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I marveled at the ingenuity of the set-up. A secluded spot, sand like flour, customers arriving in bathing suits. The guy barely lifted a finger, cleared at least $35.00, and gave us a lunch we'd remember forever.... The man had sold us a frame of mind.So begins the Blanchards' 10-year pursuit of the illusory notion of "island time." In a literary heartbeat, they abandon the "concrete jungle" that was Vermont and open a restaurant on a little-known island in the British West Indies called Anguilla ("rhymes with vanilla"). Narrated by Mel Blanchard, A Trip to the Beach dispels tired notions of the Caribbean--the steel drums, the lush landscapes, and acres of swaying palm trees--and instead focuses on the understated elegance and easy rhythms of the sublimely "flat, and scrubby" island. Though lacking the richness and finesse of Frances Mayes, and the wit and wisdom of Peter Mayle, Mel Blanchard nonetheless forges a new path in travel writing as the Martha Stewart of the Caribbean. A remarkably intuitive and inspired chef, Mel writes poignant passages on running a kitchen in Anguilla. Here she exposes the meat of the story, sharing her many outrageous adventures--how to cater to pampered and demanding guests, how to cook for a full restaurant in the darkest of island night with no electricity, how to prepare for recurring and utterly devastating hurricanes that wipe out your business. In these chapters the writing is as good as her cooking--inspiring, colorful, and easily digestible. Although she sometimes relies heavily on well-worn clichés and expresses naïve and rather privileged assumptions--"Why would anyone choose to live surrounded by concrete and traffic rather than fishing boats, water and palm trees?"--discerning readers will see the true nature of this tiny island--a place of simplistic beauty that struggles to maintain its independence while it depends on tourism for its livelihood. With a strange concoction of anecdotes, island politics, recipes, and sweet memories, the Blanchards seduce readers with the allure of "island time," bringing Anguilla home to the rest of us. --Daphne Durham
My most favorite book! AND I've eaten at her Beach Shack! Amazing!Published 1 month ago by Patty Guthman
My wife has re-read this multiple times; it helps that we love Anguilla.Published 1 month ago by Richard Holubowicz
One of the best stories I've read. And this one is true on top of that. So much the better. You find all the things which make life worth living, in this story: love, hope,... Read morePublished 3 months ago by James W.
I ENJOYED THIS BOOK VERY MUCH..I ACTUALLY FELT I WAS LIVING ON THE ISLAND WITH THE BLANCHARDSPublished 3 months ago by Harriet
Not my usual reading but I really enjoyed the book. Fascinating true story, well written by Melinda Blanchard. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Fay Proffitt
Three stars only for the type of literature it is, but it's good for a personal memoir. It moves quickly and doesn't get bogged down in unnecessary detail. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Robert T. Elston
I wanted to like this book. I love the Caribbean and buy into the "quit your job and move to paradise" mind set. However, this book needed an editor. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Nascar Runner
This is a required reading for all visiting Anguilla as tourists. Quite insightful regarding the natives and the visitors. It is extremely well written. Definitely 5+ star. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Biull Flynt
The narrator does such a great description that you feel like you are right there. It was an interesting book from the beginning to the ending !Published 8 months ago by Dianne Farr-Brady