Our St. Martin Bucket List, Times 10

C and I returned from our 10th Anniversary trip together to St. Martin last week. Yep. Ten years. That’s like 25 years in CMT (that’s California Married Time). Just kidding… sort of (?!).

Our Wedding Day, May Day (May 1) 2004

Our Wedding Day, May Day (May 1) 2004

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And to think it feels like just yesterday we got married, which honestly it still does to me a lot of days (aww, shucks, aren’t we cute?).

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While C and I always had resolved to return to the site of our beloved honeymoon spot for our 10 year anniversary, St. Barths was just not in the budget for a second go-around. We’re no longer DINKs and, quite honestly, the boutique hotels that dot the Rock just don’t really fit into our miles and points plans and schemes anyway.

Happy Bay on the French Side of St. Martin.

Happy Bay on the French Side of St. Martin.

View from the trails along the path to and from Happy Bay, St. Martin.

View from the trails along the path to and from Happy Bay, St. Martin.

Selfie from the hike. We cute.

Selfie from the hike. We cute.

But we did get within 15 nautical miles of the shores of St. Barths and saw it from atop the many hills of St. Martin daily as we ambled our way up, down, and around the island’s windy roads. We also found a beach that very much resembled ones from our honeymoon spot – underpopulated, noncommercial, and requiring a small hike to find it (yes, I hiked… I must REALLY be in love – ha!). So I think we definitely get an A for effort on the attempted return trip.

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We also checked off a few things on our unwritten bucket lists during our fantastic and fabulous St. Martin adventure together. They were items that I hadn’t even given a tad of forethought nor a bit of pre-planning to either. For example…

Radisson Blu Resort and Spa, Anse Marcel, St. Martin.

Radisson Blu Resort and Spa, Anse Marcel, St. Martin.

In the horizon pool at the Radisson Blu, St. Martin.

In the horizon pool at the Radisson Blu, St. Martin.

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Stay at a resort with a horizon pool. When C booked us at the Radisson Blu Resort and Spa St. Martin, the horizon pool was just a little something extra to augment our stay, but a check off the ol’ list of things I’ve always wanted while staying seaside away from home nonetheless. While the Radisson Blu St. Martin will be no more come June 1, I have to imagine that Riu (the property’s new owners) will retain this magnificent outdoor oasis. I can only hope they will also retain the wonderful poolside fresh fruit (and bar) service as well. Is there anything better than having two wonderful human beings approach you with offerings of freshly cut pineapple and passion fruit as you gaze out over a horizon pool to the ocean? Sorry, can’t answer that. Mouth full of fresh-cut fruit here. And that A for effort I mentioned before? It just got bumped to an A++.

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Ride a Jet Ski. This was both our first rides on a Jet Ski or anything like it. While C enjoyed it immensely, I was too busy hanging on for dear life as is evidenced from the lack of photos. These were the only two taken from the 30-minute excursion, and I took both within the first three minutes of departure (one of the two BEFORE departure). Next time, C can ride the ski and I can take another ride on the lounge chair.

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Frog Legs.

Frog Legs.

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Try frog legs. I had no idea they didn’t have to look like actual legs (mine were served in a broth with scallops), nor do they not taste anything like chicken. RMT’ers, if anyone tells you that frog legs taste like chicken, they either have never had frog legs or they have not tasted chicken (or have dined on THE BEST freakin’ finger-lickin’ chickin’ ever). Unlike the Jet Ski, frog legs I shall try and try again and again. Merci! to Le Pressoir for one incredible, fantastic, and delicious anniversary meal.

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Cheers to one fabulous anniversary trip!

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Take in a sunset on the shores of Grand Case while sipping French wine. Just look at the photos. Cheers! (View courtesy of Calmos Caféc’est la vie!)

Fresh fish platter from the incredible chef at Le Ti Provencal, Grand Case, St. Martin.

Fresh fish platter from the incredible chef at Le Ti Provencal, Grand Case, St. Martin.

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Eat a whole fish and not care that it’s staring back at me. It’s been years since I ate off of a whole fish head to tail. The truth is that meat on the bone usually grosses me way, way out. Scratch that: It used to. Now it’s tres magnifique, and because of Chef Herve Sageot at Le Ti Provencal in Grand Case, I am hooked (pun intended). Bring on the whole fish, mother fishers. Bring. It. On.

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View of St. Martin from Yellow Beach, Islet Pinel.

View of St. Martin from Yellow Beach, Islet Pinel.

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Eat Moules Frites on the beach. We’ve had plenty of meals on the sand during our travels, but these mussels are at or very close to the top of the list for best food ever consumed on the beach. And what better meal to have on the Dutch-French island of St. Maarten/ St. Martin. The price (at 19E) also beat the shells off of the 3-5Kg-sized lobsters for sale at 7E/100g (!). Big thanks to the Yellow Beach Club for an amazing afternoon on Islet Pinel (and for the mussels, too!).

Bucket of beers at Kontiki Beach Club, Orient Beach, St. Martin.

Bucket of beers at Kontiki Beach Club, Orient Beach, St. Martin.

"Hold the bread and DON'T LET IT GO!" was all this local man would say when he wandered up and down the coastline feeding his "pet" angel fish. Ha!

“Hold the bread and DON’T LET IT GO!” was all this local man would say when he wandered up and down the coastline feeding his “pet” angel fish. Ha!

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At Pedro's, Orient Beach, St. Martin.

At Pedro’s, Orient Beach, St. Martin.

Kontiki Beach Club, Orient Beach, St. Martin.

Kontiki Beach Club, Orient Beach, St. Martin.

A peek toward Club Orient, the "naturalist" beach of St. Martin.

A peek toward Club Orient, the “naturalist” beach of St. Martin.

Sunbathe topless along Orient Beach. And swim topless. And socialize with complete strangers topless (some of whom are also topless themselves). And buy trinkets and souvenirs from local vendors while topless. And feed angel fish while topless (don’t bother, can’t see much). And never, ever even give a single thought to the fact that I was in fact without a top for hours on end. When in France, or on a French island… remember the SPF 50+, especially if you are American. Merci beaucoups to the Kontiki Beach Club and our Beach Boy Aurelian (hope that’s sort-of spelled correctly!) for two glorious (and extremely lazy) days filled with beachy good times.

With Cito of Cito's Place, Grand Case, St. Martin.

With Cito of Cito’s Place, Grand Case, St. Martin.

With Momo of Le Ti Bouchon, Cul de Sac, St. Martin.

With Momo of Le Ti Bouchon, Cul de Sac, St. Martin.

Meet and befriend the locals. OK, we’ve met plenty of locals during our travels, but there’s nothing like locals on an island, especially in the Caribbean. We’ll never forget meeting Rosemond from our honeymoon trip, and now we have two more friends in the French West Indies. Thanks to Cito (of Cito’s Place) for a Fish Day we’ll always remember (along with a few other roadside beer breaks) and Momo of Le Ti Bouchon for sharing story after personal story of his own travels during our 3.5-hour delicacy-filled experience in his roadside, home-style restaurant.

Get an ear infection. Yep, that’d be my first one. Woo hoo. What started out as swimmers ear last Wednesday turned infection. Boo! Not exactly the kind of infection I thought I’d come home with after an anniversary trip without T in tow, but c’est la vie. And if anyone has any home remedies they could recommend to help my tubes open up (not THOSE tubes!), I’m all ear(s).

C and I went to St. Martin, and all T got was this wooden machete (and a t-shirt and conch shell, but this was the coolest souvenir.

C and I went to St. Martin, and all T got was this wooden machete (and a t-shirt and conch shell, but this was the coolest souvenir.

Take a long-term vacation without the kid. This is the most important item to highlight on this list and one that we actually did have to put some forethought and a great deal of planning into. While we missed T immensely during our nine days away, traveling in this day and age away from kid(s) isn’t the absence, longing, and homesickness that it used to be (thank you, Face Time!). And of course, if not for two amazing grandmothers, our vacation would have never, ever happened, so big BIG thanks to them again as well. Mwah!

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C and I are missing St. Martin already, but it’s oh-so-good to be home… where our heart is.

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