Day 2 – Friday, March 1, 2024 (St. Maarten)

After a decent night’s sleep, we woke up early and enjoyed sitting on the balcony overlooking the water while having coffee. There are a group of dogs that hang out on the boardwalk and guard everyone from the cars and motorbikes that come by. They are hilarious to watch as they run after anything on wheels!

We headed down for breakfast about 8:30 and I had a great ham, onion & Gouda omelet along with some fresh fruit. John opted for scrambled eggs with sausage and bell peppers. We needed fuel for the day ahead! We made reservations for a taxi pick up about 4 pm to take us to the Seaside Nature Park for our sunset horse ride with Lucky Stables.

We decided to walk to the port where the boat will be tomorrow to decide if we wanted to take the luggage ourselves or have a taxi drive us – we’re opting for the taxi as the boardwalk is very busy with people (especially when the boats have docked for the day and there are hoards everywhere!) We headed back towards Front Street, which is where all the shopping is and of course was bombarded by people trying to get you into their store. I must have said “no thank you” a dozen times within 5 minutes. I did get suckered into one store that sold a product to help with puffiness and lines under your eyes and I must say, it did make a difference! It tightened up the skin and brightened up under my eyes, which I was not expecting. I didn’t buy anything but am tempted to go back tomorrow and pick some up. A girl needs all the help they can get, lol! Our next stop was at one of the MANY jewelry stores and I am a sucker for emeralds. Let’s just say we spent the next hour in the store, was catered with champagne for me and scotch for John, and we did end up buying a beautiful emerald and diamond ring for me. With me turning 60 in June, we decided that was the occasion.

When we finished with the jewelry store, we headed back to the room, changed into our bathing suits, and spent the rest of the afternoon out on the beach. The water was perfect, and the sun felt great. We had some sliders for a quick lunch and John has found a new drink he likes – a Bourbon Breeze. I stuck with a Corona and then the local beer, Carib. We finished up on the beach, showered off and headed back down to wait for our taxi.

The Seaside Nature Park is 30 acres of nature in an area you would never expect. It used to be a former plantation and has nature trails for hikers and horses. They have all kinds of animals – we saw peacocks, ducks, a pig (King George), iguanas and all types of birds. The horses roam free about the island. An interesting fact – During Hurricane Irma, the owners had to decide what to do with the horses and they decided to let them stay free so they could stick together as a herd and keep each other safe. All 70 of them survived the hurricane together!

We did the Champagne Sunset Ride which is about 2 hours and it’s a trail ride and we stopped at some beautiful areas for the view. We were joined by another couple, both young and students at St. Maarten University. She is from Georgia and he is from New Jersey. They met at the university and are dating. 

My horse’s name was Zena and John had Chance. They are very well-behaved animals, and it was a great experience as I have not ridden in umpteen years. As we were going along the trail, a stray shower decided to dump on us for about 3 minutes, so we got pretty wet. At least it was warm outside, so it didn’t take long to dry. Our guide told us about the history of the area and then we stopped and had champagne as the sun was setting. He built a small fire and we roasted (I burnt mine, on purpose) marshmallows. Our guide took pics of us all and we headed back. The end of the ride allows you to ride the horses into the water, but we opted not to do that as our taxi ride was waiting for us.

We got back about 7:30, had a quick dinner at the restaurant, which consisted of a Caesar salad, lobster bisque and seafood cioppino. Everything was wonderful! We skipped desert as we were both ready for another shower and bed. Another great day in paradise! Tomorrow we will spend the day at the beach until it is time to head to the port to board the Star Flyer.

Colorful names for their bars! This one is basically next door to our hotel.
The big ships in the port.
We found Bobby’s boat, lol! (He’s our oldest son.)
Checking out the main street (Front St.).
Love the little alleyways and shops tucked in!
Beach time!
John’s Bourbon Breeze
Another colorful name, lol!
At the nature park, love the peacocks!
I just missed him with the full spread!
This is King George and he’s very friendly!
This is my horse, Zena, and she was a delight! Behind me are storage facilities for oil and water.
John’s horse, Chance, is one of the favorites.
Right as we were walking towards the trail, the rain came, lol!
Notice the back of my shirt, and how dark Zena’s neck looks. It was a short shower, but heavy.
Our stop for our sunset champagne and roasted marshmallows.
These guys are everywhere! Very regal looking.
One of many beautiful sunsets….
Our campfire to roast our marshmallows. No pics taken as I only had one and John doesn’t like them.
John’s smile is hilarious as he’s ready for food! We had our soup, salad and bread.
Amazing cioppino (seafood stew)!
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