Sunday, March 15, 2009

Virgin Gorda - British Virgin Islands

Miranda and I generally enjoy a Spring Break Father/Daughter vacation together in Europe or the Caribbean. Many years we return to our favorite Caribbean island, Virgin Gorda, for a beach vacation. This is the view from the balcony of the Lil Blue, the beachfront villa we have rented many times over the years. It is located on the North Sound of Virgin Gorda in the British Virgin Islands. One of the things we love about this site is that it has some really enjoyable, unique restaurants. The whole ambiance of Virgin Gorda, and the Caribbean in general, is the opposite of Hawaii - which we also love. Everything is more casual, the water and sky are incredibly more blue, warm, clear, and beautiful than anywhere else we have ever been. It is VERY inconvenient and relatively expensive to get to and do things in Virgin Gorda and the North Sound is inaccessible to cruise ships, but very popular with individual charter sailboats, so it is not overrun with tourists and those that are here are very compatible with what we like to do. I am lucky that my other daughter Amy and her husband Jeff LOVE Hawaii so I can get the best of both. Cindy was kind enough to do my babysitting days with Lyla to make this trip possible.

Virgin Gorda is known all over the world for a beachfront boulder formation known as The Baths. House-sized boulders are on the beach and in the clear, warm, blue waters forming pools that are ideal for swimming and snorkeling. As this picture shows, on our first couple of days on the island the winds were up to 40 mph making the water a beautiful but user-unfriendly place. Fortunately the rest of the week was beautiful and we enjoyed several days of great beach weather.

Our favorite beach for snorkeling and swimming is just up from The Baths at Spring Bay which is pictured here.

Now on to the FOOD.

We had memorable meals at 6 different restaurants on this trip. Our favorite meal was dinner at the Top of The Baths Restaurant. This restaurant is very tropical and open air, with a great view but totally forgettable food for lunch - see picture. At night, however, the chef and staff of one of our all time favorite Virgin Gorda restaurants, Georgio's (crushed by a rock slide last year - so now closed), take over the whole place and put on their traditional Italian/West Indian menu (sounds like an odd mix, but isn't). Very good European wine at quite reasonable prices in the British Virgins - tax reasons I suppose - so we started with a bottle of French Rose from Tavel. I started with a great Crispy Duck Spring Roll. for a main course I enjoyed one of the best fish preparations I have had anywhere. It was a really nice Sea Bass fillet encased in a crust of Sweet Potato puree. Super hot, not spicy just really hot, moist, and delicious. Sides are a little lacking and uninteresting in the out islands of the Caribbean as basically nothing grows there - think desert isle. For dessert Miranda and I shared a tropical fruit flavored creme brulee which was awesome.

Our second favorite place is Biras Creek Resort's Fat Virgin Cafe for a great lunch. Our introduction almost 30 years ago to Virgin Gorda came with a vacation with our good friends Dick and Cindy Metler to Biras Creek. It is a small, very high end resort on the North Sound only accessible by boat. I enjoyed an awesome Fish Burger (pan-fried grouper), ultra fresh and cooked to order accompanied by a great West Indian cole slaw and potato salad with minced eggs and herbs - great - along with a Carib - perfect lunch. We also enjoyed a great dinner at the "Castle" open air restaurant overlooking the North Sound. Undoubtedly one of the best views in the world. Biras Creek sends their launch to pick you up at your home resorts dock and takes you home after dinner. it is a 4 course price fix meal - we started with a bottle of Sancerre. I had a Duck Salad, followed by a very nice Fillet of Beef with a potato gratin. A cheese table with port and excellent array of cheeses followed. Dessert was a White chocolate Mousse over a chocolate cake center - Yummy.

Next great dinner is the Rosewood Resort Little Dix Bay - one of the premier exclusive, expensive,"beachcomber" type resorts in the Caribbean - no phones, TV, air conditioning, fully enclosed restaurants, etc - On Mondays they have an EXTENSIVE buffet dinner that we always enjoy. We started with (another) Sancerre. First trip to the Buffet was fresh seafood - lobster, crab, prawns, whole grouper - the prawns and lobster were the highlight. Then came the salads including two very good raw salmon and another island fish - as well as some nice fruits and greens. My third (large) plate was an awesome roast beef slice, along with some freshly grilled fish, and a rack of baby back ribs in an Island glaze. then a cheese course from an extensive cheese table. Finally a small plate of 5 or 6 desserts. That all kind of filled me up I must confess.

Final meal worth a big mention is the local Chez Bamboo restaurant. It is a great West Indian place with lots of atmosphere and wonderful food. We started with some really great prawns for an appetizer along with a nice Sancerre (again). I had Mahi Mahi which was beautifully done and sauced with West Indian Chutney. We shared a wonderful Bread Pudding for dessert. this is the restaurant we were seated next to Morgan Freeman on our last visit. Alas he was not there this time.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The most beautiful place I have ever been ! My friend owned the white fronted house right on the beach at Spring Bay. The best spot on the whole of VG! We saw Morgan Freeman several times, at Chez Bamboo, The Mad Dog on New Years Eve and The Rendezvous. The Rocks are a great place to eat, the Mermaid i s good but not on a windy evening.
Love VG !