Tag Archives: Anguilla

My Caribbean Bucket List Published!

Trinidad's Carnival. Photo by Richard Varr

Trinidad’s Carnival. Photo by Richard Varr

 

My story on the top five things to do in the Caribbean has been published in Porthole Cruise Magazine, on newsstands now.  To read an excerpt, the link is below or click on the link to the right.

 

http://www.porthole.com/CurrentIssue/TheBucketListCaribbean.aspx

Views of a lifetime.  Photo by Richard Varr

Views of a lifetime. Photo by Richard Varr

Advertisements

Anguilla: Escaping to Paradise

Beach at the Cap Juluca Resort. Photo by Richard Varr

Beach at the Cap Juluca Resort. Photo by Richard Varr

I came to Anguilla by ferry, a 25 minute ride, from the scenic shoreline of Marigot, St. Martin’s capital on the French side.  To me, St. Martin is paradise.  But what I found in Anguilla was a more subdued paradise – a quiet island with one beautiful beach after the other.

Anguilla’s solitude, pristine beaches and world class resorts make it a place where you can really feel like you’re escaping the world.  “Anguilla is recognized for what we don’t have,” says Candis Niles, Director of Tourism with the Anguilla Tourist Board.  “No jet skis, cruise ships, casinos or high rises, but just beautiful beaches in a tranquil and laid back atmosphere.”

I toured five properties while on Anguilla.  The first three listed below are 5-star resorts, and the last two are 3-star properties.  I found all to have beautiful, white-sand beaches with great ocean views.

Viceroy Resort Anguilla:  http://www.viceroyhotelsandresorts.com/anguilla

Cap Juluca:  http://www.capjuluca.com

CuisinArt Golf Resort and Spa:  http://www.cuisinartresort.com

Anguilla Great House Beach Resort:  http://www.anguillagreathouse.com

Shoal Bay Villas:  http://www.sbvillas.ai/

View from the Viceroy. Photo by Richard Varr

View from the Viceroy. Photo by Richard Varr

View of the Beach from Cap Juluca. Photo by Richard Varr

View of the Beach from Cap Juluca. Photo by Richard Varr

CuisinArt Golf Resort and Spa. Photo by Richard Varr

CuisinArt Golf Resort and Spa. Photo by Richard Varr

Anguilla Great House Beach Resort. Photo by Richard Varr

Anguilla Great House Beach Resort. Photo by Richard Varr

Shoal Bay Villas. Photo by Richard Varr

Shoal Bay Villas. Photo by Richard Varr

Anguillan Sculptor Turns Driftwood into Art

Cheddie Richardson of Cheddie's Carving Studio. Photo by Richard Varr

Cheddie Richardson of Cheddie’s Carving Studio. Photo by Richard Varr

By Richard Varr

Mermaid. Photo by Richard Varr

Mermaid. Photo by Richard Varr

A mermaid gestures with her arms extended, her delicate fingers reaching out to touch me.  I take a closer look at this wooden figurine only to see her staring eyes and puffy lips carved with the precision of artist Cheddie Richardson’s steady hand.  The mermaid’s slender, smooth and varnished torso juts out from one of the twisted branches, as Richardson has turned dried and lifeless driftwood into art evoking the feeling of his Caribbean homeland.

“I carve animals, birds, fish or anything that takes the shape from the driftwood – the driftwood tends to speak to me,” Richardson says of his artwork on the scenic and tranquil island of Anguilla with its white sand beaches.  “Whatever the shape, I’ll just bring it out.”

Gallery. Photo by Richard Varr

Gallery. Photo by Richard Varr

Cheddie with artwork. Photo by Richard Varr

Cheddie with artwork. Photo by Richard Varr

Pelican. Photo by Richard Varr

Pelican. Photo by Richard Varr

I stroll though his gallery and see dolphins, fish and the slender necks and beaks of pelicans and other seabirds carved from the spiny and pointed driftwood branches.  Small sailboats decorate the walls as well.  Richardson often carves one or two branches while the others serve as the artwork’s base.  “I try to leave as much of the natural wood as possible, so when you look at it you see what we started with.”

Carving. Photo by Richard Varr

Carving. Photo by Richard Varr

“I work with driftwood right from the island,” he adds.  “It’s wood that you’ll see when you go to the beaches, or to the lagoons and ponds.  And when you come to my gallery, you can see what I’ve done to those pieces to create art.”

“I try to create the fish in the sea,” he tells me.  “So when you go to the restaurants and see snapper, or when snorkeling, you will see all these fish.  I try to stick with the birds and fish you see around here, and boats as well because boat racing is a big thing on island.”

Cheddie Richardson in his studio. Photo by Richard Varr

Cheddie Richardson in his studio. Photo by Richard Varr

Richardson leads me downstairs to his studio, a small room with his chisels, a ban saw, drill press and other tools.  Unfinished artworks are scattered around.  But what catches my eye are the heaps of driftwood cluttering the floor.  “I go out and find them.  And I have my friends and guys who work for me find them,” he says.  “I’m always looking.”

Hummingbird. Photo by Richard Varr

Hummingbird. Photo by Richard Varr

Richardson, a sculptor and artist for more than 30 years, says he works on over 100 pieces at one time.  “When I see a piece of driftwood, I sketch it and I can always come back to it,” he explains.  “One day, I see a fish.  The next day I might see something else.”  Projects include a sandpiper with its chiseled eyes, beak and layered feathers already discernible, the face of an eagle and the head of an owl still taking shape.  And nearby is a bird book he uses for reference.

“I get a good feeling because I’m creating from a natural piece of wood,” Richardson tells me.  “So I hope you get a good feeling.”

Gallery. Photo by Richard Varr

Gallery. Photo by Richard Varr

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

Cheddie’s Carving Studio, The Cove, Anguilla  264-497-6027 cheddie@anguillanet.com

Anguilla: The Tastiest Seafood Salad at Tasty’s Restaurant

Seafood Salad at Tasty's Restaurant. Photo by Richard Varr

Seafood Salad at Tasty’s Restaurant. Photo by Richard Varr

While on Anguilla, I had a seafood salad like no other.  I dined one evening at Tasty’s Restaurant, a popular and renowned island eatery founded and owned by Chef Dale Carty.  What makes his seafood salad so unique?  Small pieces of fresh seafood – snapper, conch, crayfish, lobster and shrimp – are cut into small pieces and then spiced and sauteed individually, just like a larger portion might be served as an entrée.  The seafood bites are then placed on the side of the dish – not mixed with the salad.

Chef Dale Carty.  Photo by Richard Varr

Chef Dale Carty. Photo by Richard Varr

Chef Carty, Anguillan born and raised, came up with this idea when ordering seafood salad in other restaurants.  “A lot of times I got cold crab out of the can and small baby shrimp.  I really hated those salads,” he recalls.  “I thought to myself, I really should be able to come up with a nice, fresh seafood salad with fresh grilled pieces of fish.”

“It’s not all mushy,” adds Carty.  “It happens to be our signature dish that has given us most of our write ups and exposure in magazines.”

Tasty’s Restaurant specializes in traditional Anguillan cuisine, while some dishes are spiced with an international flair.  “Conch Creole” and “Coconut Crusted Filet of Fish with spicy banana rum sauce” are on the menu, for example.

“I think I represent real traditional Anguillan cuisine and ambiance – everything in one,” he says.  “When I created Tasty’s, I wanted locals and tourists to dine with me and we’re one of the only establishments here that does both.”

“Everywhere I go, when I order a seafood salad, I think why can’t they just put fresh pieces of fish on the salad instead of canned crab or baby shrimp,” he again says about his signature dish.  “That just doesn’t cut it.”

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

http://www.tastysrestaurant.com