Where. To. Begin. How about the airport in St. Thomas where we first landed - I walked off the plane, down the stairs onto the tarmac, and my straw beach hat flew off my head and landed underneath the plane in a restricted area. HA. No worries, island time prepares for these types of mishaps. Got my hat back, good to go. Zev is in front of me already filming with his GoPro (sadly he did not capture the hat flying off my head). We are all smiles already, peeling off our layers we forcibly put on when we left Boston that morning. IT'S WARM. Way warmer than I expected it to be. When we got into the baggage claim area the air was rich with live island music, happy voices, and the best feeling in the world - "ahhhhh, at last, vacation." Someone get me a cocktail.
We then waited in the airport for a few hours until my sister and her best friend arrived. No problems here - St. Thomas made this easy by handing out free rum shots. Once the entire gang was together, we hopped on a ferry that would be taking us to our more remote destination - Tortola. The ferry ride was three things: windy, beautiful, and windy. I got off with a generous layer of salt slapped onto my skin.
We arrived at our villa, Outer Banks, in Brewer's Bay when it was already dark, but I could already tell this place was going to be absolute paradise. The villa was bungalow style, with wide wicker furniture and big doors that opened onto the porches and pool deck. When I woke up the next morning, to no surprise, we were perched up above one of the most beautiful, private beaches on the island.
The beach was only a few minute walk down from the villa, where we could paddle board, kayak, and snorkel. Beach bars lined the next beach down which you could get too by walking over a cluster of pointy rocks (definitely worth it to get rum punch). The villa was a sufficient vacation in and of itself, with a pool overlooking the bay, several lounging spaces, a speaker system and a huge kitchen (with the most important thing of the entire vacation: a Nespresso machine!!!!) Almost every morning I woke up with the sun, headed down to the beach, had an iced latte (or three) and read by the pool. Heaven already, and I haven't even gotten to our adventures beyond the villa yet.
Halfway through our stay, we took a private charter boat around the British Virgin Islands (fun fact, there are over 40 keys and islands), which allowed us to explore additional beaches, snorkel spots, and restaurants. Highlights of this day included wading through the colorful coves in The Baths at Virgin Gorda (massive granite boulders that have been eroded and shaped by the sea that create various waist deep salt baths!), snorkeling in caves at Norman Island, and lounging on a white sand beach spotted with curved palm trees at Cooper Island. Touring the islands is a must when visiting the US V.I. or the B.V.I, they are all so close and accessible, yet so individually unique!
Among the other places we checked out were Josiah's Bay (where we surfed), Cane Garden Bay (lots of beach bars and restaurants), and Long Bay Beach (sunset destination on crack). Tortola undeniably blew me away, and has been added to my list of favorite places I hope to visit again. There were several moments on this trip where I thought to myself "this is the most relaxed I will ever be." That is a very, very good thing in my book, and more or less hard to come by. If you are thinking of visiting the U.S. or British Virgin Islands I highly recommend staying at one of the remote beaches on Tortola. This way you will be able to get the deserted island feel, while still having access to boats and ferries that can bring you to more touristy and bustling destinations. Now that I've managed to make myself teary-eyed thinking about the endless tropical drinks, blazing and romantic sunsets, and the perfectly salted evening breezes... I must go do normal things. Like apply for jobs and floss my teeth.