- September 3rd, 2007
- in Yachting
Location, location and . . . location! – If you were to indulge us with your most basic tropical island lifestyle fantasy, what would it be? Forget palatial existences with every whim catered to; forget sculptured luxury and a social exuberance, you’d be stressed out with all that ‘keeping up appearances’ in five minutes flat. We’re talking absolute grass roots wants and needs here, the ultimate escape.
If you are anything like me, you’d put ‘seclusion’ right at the top of the list…with the caveat ‘but not too far from a social life.’ Then it would have to be ‘space’ – and by that I mean more than a handkerchief-sized patch of grass. I’d like somewhere where my children could run around, where their games of tag would last longer than five minutes, and hide and seek involved more than one hiding place.
Of course, ‘a stone’s throw from the beach’ goes without saying, but ‘somewhere I could step off my boat and be home’ would be even nicer. Having watched them every night for the best part of two years, a sunset view across the water is absolutely essential. Anything else? Well, yes, I suppose that a few palm trees to provide that inimitable tropical whisper when the wind blows wouldn’t go amiss; and somewhere quite comfortable but not over-exuberant to live whilst I thought about the type of house I’d put on my little patch of paradise.
It’s not a tall order, really. But with beach front property at a premium in the BVI, when something comes along that checks all the boxes, it’s a case of jump right on it, because it’s unlikely that you’ll get the chance again.
Pebble Beach Cottage checks all the boxes. And a few more you might not have thought of. Situated, obviously, right on a shingle beach just past the Jolly Roger Inn, Pebble Beach Cottage occupies 0.6 acres of prime waterfront property. The quaint and charmingly rustic two bedroom cottage, set on the lower, lawned half of the property is just a few steps from the eponymous beach and overlooks a magnificent 180 degree panorama filled with tropical villages, verdant hillsides and the deep blue sea. Resort developers would do anything to get their hands on this.
To the east you have Soper’s Hole; the pretty, brightly coloured buildings across the water and lining the bottom of the Frenchman’s Cay provide a quintessentially Caribbean backdrop to the ubiquitous yachts jockeying for position in Soper’s Hole Marina. Scan across the Hole to the end of the Cay and in the near distance you have St John; a little further round and within skimming distance, Little Thatch obscures your view of the over-populated St Thomas. Turn sideways and you are facing due west, where you are guaranteed crimson skies almost every evening.
The cottage itself is a bijou provider of the bare essentials for a life more ordinary. Its two bedrooms are merely a place to rest your head, the open plan living and dining area somewhere to seek shelter from the rain and indulge in a good book. There’s a small galley kitchen and a three-piece bathroom with shower for life’s basics, all well proportioned and perfectly practical. But that’s all. On this property you’d live outside, dining under the palms and under the stars; whiling away the hours on the shaded wooden balcony, watching the boats come and go from the Marina; or diving off the dock. The house is peripheral to the superb location and all it has to offer; a necessary offshoot of a fantastical existence, somewhere to stay whilst you devise something to suit your own lifestyle decision. If you decided that actually, this sweet little cottage is exactly what you needed, though, I wouldn’t blame you. It’s so tranquil and relaxing here it’s difficult to conjure up the thought of expending energy, let alone doing so.
There’s a little bit of history here, too. The plot extends behind the house a short way up the slopes of Dawson Hill. Follow the crudely built stone steps into the jungle and you come across a small brick dwelling. This tiny hideaway is the ‘School House,’ where in days of yore the children from the then scattering of homes on Belmont used to come for their daily lessons. It has a huge open window at the front which is far more conducive to gazing and daydreaming than acquiring knowledge – it would make a superb and secret hideaway for a writer. There’s also a loo – a modern one – tucked away in the bushes, so no need to traipse back down the hillside when nature calls. If you did decide to rebuild, then this is where you’d put your house because that spectacular scenery at sea level takes on another level of superlative from up here.
Practically speaking, Pebble Beach Cottage has everything. The businesses based in Soper’s Hole Marina offer everything from architectural services to supermarket shopping. If you do need a social whirl to keep you sane, then there’s the Jolly Roger right next door, or Pussers and Pisces in Soper’s Hole, and for the sophisticate, there’s Oscars over at Frenchman’s. Escaping from paradise is easy – the West End Ferry Dock is half a mile up the road, but better still the cottage owns the dock on its doorstep and there’s room for a boat of your own. The water will take up to 15ft of draft, so a small sailing vessel is certainly feasible. It has had almost a lifetime’s success as a rental property, with the same people coming back time and again. With a situation like this, fulfilling your dreams is more than feasible.