It’s that time of year when we all dream of a lovely vacation. We’ll be reviewing some choice eco-friendly vacation spots this year and to kick off this series, our guest eco-wedding blogger, Sharon Naylor, visited a very special place. Hmmm – this one’s now on my bucket list, which is getting really long. Let us know which places on Earth are on your bucket list?
Here is Sharon’s review, which I think looks like the perfect Honeymoon or Anniversary Resort. Time to create a Caneel Bay Fund!
When you think about the Virgin Islands, you think about crystal-clear blue waters, palm trees, tropical flowers, and tropical cocktails…and rightly so. It’s heaven on earth, especially at Caneel Bay, a Rosewood Resort set on 170 acres in the protected Virgin Islands National Park. I’ve loved this resort for years. When I get gloomy about the environment, I love knowing there’s a tropical wonderland out there where deer and wild donkeys wander freely, not fleeing from humans because they know we’re on their turf.
They’re doing something very, very right on St. John, owing to eco-philanthropist Laurance Rockefeller’s initiative to protect the island, as his one-time home became an exclusive resort where eco-tourists could snorkel, hike, swim, float, and be at one with nature. This was Mr. Rockefeller’s vision for the land.
As beautiful as it is to see pelicans soaring overhead, herons walking along the beach, iguanas sunning themselves, and mongoose poking their heads out of their burrows while spotted fawn and does step lightly by, nature-lovers have another thrill: honeybees are thriving on the island.
Which is great news for the planet. You may know that honeybees are essential to the planet’s survival, as well as our food sources. No honeybees, no food. Pollination is essential for many fruit and flowering trees to grow, and busy bees are nature’s way of keeping those organic goodies coming at us. Now, the bees are abuzz on the island of St. John. Check out this great news: The number of beekeepers on St. John increased from around 15 in 2008 to more than 100 by year-end 2010, according to the Virgin Fresh Beekeeping Project. The government-sponsored project invested more than $100,000 to enhance apiculture over the same period, with local products – now designated “Virgin Fresh” to distinguish them from imports.
Caneel Bay has its own on-property beekeeper, licensed locale honey supplier Elmo Rabsatt Sr, harvesting the defining ingredient for the resort’s honey-themed cuisine, cocktails and spa treatments. As a Brides magazine-named top honeymoon resort, Caneel Bay is all about the honey part of the equation. After all, their honey is considered among the finest quality, since nectar is collected from a wide range of flora in their tropical paradise.
But don’t fear that the resort is overrun by menacing bees. The hives are tucked away from public areas but close enough to assure the resort leaves no carbon footprint while collecting the honey. The entire operation is organic, in keeping with the eco-focus that has guided the resort since its founding by eco-philanthropist Laurance S. Rockefeller.
Wear the Honey
Since honey is an effective skin moisturizer rich in vitamins, minerals and amino acids, new spa treatments are now available incorporating the ingredient. You can experience the organic benefits of honey with two new honey-based spa treatments while in the open-air cabanas overlooking Hawksnest Beach. The Bee-utiful Facial restores vibrancy to sun-drained skin though the natural healing properties of honey, the Bee-utiful Massage includes a honey foot wrap during the massage or sample both treatments with the Bee-utiful Combination.
Eat the Honey
In the kitchen at Turtle Bay Estate House, Executive Chef Anthony Dawodu uses resort honey as the prime ingredient in a variety of Caribbean dishes. Try Tuna Tartare with Arugula and Honey Vinaigrette as a starter; Miso, Sake and Honey Glazed Sea Bass for dinner; and Coral Bay Lemon Panna Cotta with Elmo Honey Syrup for dessert.
Sip on the Air Mail signature honey-laced cocktail at the Beach Terrace or Caneel Beach Bar and Grill featuring local rum, organic honey, lime juice and a splash of Champagne.
Here’s What I Love About Caneel
They love living green. Their shuttle fleet is increasingly hybrid, their menu items picked fresh from organic gardens (and you’ve never had island guacamole like this before.) Their décor flowers are picked from the grounds, grown organically, a truly self-sustaining property. Vacationers use the free snorkel gear and kayaks to glide through the waters…fuel-spewing JetSkis and powerboats aren’t happening here. Everything’s quiet, and the night sky is a spectacular show of constellations and planets that can come out to play because of the lack of pollution.
The new honey initiative is part of their ever-growing dedication to the earth. Years ago, they imported honey for use at the resort, and now they grow their own. Each year, as the years go by, their initiatives embrace a cleaner, greener paradise that vacationers – including celebrities, quite often – come home to as their own sweet reward.
A fun fact about honey that I learned at Caneel Bay: In the Roman Empire, honey was possibly used instead of gold to pay taxes. I wonder if we can go back to that
Overnight accommodations from May 1 through October 31, 2011 start at $425 per night. For reservations and more information, please visit www.caneelbay.com
Caneel Bay, A Rosewood Resort has been an alluring escape for loyal guests since its founding 50 years ago by Laurance Rockefeller. Set on 170 acres in Virgin Islands National Park on the island of St. John, the resort’s pristine natural surroundings and low-key luxury are its coveted signatures. One hundred and sixty-six charming guest rooms blend seamlessly into the landscape in close proximity to any of seven white-sand beaches that frame the resort. Four distinct restaurants and a private Wine Room offer an array of dining experiences and cuisine that honors the destination. Other amenities include a fitness center, 11 tennis courts and Turtle Town, a dedicated facility just for kids. For additional information, please visit www.caneelbay.com .