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Cayman Girls Trip

Sometimes a girls trip is just what I need to relax, make a few wonderful memories, and eat delicious food with my favorite ladies.

What better destination to do all of these things than Grand Cayman? Once we had the destination and our group finalized, we also had to plan for travel and arrival times. With 9 women arriving on 3 separate flights on the same day, this step was an absolute necessity! 

After everyone made it to the island safely, we headed to Christopher Columbus where our refrigerator was already stocked with all of our special food needs to get us through the week, thanks to Kayann Stephens of My Kayman Concierge.

Later that night, our first dinner of the week was delivered to our condo by Angelo Guizio, owner of Edoardo’s Italian Restaurant – mouth watering dishes, no prep and easy clean-up!

When day two came, we were ready to soak up some sun and feel the sand between our toes! All it took was a few steps out of our room onto CCC's private beach.  

After a full day lounging on Seven Mile Beach we were ready for dinner. Tonight's stop was Calypso Grill  in West Bay. Thanks to Marcos Ebanks and his big taxi/van for nine (almost like it was made for us), there were no parking hassles at one of the most popular restaurants on the island! After a week of delicious eating, the ladies declared Calypso Grill to be the favorite!

On day three it was time for some serious shopping! The group headed to Georgetown to hit the jewelry stores. Kirk Freeport even brought out the champagne when they saw the sales adding up! Thanks Raj and Susan. The shopping wasn’t over without a stop at Camana Bay with lunch at The Brooklyn, and a look at the island from the sixth floor observatory Tower. The beautiful underwater mosaic mural wall makes for the perfect photo background. It is a truly beautiful work of art – not to be missed. Our dinner that night at Morgans, on the water at The Cayman Islands Yacht Club, was a perfect way to end the day.

Day four was our day on and in the water, boating to Stingray City, snorkeling the coral reef, lunch at Kaibo, and a stop at Starfish Point. Kayann, our concierge, came through once again. She set us up with Captain Chris Bailey of Cayman Adventure Tours, and sent us off from the Yacht Club with a platter of fresh fruit and warm wishes for a great adventure. Captain Chris took amazing professional photos of each of us with the stingrays, and got even the most fearful comfortable enough to kiss the rays!

After an amazing day on the water, dinner was a joint effort by all back at the condo, with each of us ready to relax for the evening. This girls trip turned high school slumber party on more than one night. What better way to enjoy the company of good friends, than sitting around in our PJs, sharing stories, and drinking wine? (Well, maybe that wasn’t part of high school!)

A long standing tradition at Christopher Columbus is the beach barbecue by Chef John. The chef, now in his 80s, with help from his many family members, serves a meal of chicken, ribs, salads, rice and beans and homemade pies that would be the envy of every backyard (in this case, beachside) cook! With a picture perfect sunset photo, Lisa, our office manager, was on hand to record our last night together before four of the girls headed home the next day.

Managing our five, but missing the four who went home, we journeyed to the South Sound for another shopping/browsing stop at Pure Art. This place is a must – a bit of old Cayman with a quirky and totally charming collection of everything from fine art to fun jewelry, beach signs, and accessories for the island home. After Pure Art, the serious shoppers were still in shopping mode, so we made a stop at the tee shirt shop, Sun Dog, and the Kennedy Gallery to view more fine art. 

During this trip, we had our share of delicious island cuisine accompanied by a myriad of tropical cocktails and plenty of wine, although the best part was making memories with friends. Kayann, our concierge, came through one last time after learning our interest of the benefits of coconut water, stopped by the condo with coconuts. They were peeled and ready for a straw, one for each of us. We found they tasted best when a splash of rum was poured into each – do the health benefits still prevail? We like to think so!

The best part of our girls trip was being together in a beautiful setting, laughing, sharing life stories, making new ones, and strengthening friendships. The trip was such a success, we are planning to return in two years to celebrate some milestone birthdays. And what better place to do it than this island paradise!

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Camana Bay is a modern, walkable community with lots of shops, restaurants, recreational areas and even some residential opportunities. The newly developed island town (on the west side of Grand Cayman island near Seven Mile Beach) has been in the works for approximately 8 years and shows no signs of slowing down.

canvas tarp in Camana BayThe beautiful Caribbean inspired architecture and urban townscape are worth a visit alone. The commercial corridors are decorated with with multi-color lighting, lavish island landscaping, welcoming patios and courtyards, benches and water features. My favorite features, though, are the canvas tarps that are artistically stretched above the community in many shapes and colors and the exquisite main corridor that ends at the mouth of the bay.

view from observation towerWhen you visit the community you should come hungry and allow time for a meal, shopping and exploring. First, I suggest walking down the main corridor and appreciating the street view, then you'll want to make the 75 foot climb to the top of the seriously amazing Observation Tower. The views of Camana Bay and beyond are incredible, but the climb up is just as impressive as there is a mosaic mural (one of the largest of its kind in the world) that covers one of the walls for the entire climb up. If stairs aren't your thing, they also have an elevator that stops at each floor so that you can still enjoy the mosaic on the way up.

beet smoothie from JessesAfter a climb like that, it's time to reward yourself by indulging in some delicious cuisine. I suggest Waterfront for brunch. As its name implies it has awesome seating right on the waterfront. We went on a cheery Sunday morning and enjoyed ahhhmazing breakfast food and perfect mid-morning cocktails (extra-spicy bloody Mary and a mimosa made with grapefruit juice). Jesse's Juice Bar and Mizu are perfect lunch options. Really, the group I travel with has made several trips to Camana Bay just for Jesse's Juice Bar. They make healthy smoothies and can be conveniently accessed from one of the parking lots for quick "swing by's." Mizu has great sushi in a swanky little atmosphere. 

For dinner, try Karoo or Ortanique. Karoo has a Brie Burger that is to die for, but fair warning: It is huge! I also had a lemonade ginger cocktail that was made with fresh lemonade. Ortanique is also a culinary joy with desserts that are too good to be true including home made ice cream and warm bread pudding.

Books & Books shopAfter you've had your fill of food you can walk it off by visiting the local retail shops or strolling through the community. There's a cool independent bookstore appropriately called, Books & Books that is great for browsing. They also have regular events including a weekly children's story time. There's also a coffee shop that is conveniently joined to the shop.

If you're in the mood for clothes shopping, there are a couple of luxury shops - NKY Collection stores for men and women and The Jean Bar with premium denim. There are also several retailers that sell swimwear and resort-wear as well as several accessory shops and jewelers. 

If you're looking to chill out, there is a movie theater with regular showings as well as a multitude of special events to choose from on an ongoing basis. For example, every Wednesday night there's an event called Open Canvas where artists set up canvases and paint at will. It's fun to stroll by and see what they're creating. If you have kiddos with you, be sure to check out the water spouts which are popular play areas. With the holidays coming up you'll also want to make repeat visits to see the area transformed into one of the best decorated locations on the island. If you'd like more information about Camana Bay, they have a lively website that's updated daily:
www.camanabay.com

entrance to Camana Bay
   

tarp hanging over town
     

Mizu asian bistro
  sand angles swimsuit and resort shop
  creative tarps hanging over town
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If you've read the previous blog post about the Cayman Cookout by my friend Kay then you know that the Cayman Cookout was a huge success last weekend. It was an absolutely incredible event!

In addition to culinary events, I attended the annual Wine Fair and Winemaker's Lunch (two anticipated events of the Cayman Cookout), and I wanted to expand on Kay's post with a small feature on these events that are a little piece of heaven for wine lovers! The fair was sponsored by Jacques Scott and the chefs of the Ritz Carlton Hotel. It was held in the ballroom of the Ritz and showcased a wonderful collection of wines that were paired with culinary selections from the chefs of the Ritz. There was a live wine auction and a silent auction that benefited an area Arts Scholarship and the Cayman Islands Cancer Society.

The wine tasting station that I spent most of my evening at was that of Marchesi di Barolo, a wine maker out of Barolo, Italy. There they have historic wine cellars in a building that overlooks the Castle of the Marquis Falletti. The manager Valentina Abbona was serving wine at their station and telling us all of the notes and details of the Marchesi di Barolo wine which she was very proud of. All of the vendors were extremely knowledgeable and friendly.

The Winemaker's lunch at the elegant restaurant, Luca, was also a wonderful treat. This year Jon Conover from California's Plumpjack, Cade and Stags Leap wineries hosted a delicious contemporary Italian lunch accompanied by wine parings from the three Napa Valley wineries. He described the wines in great detail and also shared the history of the wineries as he served us during lunch.

I had a wonderful time at all of the Cookout events I was able to attend this year, and as you can see, the Cayman Cookout is not only a foodie paradise, but also a haven for wine lovers! I'm hoping to have the opportunity to return next year to once again enjoy amazing food, wine and friends.

Comments 0 Rating: Rated 3 star by 1 people.
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