The Top 5 Summer Essentials You Need!

It’s summertime and we’re here with our Top 5 summer essentials you need while you’re vacationing!

Summer and my mind turns to physics. You know the law: a body at rest tends to stay at rest. And, what could be better than R&R at the beach. It does a body and the mind good. Some people even think there’s something in sea spray – little positive ions that are beneficial in some scientific way. It all sure beats the neighborhood beauty salon, head to toe. A few highlights in the hair, bronze glow on the cheeks, heels smoothed by the sand and a little vitamin D for the body (just 15 minutes to meet the recommended daily allowance).

So get going and spend a day or two – or three, four or more at a beach. Here’s my packing list.

Beach read – Whatever floats your boat. I’m going to read Atlantic Fever, the new book on the race to conquer the Atlantic by airplane. Back in 1919, a $25,000 prize was announced for the first nonstop aircraft flight from NY to Paris. But, it wasn’t until eight years later and thirteen attempts by others that young Charles Lindbergh succeeded, flying 33 and1/2 hours. We owe Mr. Lindbergh for his triumph. He opened up the skies for travel! Now, it’s so easy to get the Caribbean!

A cover up – (No, that’s not what I meant. If you’re going to read Fifty Shades of Gray, get a Kindle to keep your secret.) If you’re settling in for a long read on the beach, you’re going to have to cover up from the sun after awhile. Whether a pareo, maxi dress, long-sleeved T-shirt, Everything But Water has a huge selection, including this long caftan.

Sunscreen – Don’t leave home without it. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends at least 30 SPF, partly because people don’t use enough. It does get expensive, but it’s your skin and your life we’re talking about here. It’s got to be the “broad spectrum” type. My final three words of advice: Reapply. Reapply. Reapply.

Big hat – Skin does not survive by sunscreen alone. I come from a long line of hat wearers. It was once strictly for style, but in this day and age, it’s a necessity. My all-time favorite hat designer is Helen Kaminski from Down Under. I figure an Aussie knows a little about scorching sun. Many of her styles are packable, so when you see me around Divi in Aruba, Barbados, Bonaire, St. Croix or St. Maarten, that’s a Helen Kaminski hat I either packed in my suitcase or put in a carry-on tote for the trip. Either way, these hats are good travelers. For the guys: lather up with sunscreen and get under the umbrella.

And last, but certainly not least:

Summer love – Good things are best shared with others. So, take your honey to the beach. I suggest Aruba right now, because the Divi Village Golf & Beach Resort has a special that’s, well, pretty special – with a petal-strewn bed, flickering candles, chilled champagne – all in the room upon your arrival. The deal also includes a sunset sail. The special is $499 for four nights for two! That’s a great deal. And, deals are sexy.

When In Rome..

It’s the motto of travelers ’round the world: When in Rome, do as the Romans do. So, when in St. Maarten, have a guavaberry colada! Chances are you won’t taste guavaberry liqueur anywhere else in the world. These little wild berries – no relation at all to guava – grow high upon the hills in the center of the island and elsewhere across the Caribbean. But, no one has turned them into a cultural and tourist “don’t miss” event like the Sint Maarten Guavberry Company right in the heart of Phillipsburg.

Even the quaint, colorful gingerbread cottage on Front Street where the liqueur is made is a must see. Once a synagogue, abandoned around 1785, the store serves up free samples of the liqueur and guavaberry coladas and sells a full line of liqueurs, rums and hot sauces. Yum.

The cottage/headquarters was one of the first stops on Angela Lawrence’s recent whirlwind visit to St. Maarten. Lawrence, a Toronto writer of Jamaican heritage, came to St. Maarten to write about this year’s Carnival festivities. Lawrence will tell you more about her first taste of the guavaberry liqueur on her blog, Cook like a Jamaican. She must have liked it enough to want to take a bottle back to Toronto. Sadly, there’s a cautionary element to her telling of her intro to guavaberry liqueur. (Pack it; don’t carry it on.)

Gizmo’s Bar & Grill right on the beach at Divi Little Bay Beach Resort serves up two guavaberry cocktails. Dylan from the Divi Little Bay food and beverage staff offers this recipe for Oldman Punch.

Oldman Punch

Drink Ingredients:
2oz. Guavaberry Island Folk Liqueur
2-3oz. orange juice
2-3oz. pineapple juice

How to mix the drink:
Mix ingredients well and put in tall glass with ice. Add dash of grenadine. Garnish with fresh flower, half a lime or freshly grated cinnamon.

Gizmo’s also serves the Guavaberry Colada. It’s a little sweet for my taste, but hey, I tried it. When in St. Maarten, I want to try everything! This following Guavaberry Colada recipe comes from the fine folks at Guavaberry. You’ll find lots of other recipes there.

Guavaberry Colada

Drink Ingredients:
2oz Sint Maarten Guavaberry
1oz Coconut Cream
3oz Pineapple Juice or Pieces

How to mix the drink:
Put ice in blender, add Sint Maarten Guavaberry, Cream of Coconut, pineapple pieces or juice. Blend well. Garnish with pineapple, toasted coconut & fresh nutmeg.

A Beach. A Chair. And a Beverage.

I don’t know how photographer Joel Collins managed to capture a shot of all these empty chairs in front of the Divi Aruba Phoenix Beach Resort on Aruba last month. Since the hotel installed them, all painted pretty in Caribbean colors and lined up side-by-side facing the dreamy Caribbean Sea, the site has been a very popular spot for Divi guests — any time of day, morning and night. No matter the time, the chairs are always taken!

The chairs are from way up north – New York’s Adirondack Mountains. Designed in 1903, and originally called the Westport Plank Chair after the city of its birth, the chair is now known universally – truly the world over – as the Adirondack Chair. There are a more than a few good reasons why this design has endured and is inextricably linked with vacation time, no matter the terrain – mountain or seaside: it’s comfortable and durable; and probably of equal importance to many, it has an armrest wide and sturdy enough upon which to sit a drink. The story goes that is precisely what Thomas Lee, the designer, intended.

If you’d like to know a little more about the history of the Adirondack chair (There’s even a little business intrigue in this little tale.), visit the Orvis site. You can even buy a little of the Divi beachfront for back home!

I think this chair on the beach in front of Divi Phoenix Beach is a perfect spot for ____________. Well, you fill in the blank.

And, I wonder why there are nine Adirondack chairs in front of the Divi Phoenix Beach in Aruba. Shouldn’t there be ten, one for each of the Divi resorts across the Caribbean? I know what I would be thinking about if I were in one of those chairs: Which Divi to enjoy next?!