Portrait of the founder, Nancy Riegle
I grew up in a family of four girls, I’m upper middle for what that’s worth, with a working father and stay at home mother. Our vacations were primarily to a lake house in the middle of Virginia that was only 10 miles around. While growing up, learning to water ski and swimming in green water seemed fun at the time, but it wasn’t until our first non-lake house vacation to Ocean City, Maryland that I fell in love with the ocean! For me, there was no going back.

I managed to get to the ocean as much as I could and did the whole Dewey Beach, Delaware summers with friends. It wasn’t until my honeymoon with Greg that we went to St. Marten, and I saw the ocean in a whole new light- clear, light turquoise to be exact. As you fly into St. Marten the plane comes in low over the bay just at the tip of the runway and landing runs directly parallel to a pristine stretch of sand and water. I was hooked- who needs cold, brown ocean water when gin clear waters can be found?

Our accommodations on St. Marten were not quite what the brochure pictured. We were way up in the hills, there was a goat farm airbrushed out that was between us and the non-walkable distance to the beach. It didn’t help to have the goats wandering the hotel property with roosters running wild. We stayed one night, checked the map and decided to head over to St. Barts for the rest of our honeymoon.

We loaded up in a small 4-person airplane, strapped ourselves in only to have the pilot and copilot pull out a map and ask us where we wanted to go? I just about unbuckled my seatbelt then and there, but they laughed and said they were kidding. They did this route all the time. That’s a good thing as crossing over to St. Barts is lovely. It’s the landing that freaks everyone out as it did me while the airplane’s dashboard was beeping red and an ominous voice kept saying “Terraine!” “Terraine!” and “Stall!” “Stall” alternately. This was not a good sign by any means.

For experienced travelers who’ve been to St. Barts, some think this is the best part of the trip as your plane careens over a steep mountain, dives straight for the runway and then screeches to a halt on a band aid stretch of a runway that dead ends into a beach. As we taxied back to the cute airport terminal, I had to take deep breaths and hope our accommodations were worth the trip.

They were, but they included giant sized iguanas that roamed the property and liked to hang out by our rental car. I lead with as my first three blogs will initiate you, the reader on St. Barts. For those who’ve been there I invite your comments and insights. Enjoy your favorite glass of wine and come see St. Barts with me!
With Love,
Nancy Riegle's Signature.
Nancy Riegle
Founder, Surf & Vine
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