My 30th Anniversary Vacation

The Big Piton

the big Piton

Susie and I married over the Memorial Day weekend in 1983. We did that so we would always have a long weekend to celebrate our anniversary. As the years went by, we began extending that long weekend by a day, then two, until now it’s almost always a full week. We were forced to extend because our tradidtion was to select a city within driving distance and to go there and hang out. After years living in Indianapolis, we began to run out of places we could drive to for a 3 day weekend. Now we generally fly to our anniversary destination. This year we flew to St. Lucia, where we stayed in the Calabash Mountain Villa.
The resort is owned by Julian and Sandra Emmanuel, who live part of the year in Indianapolis. The place has only 8 guest rooms, each with a private balcony that overlooks the lush rain forest of St. Lucia. It’s a scary ride up to the resort on roads that most of us in the US would feel to be unsafe for vehicular traffic. Add to that the left-side driving from the Brittish occupation of the island, and it’s an experience for which you’d rather have someone else do the driving. In fact, most of the roads on St. Lucia fit into this category.
We were lucky enough to have a very experienced driver in the person of Daron. He was our combination innkeeper, cook, valet, concierge, and tour guide. It turns out we were the only guests at the Villa as the rainy season began, so we got his almost undivided attention. Daron presented us with local foods that we could not have experienced at a typical resort. He also made sure we go to eat in places where the food was equally authentic, even going out of his way to organize a special dinner for us at a competing resort because of the great view and delicious food.
We got to tour the local rum distillery and visit a botanical garden filled with the incredible variety of plants, trees, and flowers. We also toured the live volcano and heard about its history including the last erruption in 1766. At the base of the volcano we did mud baths with a bunch of other tourists. I must admit I’d be willing to do that again. It was fun and my skin felt so good. I teased for the rest of that week that if it hadn’t been for the mud bath taking 10 years off, I’d be unable to keep up with Susie.
Most mornings I got up and went for a run in the area. The roads were even rough for that. The locals stared at me as if I was completely out of my mind. It became a game to see how many would laugh at me before I went by. I’m sure they all laughed after I went by. There are no flat roads, and being from central Indiana, I know the name of every hill that I might run up so this was a different experience. Running in the area is my way of getting to feel like I’m a part of the area. It’s one of the first things I do when arriving in a new place. The roads and the hills made this a bigger challenge for me than usual. My Thursday morning run was more like a hike than a run because the route I took was more like a cross country course than a public road.
Susie and I had a great time. Our hosts at the Calabash Mountain Villa welcomed us. Daron introduced us to the real St. Lucia. We got the chance to escape and reconnect so we’ll be strong for another 30 years.


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