Harriet Rouse reminds us of all the reasons why we love Jersey and offers some ways we can make the most of island life.
Ah, 2021. It's felt like the longest year ever, and it is only March.
Whether you're pining for the pistes, longing for a cocktail somewhere hot, or just missing your day trips to France or the UK, this year has been tough. And Island life – whilst at its best idyllic – can be challenging. Longing for big skies, views that stretch inland for more than 9 miles, and a change of scene is completely natural, not to mention visiting friends and family. Whilst zoom has certainly helped, it is just not quite the same.
Hopefully, these things are just around the corner. But in the meantime, we thought we would come up with some ways to fall in love with our island all over again and to make it feel like we could be somewhere else altogether.
Take to the lanes
With over forty-five miles of Green Lanes (where horses, cyclists and pedestrians take priority over cars), chances are, there are some you haven't walked down before - or driven for that matter (after all these years, we're still finding ourselves on roads we haven't been down). Pick a Parish, park up, and follow your nose. You are never that far from somewhere, so why not delight in getting lost in your own island and finding new vantage points to take in the views?
Get away from it all
We know. When people first come here visiting they think they won't need a car. 'It's only small', they say. But when a child asks to be dropped in St Ouen on a Saturday morning, and you live in Grouville, it feels like a very long way indeed. Now is the time to take advantage of this. Book a stay on the opposite side of the island. Perhaps one of the Heritage Lets. Book in at Greve de Lecq Barracks for a long weekend, and leave the East behind. Discover new places to grab your breakfast; wake up near a new beach. Just make sure you don't leave something behind at home or not treat it as a regular holiday. You can't feel like you're on holiday if you have to pop back to feed the cats.
"You are never that far from somewhere, so why not delight in getting lost in your own island?"
Get on (or in) the water
It may not be the more temperate Med or the blissful Caribbean, but the sea surrounds us. You've probably noticed that more now than ever this last year. Sea swimming during the colder months should be done with caution (and a thermos of tea, a hot water bottle, and all the layers), but as we all know, it has taken off in Jersey big style. Seek out some lesser-known coves, make a day of it by taking a picnic or BBQ with you. Take a trip with Seafaris, or get the SUP out of the shed and on the water earlier than normal. Always exercise caution in cold water, never swim alone, but enjoy the fact that we have 47 miles of coastline (the parking at Bouley makes it feel like the height of summer, and the prevalence of Dry Robes is almost becoming a Jersey cliché!).
Go somewhere new
Whilst we all have our favourite places to go in Jersey, be they a beach, a restaurant, or an activity like Jersey Zoo or one of our Heritage Sites, there are still plenty of places that we have to explore - when was the last time you went somewhere that wasn't on your immediate list? Now is the time to seek it out.
Jersey hasn't been able to welcome tourists recently, and sites and places have suffered, so we challenge you to go somewhere new. Whether you've never been to Samares Manor before, or the War Tunnels is always just a sign you drive past, whether you've walked Queen's Valley Reservoir a hundred times but have never stopped at Val de la Mare; this is the time to go! Even though our island is small, it has got a lot going on, and we know that there are very few (any?) islanders who can claim to have been everywhere. There are dolmens; there are secret beaches; there are Heritage sites and bunkers. So don't despair that you've 'been there, done that'. Seek out something local that you haven't done before, and perhaps you'll find a new favourite spot to visit more regularly.
Eat out more
As if we need an excuse, right? The last few months have been tougher on our kitchens (not to mention takeaways and deliveries). As islanders, we need to support our local businesses who have been hit hardest by Covid, and of these, restaurants and hotels feature highly on the list.
Whether it's picking up a bacon roll as you stroll along St Ouen's, or whether you book in for a fine dining experience at the plethora of Jersey restaurants we have on our doorstep, try somewhere new. Visit newly opened cafés and restaurants that have taken a huge risk opening during a pandemic. And for the cooking-weary amongst us (our own kitchen feeling like a canteen at times), now has never felt a better time to get out there and eat out.