The Crowning Glory

Well, we did it!! We have completed phase 1! We are overjoyed to welcome guests to Flamboyant today. The last house to be completed this round, and what a beauty she is.

The original Flamboyant was built in the 1970s by John and Jane Queern. They enjoyed it as a vacation home before moving to Virgin Gorda permanently in the early 80’s. They were both dentists and treated many residents on the island. In fact, they were the ones to pull Michelle’s front tooth which had a nice shiny cavity :). They were also Michelle’s Godparents and took both girls to St Mary’s church on Sundays. After church they all returned to Flamboyant to play games (bingo was a favourite) or sometimes make fresh mango sorbet from mangos picked off of the huge mango tree out front. We can still taste it to this day.

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After John and Jane passed on, Guavaberry bought Flamboyant back from the Queen family. It was remodeled and, in true Guavaberry fashion, it was down to the wire even back then! Weeks before the scheduled reopen date we found out that the custom kitchen was not going to arrive in time! After many sleepless nights Tina and Ludwig managed to find a carpenter on the island who ensured them he could build an entire kitchen by their deadline. The house welcomed it’s first guests in December of 2006. The kitchen turned out beautifully and lasted until that dreaded day in September 2017.

The original house was only a two bedroom, but John and Jane added a third bedroom later on. With its peculiar shape an exact rebuild proved problematic. Thankfully the land itself could hold a 1500 square food Deltec! So, down came the entire remaining structure and foundation. Now risen from the rubble is the crowning glory of Guavaberry. Standing tall, and very solid, she’s like a pillar of our new beginning.

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Inside you will find a large open concept living, kitchen and dining area with French doors leading onto the front patio. This house not only boasts three bedrooms, but also THREE PATIOS! Out back there is a grilling area and chaise lounges, and above you have your sunset deck perched atop a boulder.

The master bedroom is off to one side, while the other two bedrooms are down a small hallway on the other. This will make the perfect set up for families that travel with grandparents. The kitchen is so large that we can’t even fill all of the cupboards. Tina and the housekeepers set all the drawers up, and then Michelle went and changed them around. Tina doesn’t know that though… until right now 🙂

Verdan has started the planting around the house and has created different levels around the small boulders off to the side. We can’t wait for it all to grow in. It’s going to be stunning.

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So, for any of you reading this down at the beach come on up and get a quick peek in the house before the guests check in! If anyone sees Ian napping in his truck, leave him be. It is well deserved by now.

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Where Did January Go!

We hope all of you up north are staying warm. We hear you have had some miserable weather! The weather hear is nice and toasty, though a bit nippy when it drops down to 75 in the evenings. Brrr!

Thanks to your snow storm we have a ground sea running down here. Lovely to watch, but not for the faint of heart to swim in. It should only last a couple of days we are told. Then the water will be good for snorkeling again… that is unless Mother Nature blasts the USA with more of her winter fury.

We are beginning to welcome our February regulars back again. Where did January go?! And with February upon us that means one thing… Super Bowl! There are always some great watch parties on Virgin Gorda. The top ones being at Bath & Turtle, Coco Maya and Leverick Bay. We don’t know diddly squat about sports, but we do love to see the anticipation on everyone’s faces. For those who do not win, a pina colada or three will numb the pain away.

Baby Lennon came to visit the office on Thursday. He would have come sooner, but he was on quarantine while Valerie recovers from a cold and Michelle and Connor from the stomach flu. Once Granny lifted the quarantine he was over in a flash. Connor woke up from his nap just in time to meet his newest cousin. He was quite excited and squealing with glee. Granny literally had her hands full.

The push is on this week as we get everything in order to start loading up Flamboyant for its grand opening on February first. The ladies were out scrubbing patio furniture … after the guys remembered where they had it all stored. The crews are still furiously painting, trimming bushes, hanging doors and laying tiles (yes, those counter top tiles arrived on Wednesday!). The end is in sight, and you guessed it… it’s going to come right down to the wire! Hey, at least we are predictable! So, stay tuned next week and maybe… just maybe… we will get some finished pictures!

The newest edition!

Reading the title you might be wondering “what are they building now?!”. But no, we aren’t expanding the property. We did however expand the family this week! We are overjoyed to welcome to the world Mr. Lennon David Hawkins. Proud parents, Christine and David welcomed little Lennon on Tuesday at 8:45 am. Tina and Michelle got to take the morning off to welcome the little man. He really does look like a little English gentleman already… or a proper little bloke that has his own spot at the local pub. We can’t wait for them to come home so we can get some proper snuggle time with him.

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Until then, work cranks on. As per usual… it’s down to the wire yet again. The owner of Holly house is arriving in a few days and the housekeepers are chomping at the bit to get in to cleanup after the construction. The furniture is awaiting collection at the ports, but there it shall wait until the house is clean enough to get it in. The pool is sparkling clean at least!

Flamboyant is coming along nicely, just not as fast as we wish it could. Just when we are ready to tile the counter top in the kitchen we find out that the tiles we have left are mostly chipped! NOT what you want to hear on a Wednesday morning at 11 am. Why specifically you ask? Well, we can’t just run down to the local Home Depot and get our tiles and the cut off day for the trailer from Florida is mid day on Wednesdays! These were purchased in Florida back in June. After quite a while in hold to with the store in Fort Lauderdale, Tina decided it was time to beg.

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The store the tiles were purchased in is just down the road from the shipping company, and we can see online that the tiles are in stock, and available for pick up if ordered prior to 2 pm. We must say, Tina either has a really good grovel or she’s a good client… because the boss of the shipping company said “send me the details and I’ll see what we can do”. Sure enough… he found someone (or he went himself) to go to the store in person and pick up our order AND got back in time to toss them in the trailer arriving next week! Talk about a close one! We are forever grateful to Ralph and his team at Tamarind Consolidated. This isn’t he first time they have gotten us out of a jam, and I’m sure it won’t be the last.

We also received some help and advise this week regarding the beloved and now famous tamarind tree at the beach. It just so happened that we had an arborist staying with his family, who happen to be the owners of Casa Rocalta. He took a closer look at the tree and concluded that we need to keep the supports on her for a while longer. She might look good on the outside, but deeper down she still has some damage to her main roots. He also suggested that instead of so many supports, we should just use a few stronger ones instead. Is this guy an arborist or a therapist? I guess trees are a bit like people. We might look good to the unsuspecting eye, but dig in a bit and there’s a whole lot more going on beneath the surface. And, in the end all you really need are a few good supports around you.

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Full Swing

The holidays are over and the January crowd is here. Virgin Gorda is finally starting to feel “normal” again. The week after the holidays is always a little quiet. It gives everyone a minute to gear up for a the rest of a busy winter season. We still have a few openings in February for anyone looking for a last minute escape from the cold! Come on down! The weather is great, the beaches beautiful and we are ready to see everyone! But what is there to do this season you ask?

For one… EAT! Many of the restaurants are back open. Some have brought back their entertainment schedule too. Bath & Turtle has a weekly Caribbean Buffet on Wednesday nights with choices ranging from baked chicken, grouper, macaroni pie and BBQ ribs. They also have Marlon playing Steel Pan for the evening. The price is under $30 AND you get a free rum (or fruit) punch. Leverick Bay has Happy Arrr Monday – Wednesday from 5-7 where you can enjoy the Michael Beans Pirate Show. Great fun for the kiddies while still adult appropriate. Pack an eye patch if you like! Pirates not your thing? They also have their Friday night beach BBQ with a live band and a Moko Jumbie show. What are Moko Jumbies? Glad you asked! They are stilt dancers! Now, they don’t just dance around. They do tricks too! Ever seen a guy (or gal) hop on ONE stilt (which I might add are made out of 2×4 pieces of lumber) WHILE they hold the second stilt behind their head? Yeah… didn’t think so. Head to Leverick Bay on a Friday to see that and many more incredible stunts. If you’re lucky one might even take a dip in the pool… WITH STILTS! Looking for a quieter evening? Coco Maya is hosting a wine pairing dinner next week. Fine wine, gourmet food pairings and that setting?! Sounds pretty perfect to us. We have been to a couple in the past, and from what we can remember after multiple pours, it was all delicious.

 

When you are ready to work off some of your dining indulgences there is plenty to do during the day. We still have our snorkel equipment for rent at the office. Snorkel right off Spring Bay or you can take a snorkel trip with Bradley Boats. They offer various destinations from Cooper Island, Jost Van Dyke, and in and around the North Sound. What to get a little more personal with the fishies? Dive BVI is fully functional and ready to take you “under da sea”. Please tell me you sang that line… because darlin’ it’s betta down where it’s wetta… take it from me! Okay we’re done now… promise. Up on the shore they work all day… okay really… we’re done now. Back to water activities… paddle boards and Kayaks are available from both SeaLingo and Blue Rush Water Sports. Both companies will deliver to you at the beach and we can arrange that for you. Blue Rush also has Hobie Cats, Jet Skis and a Fly Board. Never heard of Fly Boarding? Neither had we, and I don’t think any of us will actually be able to give you a personal review of it because well… we are cowards! Fly Boarding is not for the faint of heart. Take a wake board, let go of the boat rope, and now attach a jet pack to your board… THAT is fly board! We are brave enough to play in the winter ground seas… but we will take a pass on fly board thanks. We still encourage you to take a go at it though. We live vicariously through your vacations 🙂

How about getting a little closer to nature? Join Gumption on his Necker Island Nature tour. Dates are limited so we encourage you to book early. A newly popular excursion is Kelly’s Land and Sea Tour based in Anegada. You get a  full day tour (or half if you choose the sea tour only) and see flamingos, iguanas, conch island, and even get to try your hand at catching lobsters and conch! What you do with your lobsters are up to you… we promote catch and release … but it’s your choice if the water you release them in is a fresh 80 degrees or a steady rolling boil!

After all this activity you will deserve a rest. Head out for a massage or mani pedi at one of the many spas, or lap up the luxury at Oil Nut Bay. You can book in there for lunch and enjoy their pool and beach. Keep your eyes peeled for turtles on the boat ride over too.

Of course, if reading all this has you tired already, you can just opt to pack up the cooler, grab a book, a blue beach chair and head to the beach. Don’t forget to stop into the commissary for a Dove bar on your way down!

Happy New Year!

Hopefully everyone has recovered from the New Years Eve shenanigans by now. Virgin Gorda had parties at Coco Maya and Bath and Turtle, and we hear both were well attended. Ed and Nina chaperoned Ian at the festivities, but the rest of us had a quieter evening. Tina, Michelle, Chill, Connor and Christine enjoyed a delicious taco dinner at Hibiscus with some very dear long-time guests and then headed home for an early night.

There were fireworks this year in Virgin Gorda which was a nice surprise, and we were even able to see the display from Trellis bay. We have a bit of a soft spot in our family for fireworks. Years ago Valley Trunk Estate used to set off their fireworks at 10:00, nearly right over Tina’s house, so we got to wake up to see those every year. Chill didn’t know what he was marrying into though. Many years Michelle has dragged him all over Virgin Gorda in search of the best New Year’s Eve fireworks. He has come around now after eleven years and has learned to love them just as much.

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Our Christmas crowd has started to depart and we are now gearing up for our January Regulars. It is great to see the island busy again. Guests are supporting restaurants, water sports, charter boats, spas and shops.  It was a rocky 2018, but 2019 is already proving to be bright and prosperous.

Jemstone reopened on the 1st, welcoming its first post Irma guests. Sure, they might be missing a bathroom door for a few days (thanks to everything at ports and customs closing for holidays), but yet again our guests are super understanding and just happy to have a bed to sleep in.

 

We have had lots of complements on the new beds at Guavaberry too. Every Guavaberry house has a new bed so no one will be left out. The two bedroom houses also have shiny new pots and pans and we have received rave reviews on them too. We are glad everyone is enjoying the upgrades. We always do our best to choose quality furnishings so our guests feel right at home.

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One “complaint” we have had though, we moved the bathroom light switch in the two bedrooms. Now how would someone realize we changed a light switch? Well, when that guest has been coming to stay for 30+ years… they just know! Perhaps we should have called them in when we were trying to remember how things were. This time we have blue prints of the houses so if we ever have to build another we know exactly where things should go, and not have to rely on our foggy memories any more.

We might shudder at the thought of having to rebuild MORE houses, but we do still have three to go this year. Plum, Lime and Gardenia are on the agenda for this summer. But three should be a cake walk in comparison now.  Ian and all of his construction crews should be able to do these with their eyes closed for the most part, though we will try to have them peek when using power tools!

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Tina’s house is also high on the list. She really needs to stop working from home… or is it homing from work when you live in your office?  All of us will be delighted to see her finally back in her own space, falling asleep on her couch while watching Jeopardy, a guilty pleasure she has more than earned by now.

Closing out the year… Finally!

We hope everyone had a lovely Christmas! We certainly did. Last year we skipped traditions, but this year we brought them all back. Ed’s Eggs Benedict followed by gifts, and a full on turkey and ham Christmas dinner. Usually these events are hosted at Tina’s house, but this year Christine hosted brunch and Michelle hosted dinner. Both are looking forward to Tina’s house being rebuilt!

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At Guavaberry the guests are all happy to be back, but not nearly as happy as we all are to have them back. Thank you for everyone who had faith in us to complete these houses for your stay! The Deltec two bedrooms and Cashew are all finished and occupied. Official pictures will be publicized just as soon as we get them. Keep an eye out for a newly updated website too! We figured why have these bright and shiny new houses showcased on an “old” site?

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Jemstone is going to be finished by January 1. It has to be… guests are arriving and we don’t have anywhere else to put them! Once that is completed the focus will be on Flamboyant, Beso del Sol and Holly House. Those are the last three we have to finish before putting our feet up for a couple of minutes. Construction at Virgin Oriental and Island Time is being overseen by the homeowners so we still only get tidbits of information from time to time. We are just as excited as you are to see what the end result will be!

Ed and Nina are nearing the end of their stay. Usually they are sad to go, but something tells us they are ready for an actual vacation now. They have been essential in all the fine details getting these houses ready. Nina is a whiz with a paintbrush, and we really think the housekeepers enjoyed working with Edward. No, he wasn’t brushing up on his toilet cleaning skills… he got to oversee the louver painting ladies for many days before heading up the furniture moving.

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Speaking of furniture, we also need to say a special thank you to Julie and Emerick Caribbean for coordinating our massive furniture order. She is equally persistent as we are so was updating us throughout the manufacturing process. One of our favorite pieces is the new night stands. They were custom built for us to fit our space. We designed them and must say… they turned out perfectly! Not to toot our own horns or anything… but toot toot! No more sideways night stands in the one bedrooms!

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Now we need to get back to work once again. Signing off ’til next week!

Ready or Not, Here We Go!

What a whirlwind of a week! First thing Monday morning it was straight into paperwork. The invoices and manifests for the furniture container had to be filed to be cleared trough customs. Thanks to the helpful officers down in the customs office, we now know the trick to clear our papers quickly, but we needed one teensy number from the shipping company to finish the process and they didn’t have it yet! Okay, give them a few hours we say. Nope. By the end of day on Monday we didn’t have the number to clear the papers. Why, you ask? Turns out the barge was broken down in St. Thomas! Not what we wanted to hear.

Thankfully Tuesday morning we got word that the barge had left St. Thomas and was en route directly to Virgin Gorda. Bonus that they didn’t have to make a stop in Tortola, because knowing our luck it would have broken down again.  Our luck wasn’t 100% perfect though,  as we still couldn’t get that one number to complete our paperwork. Finally after many phone calls and much groveling we got the information we needed and submitted our paper work on Wednesday morning. By midday we had them cleared and the trailer was released and headed to Guavaberry! Protocol though requires a customs officer be present when you open a trailer on property, and one wasn’t available until after 4:00! The suspense was killing us! The customs officer finally made it after 5pm, and witnessed Ian cutting the bolt on the trailer door. We pride open the door and nearly started an avalanche of boxes straight onto the customs officer’s head! Pretty sure that would not have landed us in the good books, but Ian’s catlike reflexes saved the day and we live to open more trailers in the future.

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Turn now to Thursday morning, 8 am. We can FINALLY see and unload our furniture and start loading up Mango. Yes folks, Mango is now completed too! Also down to the wire, but do you expect anything different at this point?

Back to the furniture saga. We had hoped that the furniture would have been loaded in somewhat organized… but no. Chair up front, table over there, table top on the other side. Guests are arriving at 1:00 so time’s a tickin’! In true Guavaberry fashion though, we got it done! Sure, we might have forgotten to finish the plumbing for some essential bathroom fixtures, but we know how much Vincent likes to greet guests. (Even if it’s while he is hooking pipes up to the back of a toilet.) He is a professional, through and through. We must say a special thank you to the first official guests in Mango for being so understanding. They had no problem heading out for lunch, groceries and a swim before getting into the house a few hours after arrival.

Today we can take a bit more of a leisurely pace since the other Deltec’s guests don’t arrive until this weekend. Yes, we will double check the plumbing this time.

Also officially back open as of Thursday this week is La Cachette. It is absolutely beautiful. The house has new furnishings, a newly remodeled kitchen, new art work, and a few structural improvements. One of our favorites… an entry to the master bedroom from the main house! Sounds silly but this will really work for families with young children. Mom and Dad can stay in the master and the kids can stay in the den. If you travel with another family then you also have the two upper bedrooms with twin beds in one side and a queen in the other.

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The Studio has also had a complete overhaul. Even the name! We are now calling it La Cachette Cottage :). An extended deck and a pool just top off the cottage and take it over the top. Plantings between the cottage and the main house provide great privacy too if you want to rent the cottage separately for just two people. Professional photos will be added shortly to the website, but for now here is a sneak peak!

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We have to sign off now and get back to work. Just a few more days until Christmas and there is much to do. We will be closed after 9:30 on Christmas Day. We think we will deserve the day off by then, don’t you?! Merry Christmas in advance to everyone. Take it easy on the Eggnog… at this rate we will need more than our fair share!