Dreamscapes Travel & Lifestyle Magazine
Long a discreet haven for the rich and famous, a Caribbean jewel invites you to kick off your shoes.
Even if you’ve heard of Anguilla, you might not be sure how to pronounce its name. (For the record, it “rhymes with vanilla,” as locals are quick to inform you.)
However, you could be forgiven for being unaware of this off-the-beaten-track Caribbean island. For one thing, it’s tiny—you could fit 120 Anguillas into Jamaica, with room to spare. For another, it’s very quiet. There are no casinos. Huge cruise ships pass it by. You’d be hard-pressed to rent a Segway or find a posh jewellery boutique.
So why go?
One word: Escape.
Long a discreet haven for rich and famous travellers—derek Jeter, Sandra Bullock, Jay-z and Beyoncé have all dropped by—the island is famous for its privacy, opulent resorts, great food and at least 33 beaches.
Although it can be pricey, the 91-squarekilometre British overseas territory has an endearing lack of pretention. For instance, the capital of Anguilla is simply called The Valley— not surprising on an island where you’ll also find communities with straightforward names like West End, East End, North Hill, South Hill, Little Harbour and Island Harbour.
The island is that sort of place where you
can let down your guard, kick off your shoes and forget about making an impression. And one great way to get into Anguilla’s state of mind is to step aboard Tradition, a sleek wooden sailboat built on Carriacou in 1978 to transport cocoa and other goods around the islands. Laurie Gumbs and his partner, expat Albertan Deb Vos, now use it to run day trips and private charters.
They greeted my group with sparkling mimosas and made sure we weren’t thirsty for the duration of our “sundowner sail,” however our outing was far from a raucous booze cruise. If anything, you could call it a “nosh cruise,” as the couple’s idea of hors d’oeuvres ranges far and wide. I loved the cheese board, piled high with fromages purchased on the French side of neighbouring Saint Martin/st. Maarten. Depending on what’s seasonally available, you might also nibble on charcuterie, devilled eggs, hummus, tapenade or gorgonzola-stuffed figs wrapped in bacon as you watch pelicans swoop and dive for their own dinner.
Taking care of the gleaming vintage ship is clearly a labour of love for Gumbs and Vos,
who sail it back to Carriacou periodically for a bit of TLC. “As you’re repairing one part of the ship, another part is saying goodbye,” Gumbs said wryly, noting they replace roughly half the ship each year. Fortunately, he had enough warning of Hurricane Irma in September 2017 to sail Tradition out of harm’s way. It survived the storm unscathed, and the couple used it in the ensuing months to ferry supplies to the devastated island.
For an island with a permanent population of just 15,000 people, Anguilla boasts a surprising number of upscale resorts.
If cooking is your passion, the twoyear-old Reef by Cuisinart (yes, the kitchen appliance company) may be just your cup of gazpacho. Menus at the Reef’s two restaurants highlight ingredients from the hydroponic farm the Reef shares with its nearby sister property, Cuisinart Golf Resort and Spa. My favourite menu items included a spectacular caprese salad at the beachfront Breezes restaurant and an unusual appetizer of peekytoe crab on a funnel cake at the more formal Yacht Club. After dinner, I happily wound down in a huge guest suite featuring a