A New Way To Travel

I have come to discover that there exists two rather distinct classes of people. The “Haves”, and the “Have Nots”. There are those who fly by the seat of their pants, who sort of go through life in a constant laissez faire state of mind, we’ll call them the “Haves”. And then there are those who obsess over every minute detail, creating a paul that hovers over them like Pig Pen’s ever-present cloud. We’ll call them the “Have Nots”. I confess, rather unwittingly, to being the latter.

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To me, deadlines are a mandate. Meeting schedules, work appointments, even social events, have a stated commencement date and time. A time that is not as much a time for targeting arrival, but rather a time wherein you should abjectly have been in your appointed position, 30 minutes prior to said commencement. This is not the time set for establishing an on-time arrival, but more so the beginning of the period establishing tardiness.

As an example then, workers starting their day at 8AM, should be in their ready position by, say 7:30. Making adequate provisions for traffic, the unplanned flat, or the long line at the coffee shop. Mind you, this is my take. The position of the Have Nots. Many others out there, the Haves, find that walking through the door at 8, constitutes an on time arrival. Somehow there is no consideration of the time required to get to their desk, drop off the jacket, say hello to Jane at the next cube, etc., etc., etc.

But I admit there exists this other side to the coin, and as I have observed them, I find that these are the travelers I envy. The Haves saunter to the ticketing kiosk to obtain their boarding pass, completely at ease, seemingly unaware they have only minutes to spare. They don’t own a watch, and wouldn’t understand it’s purpose anyway. The Have Nots rush to be the first to board, pacing as other zones ahead of them get the nod to proceed. The Haves instead head off for coffee as Final Boarding call is announced. They live a life free of stress, totally enjoying each breath and the life it brings them. They are my example I desire to be.Departure Lounge

A recent trip to the Caribbean had gone on unscheduled for far too long. Uncertainty on several fronts left us waiting far too long to pull the travel trigger. Tickets that were normally booked many months in advance, were eventually purchased well under the advantageous 21-day window. While it did have a noticeable impact on the wallet, I survived nonetheless.

But never has there been a Have Not traveler, less prepared for the actual day of departure. My bags were packed in less than 30 minutes of elapsed time, and not until approaching midnight of the night before. Parts of which were not actually completed until shortly before heading to the airport. Products we were to take along to an awaiting client were not assembled until the morning of departure, and one connecting flight was even booked while sitting in the Departure Lounge of our initial flight.

I have learned that deep cleansing breaths help, and calling on the name of a higher power can have a calming effect too! This Have Not is seeing the value of a life less fettered. Soaring at 30,000 feet, and winding my way toward a tropical destination, I found myself wondering. Can a Have Not actually become converted?

I am making it my objective to travel this trip as a Have! To roll with the flow, to bob and weave with the trade winds of non-conformity. Waking at the break of noon, showing up for breakfast as they are beginning to shut off service, and to to consider dinner options only as I am driving Restaurant Row. Is it possible? Can a Have Not change his stripes. I am unsure at this writing. But I declare a desire to learn how the other half lives. So tell us, how do you roll, are you a Have, or a Have Not?  As for me… Serenity now!

Live the Lifestyle,
JVbytheSea

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Never Judge A Book… You Haven’t Read

Having dipped our toes in the shores of several different Caribbean islands, I began to feel that I was really developing my sea legs.  At least I thought that I had.  For many years now, much of my spare time is often spent exploring the www, and traveling, albeit virtually, to a new and different island with only the click of a mouse.

I often pour over brochures, blogs, and websites, developing a sense of each islands unique characteristics.  One island excels as an eco-tourism destination, another as a sport and active travel hot spot, and yet others may be noted for shopping or dining.  Happy is the traveler that finds a destination that matches their personality and objectives.  Destitute is the traveler that avoids a destination, simply because of its perceived shortcomings.  Especially when the perceptions are misplaced.  Such was the case on my own personal assumptions about St. Thomas, USVI.

I had delayed a St. Thomas visit for some time, thinking it held no appeal to me.  An over-crowded cruise ship destination, filled with neon lights and fast-food chains.  At least that was my perception.  We decided to target St. Thomas, a couple years ago as we continued to investigate more and more of the diversity the Caribbean has to offer.  I am happy to report that my assumptions were sadly misplaced, and that St. Thomas in the USVI has much to offer even the well traveled island hopper.

We did indeed find bright colorful lights, but the view of the Charlotte Amalie Harbour from Bluebeard’s Castle left us begging for more.

The Marina at Charlotte Amallie
The Marina at Charlotte Amallie

The bright lights of the harbor however held little in comparison to the natural beauty to be found at every turn.  The island was literally covered with brilliantly colored flamboyants.

Magnificant Flamboyants Decorate the Island
Magnificant Flamboyants Decorate the Island

Shopping was easy to find, but we opted to stray a bit off the waterfront.  In doing so we found simple pleasures like these quirky bar stools at Mountain Top.

Bar Stools at Mountain Top
Bar Stools at Mountain Top

And lest you think you can’t find a nice meal in a quiet corner of the island, this is Romance with a capital “R”!

Water Side Dining, Secrete Harbour
Water Side Dining, Secret Harbour

But to our happy surprise, we found the gem of the island to be very much to our liking.

World Renowned Magen's Bay
World Renowned Magen’s Bay

Take a lesson from this now humbled traveler, and given the chance, indulge yourself in all that St. Thomas has to offer.  It is easy to get to, and is a great stepping off base for other nearby islands.  The island has more than enough to offer in dining, shopping, or just beachin it!  And never, ever, judge a book… without reading it!

Live the Lifestyle,
JVbytheSea

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Our Blue Lagoon

St. John is a unique Caribbean experience.   Given that 2/3 of this Caribbean island is reserved as a National Park, there is no other island we have found quite like it.  No mega-development here.  No concrete high-rise timeshares, no fast-food, no traffic snarls.  Nothing but pure, unadulterated natural beauty.  And if you can get there, Little Lameshure Bay is a noteworthy stop on your visit to St. John.

Recently we headed out from Cruz Bay, determined to find all of the must-see destinations on this beautiful island. We had hit the bus stop destinations of Trunk Bay,  Cinnamon Bay, and Waterlemon Bay in our clockwise circumnavigation of the island.  But in the end, we sought to find something a little more obscure.

Coral Bay on St. John's East End
Coral Bay on St. John’s East End

Meandering towards the east end of the island, we eventually turn Southeast, working towards our destination of Lameshure Bay.  Our unfailing guide source told us this would be a great spot, but difficult to get to.  The narrative was fine, as far as it went, but it fell far short of giving fair indication of the conditions ahead.  Let me just put our own little emphatic spin on this.  Do not attempt this route if you are not in a four-wheel-drive, and if you do not have rugged, battle tested kidneys.

Image Credit www.seestjohn.com
Image Credit www.seestjohn.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These little fellows are about the smoothest thing you will find along the trail!

Donkeys along the Trail  -credit Google Earth
Donkeys along the Trail -credit Google Earth

The setting is rather quiet and nondescript, though there were a few sun dappled picnic tables.  The appeal lies in its peaceful solitude.  We spent a couple hours on this quiet hideaway and we’re the only living creatures insight. If you’re looking for a quiet romantic hideaway, consider this as My Island tested, My Island approved.

Little Lameshure Bay Beach, St. John
Little Lameshure Bay Beach, St. John

So if you find yourself in the mood for a little solitude on St. John, grab your partner, pack a couple beach towels and nice picnic lunch, and wind your way around to Little Lameshure Bay Beach.  Drop us a comment, and let us know your favorite Blue Lagoon.  We’ll add it to our growing Beach Bucket List!

Live the Lifestyle,
JVbytheSea

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Top 5 Beaches of the BVI – Rum Therapy

Nothing soothes our island itch quite like time spent talking all things tropical with like-minded, salty souls.  We got just such a scratch this past January when we ran into the good folks from Rum Therapy while attending Surf Expo in Orlando.  Hearing their island tales, and seeing their great images got us thinking about their experiences in the British Virgin Islands.  We recently asked them to share with our followers, their Top BVI Beach destinations.

Five of our Favorite – Not as Well Known – British Virgin Island Beaches
by Pamela and John, Rum Therapy

With sparkling clear blue water, and beautiful white sand, the beaches of the BVI are some of the best in Caribbean. When asked by our friends at My Island Art to write a guest post on 5 of our favorite beaches in this chain of islands, it was tough to whittle it down.

While The Baths of Virgin Gorda, White Bay in Jost Van Dyke and Smuggler’s Cove in Tortola will always remain on our favorites list, we thought we’d try to focus on a few that are not talked about quite as much and may not be as well known, but well worth a visit if spending time in the BVI.

So, in no particular order, here are 5 British Virgin Island beaches that we have really enjoyed spending time on and why.
[rule] 1.       Vixen Point, Prickly Pear Island  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Prickly Pear Island borders the North Sound of Virgin Gorda. It’s located close to Saba Rock and has been designated a BVI National Park – so no additional development should take place.

Why do we like Vixen Point? The only way to get there is by boat, so unless you happen to try and visit during a private event, you’ll likely have much of the beach to yourself. There’s a fun beach bar/restaurant called The Sandbox which serves up tasty rum drinks and there are plenty of lounge chairs. Vixen Point has a long expanse of soft white sand and an excellent view of Virgin Gorda and Saba Rock.
[rule] RT #2 Pomato Point2. Pomato Point, Anegada

Anegada is a low lying island that sits north of Virgin Gorda. It’s highest point is about 28’ above sea level and is nicknamed The Drowned Island. Many of the beaches on Anegada are simply amazing and you’re not likely to encounter a crowd on any of them.
We do we like Pomato Point? When you look at a map of Anegada, you’ll notice Pomato Point on the southwest side. When we first visited Anegada, we started at that point and walked several miles on one of the prettiest beaches we have ever seen – and never encountered another person. We felt like we were on our own little deserted island! As far as we know, there is not actually a beach name for the area north of Pomato Point – we just call it paradise…
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3. Cane Garden Bay, Tortola RT #3 - Cane Garden Bay

If you’re a Jimmy Buffet fan, you’ve no doubt sung along to the lyrics of his song Manana, “I hear it gets better, that’s what they say, as soon as we sail on to Cane Garden Bay.” Cane Garden Bay is located on Tortola’s west side and is a popular anchorage for boaters.

Why do we like Cane Garden Bay? Well, in addition to the calm clear water that is excellent to float and swim in, Cane Garden Bay has some of the best beach bars and live music around – and we REALLY enjoy great beach bars and live music!
[rule] RT #4 - Sandy Spit4. Sandy Spit

Between Tortola and Jost Van Dyke there are two small uninhabited islands called Sandy Cay (the larger of the two) and Sandy Spit.

Why do we like Sandy Spit? Reachable only by boat, this tiny island can be walked in a matter of minutes, but you’ll remember it for a lifetime. Sandy Spit has great snorkeling and swimming when the surf is not rough. Take a picnic and enjoy the view!
[rule] 5. Little Deadman’s Beach, Peter Island RT #5 - Little Deadman's Beach

Peter Island is a private island and home of the gorgeous Peter Island Resort. There are several jawdroppingly beautiful beaches on Peter Island, but some are reserved for resort guests only. One that can be used by visiting boater’s is Little Deadman’s Beach.

Why do we like Little Deadman’s Beach? Well, it’s simply beautiful. Nice expanse of soft sand that drops gently into the beautiful blue water. Great place to swim, kayak and just relax. Take a hike up the hill to get a great view of the rest of Peter and surrounding islands.
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Ready to spend some time in the beautiful British Virgin Islands?  Be sure to check out the Rum Therapy Website and Facebook Page for more fun ideas on where to go, what to do and what to see on your next tropical adventure!  A big thanks to My Island Art for asking us to do a guest post – we’re always ready to talk about the islands!

Pamela and John
Your Rum Therapy “tropication” experts

Well a big MIA shout out to Pamela and John for sharing some insider tips with us!   We now know exactly where to look for a quintessential Caribbean getaway.  Be sure to check out the Rum Therapy site and FB page.  Tell them we sent you over, and give ’em a like.  If you’ve been to the BVIs, post a comment and let us know if these Top 5 match yours.  If you haven’t yet landed in this little slice of heaven, tell us, which one is calling your name?  Until we see you in the islands,

Live the Lifestyle,
JVbytheSea

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Saba – The Unspoiled Queen

Our decision to use St. Maarten as our vacation hub has always been largely based upon its close proximity to neighboring islands.  This geographical arrangement makes for a handy retreat to slightly more remote beaches when on St. Maarten the cruise ships come calling.  But head to an island without beaches?  What could possibly be the allure?  We would soon learn a wonderful lesson in eating crow!

SabaApt
Credit – www.skipharper.com

The Dutch island of Saba, weighing in at a scant 5 sq. mi. of land area, lies just 28 miles SE of St. Maarten.  There are two distinctly different means whereby one can reach this quaint retreat.  Winair offers a short 20 minute flight five times daily, and there are two boating excursions offering 1 hour 20 minute rides aboard competing Vomit Comets.  For obvious reasons, we chose the former rather then the latter.

The flight was quick, and exhilarating.  The approach takes a heading directly towards a rocky face, before suddenly dropping to a smooth landing along an ancient lava flow.  A  breeze through the terminal’s Immigration booth and we were off to explore the highest point within the Kingdom of the Netherlands.[rule]

Mount Scenery, 2,855 ft., and 1,064 steps.  But who’s counting!
saba 2
The climb up Mt. Scenery is a hike well worth its promotion.  A rainforest so dense and arid it brings to mind the tales of Bilbo Baggins in his heroic quest.
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saba 3

We began the morning with a quick breakfast at Scout’s Place, and even found it a welcome reward following our epic climb.
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The island is dotted with scenes that feel a world apart from the beaches and shopping of most Caribbean tourist destinations.

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saba 4

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windwardside
                                                                  Windwardside from Mt. Scenery

Windwardside is a picturesque town that plays well the part of post card and picture puzzle subject.

Be sure to check out the islands celebrated art and gift reputation.  The handcrafts of the ladies of the island is well known, as they still create their own hand made lace.  These pieces each create a beautiful and delicate finish to any table.  One of our favorite stops was the studio of glass artist Jo Bean.  Jo makes stunning hot glass creations unlike anything we had seen before.  The colors were so brilliant and her effusing personality was a perfect punctuation to our day on Saba.

An island without a beach, what could possibly be the attraction?  We found the answer to be its people, its quaint villages, its stunning scenery, its bars and restaurants, its thriving art community…

We encourage you, take the diversion off the beaten path and visit Saba, The Unspoiled Queen of the Caribbean.  But we also encourage you, take the plane, not the Vomit Comet!

Lost in a Lifestyle,
JVbytheSea

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From the Blogosphere – Week in Review 07/17/13

Fresh off a whirlwind six-island tour at the beginning of last month, things are finally starting to settle back into a sense of normalcy.  Yes, we recognize we’ve taken a bit of artistic license with the use of that term!  Nonetheless, we are currently busy working at tweaking a few site issues, chatting with some awesome beach bums through social media, and working to develop some great new products.  And for the next 60 days it’s full speed ahead planning for our maiden voyage to exhibit at Surf Expo.

Today we thought we’d take a step back, and share a few of the postings we found from some of our favorite Island bloggers.
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Soggy Dollar Bar
               Soggy Dollar Bar

Bahama Bob Leonard dropped in to tell us about the Beach Bash held to celebrate the 43rd Anniversary Party at the Soggy Dollar bar on Jost Van Dyke.  If you’ve ever stopped in for one of the infamous Painkillers, you’ll want to read the details of this Day on the Beach!
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Loblolly Bay, Anegada
              Loblolly Bay, Anegada

 

From our friends at Rum Therapy, they say it’s really not that easy to get to Anegada in the British Virgin Islands.  But in this great post, they share some of the great beaches that await.  If you love stunning images of beautiful beaches like we do, check out Loblolly Bay, Anegada.

Pssst, you might also want to check out the revamped site over at RumTherapy.com.  Great job guys!
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Ever wonder what the locals recommend for favorite activities to the friends and family visiting the islands?  Then check out San Pedro Scoop’s Catamaran sailing from Ambergris Caye to Caye Caulker.  One of the better photo essays we’ve seen in a while.
[rule] DONOTSTICK

One of the things we really enjoy about island life, is their more direct manner of speech.  No harm and no offense intended, they simply speak more exactly what they mean.  Political correctness takes a back seat.  Found in St. John, is this stunning example of what I mean.  Find out where it’s located in the story from On St. John.

 

[rule] blanchards-beach-shack-setting-meads-bay-small

Everybody likes free, and this time the opportunity is X2!  Simply sign up for the Anguilla Beach Lovers Newsletter, and you are eligible to win a $200 Blanchards Gift Card.  Run by Bob and Melinda Blanchard, their two popular restaurants, the high-end Blanchard’s Restaurant and the low-key Blanchard’s Beach Shack next door, offer top Anguilla dining experiences.  And if you’re curious about the island transition, check out the story of their move to island life in A Trip To The Beach.

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Be sure to check out our Caribbean blogging friends.  These guys truly help to put us in an island state of mind!  And until next time, get…

Lost in a Lifestyle,
JVbytheSea

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The Caribbean -A Palette of Inspiration

As we have traveled throughout the Caribbean, and met with countless numbers of artists, we often ask where they draw their inspiration from.  Almost unanimously they tell us that they selected this life in the tropics, not only for its enviable climate, but because the calming colors are an inspiration to their artist’s spirit.  We have to say we can certainly see the attraction.

In this issue of our Lost in a Lifestyle Blog, we wanted to give you a glimpse of the color that to be experienced in the Caribbean, virtually at every turn  From scenic overlooks, to pristine beaches, to flora and fauna, take our quick tour of the Colors of the Caribbean!

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 One of our favorite overlooks is this aptly named scene in St. Martin called Paradise View.
It has served as inspiration for several of our featured artists, and can be found on a number of the products in our catalog.

Blog 1Beautiful Trunk Bay in St. John is blooming with natures colors.

Blog 2This sunset palette reveals the greatest artist of them all.

Blog 3Even a trip to market is a vision for the senses.

Blog 4This final view of Shoal Bay East even served as the inspiration for the colors found on our logo when we updated early this year.

You see beauty is in the grand and in the everyday, but there is no denying that the Caribbean is indeed a palette of inspiration.  Share your comments below and tell us, What colors of the Caribbean inspire you?

Lost in a Lifestyle,
JVbytheSea

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From the Blogosphere – Week in Review 042013

After the week that was, we’re definitely needing some time away from the headlines.  We continue to remember those touched by the tragedies in Boston this past week, and pray for healing of both the body and spirit.  Stepping back from the horrific scenes,  here’s a look back at some interesting blog postings we found through the week that was.
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Charles at Big Kahuna took us on a tour of the eco-friendly resort Concordia on the island of St. John.  From the Eco-Tents, to the community aspect, and even the Work Exchange Program, this small resort on the east end of the island appears to have plenty of appeal.  Read more in Big Kahuna’s Eco Friendly.

Big Kahuna - Eco Friendly[rule]

If your thinking of a girls outing for the Ultimate Shopping Trip, check out this post by Pirates Paradise Adventures on the great shopping in St. Thomas.  Heads up guys, this could put a serious dent in the plastic!  Read all about it in this tale of Best Virgin Islands Shopping St. Thomas.

Havensight
The Waiting Game played out at Havensight, St. Thomas
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Do you love Kenny Chesney and  love to party?  If you’re in or around the Dallas area, you chesneymay want to check out the special tailgate package being offered by the gang over at Team Cocktail.  A full day of fun in the sun is scheduled for May 11!  Believe me, these guys give you bang for your tailgating buck.  Get all the deets at Kenny Chesney Ticket & Tailgate.

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Parrot Cay Resort
One more stunning resort is introduced to us by Laura from Caribbean Travel News.  In this update, Laura reports on new additions to the Parrot Cay Resort in the Turks and Caicos.  Designed to make your friends jealous, check out all the images of this beautiful layout in Parrot Cay Resort.

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Be sure to check out our Caribbean blogging friends.  These guys truly help to put us in an island state of mind!  And until next time, go get…

Lost in a Lifestyle,
JVbytheSea

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From the Blogosphere – Week in Review 041313

Slackards!  That’s us, just a bunch of lazy beach bums.  But we’re back again, with a bit of news from the best Caribbean bloggers on the web!  We save you the daily grind, and we’ve done all the heavy lifting for you.  Filtering through the many bloggers we follow, here’s some interesting site postings we found through the past week.
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rum acc
If you’re a foodie, or a spirit aficionado, you’ll want to check out the newest release from Carlton Grooms of Coastlines & Tanlines.  His newest book Rum & Contemporary Cuisine is now available on iTunes.  It’s a cooking show and a cookbook combined into one, and now available for your iPad.

 

 

 

 

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Our friend Patrick from Uncommon Caribbean introduced us to Sandy Point Beach.  The Bennett brothers are always proud to show off their home island of St. Croix, and their home-town pride comes across loud and clear in this Wallpaper Wednesday special.

Sandy-Point-St-Croix1-2048x1280

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Wendy at My Irie Time wrapped up a really great alphabetical survey of all things Caribbean with this final posting in the series, “Z is for Zymurgy”.  We really enjoyed this series.  If you missed it, go to her site and check it out, and follow the Caribbean from A-Z.

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burger

 

And finally, highlighting a Lunch of the Week is this St. John favorite at Skinny Legs!  This Burger of the Day” features smoked bacon, pepper jack cheese and a thick slice of pineapple.  Bon Appetit!

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As always, we encourage you to check out our blogging friends.  Follow along with the ones that pique your interest, and soak up a little bit of the island vibe!  And until next time, go get…

Lost in a Lifestyle,
JVbytheSea

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New To MIA – Old Mango Photography

At My Island Art we are uber excited today to formally announce a new photographer to our fold, and to now make his works available to the great customers at My Island Art.  Many of you know him by his frequent Facebook posts, and his twitter updates, and like us you’ve probably wondered, just how does he do that?  Well we’re not giving away any trade secrets, but we are thrilled to announce, available exclusively to My Island Art, select photo works from

William Torrillo, Old Mango Guide to the Islands!

Devil's Bay, Virgin Gorda
                                      Devil’s Bay, Virgin Gorda, by William Torrillo

We first became introduced to William in the same way that many of you have, by drooling every day at his stunning photographs posted on his Facebook Page Old Mango – Guide to The Islands.  We’ve watched his posts and followed his tweets, and dreamed of one day adding his works to our gallery.

In 2012 while sitting at the Cruzan Beach Club at Secret Harbour, St. Thomas, I noticed a new photo from Old Mango had just been posted to his Facebook Page.  What caught our attention was that the caption revealed that it was just taken only moments before, and at the exact same location we were now sitting.  We quickly spun around trying to locate the identity of the now mysterious photographer.

Salomon Bay, St. John
Salomon Bay, St. John, by William Torrillo
Cinnamon Bay, St. John
Cinnamon Bay, St. John, by William Torrillo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At long last I finally narrowed down the short list of bar patrons, surely it couldn’t be that geriatric woman at a corner booth, and eased up to a table.  “Are you William” I asked.  Meeting William was a real treat for us.  We sat for a brief time as he awaited the arrival of a business partner, and visited about our common love of the islands, and the lifestyle of a Island Boy.  I loved hearing him speak about his love of the islands, and his passion for capturing its beauty.

William has a wonderful eye that captures the true island beauty and warm tranquil settings, each so life-like, that you can almost hear the surf at your feet.  My Island Art is proud to be the exclusive outlet for this set of fine art images.  Our offerings are printed with the lab exclusive Pearl Print process, that highlights the image saturation and lighting captured by the artist.  Each is double-matted, and ready to frame and hang.  Included in our selection are images from Cinnamon Bay, Cruz Bay, and Salomon Bay, St. John; Devil’s Bay Beach, Virgin Gorda; Long Bay Beach in Tortola; and the famous Soggy Dollar Bar on Jost Van Dyke.  See the full collection of this catalog at Old Mango Pearl Photo Prints.

Old Mango Art Cards
If you are a frequent visitor to the Virgin Islands,
or if you just love beautiful island settings, you will want
to add these images to complete your tropical decor.
We also offer a limited number of sets of Photo Art Cards.
These are packets of six (6) cards depicting some of his
most popular images.  These cards are even suitable for framing.
These look awesome in a small grouping!

 

If you’re an Old Mango fan like us, drop us a comment below and let us know how much you appreciate his work.  And let us, Bring the Islands to Your Door!

Live the Life,
JVbytheSea

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