the start of something good

our trip to jamaica started off with a little road trip.  there are direct flights from charlotte to jamaica which was worth the almost 3 hour drive from where we live.  we timed our trip perfectly with an already planned charlotte reunion with our godson.  i do love it when a plan comes together!

last saturday we made the quick road trip to charlotte to see one of our favorite georgia cousins play in a band competition.  the competition was at carowinds, which is always a good time, unless you have lots of back pain.  then it is just lots of rides that look like fun that you can’t do.  which was a downer.  watching j play his trumpet was tons of fun and i am so thankful we had the opportunity to catch up with him!

i also want to note how popular my husband is with middle school aged boys. he is like the coolest, apparently. this is how the husband and i were introduced to j’s friends.

j: hey! so this is dylan. he invented a video game. i saw it. he is going to teach me how to do one too!
j’s friends: ohhh.
j: oh, and this (looking in my direction) is kelsi. she, hmmm, is related to my dad.
j’s friends:
j: oh, and dylan showed me how he invented his game. it is like a blah, blah, blah.

apparently making pillows, advocating for children’s rights, and owning chickens does not equate cool points with middle school boys.  the husband and i laughed and laughed about this.

after the band performance we headed to our hotel to let me get off my feet for a while. it was necessary.  after a couple hours we headed to his alma mater, winthrop university.  in the 11 years the husband and i have been together, we have never visited.  it was a real treat and loved watching him relive so many fond memories.

it is a beautiful campus and it was nice to visit a place that means so much to him.  winthrop is located in rock hill, south carolina, just outside of charlotte.  similarly i have many fond memories of rock hill.  we did the math and realized that around the time he was starting college, i was also in rock hill playing softball with my traveling team.  oh there were many blistering hot softball filled weekends in rock hill.  it was fun to relive both our memories.

if you are ever in rock hill, we highly recommend erin’s restaurant. i know, clever name. it was phenomenal and she uses local, organic farmers for her meats and vegs.  it was delicious!

after a restful night, we were up at the crack of dawn for our early flight to JAMAICA! i was excited to see gluten free options in the airport. i am definitely not one of elisabeth hasslebeck’s fans BUT her gluten free protein bars are amazingly delicious.

it was about this point while looking around at our fellow passengers, that we quickly realized how thankful we were not to be staying at one of the larger resorts. maybe it was just that crowd, but the 20 something honeymooners were pretty obnoxious, before the flight departed we were already craving some alone time.  that or we are just getting grouchy with our old age!

one of the huge benefits of staying where we did was transportation was included.  we had our own driver so we didn’t have to worry about catching a bus or renting a car.  neville greeted us as soon as we walked outside of the airport in jamaica and we immediately felt comfortable.  i highly recommend taking the early flight into jamaica. the airport was EMPTY when we arrived and there was no wait to get through customs.

the drive from the airport to our villa was about 2 hours.  jamaican roads are curvy and very bumpy.  not great for a herniated disk.  we planned with our driver the perfect spot about halfway to stop for an early lunch. we stopped at border jerk restaurant.  no tourists. the look on our faces must have been one of panic because as soon as we got out of the car, neville smiled and said to us, “don’t be scared. its no problem.”  boy was it not.  it was delicious!  we ordered from the chalkboard 4 item menu 1/4 chicken and 1/4 pork. it was brought to us in aluminum foil. at this point i was having flashbacks of guatemala but we dove in as there were groups of locals watching us.  did i mention it was delicious?! it was.

then we made the final trek to our home for the upcoming week.  words can’t describe the views. the beauty. the turquoise carribean ocean. the private pool that we couldn’t wait to take a dip in.  it was all overwhelmingly beautiful.

below is our living room that opened out to the dining room.

i loved that the home was furnished and decorated with real jamaican wood and art. it was stunning.

the chairs where many nights were spent playing scrabble.

the master bedroom.

our pool overlooking the ocean.

the gardens right outside the master bedroom.

below our villa was a private gazebo.  80% of our time was spent here.  there was an amazing ocean breeze and lots of shade.

day one and we already knew we were in heaven.  literally, this was going to be a vacation like no other.

and food. lets talk about food. it was all-inclusive and beyond.  we had our own chef that cooked our lunches and dinners.  our housekeeper made our breakfasts.  and the dinners, oh my.  all the food was amazing but the dinners were a feast.  the huge advantage for me was having an on site chef that knew about my food allergy and understood the importance of keep my food gluten free.  it was a blessing beyond belief.  and he completely spoiled me as you will see later in the week.

day one, neville who was also our butler, found us in the gazebo.  in hand, plantain chips with sorrell jam and two frozen drinks.  because i was still on pain meds i couldn’t drink the good stuff, he remembered this and brought papaya smoothies.

our first dinner went like this:
the above appetizer.
soup: pumpkin
main course: stuffed lion fish with sautéed vegetables and coconut rice.
dessert: dylan got a slice of key lime pie with coconut ice cream or as neville called it, “a combo.” and i was served coconut ice cream.  oh and it was homemade ice cream.

needless to say, at this point we were in awe.  in awe of this place.  in awe of the kindness of our new friends.  and in awe that we finally made it.  herniated disk and all.