I have always loved nature and being outside; especially in the sunshine and water. There is no better place to soak up some rays and salt than the Caribbean. And, while I have been blessed to visit the Bahamas, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Aruba, St. Martin, and St. Maarten, I have found a new home in Jamaica. I mean, honestly, I want to move there. As soon as possible!
Being married is not always easy, but Paul and I are doing pretty well for ourselves in that department. One thing that we like to do each year is go on a trip in February. We celebrate not only our wedding anniversary, but also Paul’s birthday, which falls on the day after our anniversary. (I figured if our got married the day before his birthday, he would have no excuse for ever forgetting it! This plan has worked very well so far!)
This past week we celebrated our five-year wedding anniversary, and my amazing Paul booked us a three-night stay at The Caves in Negril, Jamaica. I was blown away by the natural beauty of the caves, cliffs, and crystal waters. However, what really made an impression on me were the Jamaican people—especially the staff on the property. They were so warm, welcoming, and real. And, happy. The Caves is a small resort and so refreshing in that there are only a small number of other guests. There are only 12 rooms there. Because it is so small, you get to know the staff and they you, very quickly. And, they make you feel like family. They look after your every need. I mean, it is truly a mind-blowing experience. Honestly, when we left on Monday morning, it was all I could do NOT to cry. That is what Jamaica did to me. I wanted to cry at the beauty of it—the natural landscape and the people, and because I didn’t want to leave it.
Their motto there is "One Love" taken from the Bob Marley song. It is the quintessential, most perfect motto. The staff all embrace "One Love" and and make you feel it. And, once you feel it, you don't want it to stop!
And, I am not alone. Ian Fleming felt the same way. The famous author, who first went to Jamaica during World War II as a Naval Intelligence officer, fell in love with it immediately. He realized that he wanted to live the rest of his life there. He stated, “I have made up my mind. I’m going to live the rest of my life in Jamaica.” And, he did. After the war, Mr. Fleming bought some property in Oracabessa Bay, which means “golden head”. It was there that he built his dream home and it was there that he created his iconic character of James Bond, better known as 007. He wrote all 14 Bond novels there.
Island Records founder Chris Blackwell bought the Fleming estate in 1976. Blackwell’s mother, Blanche, was the longtime lover of Ian Fleming. Blackwell, who introduced the rest of the world to reggae music and forged the careers of Bob Marley, Grace Jones, Traffic, Bad Company, and U2, among many others, now owns and runs Island Outpost. These are an elite group of resorts in Jamaica, which include The Caves, Strawberry Hill, and GoldenEye. Or, if you have about $6,000 lying around, you can actually rent out the Fleming Villa. It has satellite cottages, a pool house, a private beach and pool and a tropical garden. The villa comes with its own dedicated staff that includes a butler, housekeeper, and cook. (The rates are per room, per night.) I mean hey, as their website says, “You only live once.”
I hope you get to visit yourself someday. I am already looking forward to our next visit, whenever that may be. You couldn’t ask for a better place to get some rest and relaxation. It truly is a little slice of heaven. I hope you enjoy the pictures
I am so glad you are here! I am Erica Strickland, a girl who loves God. My goal here is to simply share His love and light.