Category Archives: Leeward Islands

Exploring Sint Maarten with kids.

Traveling to Caribbean Sint Maarten, always was an expensive adventure, especially traveling with kids.

Calculating expenses, we found out that airflight takes half of budget.

Knowing that usually prices drop in October/November, then first week of January, and after April 15th, trips could become affordable with  Westjet, Sunwing, or Transat… We use mostly www.travelation.com or selloffvacations.com, or direct websites from airlines www.westjet.com, or aircanada.com, aa.com

Marigot Harbour in Saint Martin
Marigot Harbour Saint Martin

Last year our family stayed in villa on French side in Concordia district in Marigot.

Marigot
Marigot, Saint Martin , French West Indies

It was good immersion into local life, and good practice of French for kids.  We hiked on Fort Louis in Marigot, Tree Top Trekked at Loterie Farm, took windsurfing lessons on Galleon Beach (nearby is Butterfly Farm), fine dined in Grand Case, snorkelled and sun bathed on Friars Bay. The shopping we did in “U” supermarket, and fresh bread in local boulangeries. Few times we visited Grand Case for a nice evening stroll, beach comb and fancy dinner combination.

Saint Martin
Marketplace in Marigot, Saint Martin

From nearby Marigot Sea Port we took day trips to Anguilla and St.Barth. One day we spent in LoterieFarm. It’s a place to spend a whole day, first to go on Fly Zone (like Tree Top trek), and then soak and rest in the pool. We noticed many local families spent time on weekends here. I think our favourite beach in St.Martin is still on Happy Bay, and the runner up will be Friars Bay Beach.

Philipsburg, Sint Maarten
Philipsburg- the capital of Dutch side in Sint Maarten.

The choice and variety of hotels is also great in Dutch St.Maartten, from casino hotels, down to small boutique inns. We chose Joshua Rose guest house this time, cause of the good balance, price , location, and facilities.

Guest house located in the heart of Philipsburg, with easy access to transportation, beaches grocery stores and good restaurants. For dinner our favorite was “Green House” restaurant, with it’s great service, good variety and price combination. One evening we visited acclaimed “L’Escargot” with classy service and beautiful ambiance. Yes, it’s pricey, but you pay what you get, once for the trip is great. For lunch there are good places to eat like “GUSTO”, and few Chinese restaurants nearby.
I should mention the trip to “The Carousel” ice cream shop it’s well worth after lunch, and explore sophistication in ice cream variety. (Actually I tried once “Heineken Ice Cream”. It tasted good!). There are lots of photographs on display with famous people eating ice cream. Our kids, 8 and11, are too big for the Carousel to sit on, but they still enjoy the rides.

On the property of DIVI Resort, there are ruins of Fort Amsterdam, from there is a nice view of Philipsburg and Point Blanche Cruise Ship Terminal,. We spent hours there watching pelicans catch fish in blue waters down the cliff.

Sint Maarten
3D view of Maho Beach in Sint Maarten

Yes, we have to mention famous “Maho Beach”. The best time is after 1pm, when KLM / Airfrance jumbo jet is landing. It is really spectacular moment, quick and scary. Expect to see lots of tourists with cameras there.

 

News From St.Kitts . August 2015 issue

St. Kitts Tourism Updates 

What’s New and Noteworthy on Island

Basseterre, St. Kitts –– The St. Kitts Tourism Authority summarizes the most recent tourism-related news, events and developments from the island, as follows-

Visitor Arrivals:

A proactive approach to building and supporting airlift services from key source markets continues to produce positive results.  Full year 2014 year-to-date scheduled arrivals posted a 6.5% year-over-year gain as compared to full year 2013.  From North America, total arrivals also continue to register strong growth, posting a 7.1% year-over-year increase.  For the first six months of 2015, system-wide scheduled arrivals posted a 6.7% increase over the same period in 2014.  From North America, total arrivals posted a 6.4% year-over-year increase.  Contributing to the continued growth are the capacity increases from the second Miami weekend flights, Seaborne and the additional April operations of Air Canada and Delta.  Delta is once again operating non-stop flights to St. Kitts from ATL year-round, plus the flight will be returning early from its fall hiatus with operations resuming as of November 7, 2015; American Airlines provided double daily flights during the holiday period from December 18, 2014 through January 12, 2015.  American Airlines also added Sunday non-stop flights from JFK operating June 21 through August 16, 2015, which complement the carrier’s Saturday non-stop JFK-SKB flights. In May 2015, St. Kitts welcomed new 3x weekly (Monday, Wednesday, Friday) non-stop flights from Barbados on Liat, complementing the carrier’s daily service to island from Antigua and St. Maarten. Further, Seaborne Airlines and JetBlue Airways, which is the largest carrier flying into San Juan, have finalized terms to begin a codeshare marketing relationship, expanding upon the carriers’ successful interline agreement in place since 2013, making St. Kitts will a JetBlue destination, with JetBlue flights from the US via San Juan to St. Kitts available for booking.  On August 10, it was announced that United Airlines is launching inaugural non-stop service from its New York hub at Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) to St. Kitts. Starting December 19, 2015, the flights will operate weekly on Saturdays through April 30, 2016.

Private Jet Terminal:

Construction is complete on the new private jet terminal, which opened in June 2014. The private jet terminal is a world-class facility at St. Kitts’ Robert L. Bradshaw International Airport located west of the main airport parking apron.  It consists of world class YU Lounge arrival and departure lounges, a dedicated crew lounge, a business center and related offices and processing facilities, as well as an elegantly landscaped courtyard.  YU Lounge services include greeting on the runway and transportation in a luxury vehicle to the facility, baggage handling, seamless customs and immigration processing, mouth-watering finger foods and complimentary beverages. Available to guests arriving by private jet or commercial aircraft, amenities of the facility include Apple computers, plush seating areas, bathrooms including showers and an outdoor lounge area (in the departures lounge). Further, the facility features fully equipped meeting rooms with complimentary wi-fi, device charging facilities, gourmet catering services and dedicated secretarial services. For private aircraft the facility provides a diverse range of FBO and aircraft dispatch services, including specialized and tailored services to accommodate operators and executives. The total cost of the final project estimated at US $15 million. The terminal has been constructed by Veling Limited and operated by Leeward Flight Services with full ownership to be transferred to The St. Christopher Air and Sea Ports Authority (SCASPA) at the end of the concession contract period.  Veling Limited is a global aviation solution provider with offices in Mauritius and London.  The architect and interior decorator for the new terminal is internationally acclaimed Bobby Mukherji & Associates, one of India’s top ten design firms.

New Resort Developments:

Kittitian Hill – As of December 2014, the 84-unit cottage hotel plus with seven, four-bedroom Farmhouses named ‘Belle Mont Farm’ is open to welcome guests.  Kittitian Hill has also opened The Kitchen Restaurant and The Mill Bar, also making their formal debut in December 2014.   Belle Mont Farm on Kittitian Hill immerses guests in local culture and heritage, an organic farming community, and distinct farm-to-table culinary experiences. Wellness offerings elevate mind, body and spirit. Kittitian Hill’s organic farm offers a world-class collection of exotic fruits and vegetables, with accommodations thoughtfully sowed in the landscape. Designed by award-winning world-renowned architect Bill Bensley, the hotel features panoramic views of the Caribbean Sea and neighbouring islands such as St Barths. Belle Mont Farm amenities include the Irie Fields Golf Course and The Workshop fitness centre. Set on a stunning 400-acre hillside site in the Northern part of St. Kitts, Kittitian Hill will upon completion consist of a cottage style hotel, creative arts centre, golf course and destination spa featuring indigenous treatments. Kittitian Hill is a contemporary Caribbean community for sustainable luxury living founded on the principles of holistic development based on environmental and community responsibility.  It is a member of the Preferred Residences® exchange network, a hospitality branded membership and exchange program for luxury shared ownership resorts offered by an operating business of Interval Leisure Group.

Park Hyatt – Groundbreaking on the Park Hyatt hotel at Banana Bay, Christophe Harbour, took place on June 3, 2013 and construction is underway on several buildings.  The final project will feature 200 hotel rooms and 50 branded residential condominiums. Phase One of construction has begun and will include the completion of 134 hotel guest rooms and related service facilities, conceptualized around a Caribbean village theme. Phase One of construction is scheduled for completion in late spring 2016.  The second phase of construction will include the completion of the remaining guest rooms and additional facilities. Development continues on the Christophe Harbour marina, with the naturally protected harbor to include 300 berths with the ability to accommodate the world’s largest superyachts, with the first yachts welcoming ceremony held at the end of 2014 and the official opening held on February 14, 2015marking completion of Phase One of the marina development. Christophe Harbour has also constructed an authentic, upscale beach club with a dock located around the old salt factory at WhiteHouse Bay, named SALT Plage, which opened in June 2014. The Christophe Harbour Development Company, Ltd (CHDC) is the master developer for Christophe Harbour, a luxury resort development currently underway.  Located on 2,500+ acres of the southeastern peninsula of St. Kitts, plans include a mega-yacht harbor, marina, Tom Fazio championship golf course and an impressive collection of restaurants, shops, boutiques, five-star hotels, oceanfront and hillside homesites and villas. Kier, a global construction company based in the UK and a publicly listed FTSE 250 company, is the main contractor for Phase One of the construction of Park Hyatt St. Kitts.  Kier’s plans for the development include providing employment in construction and maximizing the use of local materials and resources.  Approximately 350 construction jobs and additional training program jobs are expected to be created in Phase One.

Embassy Suites by Hilton St. Kitts – Announced on May 6, 2015 by Hilton Hotels following the signing of a franchise agreement with Caribbean-based developers Sterling Developments, the 226-suite hotel is currently in construction and scheduled to debut in the first quarter of 2017.  The condo hotel complex will include six towers, 3,847 square feet of meeting space, an infinity pool, a fitness center spa and kids’ club.  All Embassy Suites by Hilton signature spacious signature suites will have direct views of the Caribbean as well as a separate living area, private bedroom and wet bar fitted with a microwave, mini-fridge and coffee maker.  The new hotel will also offer the Embassy Suites brand’s signature features, such as an inviting atrium environment, where guests will have access to complimentary cooked-to-order breakfast and Evening Reception with complimentary appetizers and beverage. Restaurant facilities on the resort will include a three-meal restaurant, a specialty restaurant, and a pool and beach bar. The Embassy Suites by Hilton St. Kitts will be located in Pelican Bay, which is an exclusive private cove nestled on seven acres of gently sloping land, cascading down to a private beach on the Caribbean side of the island. Once complete, the hotel will offer easy access to the area’s main roads and downtown attractions, and is only 10 minutes away from Robert L. Bradshaw International Airport. The Embassy Suites will be Hilton’s first property in St. Kitts & Nevis.  Hilton Worldwide currently has 20 hotels open or in the pipeline throughout the Caribbean. Groundbreaking for the US $90 million development took place on March 11, 2013.

Koi Resort & Residences – First announced in February 2013, the first concrete pour took place in September 2014 and construction is underway on the US $180 million 298-unit Koi Resort & Residences in St. Kitts’ Half Moon Bay.  Piling has been completed and Phase One is scheduled for completion in December 2015 and will include the development’s first 80 rooms along with its beach bar, spa, conference room and fitness facility.  Situated on 16 acres of prime beachfront property adjacent to the Royal St. Kits Golf Club, it will feature 24 Half Moon Villas and 12 waterside villas with the rest being studio and one-bedroom units.  The mixed-use resort development will also include the renowned Koi Restaurant, beach club, and an exclusive ultra-lounge, all with a design that will combine colonial and modern architecture to capture the definition of rustic luxury.  An internationally-known brand with properties in the US, Thailand and Abu Dhabi, Koi Resort & Residences will blend the natural beauty of its beachfront location to create an architectural story of one living with nature.  All luxury villas and suites will have sweeping ocean views and guests will have access to a variety of state of the art resort features upon completion, including banquet and special event facilities, bars and restaurants, a destination spa, swimming pools and a wide variety of sports and leisure activities.

Imperial Bay Beach & Golf Residences – The US $10 million Imperial Bay Beach & Golf Residences broke ground on March 11, 2013 with construction, now well underway, having started at the end of May 2014.  The target date for completion of the project has been set for the second half of 2015.  Buildings 1 and 2, on which structures are completed and finishes have recently started, will house 12 units each on two levels. Buildings 3 and 4, which have started work on the second and third levels, will have three levels with each comprising 18 units and buildings 5 and 6, which are in the final stage of completing works on the first level, will also have three levels with a small basement with each building comprising 18 units, office and storage space. Set in St. Kitts’ Half Moon Bay adjacent to the Koi Resort & Residences, the project consists of six two- and three-story buildings housing 86 contemporary and traditionally-styled one bedroom condominium units with Atlantic Ocean views of Nevis as well as views of a lake and the Royal St. Kitts Golf Course.  It will also feature a common area with an office and leisure room, a swimming pool and manicured landscaping.

Silver Reef Resort – Phase One and Two of construction on this 90-room luxury residential development, which began in April 2011 and consisted of 36 one- and two-bedroom apartments each, is complete.  Groundbreaking for the Final Phase of construction took place on January 16, 2014.  Located at the front of the property, it will consist of two additional buildings comprised of three-bedroom apartments that are each 1,650 square feet.  These three-bedroom units will be the resort’s premium product and boast access to its three pools as well as views of the Royal St. Kitts golf course.   Set in the Frigate Bay area of St. Kitts adjacent to the Royal St. Kitts Golf Course and ten minutes outside Basseterre, this US $30 million development features villas and apartments in one- and two-bedroom configurations with spectacular views of both the Caribbean and Atlantic.  Silver Reef Resort also features landscaped gardens and freeform, infinity-edge swimming pools.  Built eco-sensitively, it employs a combination of common sense principles like orienting the buildings to optimize the breeze, recycling grey water, use of solar power and sourcing local materials to minimize the carbon footprint.

Pirate’s Nest Resort – Pirate’s Nest is a US $40 million, 246-room condominium hotel project in Frigate Bay being developed by T-Loft Property Development. Located on a 7.1-acre site, it will feature 41 condominium units in six independent buildings, each with three floors.  Groundbreaking took place in December 2013 and construction began in February 2015.

Existing Resort Developments:

Ocean Terrace Inn – Following an extensive renovation including rooms, restaurants and public spaces taking place in 2014 and early 2015, this iconic St. Kitts property reopened April 1, 2015.  The Ocean Terrace Inn (OTI) will now be marketed as a four-star property and feature 50 rooms and suites, each with their own private patio or balcony and a bright new Caribbean look.  There will be free Wi-Fi throughout the hotel and connections in guestrooms as well as a focus on hospitality and service to deliver a memorable experience.  The former Waterfalls restaurant has undergone a remodeling and will reopen as The Verandah, featuring Caribbean-Asian Fusion cuisines and sweeping views over the harbor and Basseterre.  The restaurant earns its name from its nine-foot wrap-around verandah, with seating either inside or outside. Located across the street and stretching out over the water, the property’s Fisherman’s Wharf restaurant was transformed in December 2013 with a contemporary modern decor and colorful accessories, open Display Kitchen, new Bar & Lounge and refreshed menus.

New Tourism Attractions:

St. Kitts Eco-Park – Tucked quietly into the hillside of the northern portion of St. Kitts, the 20-acre  St. Kitts Eco-Park is the island’s newest tourism attraction.  Created by the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis and the Republic of China (Taiwan) working in collaboration, it opened its doors to the public in November 2014.  The Park boasts the Caribbean’s largest greenhouse and offers picturesque scenic views of Mount Liamuiga, Brimstone Hill and the neighboring islands of St. Eustasius, Saba and even St. Barts.  Visitors can explore the St. Kitts Tourist Center and the Taiwan Tourist Center to learn more about both cultures as well as how the Park integrates the ideas and practice of tourism, agriculture and green energy.  For example, solar panels provide a significant portion of the Farm’s energy and all buildings were constructed using GRC (glass-fiber reinforced concrete) material, which is three times lighter and five times harder than normal concrete.  Guests can stroll the expansive grounds and enjoy focal spots like the medicine herbs garden with plants from both countries, the open-air tea house, the rose garden, the butterfly orchard, the desert plants garden, and a wide range of tropical fruit trees and crops. A visual highlight of the Farm is the “Sugarcane Labyrinth” shaped to represent both St. Kitts & Nevis and Taiwan, commemorating the sugar industry that was once an economic driver in both nations.  Inside the greenhouse, discover a large central space filled with plants as well as a dedicated area for growing different varieties of orchid.  The entrance fee for visitors is just US $8 per adult and US $4 per child.

Upcoming Events:

20th Annual St. Kitts Music Festival – For those who like to plan ahead, the dates for the next year’s St. Kitts Music Festival have been set for Thursday, June 23 through Saturday, June 25, 2016. Particularly for lovers of music and travel, this event is an ideal opportunity to combine a Caribbean island getaway with a fantastic musical event.  Taking place over the course of three nights, the sounds of popular local and international performers can be heard throughout Warner Park Stadium, where the event is held each year.  Having become known for featuring a mix of musical styles on the market, including R&B, Jazz, Hip-Hop, Reggae and more, there are sure to be songs for nearly everyone’s musical preference. Past artists have included such top acts as John Legend, Jason Derulo, Ciara, Trey Songz, T-Pain, Michael Bolton, KC & the Sunshine Band, Wyclef Jean, Air Supply, Billy Ocean, Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds, Sean Paul, King Konris, Stephen Marley, Biggie Irie and Maxi Priest.  For the latest news and updates about this year’s event, follow the St. Kitts Music Festival on Facebook.  Videos of past Festivals can also be found on YouTube.

Recently Earned Awards & Recognitions 

With various new luxury developments making debuts in 2014 – including the openings of Belle Mont Farm at Kittitian HillSalt Plage beach bar and the super-yacht marina at Christophe Harbour, and the YU Lounge Private Jet Terminal, all taking place within the past year – a number of top publications have named the island among the hottest places to travel for 2015.  Here are just a few of the most recent-

 

About St. Kitts:

Located in the northern Leeward Islands of the Caribbean, St. Kitts offers a diverse tourism product developed from the destination’s natural beauty, cultural heritage and rich history.  The island’s stunning variety of tourism attractions include hiking or ziplining through the tropical rainforest, riding the Caribbean’s only scenic passenger which connects the island’s former sugar plantations, visiting the Caribelle Batik factory, and touring Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park, which is the only man-made UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Eastern Caribbean. Among the more traditional vacation pastimes available are watersports, golf, shopping, tennis, dining, gaming at St. Kitts’ exclusive casino or simply relaxing on a sandy beach.  Accommodations range from intimate plantation inns to larger hotels and resorts.

For more information about St. Kitts, please contact the St. Kitts Tourism Authority toll free from the US at 1-800-582-6208 or from Canada 1-888-395-4887, e-mail info@stkittstourism.kn, visit www.stkittstourism.kn, or connect on FacebookTwitter and/or YouTube.

Focus on Ian ‘Sugar George’ Edwards of Sunset Homes

shelleciaB posted: “Focus on Ian ‘Sugar George’ Edwards of Sunset Homes Ian ‘Sugar George’ Edwards is a true master of his craft. He has no formal architectural education yet his creative mind allows him to imagine, design and build architectural works of art. Along with h”

St.Patrick’s Day recipes from Paul Rankin

St Patrick’s Day Recipes from Paul Rankin

For Immediate Release

(11 March 2014, Toronto, ON) — Wishing you a Happy St Patrick’s Day, Northern Ireland’s Celebrity Chef Paul Rankin shares his favorite Irish recipes to enjoy on March 17th. Please feel free to publish, share and post.

St Patrick’s Day is a great time to celebrate all that is wonderful about Irish produce and cooking. So what could be better than using the whole day to celebrate the culinary delights of the Emerald Isle? I have selected one of my favourite St Patrick’s inspired recipes for you to try at home. Make this St Patrick’s Day one to remember with this Irish Coffee Tart & Brown Bread Parfait.” Paul Rankin

Irish Coffee Tart

A dark and sumptuous tart with smooth chocolate as the background for the coffee and whiskey flavors. The ultimate touch is the Bailey’s Irish cream in the topping, but you could leave that out if preferred.

SERVES 8 – 10

INGREDIENTS:

For the base:

125 g. unsalted butter, diced
25 g. soft golden brown sugar
45 g. sugar
125 g. plain flour
1 ½ Tbsp. cornflour
pinch of salt
175 g. toasted hazelnuts, roughly chopped

for the tart filling:

300 ml. double cream
100 ml. single cream
100 ml. Bushmill’s Irish whiskey
300 g. dark chocolate, finely chopped
100 g. milk chocolate, finely chopped
2 Tbsp. coffee extract ( or very strong coffee )
2 eggs

for the topping:

½ leaf or 1 tsp. powdered gelatine
250 ml. whipping cream
150 g. icing sugar
4 Tbsp. Bailey’s Irish Cream

METHOD:

Preheat the oven to 170’C. / 325’F.

Process the butter, sugars, flour, corn flour, salt, and half of the prepared hazelnuts to a crumbly texture and pat into the base of a 23 cm. springform tin in an even layer. Bake for 20 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool.

Reduce the oven temperature to 160’C. / 310’F.

For the filling, bring the double and single creams to the boil together, remove from heat, and add the Bushmill’s and coffee extract. Cool slightly before stirring in the chopped chocolates. Stir and when they have melted, stir in the eggs. Pour the filling over the cooked base, and bake on the centre shelf of the oven for approx. 20 minutes until just set, but still slightly wobbly at the centre. Remove from the oven and let cool completely.

To make the topping, soften the gelatine in 2 Tbsp. cold water for a few minutes, heat gently to dissolve, then set aside to cool slightly. Beat the whipping cream until it forms soft peaks, sift in the icing sugar, and mix in the gelatine and Bailey’s. Spread in an even layer over the chocolate filling and leave to set.

Serve in slices with a chocolate sauce and lightly whipped cream with the remaining hazelnuts scattered over and around the cake.

Brown Bread Parfait with Bushmills Prunes

SERVES 4 – 6

INGREDIENTS:

FOR THE PARFAIT;

70 g. white chocolate, chopped
175 ml. Double cream
2 Tbsp. milk
¼ vanilla pod, split
3 egg yolks
1 Tbsp. sugar
2 Tbsp. Bushmills whiskey
175 g. Irwin’s stoneground brown soda bread, crusts removed, and broken up to pea size crumbs

FOR THE PRUNES:

200 ml. Water
50 ml. Orange juice
175 g. sugar
½ lemon1/2 orange
120 g. pitted prunes
4 – 6 Tbsp. Bushmills whiskey

METHOD:

To make the parfait, melt the white chocolate. Place half the cream, the milk, and the
vanilla on to boil in a small pan.

Whisk the egg yolks and sugar together in a bowl until the sugar has dissolved. When the cream mix has come to the boil, slowly pour it on to the yolk/sugar mixture, whisking continuously. Return to a medium heat and cook out over a low heat until the custard is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. When it is ready, strain through a fine sieve into a mixing bowl, and allow to cool slightly.

Add the custard to the melted chocolate, and fold in the bread crumbs. Place in the fridge to chill for about ½ hour.

Whip the remaining cream until it forms soft peaks, then fold it and the Bushmills together with the custard mix.

Pour into individual ramekins, ( approx. 100 ml. Size ) and place in the freezer, for at least 2 – 3 hours, or even over night. ( If it is too hard, take from freezer to fridge for about an hour or two before serving. )

Place the water, orange juice, sugar, orange, and lemon in a medium pan, and bring to the boil. Add the prunes, cover, and summer gently until soft, about 20 minutes. Take off the heat, remove the lemon half, and orange half, and add the Bushmills. Set to one side.

To serve, demold by dipping each ramekin into hot water for a couple seconds, just to loosen, and then run a sharp knife around the edge. Carefully tip out the parfait into the centre of each plate, and surround with the Bushmill laced prunes, and a little of the prune juice. Garnish with mint and icing sugar as desired.

Serve and enjoy!

www.ireland.com
www.rankinselection.com

Celebrate St.Patrick’s in Toronto!

Ireland Invites the World to Celebrate St Patrick’s Day & The Gathering

TORONTO, ON (March 11, 2013) — In 2013, the year of ‘The Gathering’, Ireland prepares to celebrate its national holiday with the biggest and brightest St Patrick’s Festival ever. From Dublin to Downpatrick, from Belfast to Boyle St Patrick’s Day is an unforgettable celebration in Ireland and we’re inviting the world to join the party!

Speaking about St Patrick’s Day 2013, Jayne Shackleford Manager of Tourism Ireland Canada said “Every year we look forward to St Patrick’s Day celebrations as it is wonderful to feel that unmistakable bond around the world on Ireland’s national holiday, especially in this year, the year of The Gathering – the greatest Irish get together of all time! The motto of The Gathering is ‘be part of it’ and there has never been a better time to do so in Ireland where an array of superb music, literature, culture and history awaits.”

The People’s Parade

In recognition of The Gathering Ireland 2013, the year when the Emerald Isle hosts a 365 day party of festivals and events, the St Patrick’s Day Parade in Dublin will burst with even more Irish magic as ‘The People’s Parade’ welcomes thousands of participants from all over the world to walk the city’s famous cobbled street. For the first time in the parade’s history 8,000 people will have the chance to ‘be part of’ the spectacular parade procession and over 300 Canadians are expected to be there at the heart of The Gathering – marching, dancing and jumping through the 2.5km route across Dublin’s historic fair city. Over half a million spectators will line Dublin’s streets cheering on the procession and soaking up the electric party atmosphere.

This festive feeling reverberates up and down the island of Ireland as parades in every shade of green, and all shapes and sizes get underway. It’s this exciting combination of colourful floats, marching bands, dancers, street performers, and that inimitable Irish craic that makes Ireland THE place to be on March 17 … we’ll see you there!

Seasons Greenings in Toronto & Ottawa

St Patrick’s Day is the national holiday celebrated in more countries than any other, and some of the world’s most famous sites and attractions have signed up to salute their Irish cousins and be part of Tourism Ireland’s ‘Global Greening’ initiative. Egypt’s Pyramids of Giza; Christ the Redeemer in Rio De Janeiro; the Las Vegas ‘Welcome’ Sign; the Sydney Opera House; New York’s Empire State Building and Table Mountain in South Africa are just some of the famous sites “going green” and sharing in the Irish spirit of fun, immersion and participation.

In 2013, for the very first time, Toronto’s CITY HALL will “go green” turning its spectacular towers green on March 16 & 17 and Ottawa’s MUSEUM OF NATURE will have a “Green Lantern” as the Museum plans to illuminate its famous rooftop Queen’s Lantern with sparkling emerald lights. These beautiful buildings light the way for Canadian’s to join the fun of Tourism Ireland ‘Great Green Off’, a worldwide online contest at www.facebook.com/DiscoverIrelandCA where Canadians can create and share their own ‘Greening’ video or picture – with the best submission scoring a ‘Gathering’ trip to Ireland this year for the winner and five friends!

About St Patrick’s Day & The Gathering

Born Maewyn Succat in 385 AD in the Welsh town of Banwen, he was then captured by Gaelic slave traders at the age of 16 and sold to an Irish sheep farmer. Enslaved for six years, during which he turned to Christianity for comfort until he escaped at the age of 22, he spent the next 12 years living in a British monastery. It was there that he adopted the name Patrick. Saint Patrick later returned to Ireland as a bishop with the task of spreading Christianity to pagan Ireland. Visitors to Ireland today can visit Saint Patrick’s burial place at Down Cathedral in Downpatrick, Co Down.

In addition to honoring the great Irish saint, St. Patrick’s Day represents worldwide unification and a sense of global community to those who are Irish-born, of Irish descent or Irish like-mindedness as they come together. This feeling of togetherness is strongly felt in the year of The Gathering which includes the St Patrick’s Festival season among 3,000 festivals and events taking place nationwide. The Gathering is a year-long celebration of Ireland’s people, its unique culture, heritage and rich history. It is about the people of Ireland throwing open their arms and inviting anyone who feels a connection to Ireland to come and visit in 2013.

So go ahead, Jump In!

Find out more about visiting Ireland on www.ireland.com

Montserrat:Still Home… Still Nice…!!!

Hi everyoneFor those who don’t already know, Pat Belonger Ryan’s song ‘Still Home Still Nice’ has been entered for the BBC World Service Hear my country competition, where a song is chosen which best represents a particular country. The competition is mounted by The Strand, an arts and culture programme on the BBC World Service. The song is accompanied by a set of lovely photos illustrating different aspects of life on Montserrat. To assist the choice of this song, people are invited, if they wish, to e-mail The Strand programme, proposing this song to be chosen to represent Montserrat in the Hear my country competition. One should briefly state one’s reasons for proposing this song, or why you think it should be chosen.The song and photos can be heard and viewed on You Tube at the following link:- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LawBv6tpWQo Make sure to include this link in your letter to the BBC.The e-mail address to write to is worldservice.letters@bbc.co.uk and the SUBJECT line should say The Strand, hear my country, Montserrat to help it get to the right department. Just encouraging people to support this effort. You can also click on ‘like’ on You Tube if you like it.Best wishes to allCathy Buffonge

Give and Get Caribbean Getaway !!!

Give and Get 

“Care to win a trip to Anguilla, Puerto Rico, St Barth, St Martin or Nevis, while enabling a scholarship for a child in need?

For the past 18 years, the Teacher Gloria Omololu Institute, has been delivering education with a focus on holistic and modern approach to learning. Located on the small island of Anguilla, the school caters to local, regional and expatriate children from 11 different countries all over the World.

Fundraising is a key component to sustaining and growing our student base and 100% of the funds collected are going towards enabling a child’s education during the 2013 – 2014 school year. With the help of our wonderful sponsors, we’re giving away 6 Caribbean luxury getaways to Anguilla, St Barth, Nevis, Puerto Rico and two to St Martin and special perks such as dinners, massages, boat transfer and an airfare voucher.

Here’s how it works:

GIVE – $39 or more to the OmololuSchool.org scholarship fund and enable a child’s education

GET – the chance to win one of 6 Caribbean Getaways to Nevis, Anguilla, St Barth, St Martin or Puerto Rico.

Help us help a child in need and go to http://omololuschool.org/giveandget/ to get all the details and your tickets, drawings will be held weekly starting on February 16, 2013. These Caribbean Getaway tickets make thoughtful gifts you can feel good about giving to friends and family!

Your support of this great cause for a chance to win a Caribbean getaway is greatly appreciated!”

For details please click here:Give and Get Caribbean Getaway

Kyiv Edwards’ Peace speech at Peace Celebrating Event in Anguilla. December 2012 (Full version)

Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen

Kindly permit me to adopt the protocol that has already been established. I am honoured to stand before you this evening to offer some thoughts about youth and peace. After all, when we address the youth…we are in fact addressing our leaders in training who will have the precious task of leading our communities and nations tomorrow.

Peace is precious. It must be nurtured, maintained and defended. Peace does not exist by accident or by chance, but instead, results from an enlightened choice made on an individual level…a family level…a community level and a global level. We must remain united in our hunger to achieve peace – this treasure, must be sought out, cherished and protected.

The words tolerance, justice, human rights and harmony are not flowery concepts to be discussed only in fancy conferences at certain times a year – but instead, we need to engage in peace conversations at home, at school and on the neighbourhood block if we are to achieve real change that will touch lives. Peace is not simply the absence of war! Peace affects the very basis of a human being’s existence, a person’s freedom to exist from fear and to pursue a respectable quality of life, free to dream and strive to achieve their full potential and happiness. We need to work towards peace in every home, school and neighbourhood in Anguilla.

I will share today 2 ideas that we as a community can pro-actively engage in, to play our part in pursuing peace within our hearts, our families, our nation and by extension our world.

Let Youths Have A Voice on Life’s Issues and Decision-Making

Albert Einstein once said, that we cannot solve a problem with the same mindset in which we created the problem. Therefore we need to harness fresh insight and in doing so, we cannot forget the input of our youth. Experienced wisdom can only be strengthened by adding innovative, youthful perspectives.

We must not wait, for our young people to grow up, before allowing them a voice and lending them an ear, as they share their fears, frustrations, aspirations, challenges and ideas. We as a community, need to engage our youth in real discussions and allow them to participate in problem-solving, decision-making and brainstorming to solve the violence and other challenges in our land. Youth are capable of contributing fresh, pure, creative mindsets and are full of passion and enthusiasm on many life issues. Check young people on the park when Stoney Ground comes up against The Valley at football!! Pandamonium in de place!

Let us engage and channel this energy, into productive output through debates, music, the arts, sports and various community support programs such as youth groups, youth councils and youth centers.

The powers that be, need to invest in infrastructure and innovative new ideas for sports and education and other important vehicles that can powerfully shape the lives of our youths. If youths feel like part of the decisions that affect them in their community, they will buy in to the solutions and support the cause and be more at peace within the community.

Parents, although we may be at the teenage stage, seeking more independence and challenging your views, do not abandon us. Many times when a child reaches Campus B at the age of twelve, parents would say “he out of the way”. No! I beg to differ. It is actually at this stage that we desperately need support and guidance as we face lots of decisions, conflicting emotions and divergent pathways. Parents, we need you more when we are 13, than we needed you when we were 5. Stay close to us and be there for us.

Youths Step Up!

As young people we need to Step Up on our game! If we want our voices heard by the older, wiser heads, we also need to be able to reflect on life and articulate our thoughts and ideas to the leaders of the land. We have to show ourselves responsible and worthy of being heard. Just like we can rally together, for Sports Day and Jeans Day Jam, we need to also band together, to help our peers to make good and sometimes difficult choices, during our challenging teen years.

We need to set personal goals in various areas of our life, to give ourselves a sense of purpose, so we can enjoy a sense of achievement. We know what they say about idle hands! Yes they make mischief. Whatever your talent or whatever your gift, tune into it and work hard to achieve your aspirations. This way you will find peace within yourself and therefore can maintain harmonious relationships with your family members, friends, peers and the wider community. Be open to the love and support of your family, teachers, coaches and mentors. We may sometimes not agree with their point of view, but their efforts are always grounded in love and life wisdom.

We all need to play a part in promoting peace which is a pre-requisite for nation building. Our island is young and full of potential and we all need to work hand in hand to achieve a peaceful Anguilla…the landscape for our present and future generations.

Peace out. I thank you.

Thirteen year old Kyiv Edwards is passionate about life. He lives life to its very fullest always…whether by participating in a controversial class discussion, organizing a social activity among his peers or pursuing one of his many hobbies. Kyiv has an engaging and outgoing personality and enjoys social interactions with all age groups. He is a creative, out of the box thinker…always planning some new venture or project and if in doubt, researching Youtube to get ideas as to how to accomplish his goal.

Since primary school Kyiv has had a keen interest in Gourmet Cuisine and has pursued several Culinary courses and has work attachments in six of Anguilla’s top restaurants over the past few years. He enjoys concocting exotic creations to tempt the palette.

Kyiv loves navigating the computer and thanks to special permission by the Board of Governors of the Anguilla Community College, is now pursuing an Advanced Graphics Course at the college, having successfully completed the foundation graphics course last year with an A+ average. Kyiv has launched a Graphics Design services website and is available for jobs in this area.

He is active in several extra-curricular at the ALHCS including Steel Pan Orchestra, Concert Band, Environmental Club, History Club and Debating Club. He loves creating his own music and currently can play the drums, piano, steelpan, recorder and saxophone. He has started experimenting with the harmonica and the base guitar, all enroute to his personal goal of learning how to play a total of 10 instruments during his teen years. Kyiv who attained a Black Belt in Tae Qwondo at the age of 10, has enjoyed playing a variety of sports including tennis, golf, table tennis, swimming, football, cricket, basketball, billiards and sailing.

Kyiv enjoys healthy competition and practical interactive learning opportunities. He is the ultimate salesman…achieving great success in selling items like school journals and hand bands and also has been seen to exert valiant attempts to sell real estate. His career goal is to become a successful computer software designer, marketing his software solutions on the worldwide stage. Kyiv has a natural flair for leadership and operates with the mindset that anything is possible.

Anguilla’s Architecture On The World Stage. December 2012 News

ANGUILLA’S ARCHITECTURE ON THE WORLD STAGE

 The Beach House, Meads Bay, Anguilla        

Ian “Sugar George” Edwards, Architectural Designer and Property Developer of Sunset Homes Anguilla, was honored with five (5) prestigious International Awards for Architecture and Property Development. These globally coveted awards were unveiled and presented at the International Property Awards Ceremony at the exclusive Grosvenor House Hotel on Park Lane, London on December 7th, 2012 .

Over two thousand (2,000) entries were submitted from architects and property developers in eighty-nine (89) countries, from the regions of Asia-Pacific, Africa, Europe, Arabia, USA, United Kingdom, Central and South America and the Caribbean. “Sugar George” edged out his peers and emerged a winner in each of the three (3) levels of the competition. The first stage being at the country level, next the Caribbean region and finally the World level. The competition was judged by a panel of seventy seven highly esteemed international judges in over ten (10) rounds of judging sessions around the world.

As the Architectural Designer & Builder of “ The Beach House” on Meads Bay, described as “a stunning contemporary masterpiece”, “Sugar George” captured awards for: Best Single Property Unit – Anguilla, Best Architecture Single Unit –Anguilla; Best Property Single Unit – Caribbean; Best Architecture Single Unit – Caribbean and the most coveted prize, the sole “World’s Best of the Best” award for the Best International Architecture – Single Residence for 2012-2013.

The Beach House is an elegant 8 bedroom estate which features generous expanses of glass, ensuring a seamless line between the outdoors and indoors; clean and unexpectedly varied geometric lines and shapes, stainless steel trims and touches of warm wood, complemented by oversized stone tiles. The elegant Beach House was designed to capture the natural beauty of Anguilla’s marine-scape, with its spectacular sunsets and ocean views – in effect bringing the stunning outdoors into the daily living experience. The property can be viewed at www.anguillabeachhouse.com

The long established International Property Awards has been a symbol of excellence throughout the global property industry over the past nineteen (19) years. The high profile event also featured a day of networking, presentations and seminars by Property Development, Construction, Interior Design and Architectural Firms from around the globe.

Sunset Homes hosted a dynamic Round Table discussion at the event, at which Ian and Janine Edwards, highlighted aspects of Property Development in Anguilla as well as in the Caribbean, attracting keen interest by attendees.

“It was our intention”, “Sugar George” commented, “to use the opportunity to feature Anguilla as a world class destination, with high quality accommodation and villas, designed to suit even the most discerning traveller.”

The event culminated with a Grand Champagne Reception and Gala Silver Service Dinner and Awards ceremony at which the highly anticipated “World’s Best of the Best” Awards were unveiled.

Ian “Sugar George” Edwards expressed his heartfelt appreciation to his business partners John and Valerie Barker and wife Janine for their creative contribution and invaluable input to the Beach House project. He also lauded the efforts of the Sunset Homes Office and Construction staff with special mention of the CAD team Verna Jerome and Hari Cuffy for their contributions. Gratitude was also expressed to Renante Guinto for his stunning photography of The Beach House and Michelle Owen-Vasilis and Valerie Zaharia for their exquisite artistic renderings of the awards portfolios which were presented in the competition.

Sugar George graciously accepted the exclusive global awards which mark a pinnacle of excellence in the fields of architecture and property development. The accolades attracted significant media attention for the destination of Anguilla, positioning the island as an attractive investment destination, offering first class services in Architecture, Construction and Property Development.

 Lord Michael Bates, Ian “Sugar George” Edwards, Stewart Shield, President, International Property Awards

Lord Michael Bates, Ian “Sugar George” Edwards, Stewart Shield, President, International Property Awards

The Beach House, Meads Bay, Anguilla

The Beach House, Meads Bay, Anguilla