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A Trip to the Beach
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About the Author

Married for nearly thirty years, Melinda and Robert Blanchard divide their time between Norwich, Vermont, where they built their own home, and Anguilla, where they operate Blanchard's Restaurant. Together they have started eight businesses, including Blanchard & Blanchard, the award-winning line of specialty foods. Bob is a seventh-generation Vermonter, and Melinda was born and raised in New York City.

Reviews

Following their dream, the Blanchards sold their specialty food business, Blanchard & Blanchard, and moved to a favorite Caribbean vacation spot, Anguilla. Here is the story of how the couple ended up running a successful restaurant on Anguilla that is frequented by celebrities. The narrative vividly describes how they set up the restaurant, now simply called Blanchards, from signing a lease, receiving work permits, and trying to locate building and food suppliers to the nervousness and near disasters of the first weeks of business. In one case, the local laundry service marked all of their table linens with black marker to distinguish them from those of other locations, requiring immediate and expensive replacements. Mouth-watering descriptions of old and new recipes that have made Blanchards a popular dining spot are mingled with descriptions of their neighbors, the climate, and their activities. Absorbing and well written, this is most suitable for public libraries. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 6/15/00.]DAlison Hopkins, Queens Borough P.L., Jamaica, NY Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.

To those weary of the rat race, the prospect of moving to a tropical land and opening a bistro sounds like a dream: balmy weather, blue skies and not a care save for which number sunblock to wear. Melinda and Bob Blanchard couldn't pass up the chance to live out that dream, and their resulting adventure is recounted in this prosaic memoir, presented as a slim volume narrated by Melinda. These two Vermonters, burned out from their ownership of a specialty food company, impulsively decided to go out on a limb and move to the Caribbean island of Anguilla to open a restaurant. Upon their first foray into negotiations with the locals, they nearly scrapped the plan and returned home, but perseverance and their own acceptance of "island time" customs helped them to stick it out. The authors tell of the obstacles involved in launching a business in a place where goats crossing the road can be a town's major daily event. Chapters relate typical issues of negotiating rent, finding building supplies and locating such ingredients as free-range chicken and baby squash, always ending in a sigh as the restaurant staff wraps up yet another fabulous night at Blanchard's. Despite a moderately gripping third section that details a fierce hurricane, the action moves along at a languid pace; even with the inclusion of some savory recipes, this bland tale lacks an original and appealing hook. Author tour. (Oct.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.

"A Trip to the Beach is the next best thing to being there. The Blanchards have given us a smart and amusing tale of running off to chase a dream. It's just as tasty as their cooking." -- Tom Brokaw, Anchor, NBC Nightly News "If you think it takes courage to open and operate a fine dining restaurant, just try doing it the Blanchard way. Pick a beautiful but remote island with cultural idiosyncrasies, build it from scratch, make it seasonal to assure up and down business, and subject yourself to the most powerful hurricanes Mother Nature knows how to create. Other than that, it's easy. I love the Blanchards' determined sense of hospitality and appreciate the rich texture they have woven into Anguilla's colorful fabric." -- Danny Meyer, Coauthor, The Union Square Cafe Cookbook

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