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

Subscribe to our feeds or follow us on the social network of your choice!
Facebook.com/MyIslandArt
Twitter.com/MyIslandArtJeff
Youtube.com/MyIslandArt
Pinterest.com/MyIslandArt
Instagram.com/MyIslandArt

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

Subscribe to our feeds or follow us on the social network of your choice!
Facebook.com/MyIslandArt
Twitter.com/MyIslandArtJeff
Youtube.com/MyIslandArt
Pinterest.com/MyIslandArt
Instagram.com/MyIslandArt

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…
[rule]
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.
[rule_top]

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

Subscribe to our feeds or follow us on the social network of your choice!
Facebook.com/MyIslandArt
Twitter.com/MyIslandArtJeff
Youtube.com/MyIslandArt
Pinterest.com/MyIslandArt
Instagram.com/MyIslandArt

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!

Blog 5

 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

Subscribe to our feeds or follow us on the social network of your choice!
Facebook.com/MyIslandArt
Twitter.com/MyIslandArtJeff
Youtube.com/MyIslandArt

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.
[rule]

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.

 

 

 

 

[rule]

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

[rule]

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.

[rule]

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!

[rule]

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

Subscribe to our feeds or follow us on the social network of your choice!
Facebook.com/MyIslandArt
Twitter.com/MyIslandArtJeff
Youtube.com/MyIslandArt

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

Subscribe to our feeds or follow us on the social network of your choice!
Facebook.com/MyIslandArt
Twitter.com/MyIslandArtJeff
Youtube.com/MyIslandArt

2013 Photo Contest Winners

The votes are cast, and the ballots have been counted, in the 2013 Warm Faces, Warm Places Photo Contest!

What was a close contest for a number of days, turned into a landslide win, and an unforeseen display of sportsmanship.  For a good part of the contest, two entries went head to head as voters weighed in on one of two images leading the pack.  We then received word from Sandra Nall that she was going to be taking her focus off the contest, and would be unable to continue recruiting votes.

Sandra learned that her husband had a serious health concern that would require her immediate attention.  We can all understand that her focus and her priorities surely should have been on her loved one.

When her closest competitor, Andrea Gerhoff, learned of Sandra’s concerns, she immediately sent a message to us through our Facebook page, making a very unusual request.

Andrea, by now leading and with a comfortable margin, asked that we take all her votes, and re-assign them to Sandra, thereby forfeiting the win.  Andrea reasoned “This contest is just for fun, and I would really like to know that someone going through a rough time could benefit from it, as maybe it would help cheer her up in this time of need.”

We couldn’t agree more Andrea!  Our fans truly are the best! Thank you Andrea for your genuine spirit of kindness. For our part, My Island Art will be awarding prizes to both ladies. If you haven’t already done so, please drop a line here or on our Facebook Page to let Andrea know how much we appreciate her kindness, and be sure to lift up Sandra and her family in prayers. I know they are appreciated.

Here are the winning images:

Image No. 1, Andrea Gerhoff, Islamorado, Florida Keys
Image No. 1, Andrea Gerhoff, Islamorado, Florida Keys
Image No. 5, Sandra Nall, Fanning Island
Image No. 5, Sandra Nall, Fanning Island

Thanks to everyone who participated, and thanks to Andrea for the true spirit of friendly competition!  Keep watching our blog and our facebook page for more contests in the future

Live the Life,
JVbytheSea

Subscribe to our feeds or follow us on the social network of your choice!
Facebook.com/MyIslandArt
Twitter.com/MyIslandArtJeff
Youtube.com/MyIslandArt

2013 Photo Contest Finalists

We have our Finalists in the Warm Faces, Warm Places Photo Contest!

We always look forward to this contest, as we get to see some beautiful images, of some of the Caribbeans finest beaches.  This year was no exception, and it certainly made for a tough challenge to pare the entries down to a manageable list of 5 finalists.  But we have succeeded!

But we have made our best effort, and we offer below our Top 5!  To get to the Grand Prize winner we now need your involvement.  Simply Vote for your favorite picture by leaving a comment below with the # of the picture you are voting for, or you can vote on our Facebook Page by “liking” the photo you want to win.

The photo with the most Facebook “Likes” and blog votes by midnight (EST) on 12/25/11, will win a custom Island Art Jewelry Box with the winning image!!

Good luck to all of our finalists!  Now get to work, and get those votes coming…

Image No. 1, Andrea Gerhoff, Islamorado, Florida Keys
Image No. 1, Andrea Gerhoff, Islamorado, Florida Keys
Image No. 2, Christina Saull, St. Lawrence Gap, Barbados
Image No. 2, Christina Saull, St. Lawrence Gap, Barbados
Image No. 3, Tina Simons, Plancencia, Belize
Image No. 3, Tina Simons, Plancencia, Belize
Image No. 4, Tom Pelton
Image No. 4, Tom Pelton
Image No. 5, Sandra Nall, Fanning Island
Image No. 5, Sandra Nall, Fanning Island

Voting ends at midnight on March 25.  So all finalists, get recruiting!  It’s in your hands now!

Live the Life,
JVbytheSea

Subscribe to our feeds or follow us on the social network of your choice!
Facebook.com/MyIslandArt
Twitter.com/MyIslandArtJeff
Youtube.com/MyIslandArt

Warm Faces, Warm Places Contest #2

Its time to revisit one of our most popular contests to date.  As you know we love beaches.  And if we can’t be at the beach, we love seeing warm tropical images.  It helps us to dream a bit, and we love to plan for future trips.  As the weather in our home port has turned a “Whiter Shade of Pale”, we’re ready for a little something to help warm our frosty little flip flop toes.  So, we’re kicking off the 2nd WARM FACES, WARM PLACES contest to reward all our great fans for following along with our island escapades.

Starting today, we’re asking you to send us your best island or beach scene photographs.  The rules are simple, send us your best photograph via FB post, tweet, or email, shoot you can even send it via carrier pigeon if you want.  Just get it here by the end of the day Thursday March 14.   And please, it must be your own photographic work.  We’re trusting you on this one!   We will then select our 5 favorite images and post them on our FB page & our blog.  The winner will be chosen by fan voting of the top 5 images submitted! The image that earns the most likes and comments will win a custom Island Art Keepsake Box featuring their winning photograph!!!

Past Contest Winner
Past Contest Winner

So, here’s everything you need to know!

1.  Send your favorite, best, most memorable beach picture you have to us via,

  • Facebook – post your picture to our Facebook page
  • Twitter – Tweet your beach scenes to @MyIslandArtJeff
  • Email your pic to info@myislandart.com

2.  Then check our Facebook page & blog on March 15th to see if your picture made the finals.

3.  If your picture made the top 5, send all your family and friends to our Facebook page to like or comment on your picture to gain votes.

4.  Lastly, check our Facebook page and our blog on March 26th to see if you won!!

The Winner will receive a custom Island Art Jewelry Box valued at over $45!!

So start digging through your pictures, or get the camera out and get busy.  Send in those pictures of your favorite Warm Faces and Warm Places.   We can’t wait to see all the beautiful places you’ve been.

Good luck and think warm!!

Live the Life,
JVbytheSea

Subscribe to our feeds or follow us on the social network of your choice!
Subscribe to My Island Art Lime Time Blog
Facebook.com/MyIslandArt
Twitter.com/MyIslandArtJeff
Youtube.com/MyIslandArt

Island Encounters … On St. Thomas

Our sales staff recently concluded a tour of St. Martin and St. Thomas, and are now enjoying the lush interior of Belize.  As first time visitors to St. Thomas, every day brought new and exciting experiences.  Here is a blog written to describe the coolest experience they had during our 11 days in the Islands.  I thought I’d share it and let you read about a truly memorable evening!

My husband and I were filled with anticipation as we parked our rental car,  gathered our bags, and quickly headed towards what has been voted one of the top 10 most beautiful beaches in the world, Magens Bay.

Magens Bay Beach from Mountain Top

It was around 4pm, and many of the sun worshipers had already gone home for the day.  We were focused ahead on the amazingly calm turquoise water as we walked to the white sand, but something caught both our attention as we passed by.

An elderly couple, dressed more for church than for the beach, were gently unfolding an elegant burgundy table cloth to cover the weather-worn picnic table.  A wicker picnic basket sat on the bench, waiting to be unpacked.  No children in sight – just the two of them setting a scene that was curious to us. Were they selling something? Were they getting ready for a social gathering and soon be joined by others? Just fleeting thoughts in our heads as we approached the beach.

After a short time of wading out into the pristine sea, we returned to the sand, took a seat on a bench, and marveled together at this natural wonder. God had really outdone himself!

Then we saw him walking towards us, this well dressed gentleman whom we had passed. “My wife sent me to invite you to join us at our table for some wine and cheese” he said, smiling and motioned towards the shaded scene from a classic movie.

“Really?” I responded, surprised by his boldness.  “How can we refuse an offer like that!” came my husband’s response, as we followed him and took a seat on each side of the bench.  He introduced himself and his lovely wife, explaining that they were locals who returned to this same table at 4pm, every Wednesday,

St. Thomas ambassadors and romantic fools!

to enjoy the scenery and celebrate life together.  Cloth napkins and crystal wine glasses were set before us, along with soft Havarti cheese and a bowl of fresh fruit.  I couldn’t help but notice that they just happened to have four glasses.

For over an hour we bonded with our new friends, hearing intriguing stories about their life on the island, and sharing some of our own.  Sometime during that conversation we both realized the gift we were experiencing: genuine hospitality at it’s finest.  We left with full hearts and blissful memories.  Not because of the breathtaking world-renowned beach, but because of two fascinating people who intentionally impacted our lives and left us forever changed.

Magens Bay Sunset

Thanks to T-Lynn for an awesome story.  That my friends, is island living at its best!

Live the Life,
JVbytheSea

Subscribe to our feeds or follow us on the social network of your choice!
Subscribe to My Island Art Lime Time Blog
Facebook.com/MyIslandArt
Twitter.com/MyIslandArtJeff
Youtube.com/MyIslandArt