Have You Missed Us?!

We promised we would touch base with everyone (at least) once per month and we are writers of our word!

Not quite sure where February went. It was a whirlwind of returning guests, new guests, visitors, and final touches on Holly and Beso del Sol.

Holly House welcomed its first post Irma guests a couple of weeks ago. They are regular guests to the house and they were thrilled that it is just as they remember it, with some nice new upgrades. New kitchen WITH a dishwasher, new couches in the living room, new mattresses and bedroom furniture, all while retaining the house’s signature eclectic charm. The pool is sparkling and the shade trees are coming back too.

Beso del sol reopened this week. Final touches on the furniture, a fresh coat of paint and a good deep cleaning and it finished in true Guavaberry fashion… just in the nick of time.

We are working ferociously on getting pictures taken of all of the houses as we prepare to launch a new website. We are ever so grateful to have talented photographers stay with us who are willing to keep their skills sharp while on holiday. The best part is we are getting a collaboration of different perspectives, as every photographer is unique. The photos we have seen so far are fantastic! Here is a taste of one of them:

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That’s the inside of Flamboyant. It just might be our new favorite house! (Just don’t tell the others!) Nice and spacious, great for families, couples, parties, or whatever you can think of. The back deck has a sunken patio which we can already envision being the ideal location for a sing-along. We have even tested it out. It just so happens that our February crowd does an annual sing-along night and they did it this year at Flamboyant! Our schedules didn’t allow us to attend this year, but babies should be old enough next year to join in the fun.

Around the grounds Verdan is planting away like a mad woman. A good mad woman though! She is planting out all kind of unique flowering bushes and shrubs. Most she starts from cuttings which collects from mature plants. She tends to them in the nursery, which is in front of Jasmine. Once they are big enough she lays out the pots, and then Tina gives the final okay on their location. We can’t wait for all of the new foliage to take shape. It is going to be stunning.

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Back in the office Connor has claimed his spot. He and Kingsley have outgrown the playpen, so they have gotten an upgrade. Some call it a zoo cage, but we like to refer to it as the granny pen. She fits quite well in it, don’t ya think?! When Connor isn’t in there with her he is usually supervising granny at her desk. He has a keen fascination for her computer mouse, so maybe we have a future IT manager for Guavaberry? He also enjoys going to the laundry and playing in the empty laundry baskets. That must be a genetic inheritance as Beulah and the girls can attest to his mother and auntie doing the same thing years ago (obviously in different baskets).

Lennon comes by the office about once a week for snuggles with Granny, Auntie Michelle and Auntie Valerie. Connor is still adjusting to having to share his granny but he is getting used to the idea. In the rare occasion that Lennon dozes off, Christine takes a much needed “baby free” trip to the store. Lennon also had his first swim last weekend. It was a quick dip since it was cold. He was not impressed with the temperature, but neither was his mother…. winter water – brrr! He really is a Caribbean boy inside, despite his “British bloke” look on the outside.

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The Time Has Come

This week marks the first week of “business as usual” here at Guavaberry. Now that phase one is done we had a full week of making dinner reservations, booking boat trips, check ins and check outs. It has been lovely! Pearl and Roxy are especially thrilled to have a full house. They have so many options for cocktail hour! No more Irma diet for them.

Behind the scenes here we are still working on the final touches at Holly House and Beso del Sol. Those will be the next two villas to reopen at the end of the month (Holly) and the beginning of March (Beso del Sol). After that it is just Island Time and Virgin Oriental left. Island Time has to completely rebuild the master suite, at least structurally. We aren’t quite sure if they are taking down the entire building or going to redo the supports underneath. Hopefully at least four of the bedrooms and the main living spaces will be ready by April, if not before. Virgin Oriental has a roof now, so it is coming along nicely. Once doors go on then the inside details can commence.

Also being worked on, our website! We thought building houses was hard…. but trying to bring our website up to snuff is a challenge if its own. Thankfully we have had many skilled photographers pass through who are helping us out with some spectacular shots. Is there something you would like to see on our site? Drop us an email and let us know!

Sadly though, the time has come to change our blog schedule. Now that all the exciting construction is completed we are going to be cutting back. Don’t panic though! We promise to publish once a month, and if something special is going on we will give you a bonus blog! When phase 2 commences we will crank it back up though. It has been lovely reading everyone’s comments every week. And, if you miss us on a Friday afternoon, you can always read a past post or say hi on Facebook.

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.

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.