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Thread: Better Late than Never ...... My April Adventure

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    Member cooliecanpro's Avatar
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    Better Late than Never ...... My April Adventure

    Earlier in the year, work was providing flexibility and opportunity for an unusual extended vacation. It looked highly feasible for a road trip down to Florida and spend time visiting several of the wonderful beaches. Escaping chilly Indiana always requires a warm and sunny beach destination. But after watching for 3 MONTHS, the sunshine state was not offering any shimmer of warm temperatures this year. I'm not about to visit a cloudy, wet beach where the temp is only 60!!
    Anxious to find sunny 90's, sights were set in new directions never explored. There were islands just 12 degrees N of the Equator, one being Aruba. It had to be warm down there! Research began, hoping to find something that would fit the budget. One word kept popping up ........ expensive, or at least higher prices. Being frugal, some people use the word cheap, I'm not impressed with glitz and glamor or 2 star accomodations, or fancy meals. Value for my buck includes a beach chair, a cold beer, and a PBJ sandwich. The priority is beach.
    Ready to travel, plans got sidetracked when my brother announced he was coming for a visit, the first time in 10 years. Another delay, but a great week.
    But while he was here, I continued to look. And bingo ..... up popped a sale to Aruba for a week. Perfect. And on the only non-stop flight out of Chicago. It was booked. I had a short 6 days to prepare for the Caribbean adventure.
    The newbie was going to Aruba, for the purpose of a BEACH VACATION.

    The deal was for the Mill Resort, a place you don't hear much about. But perfect for my needs, and budget.




    The Mill is one of the low rise properties on the South end of Palm Beach, but not located directly on the beach. It is across from the Westin. The studio apt was great with a full kitchen, but all I used were the coffee maker and fridge. They provide a shuttle to and from the beach, but the walk was easy, out the back of the Mill, cross over to the lower level of the Westin, and onto the beach. I've walked further than that at some of the big mega-resorts! Traffic was heavy at times, but courteous drivers stopped to give pedestrians the right of way when crossing the road. Thanks Arubians!
    The Mill has its own open air restaurant by the pool, which was easy for a simple and ample breakfast. And the best meal I had all week, an all you can eat Wednesday nite BBQ buffet .... steaks, pork, chicken, ribs, and tons of delicious sides and deserts. All for $20. It's open to anyone on the island. Reservations required. Try it!

    The beach area was ample, and chairs are provided. The beach guy learned to set my lounger down by the water daily.



    Within waist deep walking distance from shore is a small rocky reef (it would be just to the left in this photo, off shore from that Polis shack). Nice to snorkel and view some fishes ..... not the colorful tropical fish mind you. There was also a dive platform (that blue cone in the water) for some splashing fun. The DePalm Pier is just 1/8 mile away for those excursion trips (the thatched pier behind the blue cone). You can walk the shoreline North for miles. You cannot walk far South (to Eagle Beach) because of the rocks. In my opinion this was the last "good" swim area on South Palm Beach, going any further South encounters lots of rocks in the water.
    Those high-rises are an obstacle, and do block the morning sun from hitting the beach until about 9am or so.

    My sun spot needed a project, so I created a make-shift sundial. Ha. Quite interesting that the shadow on the stick at high noon was very short, a good indicator of Aruba's lattitude (this shadow was about 1:30). I found Aruba's 90's to be quite comfortable. In fact I made sure to turn OFF the room AC daily, it wasn't needed. Evenings were perfectly pleasant.



    Several people mentioned to hop a bus SOUTH for some shopping. Well, after 2 days I finally learned it was a 10 minute walk NORTH to the busy area of Palm Beach activities in the hi-rise district. Those free booklets and brochures with maps started to make sense to find things.

    Early sunsets surprised me, being at 6:45pm. I'm used to beach sunsets at 8:30pm. But we did have 2 colorful sunsets on the horizon.




    I did encounter the weekend departure crowds. But deemed it no different than if you had to do the customs thing in 2 different places (Aruba AND USA).

    Thanks for checking out my "late" adventure. The forum is great, and I have even tried to share some of my first time newbie tips here and there. The first trip anywhere is a learning experience.
    If you're wondering about the report delay, free time has been spent beach bumming on my Lake Michigan beach. Someone has to perform the task.



    But not everyone can do it with a Balashi.

    Enjoy your summer.

  2. #2
    Aruba since 1979
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    Andrea J.'s Avatar
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    thank you for posting!!!
    and that BBQ at the Mill is terrific.

    did you have a shade hut to get under on the beach? or did the mill just provide the lounges and no shade huts?
    again, thanks for sharing.

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    Senior Member Shelly's Avatar
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    great trip report, thank you!!! Loved your sundial

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    Member cooliecanpro's Avatar
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    and that BBQ at the Mill is terrific.
    I begged, but they would not reveal the BBQ sauce recipe!

    did you have a shade hut to get under on the beach? or did the mill just provide the lounges and no shade huts?
    again, thanks for sharing.
    Their area has 3 or 4 shade huts available, and 3 HUGE shade trees. But I didn't leave Indiana to go sit in the shade on an island.

  5. #5
    Member cooliecanpro's Avatar
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    great trip report, thank you!!! Loved your sundial. Thanks Shelly.
    The short sundial shadow is amazing compared to the dial I made for our beach.

  6. #6
    Aruba since 1979
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    judging by your bronzed look you did indeed NOT seek any shade.

    Quote Originally Posted by cooliecanpro View Post
    and that BBQ at the Mill is terrific.
    I begged, but they would not reveal the BBQ sauce recipe!

    did you have a shade hut to get under on the beach? or did the mill just provide the lounges and no shade huts?
    again, thanks for sharing.
    Their area has 3 or 4 shade huts available, and 3 HUGE shade trees. But I didn't leave Indiana to go sit in the shade on an island.

  7. #7
    Member cooliecanpro's Avatar
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    Here is that beach area used by the Mill guests. Westin is directly to the left. Heard that the vacant lot behind those trees is set to be built upon by the Westin(?)
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Better Late than Never ...... My April Adventure-arubabeach1.jpg  

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    Senior Member Arubalisa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cooliecanpro View Post
    Heard that the vacant lot behind those trees is set to be built upon by the Westin(?)
    That is true. The area is slated for a Starwood Vacation Ownership Resort. Plans were put on hold when the world/U.S. economy took a dive.

  9. #9
    Member cooliecanpro's Avatar
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    Thanks for the update. Also surprising was the giant Dutch Windmill ..... a 'landmark' by the Mill Resort, is vacant, but had a faded restaurant sign. Any clues/reasons?

  10. #10
    Aruba since 1979
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    that windmill is a sorry reminder of the economy.
    yrs ago, there was a nice bar upstairs.
    that whole windmill complex tried unsuccessfully to make a go at retail and food.
    one of our favorite restaurants was Eleanora's Crazy Grill was located there....as was a ben and jerrys and a restaurant called dynasty (?).

    my suggestion for the windmill is that it becomes a visitors center run by the tourism authority.

    unfortunately the location is not ideal.
    it is just far enough out of the palm beach crowds that it is not convenient/accessible.
    if i remember correctly, there are no sidewalks down past the Mill resort making the walk dangerous.

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