THE MARCH 2021 “YES, WE ACTUALLY WENT TO” BEACHES TURKS & CAICOS TRIP REPORT: DAYS 0 AND 1

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you’re probably asking yourself, “Wait? A trip report? With no pre-trips leading up to it? Who is this and what have you done with Wayne?”

Either that or you’re asking, “why did a search for ‘alcoholics on a beach’ lead me to this post?”

If you fall in the former category of internal-question-askers, well, it’s hard to write a pre-trip report for a trip like this. As you may recall, I didn’t do a pre-trip for the last time we visited Turks & Caicos and that’s because this type of trip is unlike a lot of the others you might read about on this here blog. We don’t pre-plan every single moment of this kind of vacation like we do a Disney vacation. So a pre-trip? Eh, ain’t worth it.

And if you fall in the latter category? Well, erm…I feel like the answer to your question will become pretty clear soon enough.

Annnyways, have I got a trip report series for you. Get. Excited. This one covers our most recent trip to Beaches Turks & Caicos. Some quick details before we begin though.

Some quick details before we begin though

Really? With that headline?

Trip Destination: Beaches Turks & Caicos

Trip Dates: March 6th to March 13th, 2021 (7 nights)

Trip Participants: 13 of us total. There were the four of us (Me, Nickie, Myles, and Owen), the Falzones (Tony, Larissa, and Mia), the Siggins (Artie, Suzanne, Liam, and Ayla), and my brother Jeff and sister-in-law Sheila.

So yeah, the makings of a pretty great trip. But…did it live up to its potential? You’ll have to keep reading to find out.

See? That’s what’s called a “teaser.” It’s intended to make you interested in reading more of this posts and more posts as they come out.

Did it work?

Great! Let’s get on with it.

Wait, wait wait. What about COVID? Oh, right. That whole thing. Yeah, might as well give a quick explanation there. Being that we were travelling internationally, COVID was of course a concern. But, there was a pretty good process in place. Prior to leaving, everyone travelling to Turks & Caicos has to have a negative test 5 days prior to departure. These results need to be shown to even board the plane so everyone on board will have produced a negative test. Also, of course, we had to wear masks in the airport and on the plane.

And in order to return to the US, we have to essentially do the same. Beaches provides on-site testing before you leave. A negative test is required to return to the US and if you produce a positive, you have to quarantine on-resort for 14 days in a section specifically held for those with COVID.

At the resort, masks were required in all indoor spaces unless you were eating or drinking. For the most part, we felt as safe as we could feel but there were scant moments here and there that felt a bit erm…less safe. They were few and far between, but I will be sure to call them out as we go along.

Beaches Turks & Caicos 2021 trip: Day 0!

Yup, Day 0.

Already starting strong with a Day 0. But if you’ve read any of my trip report posts before, you have come across a Day 0 before. You see, we typically start our trip a day early, usually at some hotel near the airport. Even though we live like 15 minutes away from the airport, we are an impatient people. So we need to start our vacation as soon as possible.

It’s like a vacation appetizer. So yup, vacation was starting early.

And we were SO excited about this trip, we had two countdowns. Not only were we counting down on the chalkboard but we also had a paper one Owen and Nickie made where we removed sun rays to count down the days.

Hrm, so we essentially took the sunshine away to count down to this trip. That feels…prophetic.

Anyways. Day 0 this time around was a Friday. And while Nickie had the day off, the kids and I still had full days of school/work. But that doesn’t mean we couldn’t start eating like we were on vacation. And by “we were on vacation,” I mean “people who have only a week to live and thus feel like they need to eat as much as is humanly possible in order to experience all life has to give.”

And you know what that means – DONUTS!

Nickie headed out early to do some errands that morning and on her way back home, she picked up breakfast from Kane’s Donuts in Saugus, MA. When she called to get our order, I had a hard time picking between a breakfast sandwich and their monthly special Whoopie Pie Donut. I labored over this point and came to the inevitable conclusion…

The breakfast sandwich is my typical Kane’s non-donut order. Bacon, egg, and cheese on a very good English Muffin.

Good stuff. But this donut. THIS DONUT.

I still have dreams about this donut. I love you, donut.

After breakfast, though, it was time to get to work. And I won’t bore you with all that. Just know we all had to work a pretty full day. I had a research session with a client that was taking me past 5PM that day actually. So definitely no cutting out early.

I mean. Not that I would ever do that. Work is always more important than vaca…hahahaha.

Sorry, I couldn’t finish that sentence with a straight face.

Now, while Day 0 is always a fun day, it does come with a tinge of sadness. Because we have to say goodbye to our Lilo.

And she was having a hard time with the luggage this time around. She seems to have figured out that luggage in the house means we aren’t going to be around for a little while.

So she grew more and more anxious as the day wore on. We decided that, even though we were taking an Uber to the hotel, we would move the bags to the car to try and get her mind off them. Plus, on top of all her pre-vacation anxiety, Lilo was having some stomach issues. I won’t get into the gory details but it was a bit concerning. The vet informed us it didn’t seem all too bad when we explained the situation and dropped off a sample but they asked us to put her on a bland diet for a few days.

So yeah, we were not only leaving a sad dog behind. We were leaving a sick dog behind. Thankfully, my mom was staying with her while we were gone and my mother-in-law was going to be checking in as well. So she was def in good hands. But still, poor Lilo. Just so everyone knows, she is feeling much better now.

The rest of the day was work, work, work, school, school, school. By 5:30ish, my mom had shown up, we went through all the necessary last-minute stuff, and got in our Uber heading for the Hilton Boston Logan Airport.

Being that we are Hilton Honors members, we bypassed check-in and went right to our room, using our phone as our key. First things first, we sprayed and wiped the room down before taking off our masks.

We don’t always stay at the airport Hilton on Day 0, but it is a common choice. Part of that is because we really enjoy being able to see the planes take off. It helps get us excited for our upcoming adventure. Because we obviously need that. With two countdowns and all.

Another reason we usually like staying at the Hilton is that we can walk over to the airport for dinner. Again, this helps build pre-vacation excitement. BUT…with COVID and all, we didn’t want to be in the airport any more than we needed to. So instead, we ordered food from the in-hotel restaurant Connolly’s Publik House to enjoy in the room.

We called in the order and Nickie and I headed down to pick it up.

Social distancing was definitely in play here.

 So Nickie and I felt comfortable ordering a couple drinks to enjoy while we were waiting for our food. FIRST VACATION DRINKS!!!!

I ordered up a Laphroaig (10 year, I think?) and Nickie got a Tito’s and Cranberry. I mean, of course they were good. We knew what we were getting into.

Soon enough, our food was ready so we brought it up to the room. We ordered a Short Rib Poutine to share. Look, if the dish you are considering has both “short rib” and “poutine” in its name, you order it. It’s the law.

The boys also each got a Clam Chowder.

And they both ordered the burger. They seemed to like both quite a bit. See? See Owen enjoying his burger quite a bit?

Nickie and I both got the Avocado BLT Wrap, which was delicious. Like, no, seriously.

While we ate, we watched a super entertaining Bruins-Capitals game.

The Bruins ended up winning 5-1 and ended up going on a pretty insane scoring run after a fun little fight between Jarred Tinordi and Tom Wilson.

And after the game, being that it WAS March 5th we obvs squad watched the WandaVision finale.

Did I cry? Of course I didn’t.

Wait, sorry. I mean did. Of course I DID. I get those two mixed up all the time. Like when Nickie is like, “hey did you put gas in my car when you just took it out?” and I answer with “I did.” Or when the kids ask if I checked their homework.

Family stuff. Amirite?

After we finished WandaVision, it was time to hit the hay. We had to be up verrrrry early for our flight. So we got our PJs on, got into bed and fell right to sleep.

Except we didn’t. We ended up staying up an additional hour laughing at jokes that would most likely be deemed inappropriate by most parents. Family stuff. Amirite?

Eventually, though, we did fall asleep. For a few hours at least…

Beaches Turks & Caicos 2021 trip: Day 1!

Like I said, literally seconds ago, we were up super-dee-duper early on Day 1. Our flight was at like 8AM but being that things were international and what not, its advisable to be there 3 hours before a flight. Plus, with COVID, who in tarnation knew what to expect. Yeah, “in tarnation.” I’m bringing it back.

Soooo…we were up at around 4:15.

In the morning.

Yeah, early. And our PPE game was strong today. At least it was at the start of the day. We had K95 masks. We had face shields for when we needed them. Social distancing? Please, if someone gets within 20 feet of me, I am straight up throwing ninja stars.

And we TOTALLY maintained this high level of COVIDicity throughout the entire process.

Erm, totally.

Right.

Once we made it to the airport, we ran into the Siggins so all of us went through security together. And you know what they say. Friends that TSA together, stay together.

We made it to our gate and breakfast was immediate priority. Myles took some cash for a sandwich at Potbelly. Nickie and I wanted Starbucks and Owen pretended to want Starbucks. So into the insanely long line we went.

While we were in line, the Falzones walked by. Yay, more airport friends!

After they got settled at the gate, Tony walked by again on his way to pick up Dunkin’ for his fam squad and Owen asked if he could go with him and also if I could get him a Vanilla Frappucino. I gave him some cash and off he went with Tony.

And I continued to wait. And finally, at 6:30AM…DUH DUH DUH…

Behold. The Skinny Vanilla Latte. Paired with a Turkey Bacon sandwich, this thing kills mornings.

When we were eating, we all were told to wear our face shields. And this made eating a bit of a challenge. Trying to get your food through to your mouth without touching the shield made eating breakfast like a less-fun game of Operation.

These guys seemed to be handling it ok.

And Mia kind of owned the face shield game.

While we were waiting to board, we handed out airplane bags to all the kids – Myles, Owen, Liam, Ayla, and Mia. The bags were all Sesame Street themed (because of the whole Sesame thing going on at Beaches) with coloring books, crayons, Sesame figures, Play-doh, and snacks. Nickie put them all together on account of she is the best.

And I took no pictures of them on account of I am the worst.

And soon enough, we were on the plane! The plane was pretty empty actually. I mean, except for the 11 of us of course. We took up a good chunk of rows together. And you know what that means.

Party Plane!!!

Owen, Nickie and I were in one row…

And eventually, I was moved to the middle…

We were right behind Suzanne, Artie, and Ayla and across the aisle from the Falzones.

Who were behind Myles and Liam.

By the middle of the flight, most of us had moved to our Sesame Street masks.

Well, Tony remained very protected.

Oh, Tony. Who would wear such a plethora of masks?

Being that this was American Airlines and they are terrible and all, everything was pretty no frills. Ugh, American Airlines. They got us a direct 3.5 hour flight, but come on guys. No seat back TV? I mean, yeah…I can watch stuff on my phone but I want you guys to show me things. If I wanted to watch things on my phone, I would have erm…stayed home? I don’t know. There’s an insult in there somewhere.

Owen watched some episodes of Cougar Town he downloaded onto his phone before falling asleep.

And though there was no alcohol offered in the main cabin (#thanksCOVID), Nickie and I planned ahead and brought some nips of Captain Morgan to add to our Diet Cokes.

We only had 1 though.

To start with.

Then, we had more.

And hey, they may not have provided us with seatback TVs but we did have a crap-ton of forms to fill out!

At around 12:45PM, we were making our descent over Turks & Caicos. This may be the best descent in the history of descents. Well, maybe except that horror movie The Descent. That was pretty good.

Anyways though. Look. Pretty.

Mia was essited.

We were off the plane and on the tarmac at around 1PM. Yup, on the tarmac. I talk just like a pilot!

Nickie snapped this picture right before they yelled at us not to.

Look, there’s our plane.

We made it through the airport, customs, immigration…all that…in about 40 minutes. And I only messed up once by succumbing to the smiles and welcoming demeanor of the guys with the luggage carts. I almost had them load my luggage onto their carts, not knowing that (a) it would have cost money and (b) they would have only carted my stuff like 10 feet. Thankfully, Nickie put the kibosh on that right quick. She isn’t as vulnerable to the smiles of a stranger.

Us and the Falzones made it onto a van together but the Siggins took a lil bit longer so we had to meet them at the resort.

By 2PM, we made it!!

Now, for those not familiar with Beaches Turks & Caicos, you should know the lodging at Beaches is broken into four villages – Caribbean, French, Italian, and Key West. Last time we stayed at Beaches, we stayed in the Caribbean in a Deluxe King. And while this is a less expensive room than others available on property, we found it to be really nice.

So this time around, we all booked the same. But when our shuttle pulled in and checked in at the gate, they were told to bring us to the Italian Village and the Falzones to the Caribbean Village. Which obvs threw us into a panic situation. We knew it was an upgrade but we didn’t want to be so far from our friends and family. So the Falzones decided that when they first got dropped off at the Caribbean Village, they would ask about moving to Italian while we asked about getting them moved when we arrived as well.

The shuttle dropped off the Falzones and then took us to the grandiose Italian Village lobby.

When we were dropped off, we were each handed a cold towel for a quick freshen-up.

And when we were brought into the lobby? Stuff got cray. Well, first we were handed our complimentary drinks – juice for the kids, juice+rum for the adults.

And hey – pro alcohol drinker tip. If you ask them to put more rum in your drink, they’ll do it. Start flexing those alcohol muscles now. It’s good to set expectations straight away.

I drink and I know things.

So yeah, ok. Story time. Once we were in the lobby, a few hotel employees (including the General Manager, James McAnally) came over to welcome us and say they upgraded us because they knew us from our activity on social media – Nickie being very active in the Beaches group on Facebook and me being active.

On this blog.

That you are reading right now.

Keep up.

But yeah. We are kind of a big deal. But to be honest, it was a total surprise. Myles said he couldn’t stop watching my face because I looked insanely confused. So hey Beaches, thank you SO MUCH for this. Just know it’s appreciated.

So they told us they upgraded not only us but also my brother and sister-in-law (who hadn’t arrived yet) and put them in the room right next to us. We then told them we were here with two other groups that were still being assigned to the Caribbean Village so they said they would look into this.

While we were sitting there in the lobby enjoying our drinks, we got to meet the awesome Mackendy (so sorry if I am spelling that incorrectly.) This dude took care of things. He gave us our card to pick our beer and wine for the week and when I asked him if I could also get a bottle of scotch for the room, he said to just write down that I would like that on the card.

Oh yeah – our beer and wine for the week. This wasn’t anything special for us. All guests get daily refrigerator refills, including your chosen beer and wine but also sodas, waters, and juices. It’s pretty sweet. Because we enjoy alcohol. And I guess water is ok too.

Soon enough, our greeters returned and told us they found rooms for the other groups in our party on our floor. Seriously. Amazing.

Once all that was taken care of, Mackendy took us up to our room. And I mean, the room was pretty sweet. The first thing we noticed was this view off the balcony.

But like I said, the whole room was real nice.

It had two separated areas. A main bedroom area at the far end.

And a pretty sweet bunk room for the boys.

These rooms could be separated by a slider door, which offered some nice additional privacy. The bathroom was super pretty as well, with two sinks, a shower, a separated toilet area, and a jacuzzi tub.

And waiting for us in the room were some welcome trays of fruit…

…cheese…

…and desserts.

Which are some of my favorite things. Well, I mean. At least the cheese and desserts. The halo effect of the fruit did make me feel better about eating the other things though.

Heh, kidding. It was all greatly appreciated. Seriously, Beaches. You are appreciated.

Oh. And Mackendy? Dude came through.

Now, the Falzones were still over in the Caribbean. Even though they had officially been moved, they decided to go off and have lunch at Bella Napoli, the pizza place near one of the Caribbean pools.

See? Here is Tony. Having “lunch.”

So we were left to find our own lunch option. Since it was right next to our room, we opted to visit the British pub, The Crickter’s.

Remember that name. The Cricketer’s. You’ll be hearing a lot about this place in these posts.

We were seated outside.

Nickie ordered a beer for lunch. And was very happy about it, as you can see.

When we last visited, we drank a good deal of what were called Turk’s Head Light, a light beer from Turk’s Head Brewery. However, it seems they changed some of their branding and their light beer was now called I-Soon Reach Light.

Still beer. Still good.

I ordered a Pimm’s Cup, their signature drink, which is made with Pimms Liqueur, lime juice, orange juice, and Sprite.

To start, Myles and I ordered up a plate of buffalo wings with fries. So good with some real spice to them.

Owen got the kids’ Chicken Nuggets. And there is really something special about Beaches’ chicken nuggets. They’re like high-quality versions of McDonald’s Chicken McNuggets.

For his entrée, Myles got the Bangers and Mash. Look how pretty this thing is.

Nickie got a cheeseburger. Which I know from experience is good at Cricketer’s. Actually, honestly, Beaches has a good cheeseburger kind of everywhere.

I ordered the Butter Chicken. Served with rice and Naan bread, this probably cracks my top 5 in terms of things I ate this week. The chicken was very tender and the sauce had a nice spice to it. Seriously, I think multiple people in our group got this throughout the week and everyone loved it.

After lunch, we went back to the room to change into our suits and hit the pool for a little bit. I have no pictures of this because I am terrible at blogging, but the Falzones joined us and soon enough, Jeff and Sheila made it as well. We had a quick swim, some drinks at the swim-up bar, and then headed back to the room at around 6ish to get ready for dinner.

Also, while we were swimming around, we ended up hanging out with this family that we connected with through the Beaches Turks & Caicos Unofficial Facebook Group – The McNallys (Steve, Diane, and Jess.) I love when this happens and for some reason, it happens at Beaches a lot. That could maybe be the most successful Facebook Group of all-time. Also, remember those names (Steve, Diane, and Jess) because they will for sure pop up again.

When we got back to the room, the view continued to be like, “hey look at me. I am a view.”

And look at THIS view. Hubba Hubba.

Dinner tonight was at the Japanese Hibachi steakhouse on property – Kimonos. I really wanted to stop in the sushi bar next door, Soy, before dinner but we ran out of time. So instead all 13 of us sat outside in the waiting area.

But are you really in a waiting area if you’re not drinking? According to my doctor, the answer is yes but I mean what does he know? So off to the bar I went with Larissa to grab drinks for everyone.

I also checked in at the front and while we were first told it would be difficult to do, the hostess told us not only were we getting the chef we wanted – the infamous Cookie – but we were also being seated at a table that could seat all of us. Ugh Beaches. Stop. With the awesome.

Soon after we grabbed our drinks, we were seated.

The meal started with a coconut-lime soup. It was good. I mean, nothing to write home about but it was good. Little bit of spice to it as well.

Being that we were at Kimonos, it was also time for Sake Bombs. Obviously. It was only right.

I know. Parents of the Year.

A bunch of us also ordered Kimonos signature sake cocktail, the Sake Cruise (sake, vanilla vodka, pineapple juice, cranberry juice, and grenadine.)

It was sooooo good. Get it. Get it now. Or make it at home – here’s a recipe.

We were then served some shrimp and pork. Both were good, but we were definitely getting ready for the main event.

And soon enough, Cookie was IN THE HOUSE.

Dude started chopping and singing and getting the whole table into it. Now you understand why we requested him.

And just like before, he did end up inviting some of the kids up for a dance. First up was Mia.

And then came Myles. Who is probably super thankful I can’t find my video of this.

As he cooked, another round of Sake Bombs mysteriously appeared. And by “mysteriously appeared,” I mean “were ordered by Tony.” This time, Cookie said the first one to finish his drink loved his wife the most. And while it was close, Jeff put his glass down first. Which I guess means he loves Sheila more than any of us love our wives. It’s science.

So after that, the other three of us (me, Tony, and Artie) said goodbye to our families and walked off into the darkness of the world, our heads hung low, unsure we even knew what love was anymore. Or heavy drinking, for that matter.

Sorry, what? Oh. Anyways. Cookie also wasn’t done embarrassing the kids either. He also asked them to stand up and toast their parents for taking them to Beaches. Each had to individually get up and say something nice about their parents. And while I did take video, the place was insanely loud at this point. On account of there was a bachelorette party next to us. And you know how bachelorette parties do. So I mean, you really can’t hear the kids in the videos.

But here are some pictures of them doing it. Imagine they are saying how awesome we are.

It was a really sweet moment, actually, and the kids did a great job. Also worth remembering? Foooooooooood.

Oh, and remember when you thought Cookie was done embarrassing the kids? Nope. He also asked Owen up to do a little cooking. Which was funny. Since he also asked Owen up to do the same thing in 2018.

See? Check it out.

It seems like only yesterday he was wearing large, comedic glasses. Sunrise, sunset.

Have I mentioned how fun I think Hibachi restaurants are? No? Oh ok. Well, they are. Fun.

And the end result? I mean.

Everything was delicious. The chicken, the steak, the rice and MY GOD THE SHRIMP. By the end of the week, there were still many of our group members that would call this their favorite meal of the trip. It’s definitely up there for me, but I don’t know if I would call it my absolute favorite. Again, up there though. It’s a fun meal and the food was TastyTown for sure.

The kids approved.

Dessert was up next, but the kids decided they would rather have ice cream at Bobby Dee’s, the 50s-style restaurant near the water park. Oh, did I mention there was a water park? Yeah, we will get to that.

The adults stayed behind for the dessert at Kimonos. I got the cheesecake.

To be honest, this was…eh. It was all just a bit bland. Looking back over all our meals, with a few exceptions, the desserts were a bit underwhelming. Don’t get me wrong. The food at Beaches Turks & Caicos is very very good, but the desserts largely suffer from a lack of wow-ness. But again, there were a few exceptions. Which we will get to.

After dinner, we headed back to the Italian Village.

And we bellied up to the bar for a post-dinner drink. While we were there, we met up again with Steve, Diane, and Jess (The McNallys) and they were celebrating Jess’s 18th birthday.

In Jess’s hand was her first shot of tequila. I mean, at least that’s the story. I remember my first shot of tequila. Mom had just dropped me off at Kindergarten and I was a little nervous so…

What? Dude, it was the 80s. Things were crazy back then.

But oh right – Happy Birthday, Jess!

I walked over afterwards to The Cricketer’s with Jeff, Sheila, and Artie for one more drink before heading to bed. And since nothing was really going on there tonight (translation: no karaoke), it was pretty chill. I mean, there was some heated whale shark talk but other than that…

Everyone else came over to join us and the bar did fill up a little, but we didn’t stat long. Travel day and all, we were pretty wiped. So we all headed up to our room…

Wait, wait. Not ALL of us. Artie ended up sticking around and, according to reports, made some friends and ended up finding himself at Club Liquid late night for some dancing. Dude parties. Wait…and his name is Artie. Party Artie. Did that never happen while we were there? Slacking.

But yeah, Artie went all in on the first night and made the rest of us look like 80 year-olds.

Speaking of, when we got back to the room, Nickie and I spent a little time just sitting out on our balcony just feeling all kinds of hashtag-blessed. And of course we took the obligatory feet pic.

So yeah, a pretty awesome first day, no? Wait until you see the rest of the days. They’re also days.

Next Post – Day 2

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