged me beforehand to let me know that, because it was their last night of the season, they would not have my beloved seafood enchiladas. We compensated accordingly.
You've gotta love a place that sends you a Code Red when they're out of your favorite dish.
And you have to love it even more when the chef magically whips up a batch for you anyway.
Toward the end of our meal we met the lovely Stacie from Maine, who can vouch for the fact that I was grinning like a loon after finishing those margaritas enchiladas.
I awoke the next morning at the crack of dawn, an annoying, only-on-vacation habit if ever there was one. Just ask Angel.
I used the time to do some unpacking, then rewarded myself with a leisurely walk through the gardens behind the house.
It was shaping up to be a beautiful day, so we decided to take a drive up to Zemi Beach House for lunch.
If you can think of a view more spectacular than the one that awaits you on the patio at 20 Knots, you are taking way better vacations than I am.
We snagged a table in the sand and ordered up a round of cocktails, the excellent Tiki Old Fashioned with Mount Gay XO for Angel, and a caipirinha for me, made to order with vodka instead of cachaça.
The bread at Zemi is toasted to a crisp and comes with an addictive roasted garlic spread and, if you gobble it up the way I did, will also come 1,000 tiny cuts to the roof of your mouth.
After lunch, we splurged on a second round of cocktails -- for digestion, of course -- which we enjoyed on a couple of loungers on the beach.
The day was really windy, so we finished the afternoon Zemi's spectacular aquarium pool.
That evening we had plans to meet up at Roy's with Renee and Mike, two online friends whom we'd had yet to meet in person.
Anybody can lose a shoe when it's a flip-flop. That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.
Have you ever had the potent rum punches at Roy's? It took just one for me to decide I liked Renee and Mike enough to invite them to join us for dinner at E's Oven, and another half of one to accidentally walk into the house next door to E's when we arrived . . . and compliment their living room decor. I'm not a complete animal, you know.
There, we feasted on the famous coconut-crusted grouper and a pile of cheesy au gratin potatoes. At E's, that is. Though I'm sure my new friends would have whipped something up after I raved about their fancy vases.
I even managed to get into the right car at the end of the night.
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