The Coker's

The Coker's

Monday, December 20, 2010

The last few days on St Thomas... I know why people stay for a lifetime now :)

Sorry the blog has been a bit delayed, but I do have some neat tid-bits to share with you all.  After our day on Jost Van Dyke and on the catamaran, it was hard to top that.  Since Friday was a day without cruise ships, we headed downtown to do some shopping.  Matt was looking for a watch, but we didn't end up finding one.  The downtown area is very clean, there are SEVERAL jewelry shops, watch shops, liquor shops, and souvenir shops.  It's laid out like a grid and the streets are well marked.  After several stops at stores like Tiffany's, David Yurman, Little Switzerland, etc.. we were hungry.  We stumbled upon an alley cafe called Cafe Amici.  We shared a house salad and a thin crust pizza.  Quick, fairly inexpensive, and clean.

Then it was back to the whole "BEACH AND A BOOK" vacation.  We just sat on the beach, feeding the ducks, having a drink, watching a wind sufer for a few hours!

These were the condos we stayed at.

I fell in LOVE with these ducks!  They were adorable!

We cooked dinner, watched TV and went to bed... isn't that what vacation is about... relaxing!

SATURDAY- Adventure in St Johns!

We made the 10:00 am Ferry over to St Johns.  The best part about staying in Red Hook is the every hour on the hour ferry that takes you to the other islands.  It's $6 per person each way and it takes about 20 minutes.  Once we arrived, we spotted a jeep rental place and snatched one up for a cool $77... YIKES!  St Johns is very hilly and it basically has one road all the way around the island.  It has beautiful vegetation and the views are breathtaking.  We started on the path to the side of the island where Caneel Bay is located.  The most stunning beaches line that entire water front.  We made it up to Annaberg to see the old sugar plantation. 


This map shows you which islands are which from the view you are looking at.

This is that view...

The vegetation is lush and green all over the island.

This is part of the sugar mill.

Then we made our way back down to Cinnamon Bay... I could spend forever there :)

You get the gist... clear blue water, white sandy beaches, it's Heaven!

Then I started to break out in a rash. It had been building for a few days, and all of a sudden I lit up like fire. Dont worry folks, it has nothing to do with the pristine conditions of the island... I take a drug called Remicaid... long story... and it's very possible that my body was reacting to the sun, the salt water, the sunscreen, or any given combination. So at 2:00 we raced over to a pharmacy, hopped back on the ferry, and went to shower for dinner... yes I was going out even if I was uncomfortable!!!!!!
If you go to St Johns and you do NOT go to Asolare, you are C-R-A-Z-Y.... CRAZY

Make reservations or forget having the opportunity to dine at this establishment. It's on a hillside over looking St Thomas and the Cruz Bay on St Johns. The building is built into the side of the hill and it's completely open.

First we had a drink in the bar and of course I had the fabulous Pain Killer (to try and kill some of the pain I was experiencing) and then it was time for dinner. 

The menu changes every night so don't expect these dishes, but here is what we had:  Matt started with Jerk Grilled Shrimp atop a bed of pineapple salsa.  I started with the house salad with wonton bits, chees and shallot vinagrette.  For dinner Matt chose a pork tenderloin topped with fried onios, cippolini onions, fingerling potatoes with a pineapple barbeque sauce.  I chose the butter poached mahi mahi atop a bed of french string beans and lentils.  Then of course, we endulged in dessert: Puffs with coconut ice cream sandwiched in between with dark chocolate sauce drizzled over mouth is watering just thinking of it :)

Right after dinner we rushed to a shop to buy some Benedryl, and headed home on the ferry. Truly, a spectacular evening and a fabulous end to our vacation! 

Side Bar:  If you are trying to choose between St Thomas and St Johns, CHOOSE ST JOHNS... Its beautiful, not as commercialized, and they offer a more island small town feeling.  The restaurants are fabulous, the beaches are pristine, and the feeling is just more of a vacation.  If you can afford it, go straight for the gold... Caneel Bay.  It will run AT LEAST $400 per night to stay, but for a honeymoon or special vacation, it's well worth your money.  If you are budget traveler who likes to take SEVERAL trips per year, then staying on St Thomas is not bad at all :)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Paradise... we saw what that was really like today!

Today we set sail on the catamaran called the DAYDREAMER... and we know why they call it that :)

The 6:30 am alarm was not at all pleasant, but we knew what was in tow so we suffered through it!  The Daydreamer sets sail from the Windham Resort on Sugar Bay.  It's two coves over from us.  We caught a taxi to the resort for $10. 

Once all the St Thomas guests were aboard, we headed to St Johns to pick up the rest of the party and then headed off to do a little morning snorkel!  Matt did much better this time... last time he nearly drowned in 5 feet of water... but he got it down this time :)  The snorkel spot was near Bongo Caye (I think) and we saw it all.  Unfortunately we dont have an underwater camera, but I can assure you it's fabulous.

At the Snorkel Spot:  Who wouldn't park their yacht outside their villa on their private island... we can dream right?

After we snorkelled we headed to Jost Van Dyke.  On one side of the island there is a restaurant called Foxy's.  The 3rd largest new years eve party in the world is held in this bay.  There are so many boats and yachts that you can literally walk boat to boat to reach the shore.  Luckily we didn't stumble upon that little party, but we did have a great time. 

Amazing jump pic on the road in JVD

Even more amazing jump pic by Matt... I mean what is that!!!!

After a little lunch and shopping we whipped around the bend to White Bay! 
Soggy Dollary is an experience I highly recommend!

There it is!!!!

We made it to the Soggy Dollary...FINALLY!


No joke, there was a red raider flag... WRECK 'EM!

This is the infamous ring game and he did it!  Ring is on the hook!

It doesn't get better than this!

We layed on the beach for a couple of hours and then headed back to the boat for our lovely sail home!
We both highly recommend the sail.  They do it all for you... it makes island hopping look easy!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

St Thomas...I heart you!

We arrived yesterday at 3:00 pm, de-planed and hopped in Sam's car. Sam is contracted by our condo owner to pick up his guests at the airport and drop them at the condo. Most of you may not know that they drive on the opposite side of the road here so renting a car was out of the question for us. On our way through town, Sam picked up another guest, Dougy Fresh (that is his frat name), and we continued on. They took us by the market to pick up groceries and then we dropped off our stuff and headed out to have a drink with them.

The condo: I found it on and I would say the pictures were not deceiving, but let's just say Marsha wouldn't be staying here :) It's for the minimalist and it works great for us. The islands do not deliver cheap or budget options as far as luxury hotels go. Sapphire Beach is breathtaking! White sand, blue water, coral reef to snorkel over ... it caters perfectly to us.

The area: We are staying on the east end of the island. Our location is pretty good! We are a 10 minute walk from the ferry to St Johns, surrounded by great restaurants, close to a great market that has it all (they even have Ezekiel Bread) and there are always Safari trucks and cabs nearby to utilize.
The Food: Last night we had FABULOUS pizza at Island Time and CHEAP drinks at Molly Malone's. Both were filled with people from the states, very friendly, and we automatically felt at home! For breakfast we purchased eggs, pancake mix, cereal and fruits. For lunch we purchased some fresh Mahi to make tacos with. We are trying to stay on a budget and it really is possible to do on the island.

Activities: To start our day (AT 11:00 AM... yea... I slept until 10:20...WOW) we did an hour of kayaking over the reef and stumbled upon 2 sea turtles literally feet from our vessel! It was a baby and mommy! Most of you know I love tiny animals... so naturally I wanted to scoop up the baby and take him home... but I didn’t :) After, we layed on the beach and read our books for a few hours. More than anything, this vacation is the "beach and a book" vacation. So I already got my wish.
Tomorrow: Hopefully if the weather permits, we will be off through the islands on a large catamaran to see some of the un-in-habited islands around here. My dream trip would be to yacht through these islands, but that’s at least 30 years down the road ;)
Check back tomorrow night for some cool pics!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Pandas, DC Cupcake, Restaurant Week, Kelly... AWESOME WEEKEND

Many of you know or have met my lovely boss Laura. Well, this past weekend, she tied the knot in Baltimore, MD. The ceremony was beautiful, the party was fantastic and it was great seeing friends! I love having an excuse to go see Kelly, so this weekend was the perfect opportunity!

Saturday- After the wedding, we drove from Baltimore to Arlington and basically crashed for the night. We stayed up talking as long as we could and then we just couldn't fight the Zzzzzzz's.

Sunday- Matt had not seen Mount Vernon and the only other time Kelly saw it was with me. We dragged her back out there to embark on another history lesson. If you haven't ventured to MV I highly suggest it! The lot Washington picked is second to none, the gardens and grounds are well kept, the layout is easily walked, and overall, it makes for a nice and inexpensive day trip. It rained quite a bit while we were out touring the grounds so we saw everything and then headed towards the zoo. Matt loves the travel channel and the other night they had a pizzeria called "Comet Ping Pong and Pizza" ( .

To let the rain pass, we decided to get a bite to eat. This restaurant is straight out of Austin... from the people who work there to the beer pong tourneys happening in the back... its Austintacious but in D.C.! We ordered two fabulous pizzas- "Steel Wills" and "The Drive"... I highly recommend both but order a few because they are the size of a personal pizza. After we were full, we drove a few blocks and parked at the zoo. Because it's Smithsonian IT'S FREE!

A few highlights were- Sloth Bears (yes they are exactly like they sound... bears that have sloth features), Lions, Tigers, Gorillas (the mama got upset and started thrashing the baby...awful), Elephants, and of course the PANDAS! I highly suggest this to any D.C visitor.

For some reason, Kelly really fell for this turtle... she loved it!

Last time I was in D.C. we didn't have time to go to the cemetery, so we headed there next. I had no idea what the Unknown Soldier was or why there were guards around, so I had no idea it was a "must see." The changing of the guard’s ceremony is something I will never forget. It's a very complex and calculated drill that stands for so much. I will go back and see it anytime I am in town. The Eternal Flame at Kennedy's grave was also a moving sight. One thing that I loved, which Kel taught me, was the rocks on the headstones to let the deceased know that someone came to visit them. Obviously I know they are dead, but it's very meaningful that their visitors take that extra step to say "Hey, I'm here, and I won't forget you..." What an honorable and special place!

Next was Iwo Jima. This monument is huge! When you see it in pictures you don't get the full effect of how gigantic it is. I loved it!

After all that running around, we were of course hungry again... surprise surprise... so it was off to Whitlows on Wilson. Kel and I ate there last time I was in town and I loved it and I wanted Matt to experience it. Great food, good atmosphere..... so much fun! I recommend the WOW Panini without the chicken! After a good night out, we were exhausted. Lights out!

Monday- Once again, we were up at the crack of dawn to get our day of sightseeing started. We rode the bus with Kel to work (which made me want a good public transportation system for Dallas) and headed to the metro to get to the Capitol. The tour, that you get for free through your Congressman, LAME! The building is neat to see, the movie they show you at the beginning is neat but they don't take you anywhere interesting. Basically, as my boss would say, I do not like being part of the Gen-Pop! Where is the VIP stuff... you have to know someone to get all of that and at this time we dont know anyone in the, uh hummmm, administration. The only thing I got out of that little 30 minute time period was the Whisper Hall.

When someone is standing across the room, you can hear exactly what they are saying

Next we started hitting the museums. The Air and Space museum was the first stop. I liked some of the space exploration "toys" that they had. There were a lot of guys there that seem similar to the guys my Mom used to work with at Raytheon. Not really my scene, but Matt loved it ;)

Next up- the American History museum. Dorothy's slippers, Kermit the frog, Julia Child's Kitchen, Fonzie's Jacket, Woolworth's Lunch Counter (the infamous Sit In), Star Spangled Banner, Michelle Obama’s inauguration ball dress (Jason Wu… I love you), Lincoln’s Top Hat, and much much more... all very neat to see in person.

After that we went to the Archives. I was SOOOOOO frustrated looking at The Declaration of Independence, The Bill of Rights, and The Constitution because YOU CAN NOT READ A DANG THING ON THE PAGE! It's faded, the lighting is horrible (to protect it) and there are history buffs leaning over them reading word for word to their 5 years olds... like they know what that really is? At least I checked that off the ole list! After that, Matt and I were tired. The heat in D.C. right now is unbearable. The only difference between Texas and D.C. right now is the fact that I sure am not dumb enough to walk around the streets of Tejas in this heat.

Matt wanted to take a quick pick in front of the IRS building

We headed back to Kel's office to get ready for dinner in Georgetown. We made reservations at Farmer's & Fishers on the G-Town waterfront. Usually when you participate in Restaurant Week, they give you lots of small plates to taste many things on their menu. Well not this place! It was $35.00 per person and you got about 80.00 worth of food per person! We started with some drinks (which were not part of the price) and enjoyed their complimentary pizza that came with the package deal. The menu included an App, Entree and Dessert. I started with Maryland Crab Dip with focaccia bread, then on to Trout done Bronze style and then finished with Carrot Cake. The crab dip- BEST THING ON THE MENU! Awesome, cheesy, fatty, crabby goodness. The Trout (bronzed) means that it was grilled with balsamic onions ontop. We opted to take our cake home because we saw the HUGE pieces at the table next to us. Well worth the price, the atmosphere, and the company! I wanted to stop by and try and get a Georgetown Cupcake, but it was hot and the line was still very long. Again we crashed!

Tuesday- 5:45 AM... screaming alarm! Uhhhh... Way too early! We had to get up and move our flights back from the 8:40 am flight to something later. We did that and then got ready. We were out the door by 6:45 AM to get to our WHITE HOUSE TOUR. I worked pretty hard to get this tour and let me say, it was NOT worth all the trouble. The $100 bucks to change the flights, the walking, the waiting in line, etc. Not not not worth it! At least it was free but you have to email your congressman and they have to get you the tour. The best part, seriously, was standing in line watching the secret service make every single delivery truck stop and open the engine compartment, the doors, the back and have a bomb dog sniff their way through it. You enter through a side door, you can have NOTHING on you except a cell phone (that is off), a wallet and nothing else. This idiot behind us answered his cell phone while we were walking through. Secret Service didn't wait for him to finish his little convo.... they quickly pointed out that he was in the WHITE HOUSE and needed to get off his phone :) Duh! So you go in through the visitor’s entrance, walk through a hallway of pictures of all the administrations, into a hall with a couple of rooms, then up some stairs to the red and green rooms and then the State Dinner room and then out. LAME! You just walk through. No tour guide, no nothing! Again, you have to, uhhhh hummm, know someone who works for the administration to see the good stuff. So we checked that off the list for life as well :) We headed back to Kel's office (said goodbye…awful everytime),

 got our car and headed to G-TOWN to give the cupcakes one last try.... drum roll please.... I am the proud owner of 4 delicious Georgetown Cupcake cupcakes. 10 minutes in line and out the door. I had the lemon one and Matt had the Chocolate cupcake. I have a red velvet and a vanilla with one person's name written all over them :) She is the only one who could appreciate them like me! My husband really does love me. So then it was off to the airport and on our way home.
Highlights: Zoo and Cupcakes and of course seeing my one and only Kelly ;)