After settling in, grabbing a little lunch and then touring the property, it was time to head to the beach for the welcome reception. There were drinks, great food, and even a band playing. It was fun to see the few co-workers who I knew, and also to have a chance to meet some of the ones from the field who I rarely get to see. But Sunday also meant football play-offs, and those of us from the Texas team ended up migrating to a tent set up closer to the hotel that had the games on a TV. We drank beer and watched football, with the sound of the waves in the background and sand beneath our toes. Not a shabby night, I tell you!
Monday started with our mandatory business meeting, which ended with a Ray-Ban rep handing out pairs of glasses. Awesome! We then settled by the Reflection pool (one of 3 pools on the property) for a few hours of relaxation. I scheduled a body scrub at the spa for later in the day, so I eventually had to go inside to clean up for that. I wanted to try a treatment that I had never done before, and that sounded like a great way to get the dead, flaky, winter skin off my body. The spa area was nothing short of amazing- and I could have stayed there for hours. There were two small "pools"- a waterfall pool and a dipping pond. They were both small, but so relaxing.
|A girl could get used to this!|
|Lunch by the pool was served in these adorable bento boxes.|
|Entrance to the spa|
After my spa visit, we met up with friends to walk around the corner to Lime Beach Bar for dinner. The Four Seasons is nice, but as you can imagine- the food was very pricey, and not as good (or creative) as we were expecting. But lucky for us, there was a string of beach bars just a 10 minute walk down the beach, with fresh lobster and fish for only $20 a plate. The pace of life on the island is a slow one, so we were prepared for a long evening and made the most of it with familiar and new friends. Hank ordered lobster, I ordered shrimp, and everything was wonderful! After dinner, we made our way over to Sunshine's Bar, where the Killer Bee drink was made famous (so we were told). This drink is made with some kind-of moonshine rum, fresh fruit juice, and topped with bitters and fresh grated nutmeg. More than one is guaranteed to mess you up, big time! But it is oh so delicious, and definitely worth trying.
|Lime Beach Bar|
|Sign at Sunshine's Bar|
|With my field counterpart Natasha and her husband B-rock (his nickname for the trip).|
Tuesday morning rolled around a little too early, as we had signed up to do a kayaking excursion that started at 9. We took a cab a few miles away from the hotel and met our tour guide Greg. He was great and made sure that we were all set up and ready to go. We kayaked for 3 miles back to the hotel, stopping twice to snorkel and have a little picnic. It was so fun seeing Nevis up close from the water. It was not an easy excursion at times, but we really enjoyed it. Back at the hotel, we changed and got lucky by snagging one of the beach side private cabanas. Apple had rented these out for 3 days, and I was so glad we got to spend a few hours in one. After being out in the sun for ours, I needed to be in the shade. These were like fancy little huts, with a sitting area, TV and small fridge inside, and lounge chairs under the covered area. We also had a girl waiting on us, and quickly ordered lunch and drinks. We only got to enjoy it for a few hours since we had to get ready for our second Apple hosted event, but it was a great afternoon!
|View of the cabana from the beach.|
|View of the ocean from the cabana porch.|
After a brief cocktail party, the whole group (there were about 130 of us) boarded buses to head to Garden Rock Inn, an old sugar mill plantation turned nature preserve and boutique hotel. It was breathtakingly beautiful! The grounds were meticulously kept, and many of the old buildings had been repurposed into a restaurant, pool bar, etc. They also turned the old sugar mill into a 2-story room. We were greeted with drinks and appetizers, and had plenty of time to walk around exploring all the trails. Dinner was served next to a multi-level pond area, and this ended up being one of my favorite meals. Very fresh, lots of variety (they served a ton of vegetarian options) and even served a delicious cheese and fruit plate before dessert. It was heavenly. There was a great DJ and plenty of dancing after dinner. We were tired from our morning excursion, but made our way onto the dance floor a few times.
|Ready to head to dinner.|
|Standing at the roots of an amazingly large tree.|
|View of the Sugar Mill-turned-guest room.|
|Inside the Sugar Mill.|
|Such beautiful scenery.|
(Picture courtesy of my friend Amanda who takes WAY better pictures than I do).
|An eating area surrounded by lush gardens.|
Part II of the trip coming right up.....