Spring Travel 2010: Movie-Inspired Trips From Philadelphia: A Tropical Adventure: Virgin Gorda

If you liked Pirates of the Caribbean, you’ll love a trip to …Virgin Gorda

Is trading the deadline-driven workweek for the leisurely pace of  “island time” really a good idea these days? Um, does a pirate have a hollow leg? (Yes, you landlubbers … the answer is yes.) Besides, once you’ve shaken off your stress and soaked in sufficient sun on the crescent-shaped beach at Little Dix Bay, on the breathtaking island of Virgin Gorda, you’ll be glad to find there’s plenty of action in these parts to pick up the pace. Between the hiking, sailing, snorkeling and shipwreck excursions, you’ll see better views than that HDTV you left behind could ever reproduce. Drink enough rum, and you might even spot Captain Jack Sparrow sailing in.

The Set
Hide out at the secluded Rosewood Little Dix Bay, founded by the Rockefellers in 1964, and stay in a beachfront cottage whose organic-feeling architecture blends seamlessly into the surroundings. Escape to the cliff-top Sense Spa for a view as peaceful and relaxing as any of its rejuvenating treatments. Take advantage of the free beach drops that transport you to one of eight secluded nearby beaches, and that include your beach umbrella and towels, lunch for a private picnic, and snorkel gear for your own adventure.
Rosewood Little Dix Bay, Special rates from $395 per night, double occupancy, including breakfast. 284-495-5555.

The Script

Enjoy the scenery. Take one of the resort’s sailing tours. Hike the Savanna Bay Trail: Starting on the eastern end of the resort, you’ll climb 200 feet over a mile and a half, and can reward yourself with a dip in the clear blue waters of the Caribbean before you head back. The western end of the resort offers the shorter but steeper Cow Hill Trail, reaching a 400-foot elevation with a postcard view of the bay. You should also take one of the resort’s weekly scuba trips (they offer lessons, too) to the dive site of the Rhone, a 310-foot Royal Mail steamer that sank in a hurricane in 1867. Jacques Cousteau hailed it as one of the world’s most photogenic wrecks.

The Food Scene

Coupling Caribbean bounty with Asian influences, the three restaurants at Rosewood Little Dix Bay serve up seasonal flavors in killer settings. Buy a resort meal plan (from $110 per person, per day), and breakfast at the Pavilion on made-to-order omelets and fresh-as-they-come fruit smoothies. Dinner can be at the upscale and intimate Sugar Mill restaurant, where the local catch may be served with accoutrements like smoked, Indian-spiced eggplant caviar with tomato-ginger chutney and cumin-curry yogurt.

The Photo Ops

At the world-famous swath of rocky beach known as The Baths, you can explore boulders up to 40 feet long that create natural caves, hidden rooms and tidal pools that open right up to striking views of ships across the sea. Climb the rocks for an unobstructed 360-degree vantage, or break out the underwater camera for some aquatic pictures that would make National Geographic jealous. Take a break (and swig ye some grog) at the Little Dix beachside Poor Man’s Bar, where chickens roam freely and aren’t camera-shy.

Getting There
Fly from PHL to Tortola Beef Island, then water-shuttle to Rosewood Little Dix Bay. Travel time 6.5 hours. Flights from about $440 round-trip.

What To Get Before You Go
Boat shoes: Can’t go wrong with a pair of Sperrys, which will continue to get mileage well after you’re back on dry land.
Macy’s, multiple locations.

Cover-up: Something for those breezy nights and sunset cruises.
South Moon Under, 1731 Chestnut Street, 215-563-2298, and 205 West Lancaster Avenue, Wayne, 610-964-9064.

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