The Isle of Jersey

4.10.2009

By Cator Sparks

The idea of jetting off to St. Tropez or Mykonos for a summer siesta sounds good on paper. But anyone who has attempted this perilous vacation idea has often come home exhausted, penniless and grouchy. The velvet ropes, the VIP beaches and the private helicopters zizzing overhead doth not a vacation make.

Understandably, we still want to get away to somewhere other than the neighborhood pool, but some of us are looking for an exotic yet more serene destination. Look no further than Jersey! No, no not the state but the island. There is a reason New Jersey is 'new', it is because it was named after this idyllic island in the English Channel in the 17th century.

The isle of Jersey is the antithesis of the jet set Mediterranean with its numerous quaint beaches, thick forests, historic castles and of course their famous Jersey cows grazing on grassy hills.

The gay scene is a small and cordial one, but this is not the place for all-night circuit parties. The island is very open-minded and businesses welcome the gay dollar with open arms. In fact, one of the most popular Senators on the island is openly gay. Senator Philip Ozouf is naturally a huge fan of the island explaining that, "Jersey has everything from valleys where you can lose yourself to sandy white beaches perfect for surfing." He continues, "Jersey is a gastronomic extravaganza which really sets us aside from other sea side resorts. There are three Michelin star restaurants on our tiny little island."

Jersey has a wealth of attractions, but just enough so your holiday does not become a whirlwind of sightseeing. Start your day off heading out to the Jersey lavender farm to take a tour of the distillery and frolic through the fields of aromatic lavender. Be sure to buy up some soaps, sachets and essential oils in the boutique for friends back home.

Afterwards head over to Green Island for lunch. This beachside restaurant offers up fresh seafood daily and an added bonus is that after lunch locals change in the parking lot and run into the sea. Go with the flow and bring a bathing suit! There's nothing like lulling on the sea after lunching on local lobster and a bottle of ros?.

Post sun soaking drive over to the majestic Mont Orgueil Castle and wander the 13th century rooms to check out the amusing art exhibits (note the 3-D photo of the Queen commissioned for the 800th anniversary of Jersey's allegiance to the crown) and climb to the top turrets to gaze at France only 14 miles away.

For dinner head over to the recently opened Oyster Box on St. Brelade's Bay, one of the most iconic beaches on the island. Be sure to go early for a cocktail and watch the sunset before getting down and dirty with a pile of Jersey Royal Bay Rock oysters grown locally in the Royal Bay of Grouville.

Part One | Part Two

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