It pays to be a writer: Look what Emily won!

Emily Dommershausen of Bedford, MA, files this report for about her romantic getaway with her husband to St. James’s Club & Villas, Antigua. Emily won the vacation in the writing contest marking our 20th anniversary. That contest, as readers here know, resulted in publication of the anthology of 10 winning stories called Celebrating Romance 2 (still available for order in either “wild” or “mild”).

A beautiful beach day at St. James’s Club & Villas, Antigua

A beautiful beach day at St. James’s Club & Villas, Antigua

Emily’s winning story is titled “Infectious Love” and is about surviving a tropical vacation that takes on nightmarish proportions when zombies take over the island. From what Emily reports, we’re happy her island vacation was just filled with fun.

Congratulations again to Emily, and a huge thank you to prize sponsor St. James’s Club & Villas, Antigua.

Emily writes:

“St. James Club resort, set in beautiful Antigua, offers an island resort experience a world away from the bustle of daily life. The 100-acre garden resort rests on its own peninsula, with sheltered, sandy Mamora Bay on one side, and Coco’s Beach facing the Atlantic Ocean on the other, providing beautiful views from all areas of the resort.

Palms at St. James’s Club & Villas, Antigua

Palms at St. James’s Club & Villas, Antigua

Our hotel room overlooked Mamora Bay, and we watched several spectacular sunsets from our balcony. The room itself was exactly what you need for an island vacation: a view of the bay from the king-sized bed, a comfortable sitting area, and a large bathroom with plenty of room to clean up after a long day at the beach. With tropical temperatures and humidity, the powerful air conditioner and overhead fans in our room provided a welcome respite on more than one sweltering afternoon.

The resort kept us busy with kayaking, snorkeling, sampling the four different swimming pools, and shopping, whether in the gift shop and from local vendor tents along the beach. Both beaches are shallow and calm, which provided excellent snorkeling opportunities for a less-than-athletic swimmer like me. I was able to see quite a few different types of tropical fish, including a very large school of tiny fish, and even a lobster.

Sunset at St. James’s Club & Villas, Antigua

Sunset at St. James’s Club & Villas, Antigua

We dined at three of the four restaurants available within the St James Club property. We started our morning with the huge breakfast buffet provided by The Rainbow Garden Restaurant, and often enjoyed upscale a-la-cart dinners there as well. Coco’s Restaurant, just above the beach, was a great place to enjoy a quick sandwich. The Docksider Restaurant and Bar was our favorite spot for dinner, with a different buffet theme every night. There was always something for everyone. And of course, traditional rum punch drinks (or any other drink you’d like) were available from a number of restaurant and poolside bars.

The staff was very friendly, helpful, and always cheerful. Guest Services was always willing to help us with local information and directions to our activities outside the resort.

The island of Antigua is small, but there is plenty to do to keep busy. We adventurously rented a car, and its small size was perfect for maneuvering through the 2-lane country roads, always trying to remember to drive on the left!

Gail and Emily at St. James’s Club & Villas, Antigua
Gail Gibbs  (author of Vampire Saga) and her daughter Emily Dommershausen, whose story in’s writing contest won the trip to St. James’s Club & Villas, Antigua

Nelson’s Dockyard in English Harbour, a quick five minute drive from the resort, was a fun walk with lots of history. At Stingray City, a short boat trip took us to a nearby sand bar where we swam with stingrays that were up to six feet long. I was too scared to hold one, but both my husband and my mother got the chance to “hug” the stingrays. I did enjoy hand-feeding squid to a stingray as it swam by. (Note: Emily’s mom is also a published writer – Gail Gibbs – who wrote Vampire Saga for Emily’s prize included two separate rooms, so Emily and her mom and their husbands were all able to go on the trip.)

The highlight of the vacation was the night-time Turtle Watch Tour offered by The Environmental Awareness Group of Antigua and Barbuda. They took a small group of us to a privately owned island, where one isolated beach is a prime nesting site for the Hawksbill Turtle. Unfortunately, there weren’t any adults nesting that night, or eggs hatching. As consolation, the biologists decided to excavate a nest that had already hatched earlier in the day. Everyone, including the biologists, was surprised and delighted to find thirty-one live baby Hawksbill sea turtles trapped in the bottom of the root-bound nest. The baby sea turtles were freed and lined up on the sand, and we watched closely while every one of them scrambled down the moonlit beach and into the ocean.

It was a vacation of a lifetime.”

Emily, we’re happy that you all enjoyed yourselves at St. James’s Club & Villas, Antigua.

This entry was posted in News, Reviews and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.