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A very long trip report for the Sands in T and C in October 2005

A very long trip report for the Sands in T and C in October 2005

Old Nov 6th, 2005, 05:36 PM
  #1  
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A very long trip report for the Sands in T and C in October 2005

We flew on Delta from Harrisburg to T and C with a stop in Atlanta. I was surprised that the plane was so small. There were only 2 seats on each side of the aisle � a puddle jumper. When we arrived in the T and C airport, the lights went out. The emergency lights came on. All was well and we didn�t think much of it. We stayed at the Sands and took advantage of their complementary airport transfers.

We loved the Sands and would definitely stay there again. They had beautiful lush landscaping and the pool was large. When the bellhop was taking us up to our room, he said it was the best room in the house. Of course I thought he said that about all the rooms. It was the nicest and largest room that we have had so far in our travels. It even beat out the suite we had for our honeymoon at the Fiesta Americana Condesa in Cancun. At the Sands we had a wrap around screened in porch. It was a one bedroom with 2 bathrooms and a kitchen/living room area. It was bigger than our first apartment � LOL! We unpacked and ate lunch in Hemingway�s, the restaurant at the Sands. They only had fish and chips or chicken and chips due to the blackout, which we found out was island wide. I very glad that I packed a small flashlight. My husband actually laughed at me when I told him I was packing it. Well I had the last laugh! When it was time for dinner, since the blackout was still in effect, we decided to eat at the hotel again. This time they only had salad dishes because they couldn�t do any cooking. Thankfully we had leftovers from lunch in our room. This was not the best way to start a vacation. We hoped that things would get better.

By the next morning, the electricity was fixed. Needless to say, we ate a big breakfast that day. Eating breakfast out is always a treat and Hemingway�s didn�t disappoint us. My favorite selection was their huevos rancheros. My husband liked the french toast with fruit. The electricity stayed on except for two other small outages. Unfortunately one of them was when I was in the shower. At least the water didn�t stop with my hair full of shampoo � LOL!

The beach at the Sands is gorgeous. We spent most of our days on the beach. The water is very clear and has stripes of turquoise and royal blue as you look out to the horizon. There were times that I stopped on the beach to make sure I took a mental picture of the stunning view. When I was a teenager I went to Barbados and went on a catamaran. The memory of the color of the ocean there has stayed with me and I haven�t seen the same colors in our travels until T and C. We took walks along the beach almost to the end of both sides to check out the other hotels. There were times on our walks where we took a dip in the ocean and did not see anyone else. The water in front of the Sands so calm it was almost like a bay. There was a breaker farther out that made the water very pleasant for swimming.

The Sands has music twice a week at Hemingway�s on Tuesdays and Thursdays. We were there for 11 nights but because of the blackout and rain, we were only able to go to one of them. They have a fun party for the hotel guests on Tuesdays with music, free rum punch, sodas, beer and appetizers.

We went to the Catholic Church on the island, Our Lady of Divine Providenceboth Sundays we were there. Their mass was very nice. On the second Sunday, one of the parishioners came up and asked us if we moved to the island. They had very friendly people there. The priest even called the travelers up to the altar at the end of mass and bestowed a blessing on us. After mass we took the requisite trip to the IGA. We had heard everyone talk about all the things that you can buy there. When we called the priest for directions to the church, he even used the IGA in reference for directions. We were the typical geeky tourists and posed for pictures outside the store. We didn�t know that they don�t sell alcohol on Sundays so we had to buy our stash later in the week. Let this be a warning to others � Ha Ha!

We had arranged a private island getaway with J and B tours prior to our trip. I didn�t mention this before, but Hurricane Alpha was headed towards us during our stay. We postponed the getaway for a day until we knew the weather would be alright. J and B tours picked us up with a van at the hotel and drove us to their marina. Another couple had also booked a getaway and they took both couples on the same boat but dropped us off at different locations. We were taken to Half Moon Bay. They gave us chairs, an umbrella and a cooler full of food including subs (from the IGA of course), wine, sodas, beer, water, cookies and fruit. We were the only ones on the beach. It felt like a catered Survivor � LOL! We only saw two other couples who ambled over to our beach from the other side of the island but left quickly. We think they came from a private catamaran. I have heard that the private excursions are called hanky panky island. I have to say that the setting was very romantic. I prefer sunbathing topless which is not allowed on the regular beaches in T and C, so this was my chance to partake. The bottom of the ocean floor on the private island was much rougher here and we forgot to bring water shoes, so we didn�t venture very far out. They also gave us snorkeling equipment, but since I�m not a good swimmer we opted not to do that. When they picked us up, the waves were very high out in the ocean. The ride back was frightening for me. I was so afraid that the boat would tip over and I would drown. They dropped us off at the hotel via the boat which was a sight to see. I wanted to kiss the sand when we got ashore.
To be continued...
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Old Nov 6th, 2005, 05:41 PM
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...
We always look forward to trying different types of cuisine on vacation. We had traveled to St. Martin the last two years. Grand Case in St. Martin is known as the gourmet capitol of the Caribbean. We had delicious French meals every night in St. Martin. The food in T and C was not quite as good as in St. Martin, but we still thoroughly enjoyed our meals in T and C.

We went to Iguana and I was disappointed not to find Iguana on the menu. Carl had the blackened grouper and I had the mahi mahi, but the side of sautéed mushrooms was the stand out for the meal. I had the Curious George drink which had kahlua in it and was very yummy.

We liked Tiki Hut so much, we went there twice. Our meal choices included Jamaican Pork Chops, Lobster Ravioli and Lobster Pasta, which was spicy and very good.

Next door at Sibonne, we ate at Bay Bistro. We both had snapper. Carls desert was Key Lime Pie, which deserves a mention.

We ventured to the conch shack one day for lunch. We drove past it and had to turn around to find it, but it was worth the trouble. It is a very informal, open air, beachy place but the food is above par. We both had the sautéed conch with coconut milk. They have two square shaped holding areas in the ocean where the conch lives until it is time to cook them. After our delicious meal we asked for a demonstration of how they retrieve the conch. We had seen them bring in some conch shells for harvesting while we were eating. The worker tapped on the conch shell with a hammer, cut the conch muscle and pulled the meat out. I wished I would have asked to buy the shell because it was very pretty. They told us that they put the empty shells back in the ocean. We really wanted to return to the Conch Shack, but we ran out of time on the trip.

We ate at Hemingways at the hotel twice. We had wahoo and plantain encrusted mahi mahi, which was delicious. On our second visit we had grouper and tuna steak with a shrimp and scallops appetizer. The second time we ate at Hemingways we finally got to hear music. There was no blackout or rain that night. I was disappointed that the music wasnt anything I was familiar with and didnt have more of a Caribbean feel. The musician did play Cindy Laupers Time After Time, which I thought was funny. It was written by the Hooters from Philadelphia and Ive seen them in concert many times.

Our most expensive meal was at Cobaya at Coral Gardens. It cost twice as much as similar meals in other restaurants. The setting was romantic but pretentious. The waiters stood at attention to the side of the restaurant. After we finished our meals, they used those little sweeping things on the table. We have been to many upscale restaurants, but on vacation we like to be casually elegant. The food was on par with Hemingways, Iguana, Bay Bistro and Tiki Hut, but the portions were smaller at Cobaya. I had the shrimp in phyllo with conch and linguini. There were only two shrimp in the dish. I would have understood four, but only two! The gnocchi gorgonzola appetizer was fabulous though. It was the best dish of the whole vacation. Carl had a pork dish that was unremarkable.

We decided to try more local food and ate at Hole in the Wall. I like to try unusual types of food on vacation, so I was excited to try their curried goat. It wasnt exactly bad and Im glad I tried it, but I probably wouldnt order it again. Carl had the jerk chicken which was very good and worth the trip.

When we had walked along the beach we thought that the Turks and Caicos Club looked very nice. We decided to try out their restaurant, Simba, to check it out further. This is a very small but intimate and cozy hotel. We dont like going to hotels where you are there with a thousand of your closest friends. We would consider staying there on subsequent vacations. This was one of our best meals. Carl had the conch chowder for an appetizer and it was served in a conch shell. I wish I would have ordered one also. For dinner I had lobster which was excellent and Carl had the grouper. We had their banana tempura and a warm apple tart for desert.

This trip was primarily for relaxation and rejuvenation. We didnt go out at night and we didnt feel like we missed anything by not going out. Turks and Caicos is a great place to go if you want gorgeous beaches, good restaurants and a private vacation.
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Old Nov 6th, 2005, 06:33 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2003
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what a great trip report. thanks for posting. i am going in march so have copied your report to use as reference while we're there. glad you had such a good time. i like to take those mental pictures too. looking forward to trying the huevos at the hemingways.
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Old Nov 7th, 2005, 03:36 PM
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TG
 
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Thanks for the great report - it brought back many fond memories we have of The Sands and beautiful Grace Bay.
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Old Nov 8th, 2005, 06:43 PM
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Excellent, informative trip report. Thanks so much for sharing!
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Old Nov 11th, 2005, 11:11 AM
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Simba is one of my favorite restaurants...the food and presentation is outstanding. It's at the Turks and Caicos Club.
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Old Dec 13th, 2005, 04:11 PM
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Topping the post for carpe!
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Old Feb 7th, 2006, 12:51 PM
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Thanks, brings back wonderful memories, although I loved Coyoba. Sounds like you had an amazing time.
Trish
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