Petanque, The Perfect Beach Sport

Recently, while on the island of Antigua we were joined for the day by friends who had recently set anchor in the bay with their well-traveled sailing yacht.  Sitting on beautiful Pigeon Beach, we felt a passing urge to be somewhat more active, but only slightly more so.  Stuart asked if I wanted to play a game the French frequently use to while away the hours, called Petangue.  Well truthfully it was I who first asked, but it makes for a far better story, and sounds far less foolish on my part, to say that Stuart challenged me.

Now admittedly, the French game of Petanque, is something I know very little about, actually nothing.  But I do have a great deal of the traditional American competitive spirit within, and my blind spot for personal shortcomings aides considerably in my willing spirit.  So with virtually no knowledge of the game, no conceivable talent that may translate well, and literally no practice whatsoever, I proudly accepted the challenge.

Petangue is the French version of the more commonly known Italian Bocce, or the British Bolles. The nice thing about Petangue is that it can easily be played while holding your favorite drink or refreshment of the day, something that readily got my attention under the hot tropical sun.  The game is played by tossing a small ball, called a coushette, approximately 15-20 feet to a soft, directionless landing.  You then take a larger croquette sized ball and attempt to get your ball to land closer to the coushette than your opponent’s ball.  Four balls are used per competitor, and there you have the basics.  A single point is awarded for each ball you get closer than your opponent.

The Rookie

I’m not really sure if all the slanderous comments and jibing were requisite, or if these were just voluntary assaults on my character, tossed about purely for my pleasure, but it did seem to add to the general good times and fun in the sand.

Stuart Proudfoot putting me to shame. (Artist Helen Mussell in the background)

After just a few ventings at an offending overhanging branch that had frequently set it’s sights on my ball, I actually made good progress. Fifteen points are required to win a game, and best 3 out of 5 games wins the match. As you may guess, Stuart handily won the match, and while my 2-3 showing wasn’t the stellar report I was hoping for, the effort wasn’t the most embarrassing thing I’ve done in my life either. Perhaps more on that will come in a later post!  In the final analysis we highly recommend this as a quiet, fun beach-time activity with friends. Nothing like killing time limin in the islands!

Live the Life,

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Slow Down and Smell The Sea

In this season of hectic rushing to grab that perfect tie for uncle Ned, and a charming knitted hot pad for Nanna, we offer this Public Service Announcement: Slow Down and Smell the Sea Air.

Fighting traffic in and out of the malls takes it out of all of us.  This little video snippet shows you Rush Hour traffic on one of our favorite beaches.  Pigeon Beach, Antigua.

Quiet and pristine, this beach really is a step away from the crowds.  We love the gorgeous white sands and the quiet calm surf.  So remember, during this season of hurrying about, take a moment to feed your inner Beach Bum, and Relax…

Live the Life,

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Great Faces, Great Places -Bumpkins Bar and Grill

Approaching from our descent along a rutted and washed out roadbed, our first glimpses of Bumpkins Bar & Grill, a small local bar situated on Pigeon Point Beach, was that of a quiet and lazy Local hangout waiting for the day to awake.

Pigeon Point Beach is a perfectly quiet shore, nestled away from the crowds of the cruise ship taxi stands, and just around the cove from historic Falmouth Harbour.  A bright sun-drenched section of palm-lined sand stretches into the horizon punctuated with panoramic views of Montserrat in the distance.

Pigeon Point Beach, Antigua

The north end of this one particular harbour is anchored by Bumpkins Bar, and a simpler stand there shall never be. Two separate buildings mark it’s limits, surrounded by a dozen or so sea-facing tables. Decked out in a soft lilac and coral palate, the first structure is the bar area, and just a few steps away is the kitchen building serving up traditional Caribbean goodness.

We dined seaside in the open air setting, attended to in impeccable fashion by Marcia. Ever-present, ever-friendly, and a joy to engage. I had the requisite jerk chicken and fries, while my bride had the traditional English fish and chips. Both were excellent beach fare, and the refreshments were generously poured featuring the local English Harbour Rum as the brand of choice.

Bumpkins Bar and Grill

We found Bumpkins amidst off-season, just as the last coats of paint were being applied all across the island, readying for a new season of pink-skinned tourists. Prime time if you ask me. The temperatures are still moderate, as always, and yet the crowds from the north have not yet descended upon her shores.

Should you be fortunate enough to find yourself on the gorgeous island of Antigua looking for a perfect beach, and a perfect bar to pair it with, head on over to Bumpkins Bar and Grill on Pigeon Point Beach. Tell Marcia that you were sent by Island Art & Treasures. The sunshine and friendly
smiles are on the house!

Contact Bumpkins Bar at (268)562-2522 or via email