When Dave and I got married we decided that every year on our anniversary we were going to go away - not always somewhere exotic, but away. Who knows what our next years will bring, but for our first anniversary we were able to sneak away to Ocho Rios, Jamaica.
We invited everyone from our wedding group to come with us....honestly as much as we love spending alone time together we think it's way more fun to have our family and closest friends with us!
We didn't take very many photos this trip....we were way too distracted by the beautiful beach to bring our cameras, and the GoPro was (mostly) busy in making a video!
Thankfully at least a couple of us had phones out and grabbed some quick shots during the fun.
I don't think anything could ever top our wedding trip....it was literally the best time of my life....but our first anniversary was certainly a great tribute to an amazing time.
On our actual anniversary we went on a catamaran party-boat cruise to Dunn's River Falls and snorkeling on a reef. Aside from seeing ridiculously ginormous banana spiders we had a great time. I can't lie, the spiders were terrifying. I definitely sprinted past them to get back to the boat.
Jamaica is gorgeous...and Jamaica is a reality check for Americans. The resorts are like resorts in every tropical place:
3. Nowhere near what actual life on the island is like.
Driving from the airport to the resort was an experience in itself, and as usually happens when we travel we were reminded how good it is to be an American...regardless of the issues our country is facing.
Okay - enough serious stuff...back to the photos and fun of the trip!
If you have the opportunity to stay at a Sandals Resort I would DEFINITELY recommend going on the party cruise! The crew is amazing, and the boat is fantastic.
Sandals Ochi Beach - Around the Resort
The resort was beautiful. Nowhere near as amazing as where we got married (Secrets Silversands, Riviera Maya, Mexico), but still gorgeous. The beach, however, was MUCH more impressive than Mexico.
The reason we didn't have too many photos from our trip is right here....we decided to make a video instead!
We were lazy today....we slept right through our alarms (the whole house!) and missed church, so instead we headed over to the Isle of Palms for brunch at Acme Lowcountry Kitchen.
Brunch is our favorite and I've gotta be honest, we're pretty picky. When you've been spoiled by the likes of Hominy Grill and Brewsters a "good" brunch spot isn't exactly easy to come by. Thankfully Acme Lowcountry Kitchen scored high in our books....we'll go back for sure!
They told us we'd have a 30 - 40 minute wait, but it actually only took about 10 minutes until they called our table! I ordered a Rockefeller Benedict (fried oysters over biscuits with spinach and hollandaise sauce) and everyone else had chicken and biscuits with sausage gravy. Needless to say we felt like we needed a nap afterwards...so we walked on the beach instead!
Of course it wouldn't be an outing for our family unless we're all being ridiculous...so we goofed. :-)
It was amazing out. Seriously. 75 and sunny with a breeze, I can't believe we live here.
Welcome to the amazing Isle of Palms. The sand is gorgeous and the dunes are perfect.
Megan took the camera from me for a minute and grabbed a few photos of me and Elysia, but of course Dave decided to photobomb us. "Warning", we can't ever have a real photo.
So we kicked around in the sand for awhile. Don't worry, Megan did her famous handstand.
Honestly we don't need much to keep us occupied - we just need an excuse to be silly!
Megan is our little yogi, she practices all the time. I've tried but I don't have the patience...yet. We (the sisters) love to commemorate any adventure anywhere with a good old fashioned jumping photo, so Dave took over the camera and got a decent-ish one.
Trust me, we took about twelve of these, but honestly this was the best option we got.
Happy Sunny Sunshine day, ya'll. We're loving South Carolina!
After this cruise paradise in our minds is spelled: T - O - R - T - O - L - A
Seriously. Our ship docked around 6, and was only in port until noon. We were pretty bummed that our very last island visit was going to be so short (we were able to get off the ship at 7) so were definitely determined to get the most out of the day.
We were some of the first off the ship and to the taxis waiting to bring us to the beaches, it wasn't even fully light out. There was a cab "Madame" (she was probably just the dispatcher, but she was totally in charge) who said the best beach for us to see was called "Brewer's Bay". Since we were the only ship in port she said it would be pretty quiet.
Quiet - or completely empty! The sun hadn't even come all the way up on this side of the island, so the roosters (FYI - Tortola has about 100 million chickens....prepare yourselves) were crowing like crazy....for like an hour.
We just hung out on the beach and read until the sun came up fully, Talk about relaxation.
We brought our snorkel stuff (sans flippers) with us because the cab Madame said there was actually a pretty reef in Brewer's Bay, so as soon as it was sunny enough we donned our stylish masks and hit the fish finding.
Elysia was stuck on the beach, because for some reason she decided she didn't want to bring her snorkel gear. :-P She will never live this mistake down.
The water was amazing. Perfect temperature, perfect current (aka, none) a gorgeous reef, and TONS of super cool fish.
The water around the reef wasn't very deep, maybe 10 feet at the deepest point (where we were at least) so we had to be really careful not to hit our legs on the rocks, or the coral.
Can you even believe these photos!? Thank God we bought the GoPro (seriously, best purchase of our lives) and thank God we listened to the cab Madame and went to Brewer's Bay! It stayed nearly completely empty the entire time we were there.
I gave my snorkel gear to Elysia for awhile so she could see the amazing-ness of the reef too. I got to spend a little time finishing my book (I was reading Hollow City, by Ransom Riggs) and lay in the sun. No complaints!
I'll go ahead and apologize for the number of photos already - we had SO many amazing shots from Tortola I can't cut them down as much as I maybe should...so I hope you enjoy!
Of course Megan started doing handstands.....I would be worried about her health if she didn't! :) We couldn't hold back the goofy at this point.
We only got to enjoy the beach until about 10:45, because we didn't want to miss the ship's departure! Our biggest concern on every island was missing the ship (we were never even close) so we probably cut our beach time shorter than we needed to, but better safe than sorry.
Our morning cab driver sent his brother back to pick us (and four other people) up again right around 11. The best part of Tortola is definitely the beach - the worst part - the roads. OH MY GOODNESS....talk about horrifying.
Our driver was gracious enough to stop and let us take a picture of the cruise terminal bay before heading down the (insanely steep and horrifying) road, but I'm actually pretty sure he just stopped to let the engine cool down.
We made it safely back to the cruise terminal (thank God) and got to hear an amazing Caribbean band playing in the new area they're building. (FYI - the Tortola cruise terminal is currently [as of October 2015] under construction - but it's shaping up to be an amazing port). I don't even hesitate for a second to say that Tortola was our favorite.
Bye bye, Tortola! We loved visiting!
Island #3 of our cruise was the beautiful St. Maarten. We ate breakfast on the back deck of the ship so we could watch the island pass as we pulled up to the dock.
We made sure that we were ready (as usual) to get off the ship as soon as it docked and was cleared by customs. Our only plan for St. Maarten was to find a beach and relax in the sun!
We found a cab in about five seconds, and they took us to the closest nicest beach in the area (we didn't want to drive for more than 30 minutes). Unfortunately I don't remember the name of the beach - that's what happens when I'm lazy about blogging!
The beach we ended up at was super cute - the water was beautiful and it was nearly private! There was a "resort" (kinda...it was tiny) on the beach, and a couple of restaurants and shops so if we'd wanted lunch or drinks we would have been all set.
The sky in one direction of us was beautiful - but to the other direction (as was usual at EVERY island we visited) there were crazy dark clouds!
We weren't worried about potential rain - every vacation we've taken has had threatening skies - but we always pray for beautiful weather, and that's what we always end up with!
We tried snorkeling around the beach, but the water was a little silty because there were quite a few waves, plus it was all just sand so we didn't really see many fish.
Clearly we are still learning to use our GoPro....
On the way back to the boat we obviously had to be tourists....so we posed in front of the St. Maarten sign!
Sailing out was gorgeous - we saw a rainbow (we actually saw one almost every island!) and the ocean was perfectly calm. Perfection.
Until next time, St. Maarten!
Dreamer, decorator, wife, business owner, personal fitness trainer. 20-something.