A remarkable island getaway with Mica and I apparently has made a highlight of 2019. My headspace had been a little too clouded with conflicting life priorities, endless work, and a sense of regret stemming from taking on a (what I thought was a promising) new role outside London. So in full gear with life, it was a much needed little break. And this would have been my first break since the Caribbean in January which has seemed like a lifetime ago.
It’s not tropical weather in Jersey but the climates tend to be generally milder than most of Europe whether its Winter, Spring or Summer. The Bailiwick of Jersey; A channel island, I flirted with for 3 days. As a super Francophile, I think I am allowed to call Jersey, a French Cornwall.
Jersey, the largest channel island that borders England and France, bordering West of Normandy, operates under a different relationship to the crown dependency but is governed by the British Monarch. The island is considered an independent country in its own right. The British government provides its defense as it rightly should have been in World War II when the Germans occupied the island. Jersey has its own £ currency but will generally trade with GBP. Jersey is an island I have always longed to visit after my jaunt to the Isle of Man made an astonishing experience as I bagged a rich week of culture with my friend who lives there. She gave me a good time. The Manx culture is truly beautiful.
But of course, not forgetting Guernsey, another channel island on my list, one I would love to experience. And I am not giving this one up specifically after I had watched the movie “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society” on my flight back from Barbados in January. The film; a mixture of World War II history and a love story on the island with a powerful plot centered on a London based writer who exchanged hand written letters with residents of the islands during the German occupation and had gone on to form a book club after the Nazi soldiers had caught them breaking curfew. Ok, that's enough...No spoilers but it’s a movie worth watching. Jersey did it for me in a rather inexplicable, subtle and peaceful way with its unique beautiful characteristics rooted in tradition, a familiar warmth and a proper chilled out island vibe. I marveled because it peaked my expectations. We ideally just wanted a genuine 'girly' break but we got more than that. The first treat started with the Ariel view of the island prior to touching down at Jersey airport. That feeling of excitement experiencing a new place, meeting new people, getting swallowed and soaked up in the culture is probably more ecstatic that an orgasm. So after our taxi ride to Saint Helier, the Capital town, where our hotel, the Royal Yacht was located, (its the strip), we aimed not to lose sight of views of the coast as the sun set on St Brelades Bay, the rest of Thursday consisted of an evening of settling in after check in, having the finest sea food dinner and some nice Sauvignon blanc at the Zaphire al fresco type restaurant down at the hotel, followed by a marathon of TV, the unbeatable craziness of all series of ‘Insecure’ which we watched on Amazon Prime. We were wide eyed watching TV until it clocked past midnight. Issa Rae is my girl. I love her.
Friday was a day to explore the traditional English and French heritage, Jersey's culture and the adventures the island had to give. With views of the iconic Elizabeth Castle, to a trip to the Jersey War Tunnel which used to be the German Underground Hospital, to the Botanic Gardens at Samares Manor, to wanderlust around the French named streets of St Helier, to a visit to the pretty cathedral, St James. We spent some time at the Howard David Park and Gardens, did some shopping, stopped for coffee, and ended the night with fine dining at the Michelin starred /AA rosettes restaurant, Mark Jordan At The Beach.
The stylish restaurant literally on the promenade between St Hilier and St Aubin was a highlight. We met Mark Jordan, lead chef and owner. He is a fine man, who cooks fine food in a fine location.
It was an absolute honour.
After a delightful dinner consisting of a warm fluffy foccacia served with Jersey butter, followed by Jersey seared scallops, Jersey brill, accompanied by a light fragranced cold glass of Muscadet wine, we say goodbye to the lovely staff, hurry into our taxi (while it poured rain, and the winds tugged hard, swaying things and people from side to side) and head back to the hotel.
Saturday consisted of a spa day which was arranged with Club Jersey Hotel and Spa, a few yards from the Royal Yacht. After a lovely all body spa treatment, we settle for a light delicious lunch at the Michelin starred Bohemia restaurant. Oh buoy. we had a good treat of all spa facilities ranging from the hydrobench to the salt steamer, a nice warm pool experience and a sauna.
Returning to our hotel, we plan for a short nap and a water hydrating session. Later that evening, we head down to one of the hotel restaurants, Sirocco. I had a light yummy prawn salad and some rose, Mica a chicken Caesar salad accompanied with a nice glass of beaujolais. The restaurant was located in the 'Cabin', the most historic preserved part of the hotel. We sat on high bar stools for dinner which was a first.The room still had a lot of its original form intact.
Mica looking fine, all dressed up and made up in tight fitting sexy clothes and 6 inches heels, dancing on the corridors after she had gulped her glass of beaujolais in a hurry was now putting up a show that not only amused me, but also amused her. The rest was history as we walked the lift to our room. Feeling relaxed and new like a baby, we slept well and woke up to the sad reality that it was Sunday, and we will be flying back home, we have breakfast, check out and head to the La Mere Wine Estate and Vineyards, one of Jersey’s unique spaces. Greeted with a shot of the yard’s locally made apple cider and a guided tour of the vineyard including the apple brandy and wine distilleries, we head to the tasting room where we watched a short movie while indulging in small tasting quantities of excellently made wine. From the Saninte Marie white wine to the light pink Perquage rose to the Red Bailiwick 2011 and a small treat complimentary of the vineyard, a shot of Jersey double cream liqueur served in a chocolate cup, we were now feeling a little elated. Yum!
With an overload of my sensory experiences from Jersey brings a sense of actual finality to the trip, as we jump into our taxi to the airport, home bound with a sense of contentment that this break was a well deserved one. We felt refreshed and ready to take on the world and all the multiple projects we continue to work on as young black women with purpose. Like they say, no rest for the wicked, right? Next trip to Jersey will be with my buh 😍 because I am definitely going back sooner rather than later. Certainly taking him to this English island where there exist good weather and beaches, great seafood, a buzzing night life, a vineyard, Jersey Pearls, classic herd farms, magical castles, war history and lots of art and culture. It’s our perfect mix of a getaway. We will aim to stay at the St hotel l’horizon st brelades. The locals rate it. Jersey; your English Channel island getaway. 40 minutes away from London. You should go!