Ooooo la la, we can’t talk about gorgeous shelly beaches without St. Barts popping straight into my mind! You've probably heard the whispers about this exclusive French island from paparazzi snaps of celebrities canoodling on the beach or Dom Perignon champagne parties on the aft deck of super yachts, but you may not realize the close proximity of it to the cruise ship docks of St. Maarten. Just a ferry ride across the “pond” and you could be passing Bennifer in the cobbled streets.
Despite how close it was to “home” (I lived on St Maarten for 8 years), taking a trip to St. Barts was always very special. Back when my eldest daughter, Maya was only about 2 years old, my Mum and sister were visiting us from Australia and so we decided to play tourists and take the ferry across for the day. Because the currents are very strong between the islands, this passage can get quite rough… And this day was no exception. We were up, down, and around like a washing machine, and before long my sister Amy, and baby Maya were both turning green. We started the ferry ride laughing and singing Christmas carols but things got rather quiet about halfway across! Surprisingly no one lost their breakfast and we made it safely to the dock at St Bart's without too much complaining.
First stop: Shell Beach. Nestled at the bottom of a rocky cove just a short walk from the dock at Gustavia, this beach is a must-see! Despite being so close to the main hustle and bustle of the island's “centre”, it’s surprisingly uncrowded and laid back. When we visited all those years ago, this beach was so covered in tiny shells that it was actually quite difficult to walk along and not necessarily comfortable beach strolling but made for some excellent “shelling”! I believe that the many hurricanes have taken their toll on this beach and washed a lot of the shells away, but it is still a stunning spot to visit and swim in the flat, tranquil water!
I am still in AWE of how many different seashells we saw on that trip to Shell Beach, St. Barts. All different shapes and sizes, colors, and textures. Out of respect for the islands, we left all the shells on the beach and took with us only photos and memories.
After a refreshing dip in the Caribbean Sea, we set off in search of what the French do best… Baguette and Brie, of course! We followed our noses and it didn’t take long to find: in fact, the streets of St. Barts seem to always waft with mouthwatering smells of baking bread YUM! We took our goodies with us on a walk through the streets, admiring all the stunning old architecture, which is the perfect mix of mainland France and the Caribbean. We found a cute stone park bench under a shady tree by a church and decided that would be the perfect spot to devour the crunchy baguette and creamy brie. Of course, we didn’t have a knife, but where there is a will there is a way!
With tummy’s now full and a very tired 2-year-old on our hands, it was time to head back in into town and snap some pics before jumping on the return ferry. As you can see, it was a day to remember and I still draw inspiration from adventures like this to this day. My heart and soul are in designing island-inspired clothing, and although I no longer live in the West Indies, I often spend time reviewing past journals and photo albums to always stay connected to my inner island girl.
This week I will be sharing something very special, which was designed from inspiration sparked by this day in St. Barts. I can’t wait to share all the details with you this week, but in the meantime: keep dreaming your island dreams, ladies!