Learning To Lime In Anguilla

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Mermaid

Of the few stores situated on Anguilla, I saw two that were named “Limin’,” and they were wildly different. One was a boutique that sold high-end, brightly covered beach apparel and jewelry. The other was a large, run-down grocery store that sold the likes of Spam, sweetened bread rolls and coconuts.

It took me longer than I care to admit to sound it out — “limin’” I thought, pronouncing it aloud with a short “i” like I was saying “Tim.”

“No, liiiimin’,” corrects my cab driver and native Anguillian, Lowell, while maneuvering his van along one of the few thin streets in the country. “You know. Call up your buddy, ask what they’re up to. They’ll say, ‘Nothing, just limin’.'”

Limin’ means hanging out. Chilling on a porch. Shooting the shit with friends. While the term is used throughout the Caribbean, on a recent visit to this tiny, 16-mile-long island located off the coast of St. Maarten, I realized that “limin’” is an ideal way to describe Anguilla.

Overlook

“Here we sell a whole lot of nothing,” says Lowell, as we drive past scraggly overgrown yards that contain goats tied up on pegs, rusting cars and the occasional, brilliant bougainvillea vine.

He’s kind of right. While other islands in the Caribbean would have been packed with tourists over spring break, Anguilla seemed empty. Beaches were void of crowds and chatter. Nobody tried to sell me anything — not even a wooden trinket carved into a turtle or marijuana joints the size of cigars, like the onslaught of vendors I have endured on other islands that cater to the cruise crowd while “limin’” at the beach.

While you can definitely sprawl, cocktail-in-hand, on white sand for days, there is an unexpected energy to Anguilla that makes it a uniquely interesting place to visit. There’s a wildness to this island that complements rather than contradicts its cerulean seas, five-star hotels and fancy restaurants.

Festival del Mar

For example, time your trip right and you’ll experience Festival del Mar, a bustling seafood festival that takes place over Easter weekend. With over 15 vendors, this small but growing gathering of locals and tourists alike jives with folks noshing on fragrant seafood soup, johnny cakes (fried dough accouterments about the size and shape of small bagels) and some of the largest spiny grilled lobsters you’ve ever seen — brushed with spiced butter and plated with lemon halves.

Nobody serving rum punch, the island’s beverage of choice, seemed to know what it was actually made with. Maybe some sort of fruit juice? I never found out, something that would have bothered me in my food-conscious home city of Boulder. But, hey, I’m limin’ man. Sure, I’ll have a rum punch, pineapple from concentrate, be damned.

This is what Anguilla does to you. It prompts you to release. Just be. I whole-heartedly adopted this attitude.

Lobster

One afternoon, my group and I aimed to have lunch at Scilly Cay, a miniscule island — we’re talking a shack and a couple palm trees, here — located within sight of Festival del Mar. To get there, guidebooks say to walk down to the end of the dock and wave your arms in the air “like an idiot” (that’s literally in the guidebook) in the general direction of the island. We did as told. Eventually, a small blue-and-white motorboat roared up and locals and tourists crowded in. At Scilly Cay, we ordered grilled chicken, more lobster, more snapper, pasta salad, garlic bread and yes, more rum punch.

Zemi Spa

There are fancier ways to “lime” while in Anguilla, too.

I spent the duration of my stay at the Sheriva Villa Accommodations, a collection of luxury houses that featured up to eight bedrooms each. When checking in, I found that my room is not a bedroom but a suite, complete with a king bed that overlooks the ocean, a kitchenette, a Jacuzzi tub and a shower that had several spouts (umm, even one that’s derriere high — what’s that all about?). In the morning, I practiced yoga on both (yes, there were two) private balconies.

If you really want to splurge, stay at the newly built Zemi Beach House, a gorgeous resort with 63 rooms and one of the most impressive open-air spas I’ve ever seen. Have lunch or dinner at Zemi’s 20 Knots restaurant, which dishes out freshly caught seafood served in a style I’ll describe as “sophisticated casual.” Think yellowfin tuna ceviche served with potato salad, and grilled corn mixed with feta and fresh herbs. The restaurant overlooks the award-winning Shoal Bay East, a beach praised by top travel magazines for its powdered-sugar sand, diminutive waves and textbook turquoise water. It’s impressive, to say the least.

Fancy accommodations and delicious meals are great, but most Caribbean islands have beautiful beaches and hotels and good food.

Anguilla is different because it makes space. The country gives you time to think.

It motivates you to sit at dusk and notice how you can see increasingly more stars at every passing moment. It gives you time to stand for an hour, as I did one day, looking at the ocean crash upon jagged rocks and unpack thoughts usually masked by work or errands or relationships. In Anguilla, I dove into the chasms of my own mind and thought about the person I wanted to be, not the person I’ve been told I should be.

Don’t visit Anguilla if you want to hike or run or mountain bike or rock climb. And don’t visit this island to read, either. Put down the book. Turn off your cell phone.

Instead, go down to the shore and stare into the brilliant blue-green sea. You’ll find your answers there.

TheExpeditioner

Stay

If traveling in a group . . .
Sheriva Villa Accomodations
Villasatsheriva.com

If you’re a foodie fanatic . . .
CuisineArt Gold Resort & Spa
Cuisinartresort.com

If you’re looking for some serious R&R . . .
Zemi Beach House Resort & Spa
Zemibeach.com

Eat

For masterfully prepared Japanese food…
Toyko Bay
Cuisinartresort.com/Tokyo-Bay

For upscale fare with a beach-chic vibe…
Blanchards Restaurant
Blanchardsrestaurant.com

For authentic Anguillian brunch…
Tasty’s Restaurant
Tastysrestaurant.com

For French-Thai-Japanese fusion with a mind-blowing view…
Hibernia Restaurant & Art Gallery
Hiberniarestaurant.com

TheExpeditioner

About the Author

By Jenna Blumenfeld / Jenna Blumenfeld Twitter

Jenna Blumenfeld is a Boulder, Colorado-based writer and editor with a knack for creative and captivating storytelling. A deadline-driven wordsmith, she mostly covers food, travel, and outdoor sports. When not writing, Jenna can be found skiing, rock climbing or road cycling. Check out her work at JennaBlumenfeld.com.

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