Taken By Storm: A Week In St. Maarten

“And when he got into the boat, his disciples followed him. And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but he was asleep. And they went and woke him, saying, “Save us, Lord; we are perishing.” And he said to them, “Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?” Then he rose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. And the men marveled, saying, “What sort of man is this, that even winds and sea obey him?””
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭8:23-27‬ 

A week ago yesterday, we left for (what we thought would be) a 5 day vacation to the Caribbean island of St. Maarten/St.Martin. We were guests of our long-time friends, Patti and Mike at their beautiful condo on the beach.  The day before our scheduled flight, we had some concern about tropical storm/hurricane Danny in the Caribbean.  We decided if the flight was not canceled we would go. Upon arrival Sunday, the weather was perfect! For extra precaution, the authorities shut down the island on Monday in anticipation of the storm.  Monday morning brought cloudy skies and a little rain, but that was the extent of Danny.  For a brief time while still well southeast of St. Maarten, Danny had been a Category 3 hurricane, but thankfully had diminished and passed by almost unnoticed. By afternoon, most of the businesses re-opened and things were back to normal.  Tuesday and Wednesday brought back typical tropical weather….and it was perfect!  We were in the clear!  Or so we thought.  Enter tropical storm Erika.

By late Wednesday afternoon, we heard of another storm approaching us. And this would surely put a kink in our plans, as we were scheduled to fly out on Thursday afternoon.  We went ahead and checked in online, but we caught wind of authorities on the island implementing a mandatory curfew and shutting down the island starting at 10 pm.  To prepare for the approaching storm, maintenance men from the resort came and secured and locked the storm shutters on all our sliding terrace doors and large windows.  By midnight, the howling winds began to blow.  It wasn’t looking like we would be leaving as planned.  Thursday morning brought pounding waves, high winds, and the dreaded email that our flight was canceled.

We sat in safety and in the company of good friends, French pastries and tarts, Dutch cheeses, and crackers as the weather deteriorated. One thing was for sure– we would not go hungry!!  The winds increased to 45-50 mph sustained and 60 + mph gusts (and maintained that level for twelve hours!)  while the waves were crashing up to the second stories on adjacent buildings!  We were forced to relax…and it was a welcomed time of rest!  There were no Delta flights on Friday and we were rescheduled to depart on Saturday afternoon.

As I have more life experiences, hopefully, I have learned that plans can suddenly change and there is no reason to fret over things that are out of my control!  I mean, we had two extra days with friends on a Caribbean island…what is there to complain about?!  Unfortunately,  the neighboring island of Dominica was hard hit with loss of life, property, and devastating floods. Butch and I are grateful for the mystery of God’s mercy that kept us safe!

St. Maarten/St.Martin is the smallest island in the world to be shared by two nations, the United Kingdom of the Netherlands and France, creating a European-influence vibe with Caribbean flair.  Considered the culinary capital of the Caribbean, locals like to think of St. Maarten/St. Martin as delightfully Dutch and fantastically French!

The temptation to soak up sun and surf is overwhelming, but we also chose to take in the two-country ambience!  The entire island has a population of 80,000 comprising more than 150 nationalities and is only 37 miles square!

Our friends have a gorgeous condo overlooking this scene!

We spent hours enjoying the beauty of the azure waters of the Caribbean.  My Mother and I had visited with Patti and Mike in 2001, but this was Butch’s first trip.

Morning coffee with a view!

The condo is located on Maho Bay Beach.  This beach offers thrills not for the faint-hearted.  I captured this photo from our balcony! 

People line the beach to capture KLM’s landing!  This is the largest aircraft that lands on the island!

The Philipsburg Courthouse (on the Dutch side) was built in 1793 and has been renovated several times over the years

The guavaberry is a fruit tree that grows in the Caribbean.  The fruit is half the size of a cherry. The Guavaberry Emporium on Front Street in Philipsburg carries products made from the sweet fruit!

From the Court House on Front Street, the wide palm-lined pedestrian walkway leads to the beach!

Old Street lives up to its name with 19th-century houses that today contain specialty shops!

There are 37 beaches on the island and we attempted to see them all!

On the French side of the island, you will find  boutiques with many of the French luxury brands such as Cartier, Louis Vuitton, and Chanel!

We shopped the Wednesday market in Marigot (French side) to see the diverse wares that were offered!  The “Spiceman” makes his own blends of spices and sells them along with classic spices at his stand.

 I can’t resist macarons anywhere, anytime!

The French know how to do pastries!

The flamboyant tree (Delonix Regina) is prolific all across the island.  It is noted for its fern-like leaves and flamboyant display of flowers!

These little guys were everywhere!  The green iguana is native to the Caribbean!

Sunset over Maho Beach on Friday evening…what a difference a day makes!

Thanks for coming along with us!

pam closing

Linking with Pieced PastimesSilver Pennies, Life on Lakeshore DriveThoughts From Alice, Mod Vintage Life, Coastal Charm, My Uncommon Slice of SuburbiaThe Dedicated HouseDwellings-Heart of Your HomeSavvy Southern Style, Ivy and Elephants, French Country Cottage, From My Front Porch To Yours, Stone Gable, Confessions of a Plate Addict, Worthing CourtBetween Naps on the Porch, Cedar Hill Farmhouse, A Stroll Thru Life, The Style Sisters, The Charm of Home, The Winthrop Chronicles, Cornerstone ConfessionsA Delightsome Life, Imparting GracePosed PerfectionKatherines Corner, My Romantic HomeChic On A Shoestring DecoratingRooted In Thyme, Share Your Cup, TheEnchanting Rose, Alabama Women Bloggers, 21 Rosemary Lane, Northern Nesting, Oh My Heartsie Girl,  Cozy Little House, Rattlebridge Farm, The Turquoise Home, My Flagstaff Home, In The New House, Natasha in Oz, Vintage Refined


  1. Kim says:

    How beautiful. We have never been there and need to go some time. I want friends like yours with that condo! Glad you were safe while riding out the storm.

  2. Sandy Self says:

    Wow! That was a lovely trip, even with the storm. Glad that God calmed to sea for you to enjoy!
    Would love to have a few of those macarons right now!

  3. Kim says:

    I’m sure glad y’all were safe in the storm! What a beautiful view you had with your morning coffee. Thanks for sharing your pictures and interesting facts. I think Nevis is a similar size but not nearly as populated. 80,000 sounds like a lot of people for such a small island. So glad you had fun and found some rest, too. Welcome home!

  4. Stephanie says:

    Oh Pam, I can almost feel the glorious sunshine and hear the beautiful ocean…. what a thrill to go to such a lovely and relaxing place AND what a blessing that you are safe and sound! I am glad you had a nice time with your friends and I appreciate you sharing your travels with us.

    Have a blessed week. Hugs to you!

    • Patti, when I had my coffee this morning I was sad that I was not enjoying snicker dandy with French pastries and conversation with you, my precious friend! We share a lifetime of memories!

  5. I’ve always wanted to go there and your pictures just make me want to go even more!!! It sounds like you had fun despite the weather troubles! Thanks so much for sharing…it was fun reading this post!
    Visiting from Titus 2 Tuesday

  6. lelaburris says:

    What a beautiful place! So glad the storm didn’t keep you from enjoying yourselves. Love the visual tour. And that pineapple tart would have definitely gone home with me. It looks so good!

  7. Jann Olson says:

    So glad you arrived home safely! It looks like you had a fabulous time. The ocean views are gorgeous and wish I had some of those macaroons! Thanks for sharing with SYC.

  8. Lori Schumaker of Seaching for Moments says:

    Gorgeous! We were in Belize at the same time. We met a family from St. Maarten and my husband and I decided that we would look at traveling there in the next couple of years!! I love this! I’ll have to pin this to my “I’m dreaming of a beach vacation” board!
    Blessings and smiles,

  9. Nellie says:

    Oh my, what an adventure……………and what a lovely lovely scenic and beautiful place.
    So glad that storm was not bad for yall, as I am sure that had to cause a few anxious
    moments, but glad you could just relax and enjoy it………….and glad you got to enjoy
    the time after the storm,
    Blessings, Nellie

  10. Wow, I can’t believe you were there during that storm! Glad everything went well though. You brought back so many nice memories of that lovely island. It’s been years since we visited but I need to go back. We stayed on the French side both times and the first hotel we stayed in back in probably 1994, was called La Belle Creole. It was later completely destroyed by a hurricane so when we traveled back many years later, we snuck onto the grounds and toured the property. We felt like we were on an adventure but it was sad to see the ruins of what was once a beautiful hotel. I forgot about the Guavaberry liquor! Yum! I remember drinking Guavaberry Coladas while we were there and I brought a bottle of the liquor home with us. That bottle is long gone and that is reason alone to go back to St. Martin! Thanks so much for sharing your gorgeous photos at the Take me Away party!

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