A day of shopping and celebration in St. Maarten

Philipsburg, St. Maarten

Philipsburg, St. Maarten

We woke up to another beautiful day as we slipped into port at Philipsburg, St. Maarten. We stepped onto the balcony and watched as the Royal Princess and Jewel of the Seas made their way into port.  It is a truly amazing sight to watch these large ships move so easily into the port.

Far right is the Royal Princess. Pull in is the Jewel of the Seas.

Far right is the Royal Princess. Pull in is the Jewel of the Seas.

The island is actually two countries.  One side of the island is Dutch the other side French and each side is very unique.  The Dutch side is known for its architecture dating back to Colonial times and the French side for its cuisine.  We have visited St. Maarten several times visiting Orient Beach, Buccaneer Beach and made one visit to Marigot on the French side of the island. But, we have never visited the Dutch capital of Philipsburg.  So, we decided it was time.

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We asked someone how far it was to walk into town and were told that it was a 15 minute walk from the port. So we set off.  It actually only took us 8 minutes walking along the pedestrian walkway.

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We eventually made it to the Boardwalk along the beach taking note of the restaurants as we walked just in case we decided to stay in town for lunch. We stopped for a moment so I could admire the St. Maarten of Tours Parish Roman Catholic Church.  The church was built in 1843 and was quite lovely.

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We walked a little further and as we turned to make our way to Front Street we passed the Methodist Church built in 1851 and then rebuilt in 1978. I loved this lovely, simple church surrounded by a white picket fence.  I really loved the clock standing in front of the church.  Beautiful, but not working I was sad to see.

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We continued our walk turning to make our way to Front Street down a lovely palm-tree lined plaza and spotted this lovely building at the end of the walk. The Court House is a landmark in Philipsburg and was built in 1793.  Evidently, the Courthouse had been destroyed several times by severe storms, but always restored to its ‘full glory’.

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We finally made it to Front Street and I just stood in the middle of the cobble-stoned street exclaiming to Randy, “I have never seen so many jewelry stores in my life!”  There was one small area that had several individual tents.  Randy and I stopped and I was able to find a lovely magnet for Kristine and Randy found a funny knit cap with dreds hanging down.  I thought that was just too funny.

As we walked along we spotted a store that Connie had been talking about and decided to stop in and see all the beautiful table linens she had been talking about. She was right, the table linens in Mr. Tablecloth were beautiful.

As I was browsing, I heard a familiar voice. I walked towards the front of the shop and there was Dennis and Connie.  I discovered that the store actually had two components.  One side was a table linen store the other a jewelry store.  The jewelry store was called Mirage.  Dennis and Connie were on the jewelry side of the shop looking at a lovely bracelet.  We talked a bit and then made our back out onto the street and continued our walk.

We stopped for a few moments at the Michael Kors store and then made our way over to Diamonds International. I had fun trying on a pair of lovely diamond earrings.  I asked the salesman how much they were.  “This pair is $28,000” he replied.  I looked at him and said laughing, “I may never wash this ear again”.  We both laughed and then I thanked him for his help and patience and we left.

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After walking the entire length of the shopping area, Randy wanted to double back. We were in no hurry so off we went.  I thought it was odd that we were going back to Mr. Tablecloth.  He led me over to the jewelry part of the shop and asked the man to pull out a piece of jewelry he had been looking at while I was browsing the table linens.  It was a beautiful diamond bracelet.  He asked me if I liked the bracelet.  I looked at him and said, “Of course, I love it!”  With that I tried the bracelet on and we left with my happy birthday, Happy Valentine’s gift.  Hugs and kisses to my sweet, sweet Randy.

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By now, Randy and I were a little thirsty and decided to walk back to the beach front to a bar we had passed earlier. We found an alley that led us directly to the Big Wood Bar & Grill found a table and ordered a cold brew.

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We sat for quite a while enjoying our drink and watching people walk by. There were two pirate statues just across the street.  Trust me when I tell you everyone that passed by stopped and had their picture taken with the pirates.  If you look closely one of the pirates looks very much like Johnny Depp.

Beach in front of bar. You can rent a chair and umbrella and receive bar service on the beach.

Beach in front of bar. You can rent a chair and umbrella and receive bar service on the beach.

While we sat there several of our group walked by. Before returning to the ship I wanted to walk over to the water taxi pier and take a few pictures.

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We needed to return to the ship a little early so we could spend some time poolside and then prepare for a special, celebratory evening at Chops Grille with Dennis, Connie, Bob and Sandy. But before boarding the ship we had to stop at our favorite spot on the pier, Sharky’s.  We ordered a cold beer and had a wonderful chat with a couple from the Royal Princess.

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Tonight we were celebrating Dennis and Connie’s 12th anniversary.

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Dinner was outstanding. I started with the Charred Beef Carpaccio for my appetizer.  This lovely dish is a combination of rare charred beef, Parmesan cheese, shaved asparagus and Truffle mustard dressing and it is wonderful.

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For my entrée I ordered the 6 ounce filet mignon and it virtually melted in my mouth.  The vegetables are served family style so we enjoyed portions of grilled jumbo asparagus, salt baked potatoes, creamed spinach and roasted mushrooms.  Everything was delicious.

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As our desserts were delivered to the table our server said, “Do not eat yet”. We looked at him not knowing why but decided to wait.  Then we realized why he wanted us to wait.  Several servers singing “Happy Anniversary” walked up behind Dennis and Connie and presented them with a delicious looking slice of carrot cake with butter cream icing, raspberries and a lit candle.  “What fun,” I thought.

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To my surprise another group of servers walked up and placed a wonderful looking cheese cake topped with blueberries in front of me and started to sing “Happy Birthday”. What an evening!!!!

After such a busy day, the six of us decided to go to find a seculded spot in the Safari Club, find some comfortable chairs and chat a bit while enjoying an after dinner drink.  After some time sharing fun stories and laughing a lot, we all headed back to our cabins for a good night’s sleep.

Tomorrow we start our journey back to Florida. It will be a day at sea.

IMG_1768bEnjoy,

Mary

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8 Responses to A day of shopping and celebration in St. Maarten

  1. cje9474 says:

    And what a day it was !

  2. helffrich says:

    What a nice day and celebration evening. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Cindy Bergmann says:

    What a fun day for you all.

  4. Randy says:

    It was a nice day walking around the town that was just a straw market the last time I was there in the 90’s. What a great dinner at Chop’s. Happy Birthday my love.

  5. Caryn says:

    Mary, we’ve loved reading about our cruise and all the pictures you’ve posted and talking about the special moments we all shared. Thanks for the memories.

  6. Lana says:

    What a beautiful gift. Wow Randy! You got yourself a great woman. Mary we hope to see you
    As we head back to Maryland from Long oat Key tomorrow.

    • Thanks, Lana–I love my new bracelet. We were so happy you guys were able to stop by for a visit on your way home. Hope your knee surgery goes well. Love you both Mary

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