Peter Island, British Virgin Islands

Photo: Peter Island Resort & Spa
Photo: Peter Island Resort & Spa

Winter arrived early this year. In the past week, temperatures dropped below freezing, a thin layer of snow covered the ground (slightly more in the Buffalo area), and the autumn leaves are now a wet mess. It’s not even December yet, and you’re already dreaming of escaping somewhere warm and sunny.

It’s 85 degrees on Peter Island right now. In just a few hours, you could be relaxing on this private island in the British Virgin Islands. You could be lounging on Deadman’s Beach in your swim trunks, watching the waves break against the white sand, listening to a steel-drum band, and sipping a pretty frozen cocktail.

Peter Island, which sits southwest of Tortola, is the largest private island in the British Virgin Islands. A small fort and slave pens sat on the island when it was part of the Dutch West Indies. A wealthy sailor later built a small resort on it. Today, much of the island remains pristine and wild; only 300 of the island’s nearly 2,000 acres have been developed. And with six beaches, there are plenty of spots to soak up the warm sunshine.

Photo: Peter Island Resort & Spa
Photo: Peter Island Resort & Spa

Cool down by swimming on Big Reef Bay after your morning run. The windward-facing beach has bigger waves and breezes than the rest of the island. Eat coconut-crusted French toast for breakfast—you’ve earned it after your run. Go snorkeling off White Bay. The quiet beach on the northern coast has a view of Norman Island. Hike around the undeveloped east end of the island. You have windblown Great Harbor all to yourself. But for a really private moment, go to secluded Honeymoon Beach for a picnic lunch. Enjoy a citrus drench facial or a fresh coconut rub at the spa. Sit in the beachside jacuzzi after your treatments. Watch the yachts glide between the islands from Little Deadman’s Beach. Then return to Deadman’s Bay for a cocktail and music later in the afternoon. The mile-long, crescent-shaped beach has shady palms and flags for beach service.

You have almost as many options for happy hour as you did for beaches. Relax in a cushioned chaise with a ginger lemonade and plantain chips at Drake’s Lounge as the sky starts to turn pink. Follow the Sunset Loop to the island’s northwestern tip and watch the sun set with a bottle of wine and a cheese plate. Or take that bottle of wine back to your room—you haven’t spent much time there yet—to enjoy the panoramic view from your balcony. It’s the perfect Caribbean room with a vaulted beam ceiling, louvered windows, and a pebble shower floor.

You could be back home bundled up, shoveling snow, and drinking hot chocolate. Okay, the hot chocolate doesn’t sound too bad, but the rest of it does. Instead, you’ve hopped between gorgeous beaches, enjoyed sunset cocktails, and are getting ready for a gourmet dinner at the open-air Tradewinds restaurant. Not a bad start to winter.

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