Well hey everyone!
Yes, yes. I know. It has been A MINUTE since I last wrote on here. But guys. The past couple months are what you might call my busy time at work. Which has been a situation.
But also? I haven’t really had a ton to write about.
Because oof, do I have a trip to write about. You see, Nickie and I went to Antigua for 7 days.
But that’s not all. There were other people there too. Tony and Larissa AND Nikki and Chris were there you guys!
I feel like you have seen Tony and Larissa in all kinds of place on this blog but Nikki and Chris have also featured before in our Napa trip (along with Tony and Larissa).
Oh and I know. We have a Nickie and a Nikki. Just remember, Nickie with an “e” is my wife. And before she was my wife, we were engaged. And that begins with an “e”. Which is what her name ends with.
Nikki is my friend. Like if you asked me, “Oh is Nikki your friend or your enemy?” I would answer, “She’s my friend.” Then if you kept asking me, I would be like, “She’s my friend. But stop asking. KK?”
Because her name has two k’s in it.
So yeah, friends.
It was a trip for Larissa’s birthday you guys. Which was obviously super duper special because we got to celebrate our dear friend. But also? Tony put this whole situation together and invited us along. Insanely generous stuff, folks. And dude put together quite a trip.
We are so lucky to have them as friends and to have been invited along on what turned out to be such an epic vacation.
Also you may have noticed I said it was Nickie and me and Tony and Larissa and Nikki and Chris. What’s missing from this sentence?
Yup. No kids.
Adults-only trip. And that’s cool. Because that meant I could get as drunk as I wanted.
Well, I mean. I do that anyways. But this time, I can do it without judgement
Well. From my kids at least.
I can’t speak for my wife.
Or the island of Antigua.
But yeah, no kids. Which is always such a double-edged sword. Obviously, it’s so nice to have some time for just Nickie and I and it’s important for a relationship to have that kind of time. But also, we do love being with the kids. So leaving Owen at home was not the easiest of things. Thankfully, both of our moms were splitting up the time, with my mother-in-law taking the first shift for a few days and my mom taking the last few. We also had Stephanie and Mikey, our niece and nephew, helping out with some pick-up and drop-off stuff.
Thanks you guys. Without you, I wouldn’t be sunburnt.
Plus, Myles was on spring break and while he was spending a couple days in Disney with his roommate, he was going to be at our house, home from college, and we wouldn’t be there.
We are obviously terrible parents.
But I mean.
You get it.
So let’s get on with it, aye?
Our March 2023 Antigua trip to celebrate Larissa: Day 0
Come on. You guys know I love a Day 0.
For those that don’t know, a Day 0 is a day before the actual vacation starts but we have decided to not be in our house. But I mean, it’s not the OFFICIAL-official vacation.
And we decided a Day 0 was in order this time around because (A) we had a very VERY early flight in the morning and (B) my mother-in-law, Sharon, was going to be spending the night at our house so she could take Owen to school.
So yerp. Day 0.
Being that it was a Thursday, I had to go to work. So get excited you guys. Because the next 1000 words or so are gonna focus on my workday lunch made up of loose cold cuts and carrots.
Seriously though. That is my lunch.
Loose cold cuts.
Don’t be jealous.
OK fine. I won’t bore you with the mundane of a Wayne workday. But just know. There was a butt-ton of Excel happening up in this scene.
I ended up leaving work at around 3PM so I could beat the traffic home, finish up some last-minute packing nonsense, and get me and Nickie out to our destination for the night.
But ugh. We had to say goodbye to this guy.
And this girl.
Who obviously was not having it.
And of course, this little guy.
He’s such a good boy.
Seriously though, that was a lot harder to do than I am letting on.
But yeah, eventually we had to order up the Uber and be on our way. And while we were waiting outside for the car to pull up, Stitch gave us one last heart-rip.
The Uber arrived a few minutes later and we hopped in. And man, we spent the entire ride so upset. We couldn’t stop crying and…
Oh, right. Hm. I guess we were fine.
Our plan for the night was to stay at the Hilton Boston Logan Airport, a hotel that is technically connected to Logan Airport but we would be taking a shuttle anyways and we live so close to the airport why the heck are we doing this we love to spend money.
Look though. Lobby.
Since we are Hilton rewards people, we were able to bypass check-in and walk right to our room and use digital check in.
Yeah. We’re kind of a big deal.
We’ve stayed at the Hilton before and I know you guys have all seen a Hilton-at-the-airport room before but whatever. Here it is again.
They’re nice, comfortable rooms and the beds are nice and what not. Plus, dig on that view.
No no – not that one.
Aw yeah. That’s the stuff.
We dropped off our bags and figured it was time to grab some dinner. The hotel has a pretty good restaurant in the lobby called Connolly’s.
And by “time to grab some dinner,” I of course meant “time to grab some drinks.”
Ohey vacation. For clarification’s sake, I grabbed a Grey Goose martini dirty and Nickie got a Sauvignon Blanc.
Oh I should also mention when we got there, place was hopping. It was about a 35 minute wait for a table and the bar was full. But there was this like outer bar situation that had some seats available. You can actually see it in the picture above with the pillars.
We sat there and when I asked the bartender how it all worked over there, he said you order at the bar and they bring your stuff over to your seats. Which worked for us. We aren’t difficult.
I mean. We aren’t that difficult.
For dinner, we decided to split a couple appetizers and a pizza. No kids? No rules.
We started off with this hummus platter thing with chickpeas and olives and oof this thing was good.
Seriously, this was the best thing we ordered tonight. If you ever find yourself in the hotel attached to the Logan airport and are in the mood for something light and yumtown, get the hummus naan platter thing with the chickpeas and the olives.
We also ordered a Margherita Pizza to share.
And contrary to what you might believe? Not a drop of tequila in that thing.
Still though, it was good.
So, I mean. It can’t be all rainbows and puppy dogs. Our third dish was the Burrata Salad. And while we are BIG burrata fans, this just wasn’t great. Burrata is best when its fresh and this burrata wasn’t all that fresh. Which was surprising.
Considering this was a bar at a hotel connected to the airport.
But eh, one not-great dish out of everything we ordered? Not bad at all.
I also got this beer. And it was hazy.
And it was big.
After we finished up at our outside bar, the inside bar started opening up so we grabbed some seats there to finish off the night. And it’s crazy how different the vibe becomes when you belly up to the bar. Our outer bar experience was great, don’t get me wrong. We had a nice dinner just the two of us and that was perfection. But at the bar, it all of a sudden felt like a party.
We were talking with the bartender, talking with the waitresses. And we even made friends. We ended up talking with this guy from…um…Washington? I wanna say?
We ended up sharing all kinds of travel stories back and forth and talking about our kids and what not.
The bar is a magical place full of wonder. Is what I am saying to you now.
Speaking of magic and wonder, I asked the bartender what kind of scotch they had since I was looking to end with a nightcap. He said they did have a Macallan 18 but it was, and I quote, “expensive, like over 20 bucks.”
So I, of course, ordered a Macallan 18. And dude hooked me up. Look at this pour.
I am just gonna give you a couple minutes to just enjoy that.
‘tis a grand sight.
After we finished up, we paid our bill, headed back up to the room and did what married couples do in a hotel room bed.
Geez, you guys.
But yeah, we slept. On account of we had an early AF tomorrow.
Airplane flight. Isn’t that what it stands for?
Our flight the next day was at 5AM you guys.
Which meant we had to be up at like 2:30 in order to shower, get on the shuttle, and get through all the security nonsense. And 2:30? Well, that’s technically the next day.
Our March 2023 Antigua trip to celebrate Larissa: Day 1
Up we were at 2:30AM. Well, up I was. Nickie showered the night before like some sort of genius.
It wasn’t fun. Being up so early.
Woke up. Showered. Made coffee.
And yeah, it was early. But we were excited. First day of vacation vibes FTW.
We found our way down to the lobby and the shuttle was there waiting so we hopped right on and were at the airport in a matter of minutes.
Now, when we were packing for this trip, not only were we packing our clothes and necessities but we also had a whole crapload of swag for Larissa’s birthday to bring courtesy of Nickie being the swag queen. We had glasses. We had t-shirts. We had beach bags. We had sunglasses. Decorations. Charger plates. Like all kinds of stuff. Plus, we had champagne and bourbon.
So our suitcases. They were a concern.
When we got to the airport and printed out our boarding passes, we weighed the bags and we had one suitcase at around 47 pounds and one bag at 52 pounds. And I mean, anything over 50 was going to be extra money on JetBlue. So I had to unzip the bags and do some shuffling to try and balance things a little bit.
Yeah, I don’t know why the whole weight doesn’t show up in that picture (most likely, it has something to do with the devil) but that bag? 50 pounds on the nose.
Dude is skilled.
So the flight plan today.
There were no direct flights from Boston to Antigua so we had to do a connection in JFK. Connections suck.
Well I mean, making a true connection with someone is obviously a gift.
But connecting flights. No bueno.
The sacrifices we make, I guess.
We were through security and at our gate by around 4AM. And look at our pretty little friend out there just waiting for us.
I said it looked really pretty to Nickie.
She thought it looked pretty plane.
We were in the air a little after 5AM. And yeah, it was early. But man, was it pretty.
The flight from Logan to JFK, for some reason, always surprises me with how short it is. We were on the ground in New York a little after 6:00. And super cool? We landed into Gate 4 and our flight was leaving from Gate 7. So after a short walk from our gate, we saw this….
At this point, it was around 6:20 and as you can see from the screen above, we weren’t going to begin boarding until 7:25. So we had some time.
We walked out into the main food court area in the terminal and saw an open table over at 5ive Steak.
Which, like. How do I read the name of this place? Five-ive Steak? I dunno. That’s a pretty dumb name.
Whatever. There was a table.
The service at the front wasn’t….stellar.
But we did eventually get seated. And I eventually got coffee.
Nickie and I ordered the same thing – the Farmer’s Omelet (egg whites, seasonal vegetables, chicken sausage) with breakfast potatoes and biscuit.
And like…this thing was pretty good y’all. Both of us agreed this was a tasty omelet. And those potatoes were lovely as well. Good stuff.
When we finished breakfast, it was close to the boarding time for our Antigua flight so Nickie and I settled the bill and stopped in at the shop to grab some essentials (translation: candy) for the flight.
Also, the coolness was that Nikki and Chris were gonna be on this leg of our journey with us. Which was fun. Their flight was getting in a little later than ours but we were going to be taking this second flight together.
Well. We had this text thread going with Tony, Larissa, Nickie, and Chris – I believe it was called the “Antigua Bitches” thread – and like, Nikki and Chris hadn’t said much on there in a little while. Which was concerning.
We were waiting to board our plane and hadn’t heard anything from them.
We boarded the plane and still hadn’t heard anything.
We sat in our seats, watched people board after us. Still hadn’t heard anything.
And then? Hallelujah. Like some sort of miracle.
Look how relieved we were.
They were seated in the row right in front of us. Which was cool because it meant I could kick Nikki’s seat the entire flight. What was she gonna do? We had to spend a whole week together.
Once we were safely in the air, it was time to break into the provisions.
The Haribo Starmix is like a wonderful dream in a plastic bag. Gummy bears, rings, twin snakes, happy cola, happy cherries.
It’s seriously one of my favorite things.
Oh I should also mention – Nickie and I were seated in a three seat row, she on the aisle and me in the middle. But.
No one else ended up sitting in our row, guys. There is no greater feeling than the airplane doors closing and an empty seat next to you.
I mean, fine. There are greater feelings. I hate using misplaced hyperbole.
I’d rather die.
I also spent a good chunk of the flight watching this…
And you guys, this was so good. I was annoyingly laughing a lot. I am a big Fletch fan and Jon Hamm did a really great job with his take on the role. Jon Hamm is kind of awesome.
I said it.
And when that ended, Nickie and I watched some Finding Nemo on her TV.
But unfortunately, we didn’t.
We didn’t find Nemo.
Because the plane went into its descent soon after we started the movie.
Wait, did I say “unfortunately”? I meant “fortunately as crap.”
Because we were pulling into Antigua!
And OF COURSE I took some pictures of us coming in. Because look. Pretty.
We landed at around 12:30. I know this because of the timestamp on this photo I took of the book I read in between viewings of Fletch and Nemo to impress you all with how smart I am. Reading books.
The whole deplaning process was all kinds of easy. Since we were in the Extra Space seats, we were off the plane quickly and near the front of the line through customs and what not. We picked up our bags and the plan was to meet Tony and Larissa out front in the rental they were picking up at the airport.
Oh maybe I should pause here for a little prequel action.
Prior to us all arriving on the island, Tony and Larissa spent a few days there just the two of them in an over-the-water bungalow at the Royalton Antigua.
Oh, you don’t believe me? Well, Mr. Doubtypants. Here’s a picture of Larissa at that very resort.
I’ll accept your apology in monetary form.
Anyways, their bungalow looked super nice. It was all, “Bungalow? More like BungalOMG.”
So right, Tony and Larissa were picking up a rental and meeting us in front of the airport.
And they did that. Meet us in front of the airport.
It took a little bit of Tetris-ing but we got all our bags and all our bodies into the car. Barely.
Tony drove. Which was a Herculean effort given the steering wheel is on the other side of the car, they drive on the other side of the road, and the roads in Antigua are not in the best shape.
Plus, with all of us and our luggage weighing it down? That rental was riding low.
He smartly took it slow, especially over any of the island’s trillions of potholes.
Our home for the trip was in an area of Antigua called Jolly Harbor, which took us about an hour to get to from the airport. Again, we drove slow. And I was here for it.
The villa we were staying in wasn’t quite ready so the plan was to go find some lunch and then hit the grocery store to pick up some provisions. Again, translation: candy. Well, also alcohol.
We drove into Jolly Harbor and parked so we could walk around and find a place to eat.
Yup, that’s right. No plan here. We were just gonna look for a restaurant on vacation. Like normal people.
We ended up at The Curry House (or the Curry & Tandoori House, according to their Facebook page).
An Indian restaurant with waterfront seating? Is this Xanadu?
We were seated under a tent on a deck adjacent to the bar.
Our first order of business? Drinks.
A popular drink choice was the pina colada as you can see from this picture.
And while it was a yummy Pina Colada (I tried Nickie’s), I went in for the Old-Fashioned Rum Punch (Tony did too).
For lunch, we decided to order a bunch of plates to share. Like the Vegetable Samosas.
And the Tandoori Pork Ribs.
And the Chicken Tikka.
We also ordered some Naan – plain, buttered, and garlic – but I didn’t get any pictures of it. LIKE AN IDIOT.
And woof. This food was intensely good. Everything was cooked perfectly. Seasoned perfectly. Eaten perfectly. Plus we got a bunch a sauces on the side that ranged from creamy to sweet to spicy.
I honestly have a hard time picking a favorite but I do still find myself spontaneously drooling whenever I think of those samosas.
Oh and don’t worry. They also had beer.
An awesome first meal in Antigua. Seriously with those samosas.
After lunch, we drove across the street to the supermarket to pick up some stuff – beer, wine, water, cookies, Haribo gummy soda bottles.
You know, the necessities.
I didn’t take any pictures of the supermarket. Because it’s a supermarket. But imagine aisles with paper towels and cereal and stuff.
There. You got it.
Time to head to the villa!
The villa was right down the street down from the market, which was good because we had to hustle back to meet the property manager for our tour.
Join us, won’t you?
That’s the front entrance to the property. If you were facing this, behind you would be the marina.
As we walked through the front gate, the main house was right in front of you.
To the right of the main house was this outdoor seating area with fountains and an outdoor shower.
After walking in the main house, the first room you pass is the TV room.
And beyond that? This whole situation.
Those big windows opened fully but in those pictures, the screens were down. But dude. That view. Seriously. Dude. The view. And yeah, that’s a pool out there. And just beyond that? The beach.
A pool on a beach? This is “SCREW YOU NATURE” money right here.
And then if you kept walking past the pool table, you’d see the dining room on your left. Which you’ll be seeing a lot of. Because we be eatin.
And check this out. Past the dining room table, there is a door that leads outside and to a set of stairs. And up the stairs – this.
Looking down from the roof deck, you get a nice view of the pool below.
And looking straight ahead. A whole bunch of whoa.
Seriously with this place.
Oh, and let me show you where Nickie and I would be staying. Outside, near the front gate, there are these two little, I don’t know, bungalows? Cottages? Chalets?
And in each of these were two separate bedrooms, each with their own bathroom. We took one cottage and Nikki and Chris took the other. This was ours…
And attached to our room was this cute kids room with two bunk beds and, yeah, its own bathroom. And these bunk beds were fancy bunk beds. Not like the kind sailors sleep in. I just Googled “sailor bunk beds” and came across this photo to help illustrate what these beds were not.
Oh, the name of that photo?
Old Photo Handsome Man Navy Sailor Bunk Bed Naval Ship 1960s.
I kid you not. You can buy it on eBay.
I can’t. With this place.
But wait. There’s more.
Tony also hired a personal chef to handle some of our meals at the house.
She showed up just as we were finishing our tour. Her name is Sira. And she is our new friend. Blog, meet Sira.
While Sira was preparing dinner, we all got our bathing suits on to walk down to the water for the sunset. Well, but first. Nickie and I stopped off for a second to be all RAWR and what not.
Then into the water we went. And that water was hella-nice. It was actually warmer in the ocean than it was in the pool. Crazy, man. Crazy.
The girls performed some sort of witchcraft that allows them to just float in water?
Look though. So pretty.
Oh right. I guess the sunset was alright too.
Once the sun was down, we got out, dried off, and went back to the house to clean up for dinner. Which is something that I will show you now. Dinner.
To start, Sira made this creamy mushroom pasta amazingness.
And yeah, this was good. I am pretty sure we all joined the clean plate club with this one. It’s an exclusive club. But all my friends are in it.
Our main dish was pork tenderloin, roasted potatoes, and ALL the vegetables.
Everything on this dish was a delight. Those potatoes were the kind of potatoes that pop in your mouth and they had just the right amount of salt. But the pork was for sure the star of this dish. Insanely flavorful and tender.
At the end of the week, we all tried to talk through our favorite Sira dishes of the week and the pork was mentioned quite a bit.
And now for the travesty of the night. I did not take a picture of our dessert. And this is a travesty because this dessert was fire. Literally. She made a bananas flambe. And I’m so mad at myself for taking no pictures of it. Just trust me. It was awesome.
After dinner, we poured some drinks and uncovered the pool table to play a few games. Well, I mean Chris and Tony “played.” The rest of us were doing some sort of acting exercise where we pretended to play pool.
Chris and Tony were good. Is what I am saying to you now.
Like, Chris and Tony were Tom Cruise from The Color of Money. While the rest of us were Tom Cruise from, I don’t know…Tropic Thunder?
Anyways though – that was pretty much Day 1 in Antigua. Pretty great day, especially for a travel day. But come back for Day 2. There’s a boat.
Next post – Day 2
Wow… amazing Day 0 and Day 1! Again and always, Wayne, thank you so much for inviting us to join you on this beautiful and exquisite island. I can’t wait for Day 2. Have fun (like you wouldn’t if I didn’t tell you to!)! Love you all… 🐠🦜🌴❤️
Aw thanks so much Mom!!