This post is the sixth in a series of posts I am writing about my first post-Irma trip to Saint Martin. I hope you can join me for all of them. Here is a link to the first, second, third, fourth, and fifth posts in the series.
December 28, 2017 – I arrived on Saint Martin on Wednesday evening, December 27, 2017. The trip was my first time returning to the island since Hurricane Irma struck. There are a lot of emotions involved in visiting this beautiful island that spans 37 square miles in the Caribbean Sea. Not the least of which involves an unwavering desire to to help them in any way I could.
You’ll notice that this is my sixth post so far detailing my trip. You may have also noticed that I’m still covering the first day, December 28, 2017. Yes, I have a lot to cover, and I don’t want to leave anything out. There will be a couple more posts coming with content collected from that first day, including one more post on Grand Case and a post on Maho Beach.
One thing I wanted to do was to skip ahead and mention a group I came across called ‘All About a Smile’. I wrote about my experience with Jeff and Jacky, the founders of All About a Smile, back on January 2, 2017. I wanted to mention them here, once again, because what they are doing is so important to St. Martin and it’s something we can all be a part of.
If you haven’t read about this wonderful organization, you can check out my post, visit their Facebook page, or go to their website. If you are looking for a group to get involved with, either as a volunteer or to donate to, this is the one group I would recommend above any other.
Now, on to Grand case!
The one thing that stuck with me the most about my tour around Grand Case was just how quiet it was there. With the exception of the Lolos and the sounds of a few businesses rebuilding, the boulevard was as slow as I’ve ever seen it. There’s no real surprise there, knowing what the area had been through, but actually experiencing it was still a bit strange.
In the video below, you can see that the Lolos are all up and running. On this day we were there just before lunchtime, and they were all busy getting ready to dish out some wonderful grilled cuisine.
As I continue to walk down Boulevard de Grand Case, I see the owner of Blue Martini working hard to cut a dead palm frond from the tree in their courtyard. You can’t see it in the video, but he had a cigarette in his mouth as he labored to get that tree trimmed. There is no time to rest for those in Saint Martin.
As is the case all up and down the boulevard, the top floors of the buildings nearly all sustained significant damage, mainly due to wind blown roofs. The bottom floors mostly sustained water damage but seemed to fair better than most of the second floors.
The walk continued past Bistrot Caraibes, which opened back on December 18, 2017. I peeked in the window and, as you can see, it looks marvelous. Along with Spiga and La Villa, Bistrot Caraibes is one of the few fine dining restaurants open in Grand Case, but more are working to get back soon.
L’Auberge Gourmand is a place where my wife and I sat on the front patio and enjoyed a meal one night back in 2012, nearly five years ago to the day. Our youngest son slept next to us with noise cancelling headphones on as he lay in his stroller. That’s a memory we’ll never forget.
It was difficult to tell how much damage some of the closed restaurants had sustained, particularly L’Auberge Gourmand and Le Cottage. Ocean 82, on the other hand, looked pretty bad. The businesses on the ocean side of the boulevard all appeared to have sustained more damage than their counterparts on the other side of the road.
Please help rebuild SXM and consider giving today. Click here to visit the SXM Strong donate page.