Turks and Caicos is in a row of tiny islands tucked in the Caribbean Sea, south of Miami and just to the west of Jamaica. It’s said to have the most beautiful turquoise waters and softest sand in that area.
But we almost didn’t get there.
On a cold morning at the crack of dawn, we were all packed and dressed to take the ride to JFK to begin our vacation journey.
I always depend on others to do my traveling plans. I choose the dates and, this time, I let my daughter Elizabeth handle the reservation details.
Our passports were valid; only days before, a family friend found her husband’s passport was expired and had to cancel her trip.
We knew our Turks and Caicos reservation was confirmed at Beaches but we were uneasy that we hadn’t gotten an email for our Delta flight.
Nonetheless, we were dropped off at the airport and thought we were on our way — only to be told by the attendant outside that he didn’t see our names on the flight manifest.
After shoving and rolling our bags to the main desk, we had a warm friendly attendant search the flight we were going on, but he still didn’t see our names. He called the manager and the manager’s manager, and sadly, the end result was that flight was sold out and our seats were not valid. We could not get on the plane.
It turned out we were scammed by an airline site. They charged my credit card but never put the reservation into the Delta system. We only had a flight number sent to us. Beware calling for flight reservations and not getting a confirmation email!
My darling Jonah, who was going to celebrate his 10th birthday at Beaches, start to cry, and Addy, his 7 year old sister, had tears rolling down her cheeks too.
The Delta attendant suggested we go on the AirTrain to the JetBlue terminal since they had a flight an hour later.
But we intrepidly marched off, with me telling the forlorn children, “Have no fear, your grandmama is here.” With a smile on my face, to keep everyone calm, we made our way to the JetBlue terminal. For all the years I wrote about the AirTrain, I finally felt its power seamlessly taking us from Delta to JetBlue. Luckily I had good walking shoes from where the train dropped us off.
Rushing to the JetBlue Help Desk, we found an angel attendant who calmly pushed the keys on her computer to confirm that there were 4 seats available — but at $900 each. I said, “Do it,” and my grandchildren were in my arms this time with tears of joy in their beautiful eyes.
But for me, the best thanks was Jonah’s, as he said, “Grandma, you don’t have to pay me for the rest of the year picking up and bringing you the newspapers each day into the kitchen. It’s my gift to you!”
I gave him the biggest hug I had in me.
So after sitting in my window seat for the 3 1/2 hour flight, I was thrilled as we landed and I got a glimpse of the fabled turquoise waters.
We were met by a Beaches van to take us to our sprawling hotel that includes 21 restaurants with cuisines from around the world.
The hotel is divided into 5 “villages,” with each having an architectural theme and its own pool, restaurants and shops.
We were in the French village with garden views and a pool that featured a swim up bar. Since all the food and drink is included, I had my fair share of Bloody Marys just spicy enough, and a local beer with my lunch.
Dinner was spent with the kids, but one night, they decided to take advantage of the Kids Club evening activity and dinner. Beaches has an adults-only restaurant Sapodillas that offered a “clubby” experience with forest green walls, starched white table clothes adorned with a white rose and candlelight.
Elizabeth and I selected the filet mignon/lobster tail duo and were delighted. It was cooked to our request tender and juicy and the lobster slipped easily out of its shell. A perfect meal while the kids ate at the Kids Club.
Being an ocean lover, I spent a day at the beach tucked under umbrellas and enjoying drinks brought to my lounge chair. It would have been perfect but getting out of the rise in the sand landed me on my tush and was grateful an employee was nearby who helped lift me from the sand. Nothing is perfect.
But the kids were at the 45,000 sq. ft. water park, sliding down the multiple height slides that scared me but they adored. I did see them later and took a tube around the lazy river, a circular waterway with water that was calm enough for me. The kids adored the waterfalls I avoided, but they reveled in.
Jonah, who happily celebrated his birthday at Kimonos around the hibachi table, was feted by the most engaging entertaining singing chef. They presented him with a birthday cake and everyone around the chef’s table serenaded him with the Happy Birthday song. A great ending to his first double-digit birthday — 10 years old and a loving, smart person who I’m lucky enough to have living with me.