It wasn't booked as a babymoon but our blowout holiday last year became the designated pre-baby break when we found out that Pearl was on the way.
First stop was New York for a few days. It was unseasonably mild that week (the week between St Stephen's Day and New Year's Eve) so I only packed a light coat and no fur for a change. New York in Winter is usually one of the few places you can justifiably wear it. It was so mild that my camel cape and leather gloves did the trick. The doorman at our disaster of a hotel (sigh - see below) had never seen a cape; he told me I looked awesome, like Batman! All compliments are gratefully received when you're pregnant!
We did the usuals; we shopped, visited galleries (finally got into MoMA) and explored new neighbourhoods. We walked the High Line, had mocktails in the Meatpacking district, got to know Chelsea a bit better and picked up some art in the Chelsea Market.
It's a little gimmicky; it's a cycling map of New York. The artist then screenprinted layers of paint on it to create a stylised New York skyline. I love it. A piece of original art for under $60. Framing it was the pricey part, so it lived in my wardrobe for a few months. We eventually had a frame made and it cost about €250!! Eek but it's a huge piece and it definitely lifts the hall and stairs.
We also saw the worst play in the world. It was hilarious but for all of the wrong reasons.
Perfect Crime has been running for years. It claims to be the longest running play in New York. It's supposed to be set in the present day but the stage props are straight out of 1990 (video recording is a big part of the plot - they used a VCR and a dinosaur of a TV) and the actress playing the seductive but murderous young wife (spoiler - she did it) is well into her fifties, possibly her sixties. It was dire. Overwrought and almost a pantomime at times. It was also difficult to follow. When we left, the theatre attendants handed out a leaflet to everybody in the audience explaining the plot and the various twists. That's a sign of a bad play.
We would have left but the theatre was so small and the stage so close that we were worried she'd tell us to sit back down! On the plus side we laughed all night when we left. We only bought the tickets because we were at a loose end one evening and decided to see what was on offer at TKTS but the queue for the main Broadway shows was about 3 hours long. The queue for plays was much shorter and we both love a murder mystery so we settled on The Perfect Crime.
It's a tourist scam. They know hundreds of people will want to see an off-Broadway play so they keep this running for idiots like us. We found out afterwards (having done some research) that the actress actually directs, produces and stars in the show. She also OWNS the theatre, having bought it solely to perform this rubbish 8 times a week! I'd say she's rich off the back of unsuspecting tourists.
The only real lowpoint in NYC was the hotel overcharging our card causing a block which lasted a week, leaving us much tighter for cash than we had anticipated in the Caribbean. Not ideal. It was the Hotel Indigo in Chelsea. AVOID. It's the same parent group which owns InterContinental hotels and Kimpton boutique hotels (which are amazing!) but this one really lets the brand down.
From NYC, it was onto the BVI. We flew JetBlue to Puerto Rico and then Seaborne to Tortola. Other local Caribbean airlines are cheaper but I have to fly Seaborne because I'm a coward and I would faint in a dinky little plane. JetBlue is a low cost airline but it's no Ryanair. There was free Wifi, entertainment screens at every seat, free films if your flight was 4 hours or more, free drinks (including bubbly!) and nibbles. Plus they have extra wide seats so it was really comfortable.
So what were we doing in the Caribbean? Well we were living the high life and sailing a chartered yacht from Conch Charters. The husband sails and the rest of us fair weather sailors pitched in, so we were all set for a week of island hopping around the British Virgin Islands. We strapped on the kayak and the RIB and set off around Tortola, Virgin Gorda, Cooper Island, Peter Island, Norman Island and the little private resort islands of Bitter End Yacht Club and Saba Rock. The resorst all welcome sailors. They provide mooring balls or marina berths and charge a nominal fee for staying overnight. They figure you'll go ashore and order drinks on the beach, eat in their restaurants or use their spas so it's a win-win. We tried Caribbean specialities (spicy barbecued lobster....I taste this in my dreams) as well as fine dining on the various islands and in different resorts. Our boat had a miniature grill so we barbecued our own dinner a couple of times and played long winded games of Cards Against Humanity. I literally wet myself laughing (don't judge - I was pregnant) even though I didn't drink anything stronger than ginger ale.
On New Year's Eve, we hit the infamous beach party on Jost Van Dyke. While the husband and our friends drank Painkiller cocktails and played drinking games on the beach, I sipped a single glass of Champagne* to toast the New Year.
A luxurious highlight was the spa on Peter Island and the pregnancy Reiki they did. My therapist said he could feel the baby's energy moving in my womb and that was really special. It was so early on that I didn't always feel pregnant (except for the constant vomiting - that's a real reminder) so that treatment helped me connect to the baby. What a fabulous day. Expensive (and all in dollars which doesn't help) but it was pure luxury.
Lowpoint was the 'morning' sickness which can strike at any time and wasn't helped by a gently rolling boat each morning. But the rest of the crew let me have the cabin with the en suite (or 'head' to use sailor speak) so I managed.
The BVI was paradise. I'll be saving my pennies for another trip when P is a bit older. Hit me with any cheaper sailing holiday suggestions! Maybe Italy? Croatia? But would the beaches look like this?!
*One of the other girls brought the Bollinger (my favourite bubbly). We shoved it into the damp sand hoping that would cool it and we drank it without paying much attention (other than enjoying our Bolly, thinking it was fab and that we were fab and that everything was fab!). I was horrified when I looked back at the photos and realised it was 2004 La Grande Annee Rose. Aaagghh. We should have savoured every last drop! We should have sucked the cork! It'll be a long time before I have a Champagne that good again...