For the last several years my husband and I have taken a vacation before the busy holiday season starts in my retail job. The timing is such that we hit the end of the hurricane season which means it is the S-L-O-W season for the tropical islands. For example, we just got back from a week at the Divi resort in St. Croix, a hotel that boasts 200 plus rooms and we were 2 of the 12 guests that were there for one of the days of our trip. (I think at the end of the week the guest count may have hit about 20.) We love being there when it’s slow, it means lots of special attention from the hotel staff.
We usually rent a car because we love to drive around and explore the beaches and restaurants on the island; this vacation we rented a really cool jeep. There was so much to see on the island. We travelled to the east side and visited Port Udall which is the most eastern point of the United States and a great place to watch the sunrise. We heard about a rainforest on the northwest part of the island so we decided to visit there. Wowza! Suddenly there is an incredible rain forest right in the midst of all the sand and sun. But for me, my favorite part of the island was the west side with it’s gorgeous sunsets and rugged coastline.
Another way we like to explore is through scuba diving, and the diving here was exceptional. The water temperature was 86 degrees and the marine life was robust and healthy. We saw turtles, eel, and even a few sharks. The experience was made even more enjoyable by the company we kept: we dove with an incredible mother daughter team, April and Erin from California who were fun and very knowledgable. Those two paired with Michele and Michelle from Dive Experience made for an unusual group on our dive boat – almost all women! For those of you who dive you know this is very much a male dominated hobby, I have to say my husband also enjoyed being around all of us ladies too!
A week away from work and family responsibility also means lots of time for me to read. This trip I tackled the following 4 books:
- “A Man Called Ove” by Fredrik Backman. Many people recommended this to me, most importantly my Auntie Terry who is a voracious reader. This is a sweet book about a grumpy old man with a soft inner core which for some reason I have a soft spot for books with this type of character. I am glad I read it and I do recommend reading it, however I will say it dragged on a little too much in the middle for me. It will probably become a movie, so if you don’t have the same soft spot for grumpy old guys you can just wait for the big screen version to come out.
- “Miss Peregrines Home for Peculiar Children” by Ranson Riggs. This one already IS a movie. It’s about a boy who is very close to his grandfather. After his grandfather dies he sets out on a mission to learn more about his grandfathers tall tales of his childhood on a deserted island. It has great photos, many “peculiar” characters and reminded me of Harry Potter. It’s not my usual genre but I’m glad my book club picked it.
- “Beautiful Ruins” by Jess Walter. It’s about an American actress in the ’60’s who is sent to a small Italian village because she is pregnant. It flashes between that time and the current day Hollywood crowd and is a great little beach book.
- “Everything I Never Told You” by Celeste Ng. This one was recommended to me by my friend Stephanie and also has been getting a lot of buzz. It’s about a young Chinese American girl who mysteriously dies. It’s heart wrenching and dives deep into family relationships. I liked it but it also left me a little bit sad.
So I’m back home ready to hit the holiday in my retail job and take on my family responsibilities because I am refreshed from my wonderful visit to St. Croix.