June 30, 2017

Great Sleeps: Magdalena Grand Beach Resort; Scarborough, Tobago


Magdalena Grand Beach Resort  Lowlands, Scarborough, (866) 353-6222.  178 rooms + 22 suites.  3 pools; 2 saunas; fitness center; health spa.  4 restaurants; 3 bars.  Situated on a former sugar cane plantation along 2½ miles of beach, this gorgeous resort has a guard gate and offers an array of facilities that includes a PGA-designed 18-hole golf course, two tennis courts with lights, a kids' club, a children’s playground, a dive center, complimentary bicycles, nature trails, and horseback riding, plus a complimentary shuttle to Pigeon Point Heritage Park and beach twice daily (note that the surf can be dangerous on property, and there is no lifeguard).  Guests are greeted with a welcome fruit punch or rum punch cocktail and a cold towel in the hotel’s open-air lobby that is cooled by island breezes.  Spacious guest rooms all offer ocean views Petitrou Bay and private balconies and feature tiled floors, comfy beds, and both air-conditioning and ceiling fans. Bathrooms have both a shower and a long raised tub, a granite vanity, and luxurious thick towels.  An all-inclusive meal-plan is a worthy option, and the main restaurant serves an inventive menu of regional favorites.  And because the hotel has its own water treatment plan, the water is safe to drink.  It is interesting to know that people who have strokes walk on the sand here because it has many minerals that are supposed to help the condition.  Also, Columbus called Tobago "La Magdalena" when he sighted the island on his third voyage to the New World in 1498 and then landed in the nearby Charlotteville area.  The hotel’s name gives a nod to this fact. 


exterior of Magdalena Grand Beach Resort in Scarborough, Tobago
exterior of Magdalena Grand Beach Resort in Scarborough, Tobago


lobby at Magdalena Grand Beach Resort in Scarborough, Tobago
lobby at Magdalena Grand Beach Resort in Scarborough, Tobago

guest room at Magdalena Grand Beach Resort in Scarborough, Tobago
guest room at Magdalena Grand Beach Resort in Scarborough, Tobago

bathroom at Magdalena Grand Beach Resort in Scarborough, Tobago
bathroom at Magdalena Grand Beach Resort in Scarborough, Tobago

guest room balcony at Magdalena Grand Beach Resort in Scarborough, Tobago
guest room balcony at Magdalena Grand Beach Resort in Scarborough, Tobago

view from guest room balcony at Magdalena Grand Beach Resort in Scarborough, Tobago
view from guest room balcony at Magdalena Grand Beach Resort in Scarborough, Tobago


dessert at Magdalena Grand Beach Resort in Scarborough, Tobago
dessert at Magdalena Grand Beach Resort in Scarborough, Tobago

More things to do in Tobago. 

More things to do in Trinidad.

More ideas for travel adventures in California and the U.S. and around the world.
 
images ©2017 Carole Terwilliger Meyers 


June 28, 2017

Sights to See: Scarborough, Tobago


SCARBOROUGH
Named after Scarborough in Yorkshire, England, this is the capital of Tobago--Trinidad's sister island--and is its second-largest city.  Expect traffic jams.  Ferry service arrives here from Port of Spain.

downtown Scarborough, Tobago
downtown Scarborough, Tobago

Fort King George  Located up a steep back street, this 18th-century fortification named after King George III offers magnificent views.  It has a chapel, lighthouse cell block, and military cemetery, as well as the small Tobago Museum that displays historic and local archaeologic artifacts (including fossils), colonial relics, and military memorabilia.
entrance to Fort King George in Scarborough, Tobago
entrance to Fort King George in Scarborough, Tobago

cannon plus ocean view from Fort King George in Scarborough, Tobago
cannon plus ocean view from Fort King George in Scarborough, Tobago

lighthouse at Fort King George in Scarborough, Tobago
lighthouse at Fort King George in Scarborough, Tobago

building at Fort King George in Scarborough, Tobago
building at Fort King George in Scarborough, Tobago

Scarborough Botanical Gardens  868 675 7034.  More like a big city park than a botanical garden, this hilly 17-acre landscaped gardens opened in 1899.  It features flowers, plants, and trees indigenous to Tobago as well as a collection of liliaceous plants from Africa.  You’ll see avenues of royal palms and silk cotton trees as well as a beautiful Indian almond tree.  Benches permit staying a while and doing some bird watching.  Bring a picnic.
entrance gate to Scarborough Botanical Gardens in Scarborough, Tobago
entrance gate to Scarborough Botanical Gardens in Scarborough, Tobago

rows of royal palms at Scarborough Botanical Gardens in Scarborough, Tobago
rows of royal palms at Scarborough Botanical Gardens in Scarborough, Tobago

Indian almond tree at Scarborough Botanical Gardens in Scarborough, Tobago
Indian almond tree at Scarborough Botanical Gardens in Scarborough, Tobago

Scarborough Market  On Carrington Street.  This untouristy market caters to locals, dispensing fresh fish and vegetables as well as household goods.  It is busiest on Saturdays.
produce at Scarborough Market in Scarborough, Tobago
produce at Scarborough Market in Scarborough, Tobago

kitchenware at Scarborough Market in Scarborough, Tobago
kitchenware at Scarborough Market in Scarborough, Tobago

cafe menu at Scarborough Market in Scarborough, Tobago
cafe menu at Scarborough Market in Scarborough, Tobago

Blue Crab Restaurant  Robinson St. # 5, Scarborough, (868) 639-2737.  L Tu-F, D by reservation.  Afternoon tea.  Tasty items you might encounter at this well-established restaurant--it’s been here 30 years--include Fried Flying Fish in a mild curry, Coal Pot Chicken, chicken grilled over coconut husks, grilled King Fish in Creole sauce, and fried plantains.  Husband Kenneth mans the kitchen while wife Alison, a frustrated clothing designer, plays the front of the house, kissing and hugging everyone so they feel super welcome. 
          This restaurant also operates Sandy’s Bed and Breakfast on premises.
tour guide Monica pitches in serving drinks at Blue Crab Restaurant in Scarborough, Tobago
tour guide Monica pitches in serving drinks at Blue Crab Restaurant in Scarborough, Tobago

buffet lunch at Blue Crab Restaurant in Scarborough, Tobago
buffet lunch at Blue Crab Restaurant in Scarborough, Tobago

Alison emraces customer at Blue Crab Restaurant in Scarborough, Tobago
Alison emraces customer at Blue Crab Restaurant in Scarborough, Tobago

KFC  is located beach front, in a central location.  At this branch of the popular chain, locals have nick-named it “Keep From Cooking” and “Keep Fat Coming.”


More things to do in Tobago. 

More things to do in Trinidad.

More ideas for travel adventures in California and the U.S. and around the world.
 
images ©2017 Carole Terwilliger Meyers 


June 9, 2017

Sights to See: Cafe Mariposa, in Lopinot Village, Trinidad


LOPINOT Village  NE of Port of Spain.  Reaching this small village requires a scenic drive through rainforest.  You might spot an ocelot, anaconda snake, or man-eating crocodile (our guide joked that they attack and eat only naked men with “dangling bait”).  The area has 5 natural caves and 12 species of hummingbird, including the ruby topaz.  The village remains largely unchanged despite the fact that many cocoa estates were cleared to facilitate building a school, church, and houses.  Now a historic site, the villagers are restoring old structures to maintain the historical village appeal and natural beauty. 
 

Cafe Mariposa  58 Lopinot Settlement.  At this sweet cafe owned by the Guerrero sisters, the aunties are in the kitchen and a nephew is the waiter.  The cafe started as a butterfly sanctuary--thus the name--but the butterflies dwindled.  
mosaic butterfly welcome sign at Cafe Mariposa in Lopinot Village in Trinidad
mosaic butterfly welcome sign at Cafe Mariposa in Lopinot Village in Trinidad


Fortunately, hummingbirds took their place and now fly all around and you can sometimes even feel one fly by.  
mosaic hummingbird at Cafe Mariposa in Lopinot Village in Trinidad
mosaic hummingbird at Cafe Mariposa in Lopinot Village in Trinidad




Hummingbird feeders (filled with 1 part white sugar to 4 parts water) attract the birds and also some bees in huge numbers--12 of the 18 species of hummingbird found in Trinidad are seen here.  
bee at hummingbird feeder at Cafe Mariposa in Lopinot Village in Trinidad
bee at hummingbird feeder at Cafe Mariposa in Lopinot Village in Trinidad






Firebush and other bird-friendly plants keep them from becoming dependent.  The four-course lunch served here is a farm-to-fork experience.  Many ingredients are grown on site, including the biggest, most delicious avocados I’ve seen in a long time.  Many plants on the property have medicinal properties, and no pesticides are used.  
medicinal plant garden at Cafe Mariposa in Lopinot Village in Trinidad
medicinal plant garden at Cafe Mariposa in Lopinot Village in Trinidad

My group’s visit was punctuated by downpours, but we were protected on a large open-air porch.  The first course was fried cassava sticks and plantain rounds.  
cassava sticks and plantain rounds at Cafe Mariposa in Lopinot Village in Trinidad
cassava sticks and plantain rounds at Cafe Mariposa in Lopinot Village in Trinidad

Next came a divine pumpkin-chocolate soup, 
pumpkin-chocolate soup at Cafe Mariposa in Lopinot Village in Trinidad
pumpkin-chocolate soup at Cafe Mariposa in Lopinot Village in Trinidad

then chewy homemade tacos filled with a choice of pulled pork, ground beef, or chicken.  
tacos at Cafe Mariposa in Lopinot Village in Trinidad
tacos at Cafe Mariposa in Lopinot Village in Trinidad

The fourth and final course was avocado and cocoa ice creams.  
avocado and cocoa ice creams at Cafe Mariposa in Lopinot Village in Trinidad
avocado and cocoa ice creams at Cafe Mariposa in Lopinot Village in Trinidad


We were warned to be careful with the pepper sauce, which is made with the scorpion pepper--the world’s hottest--and indeed it was HOT.  After lunch, we were serenaded by six of the seven sister chefs singing a parang selection, 



with nephew accompanying on an unusual box bass made by his uncle.  The bass had a curved, harp-like bamboo reed with a single string.  
unusual handmade box bass at Cafe Mariposa in Lopinot Village in Trinidad
unusual handmade box bass at Cafe Mariposa in Lopinot Village in Trinidad


Bed & Breakfast is also available; all rooms are en suite with a balcony overlooking the gardens. 



More things to do in Trinidad.

More things to do in Tobago. 

More ideas for travel adventures in California and the U.S. and around the world.

images and videos ©2017 Carole Terwilliger Meyers


June 6, 2017

Sights to See: Indian Trinidad, around Carapichaima in Trinidad


INDIAN TRINIDAD
With a population that is more than 40% East Indian, Trinidad has organically incorporated Hindu traditions and cuisine into the cultural landscape.  This area shows the Indian culture most dramatically. 

Highway Roti Shop  in FREEPORT.  With a range of curries from chicken to vegetarian and from mild to spicy, Indian cuisine in Trinidad offers a plethora of tasty street foods as well as simple restaurants and fine dining.  Dishes are made with both traditional recipes and modern twists, perfuming the air exotically with cumin, ginger, coriander and more.  At this roadside roti cafe, all fillings are curry and all meats are cooked with bones in for flavor.  Goat and duck are the most popular, but I found the veggie garbanzo-tomato-potato filling to be superb.  Here for 35 years, the kitchen knows what they are doing.
sign for Highway Roti Shop in Freeport, Trinidad
sign for Highway Roti Shop in Freeport, Trinidad

menu at Highway Roti Shop in Freeport, Trinidad
menu at Highway Roti Shop in Freeport, Trinidad

dining patio at Highway Roti Shop in Freeport, Trinidad
dining patio at Highway Roti Shop in Freeport, Trinidad

veggie curry at Highway Roti Shop in Freeport, Trinidad
veggie curry at Highway Roti Shop in Freeport, Trinidad

Dattatreya Temple and Yoga Centre  Off the Old Southern Main road, on Orange Field Rd., in CARAPICHAIMA.  The temple is considered to be spiritually connected with India.  Two gray concrete elephants provide water for washing feet before entering the main temple.
exterior of Dattatreya Temple in Carapichaima, Trinidad
exterior of Dattatreya Temple in Carapichaima, Trinidad

ornate door of Dattatreya Temple in Carapichaima, Trinidad
ornate door of Dattatreya Temple in Carapichaima, Trinidad

colorful dome at Dattatreya Temple in Carapichaima, Trinidad
colorful dome at Dattatreya Temple in Carapichaima, Trinidad


          ●Hanuman Murti statue  This colorful 85-foot-tall statue is of the Hindu god Lord Hanuman--who represents wisdom, righteousness, and strength--is the tallest outside of India.  It is quite a surprise to see it towering over houses in a suburban area.
Hanuman Murti statue at Dattatreya Temple in Carapichaima, Trinidad
Hanuman Murti statue at Dattatreya Temple in Carapichaima, Trinidad

          ●ET-like camel statue
camel statue at Dattatreya Temple in Carapichaima, Trinidad
camel statue at Dattatreya Temple in Carapichaima, Trinidad

Temple in the Sea at Waterloo  On Gulf of Paria, in CARAPICHAIMA.  Causeway 6am-6pm; temple hrs. irregular.  Begun in 1947 by a devotee (his statue is seen in the parking lot) but completed by others in 1995, a walkway leads from the water’s edge across the water to this floating Hindu temple.  It was built on the water because it was forbidden by colonial officials to build a temple on land.  Though a sacred site for Hindu worshipers, it welcomes visitors.
entrance to Temple in the Sea at Waterloo in Carapichaima, Trinidad
entrance to Temple in the Sea at Waterloo in Carapichaima, Trinidad

exterior of Temple in the Sea at Waterloo in Carapichaima, Trinidad
exterior of Temple in the Sea at Waterloo in Carapichaima, Trinidad

god statues at Temple in the Sea at Waterloo in Carapichaima, Trinidad
god statues at Temple in the Sea at Waterloo in Carapichaima, Trinidad

elephant god statue at Temple in the Sea at Waterloo in Carapichaima, Trinidad
elephant god statue at Temple in the Sea at Waterloo in Carapichaima, Trinidad

colorful flag display at Temple in the Sea at Waterloo in Carapichaima, Trinidad
colorful flag display at Temple in the Sea at Waterloo in Carapichaima, Trinidad

exterior altar at Temple in the Sea at Waterloo in Carapichaima, Trinidad
exterior altar at Temple in the Sea at Waterloo in Carapichaima, Trinidad

Indian Caribbean Museum  On Waterloo Rd., in CARAPICHAIMA; www.icmtt.org.  Free.  This small museum is dedicated to preserving the material history of more than 1 million Caribbean East Indians and South Asians.  Artifacts include vintage hand irons, a pick axe, musical instruments, and gold jewelry including a nose ring.  A primitive East Indian “tapia house” is being constructed near the entrance.
exterior of Indian Caribbean Museum in Carapichaima, Trinidad
exterior of Indian Caribbean Museum in Carapichaima, Trinidad

More things to do in Trinidad.


More things to do in Tobago. 

More ideas for travel adventures in California and the U.S. and around the world.

images ©2017 Carole Terwilliger Meyers


June 2, 2017

Things to Do: Lynfred Winery, Roselle, Illinois


Lynfred Winery  15 S. Roselle Rd., in Roselle, (630) 529-9463.  Daily 10am-7pm.  Tasting $11/person.  Tours Sat & Sun at 2 & 4pm; free.  Located unexpectedly out in the burbs, this full-on winery offers a tasting at its spacious bar that includes seven wines.  A large variety of special event tasting options are also available, including an evening tour with wine and cheese tasting.  Many of the wines are made from grapes brought in from California.  I enjoyed a light white Vermentino made with grapes from Lodi, California, and a tasty red Aglianico made with grapes from Clarksburg, California, as well as two dessert wines--a light Strawberry made from California berries and a lip-smacking Ruby Reserve port made with grapes from Washington state.  Bed and Breakfast suites are available.  


wine storage at Lynfred Winery in Roselle, Illinois
wine storage at Lynfred Winery in Roselle, Illinois

wine tasting at Lynfred Winery in Roselle, Illinois
wine tasting at Lynfred Winery in Roselle, Illinois

 
More things to do in nearby Chicago.


More ideas for travel adventures in California and the U.S. and around the world.
 

images ©2017 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

June 1, 2017

Sights to See: Mount St. Benedict Abbey/The Abbey of Our Lady of Exile, St. Augustine, Trinidad


Mount St. Benedict Abbey/The Abbey of Our Lady of Exile  Off St. John’s Rd., in ST. AUGUSTINE in Tunapuna region.  Established in 1912, this is the oldest Benedictine monastery in the Caribbean.  About 10 monks reside here.  It is well known for its monk-made yogurt--soursop, almond, and pineapple are among the flavors--and monk-made pastries that are purveyed in a small store.  And it is the place to get a new car blessed.  Because it is located at 700 feet, it often has a cool breeze.  In addition to visiting the church, you can enjoy a nature park with trails and year-round good birdwatching.  Retreat lodging is available in the Pax Guesthouse.  


exterior of Mount St. Benedict Abbey in Trindad
exterior of Mount St. Benedict Abbey in Trindad


interior of Mount St. Benedict Abbey church in Trindad
interior of Mount St. Benedict Abbey church in Trindad


yogurt at Mount St. Benedict Abbey in Trindad
yogurt at Mount St. Benedict Abbey in Trindad


pastries at Mount St. Benedict Abbey in Trindad
pastries at Mount St. Benedict Abbey in Trindad



More things to do in Trinidad.


More things to do in Tobago. 

More ideas for travel adventures in California and the U.S. and around the world

images ©2017 Carole Terwilliger Meyers