T&C Trip Report

Mar 4th, 2007, 07:34 PM
  #1  
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T&C Trip Report

Turks & Caicos Trip Report: Flew from Norfolk, Virginia to Providinciales on Saturday, February 17th through Miami. Only had a 55 minute layover. Travel agent friend of mine thought there would be no problem (guess there was a good reason I didn’t use her to book this trip) and IF there is absolutely NO delays, I’m sure there wouldn’t have been. However, we were about 20 minutes late leaving Norfolk, so as we were scrambling to get on the plane in Miami, they were just about to give our seats to some standbys. We flew American and we weren’t all that impressed with the airline.

Arrived in Provo about 2pm or so. Since we were staying at Coriander Cottage, we were met by one of the Moog’s management staff (Bernadine) who was very helpful. She had already located our rental car and had us follow her to the cottage. Once there, she went over everything we needed to know about the cottage. The Moog’s had already sent us an information package, not only covering things about the house, but also about the island, such as rental car info, restaurants, etc. Their site says that they will help you with planning excursions, but since they go through the same places you would go through and there’s no discounts involved, I suggest deciding on any excursions you want to do and book them in advance. We wanted to do the full day sail/snorkel with Sail Provo, but since we waited to book it after we got there, the only sail available was a half day.

Our rental car was through Scooter Bobs. We told him we wanted the smallest hoopty he had to offer and he didn’t disappoint. LOL – it managed to accommodate hubby, myself and two suitcases and that was all we needed. The rate was $55 per day. Not sure how that compares to other companies on the island, but their location was close and they were VERY friendly people. We stopped in a couple of times to ask questions, get recommendations and once just to see a “Potcake” puppy. I was a little uncomfortable when I made the reservation that there was no confirmation number. They just put your name on a sheet of paper in the windshield and the keys are in the driver’s side visor. We were a little put out that we had to pay $8 bucks to get the car out of the airport parking lot ($10 actually, since the guy working the gate claimed to not have change) and we only had about a half a tank of gas. Again, not sure how this compares to other companies.

CORIANDER COTTAGE – a wonderful,wonderful property. We have only stayed in resorts/hotels up until the last year when we ventured out and rented a couple of condos stateside. This was our first villa. It wasn’t just a house, it was a home. What a GREAT place for someone who might be fortunate enough to spend their honeymoon there! We’ve been married for 23 years and a romantic time was still to be had by these two old farts. From the architecture to the interior decorating, no details were missed. Was beautiful, quaint, cozy, comfortable and romantic. Please know there is no bathtub but rather a larger size shower stall. There are ceiling fans in all the rooms, but they are all on timer. The one in the bedroom will shutoff before evening’s end and if you are a light sleeper, the constant ticking noise but bug you a little. They had everything, right down to beach towels. They did not have beach chairs to take down to the beach with you, if you are so inclined and none were to be found on the island. Please realize that the pool is small (we chose to consider it comfortable) and is NOT something you can swim in. The “Deep” end is about 4 feet deep, but it doesn’t make up for much of the pool at all, rather most of it is about thigh high. It’s basically something to use to get cooled off in and to lounge by. You don’t have to worry about having house keys with you. The house is locked by an automatic coded locking system and it also has an alarm system. The appliances in the kitchen are great, but seeing as how I’m not exactly a domestic goddess, I almost thought I was going to need a degree in rocket science to figure out the settings on the oven. The management staff comes out on the day you arrive to take a meter reading for a/c purposes and to make sure that the grill has plenty of gas. The pool had some debris in it and we had to call and ask for a pool skimmer, but that was the only time we ever had to call the staff for anything. There is also a full washer/dryer available for your use.

The house, for the most part is pretty secluded. There are houses on either side of you, but there is quite a bit of distance between you and them and you are separated by plants, trees, etc. One of the Moogs other properties is sort of close. It’s between Coriander and the beach only somewhat to your right (if looking towards the beach). We still felt secluded. You might actually feel almost TOO secluded. I honestly wasn’t used to that. I quickly discovered that I am a “Tourist” rather than a traveler. We went out to the beach (Smith’s Reef) and I have to admit that I was unnerved by the fact that there was not ONE PERSON swimming there. It was just hubby and me. I couldn’t bring myself to go snorkeling since it was just us. I’m not sure if the weather had anything to do with it. It was on the cold side, windy and overcast/cloudy the first three days that we were there. I thought the ocean and pool water was a little too chilly to get in the whole time we were there. Some of the locals had said that those couple of days had been unseasonably cold. The entire week though, the largest number of people I saw at Smith’s reef were 4. There are other access roads to get down to the beach, so you don’t have to worry about people using the house grounds to get to and from the beach, at least the 4 people that we saw didn’t!

The beach at Coriander is pretty rocky. You don’t have to walk extremely far in either direction to get to a place where it isn’t, but it is rocky right in the immediate area as you can see in my photos.

Definitely remind yourself to drive on the left side of the road! Particularly in the traffic circles. Is really not hard and is actually easy once you get the hang of it. There also isn’t much traffic.

First thing once we got settled was go to the IGA supermarket for groceries, etc. Part of the info packet you will get will have directions, but is very easy to get to. We ate out most of the time, although one night we did do steaks on the grill, with salad and bottle of wine and sat out to watch the sun go down. We NEVER had a bad meal the whole time we were there. We actually never got past the restaurants at the marina area. We ate at Sharkbites (a few times as one of the few places it seemed hubby could get Mahi), we ate at the Tiki Hut, Aqua’s and Magnolia’s. We would have tried Baci’s for Italian, but a lot of the folks who signed the guestbook at Coriander really complained about the service there. Enough that we decided against it.

We took a day trip over to Grand Turk Island as it had been my husband’s very first duty station 30 some odd years ago when there used to be a Navy base there. The buildings are still there and are being used as a community college. If it weren’t for his quest though, I don’t think I would have gone over. We flew over on Sky King and there are several flights back and forth between the islands all day long. It was around $150 or so per person round trip. The island is only about 7 miles long or so. There is a cruise ship terminal that has been built there that has several shops, restaurants, etc (including a Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville) but they do not open unless a cruise ship is in. It MIGHT be worth your while if you HAVE to get a shopping fix in and you plan your trip for when a cruise ship is in port. We went over on a day there were no ships in, which was fine but was hard finding a place open to even eat lunch. We first took a guided tour by cab because we couldn’t find any other mode of transportation. This was fine except the cabby let one of the local cops tag along in the back in the van, who unbeknownst to us was a narcoleptic with sleep apnea! He started snoring in my ear before we even got out of the airport parking lot! The cabby was great though. He took his time and took us all over the island, particularly to the Naval Base, where hubby and I got out and walked all around. We went back to the airport and there was a one guy there working the one booth where you were supposed to be able to rent scooter’s. Unfortunately, on that day, he only had one scooter available. We rented it and went around the island and checked out the beaches and Front Street, but we would have liked to have had two. There are “Wild” horses (in that they don’t belong to anyone) that roam the island, which was interesting, I suppose and the beaches were nice, but no more so than on Provo.

We spent one day just touring around Provo, checking out the beaches, the resorts and what little shopping that there was to do. I have to admit, that the water was the most magnificent shade of blue that I’ve ever seen. We’ve been to a few of the Caribbean Islands, Mexico and Hawaii and each had beautiful beaches, but the water always had a trace of green to make it look turquoise. The water at Grace Bay is so blue, that it almost hurt your eyes to look at it.

We were scheduled to do a half day snorkel trip with Sail Provo and a half day kayaking trip with Big Blue. Unfortunately, I became extremely ill for two days of our trip and we were unable to do either. Sail Provo did not charge us, even though, according to their policy, they could have. Big Blue definitely did. They also, not only gave my husband a hard time the morning when we had to cancel, but one of their representatives called back to give ME a hard time as well, later that day. I not so politely told her I was ill and to charge us and to otherwise leave us alone!

All too soon, our week was over and it was disappointing that with bad weather and my illness, we were unable to take full advantage of our stay. I honestly have to say that when I first got there, even though I LOVED Coriander Cottage,I thought I had made a mistake in selecting Provo as a vacation destination. It’s definitely not for everyone. Other than the beaches, I didn’t find it a scenic place and it is definitely not the place to go if you are a “Diehard Tourist” who gets caught up in the trappings of siteseeing, shopping, running around, being around gobs of other tourist, etc. After a couple of days though, it became one of my more favorite places for the reason that I COULDN”T do those things. You are forced to relax.

We have already decidedto squeeze in another quick trip next year. We are planning other trips as well, so hubby won’t be able to dedicate 7 full days. For that reason, we won’t be able to stay at Coriander (although we WILL definitely go back and stay there again). For our next stay, we are looking at staying at the Royal West Indies. We checked out the property and really liked it as well.

Finally, if when flying back, you have to make a connection at the Miami Airport, allow yourself probably about two hours. I’ve never seen such a mess in my life as the customs/immigration lines there. I love Miami, but hate that airport!
chasechow is offline  
Mar 4th, 2007, 07:46 PM
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Great trip report! Looking forward to seeing your photos. Sorry to hear about your experience with Big Blue.
mymoosie is offline  
Mar 5th, 2007, 04:31 AM
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I loved reading your report.
Shame about the weather, it does affect what someone thinks about a place(especially when it's all about the beach, and you can't enjoy the beach!) and an illness-hard to be sick in the tropics.

Shame on Big Blue, while I understand they need a certain amount of people to have the excursions, sickness is not something you wish for. I hope they at least didn't charge the full amount.

As for the whole day with Sail Provo, signing up before you were there wouldn't have made a difference-they need certain numbers of people too, just to go out. Seems like full day charters always seem to be private. Sometimes I get up that morning, check the weather, and then call around to see if I can go anywhere-it has worked well for me. (They always seem to have room for 2 more, plus no worries about charges!)

Can you fly out of Richmond? Will probably make the connection less stressful next time.

I'm glad overall you had a nice time. I agree it is the most beautiful blue water anywhere.

Do you have any pictures to share? Would love to see them-especially of the cottage.
blamona is offline  
Mar 5th, 2007, 06:12 AM
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I do have pbotos. I'll definitely provide a link to them as soon as I can figure out which site to upload them to.

I had uploaded an entire album on kodak gallery OFOTOS, but it won't let others go to the link, so I'm back to square one.
chasechow is offline  
Mar 5th, 2007, 06:45 AM
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Shutterfly.com is very easy.
turksoldtimer is offline  
Mar 5th, 2007, 01:25 PM
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Thanks for the report! We are headed to Provo on April 14. We are staying at Ocean Club West because it's our first trip and I wanted to be on Grace Bay, but I loved reading about your cottage as I saw it online and thought it looked lovely.
beachgirl86 is offline  
Mar 5th, 2007, 02:20 PM
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hi chasechow, welcome home. i enjoyed your trip report so much. the moog's do take very good care of their villas and guests don't they. i am intrigued by your flight to grand turk. it must seem odd to see the pier and shops and nobody around them. scooter bob is always a hoot and so convenient if you're staying in the neighborhood. i found the potcakes to be friendly and adorable and always find one i'd like to bring home. did it seem like the other houses in the area had ppl in them? the ones next to coriander are so huge.
haha, i love that you are going back right away and think you will have a totally different experience. the beach in front of rwi is wide and no ironshore. and you'll get to try a whole new group of restaurants.
the water color at grace bay IS truly amazing isn't it. did you have a chance to see chalk sound?
i am so dissappointed to hear of your experience with big blue. under the circumstances i might not have been especially polite.
oh - if you enjoy italian i can heartily recommend bella luna. its mid island, owner chef and very good.
virginia is offline  
Mar 6th, 2007, 12:22 PM
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Okay, reposted all photos to shutterfly. If this doesn't work, I'm open to suggestions.

http://www.shutterfly.com/view/pictures.jsp
chasechow is offline  
Mar 6th, 2007, 12:56 PM
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I tried to post the pictures again, but the only way the site allows me to share is by email addresses. If anyone has any suggestions as to how to share them with you, please let me know.

Blamona - I was especially thinking of you and Potcake (from Tripadvisor Forum). Your posts over there were so very helpful. Richmond would be one option. Is about 2 hours or so from us as we live at the oceanfront in Virginia Beach. We can actually catch a flight from here to Provo through Charlotte and I don't mind the Charlotte airport at all.

Big Blue definitely charged us full price, which we didn't mind, in fact, we expected it. I was mostly put out by the fact, that after they were curt with my husband, they made it a point to call back so that they could specifically talk to me to be curt and abrasive as well. I suppose they may have thought the problem was that I was hungover (nothing could have been further from the truth), but regardless, I thought they were way out of line. We will book with both companies again, but I do intend to remind Big Blue of this incident and my displeasure.

Virginia - I think the Moog's are geniuses. To have bought and developed these properties, I only wish my hubby had thought to invest when he was there back in the day. They do not miss a detail, at least that is my impression based on Coriander. From the textures, colors, fabrics, prints, decor, architecture, you name it, I thought it was perfect. It's only a 3 room place (kitchen/living area, bedroom, bathroom), but the rooms are spacious and with the high vaulted ceilings, they seem even larger. The utility room (washer/dryer) is in a separate room located by the front door before you enter the home. There are french doors off of the living room and the bedroom that lead out to the pool/deck area.

There were other people in the other properties, but you really didn't notice them much. The ones the most noticeable were located at the property closest to Coriander. We saw two couples there are on first day. They were on their deck and we conversed with them while we sat in the Gazebo. We only saw them on the deck one other time. Not that we are voyeurs, but we were curious about people staying in the other large houses, particularly at night when we would sit in the gazebo and we could see lights going on and off. We figured that they might be on a timer, but then from time to time we might see a person moving around. Perhaps it was staff personnel, because we definitely never saw or heard anyone out and about.

There were also a couple of huge houses on the other side of Coriander (I don't THINK they are Moog properties, at least I've not noticed them on their website). We viewed them from the beach and from roadside. They were fantastic! We did not make it to Chalk Sound this trip.

We loved Scooter Bobs. You know, I don't know if we could have gotten a better deal financially speaking or not, but that really didn't matter. We really loved him, his son and the rest of his staff. I really enjoyed going by to visit with their little potcake puppy. The local SPCA was at IGA selling T-shirts and I HAD to have one. Is my favorite.

A couple of people who signed the guest book at Coriander recommended Bella Luna's as well. You're right about getting to try a whole new variety of restaurants (if I can pull hubby out of Sharkbites long enough!)

The experience on Grand Turks seemed somewhat surreal to me - LOL. I was actually happy that a cruise ship wasn't in (I bet it is madness there), but it was so weird hardly seeing ANYBODY (locals even!) It will be interesting to see what happens there. They are doing some major condo/resort development right by the terminal.

Even though we won't be staying at Coriander, I'm actually looking forward to our next trip even more. Now I know truly what to expect. Even though hubby had told me and I had read lots of info about Provo, I don't think I really fully grasped how different the experience was going to be for me. I really can't wait.

Jenny - btw, if you see something in IGA that you think you might want, go ahead and buy it. There's no guarantee you'll find it when you go back. Hubby was amazed to find diet caffeine free pepsi and thought he had bought enough (they didn't have regular pepsi at the time, so I had to buy individual bottles where I could find them). When he went back, there was regular pepsi all over the place and no diet caffeine free to be found. We were surprised that they seem to have a great selection of a variety of things.

We also really loved the locals on the island. They seemed somewhat reserved, but a smile, hello and questions about their lovely island seems to go a long way. Were really wonderful folks.

If you can get a chance to have breakfast at Gilleys, they had a great breakfast. Granted, I had scrambled eggs, with grits, but as a self-respecting, southern grit eater, I can attest to the fact that they were homemade and not instant. We grabbed breakfast there the day we went to Grand Turks.

Just a few more thoughts as they come to me.

Again, if anyone wants to see pictures, please give me some idea how to provide you a good link, and I'll be more than happy to share them with you. I now have them on about 3 or 4 different sites online now, but can't successfully post a link here.
chasechow is offline  
Mar 6th, 2007, 01:07 PM
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Your reports are great - Good info - I was thinking after reading your info on the IGA - did the cottage have a variety of spices or should I plan on buying/bringing a small selection for grilling.
Also, I know that Shandon told me they didn't have any, but just want to verify they didn't have any beach chairs/umbrellas.
Shandon is Great! I emailed just the other day regarding beer sales on Sundays and since Provo does not do this she is going to make sure there is some in the fridge for the hubby when we arrive. Ask and you shall receive.
PLEASE - someone help with the picture posting - I'm dying to see them.

jennreyiw is offline  
Mar 6th, 2007, 01:38 PM
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Great trip report. You will definitely like staying at RWI next time. We loved it there.

<<We would have tried Baci’s for Italian, but a lot of the folks who signed the guestbook at Coriander really complained about the service there. Enough that we decided against it.>>

That comment is so true. We had a terrible experience there, and not just because of the service.
TobieT is offline  
Mar 6th, 2007, 01:52 PM
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Thanks for the terrific, balanced, and good-humored trip report. I learned a lot from it!
ejcrowe is offline  
Mar 6th, 2007, 03:33 PM
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Thanks Tobie and ejcrowe, glad you liked it. I really have enjoyed reading posts from others who have already experienced Provo and am especially enthusiastic since I've had the opportunity to enjoy it myself.

Jenny (I'll try to email you the photos btw). There weren't any spices at the cottage. We bought some at IGA, but if there is something particular you have in mind, you might want to buy it ahead of time and take it with you, if possible. The only staples that you'll find are the ones that folks before you might happen to leave. The staff does leave you a complimentary bottle of wine and if it doesn't get drank between now and then, you might find my hubby's last Corona in the fridge - lol. You're right about no booze buying on Sundays. We looked several places to try to get beach chairs, but were told by some of the locals that at the present time, it was a problem, that they were hard, if not impossible to find on the island. There was one at the house, but it has definitely seen better days.

I'm going to try to email you the photos now. Wish me luck!
chasechow is offline  
Mar 6th, 2007, 04:05 PM
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Trying to post photo link ONE LAST TIME

http://share.shutterfly.com/action/s...=1173229464753
chasechow is offline  
Mar 6th, 2007, 04:26 PM
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Thanks for the trip report.

How to share your pics with Shutterfly.
Log in, go to the album you want to share, click on it. On the top of the page, you will see the option "share online". Click on that.

You'll see a sign on the top right that say "Next (with arrow pointing right) add to shared album". Click on that.
A window will pop us saying "do you want to share all the pictures in this album? - Click OK to continue".

A new page says:
1. "How would you like to share these pictures?". Click on "as a single album"
2. "Invite friends to view these pictures".
To: (type in YOUR e-mail address in the blank box).
Subject: (It should already say (pictures from "your name"). If no subject line, just type something.
Message: (you have to type in something, so just say something like T&C pics).
Then on top right of page, click on "share now".

A new page will pop up saying your pics have been successfully shared with the following link:
(link)

You can go ahead and copy and paste that link to a newly opened browser to check that it is opening properly to your pics and on top of that page it should say "sign in". Meaning YOU are NOT logged in (which is what you want). There's a sign to click on that page says "view pictures". People can just click on that to see your pics.

-OR-
You can just wait a few minutes until the link is sent to your e-mail (it will be at the bottom of your e-mail page). You can then copy and paste it here.

Always test the link first to make sure it goes to your pics and that it does NOT show that you're logged in.

Your link should look like this:
http://share.shutterfly.com/action/w...8AcNmThi0atmQk

Good luck!



caribtraveler is offline  
Mar 6th, 2007, 04:45 PM
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Thanks Carib. Here's the link. Hope it works. This has become quite the quest.

http://share.shutterfly.com/action/w...=0Gctmjho1Yuag
chasechow is offline  
Mar 6th, 2007, 04:47 PM
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YEAH!!!!!!!!!!! It worked!

Thank you so very much!
chasechow is offline  
Mar 6th, 2007, 05:06 PM
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Gorgeous pictures and worth the wait.

you should take the picture of Governor's Beach to Staples and make it a poster-the colors are electric!!!
blamona is offline  
Mar 6th, 2007, 05:53 PM
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Awesome pics! I always suspected that some of the promotional pics that islands put out have the water color altered to make it bluer than it is. I can see from your pics that the water really is that blue! Can't wait to get there! Also, what kind of camera do you have? Your pics are very clear and colorful. Also, does anyone know if you have to pay a duty to bring a cooler of food into the country?
drwalt is offline  
Mar 7th, 2007, 04:46 AM
  #20  
 
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YEAH!! Great photos - I'm thinking now a trip to Grand Turk may be needed. Beautiful! Thanks for all the insight on the Cottage - I hope they don't substitute hubby's beer for the wine
Thanks again!
jennreyiw is offline  

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