|itsislandtime > St. Croix > St. Croix Is Making A Comeback!|
Feb 9, 2004, 15:05
Even though our investigation of the island of Saint Croix, the largest of the US Virgin Islands, is a work in process, I will share my husband and my experiences thus far. Our first two visits there were in the early to mid 1980's, several years before St. Croix fell victim to the two devastating hurricanes, Hugo and Marilyn. What we saw of the island at that time was lovely - a pleasing combination of the fast paced, commercial atmosphere on St. Thomas and the low key peace and quiet on St. John. On a smaller scale, you could enjoy shopping in the same special shops, which are also located on St. Thomas, but, very quickly, could escape from this environment to a nice quiet and secluded place on a beautiful sandy beach.
Unfortunately, St. Croix took a major hit from both hurricanes. From what we have seen on our recent trips there, St. Croix is struggling to return to its former glory. Hopefully the island will achieve this goal very soon.
Little did we know the first time we introduced our daughter to this island in the 1980's that she would someday be a resident of the island. She moved there from the Northeast US almost 4 years ago now, and, in spite of the "growing pains" the island is currently experiencing, she seems to love it there. She was married on the island on a beautiful beach near Fredriksted almost three years ago, and she and her husband purchased a home there about a year ago. Because of this, I see many more trips to St. Croix in our future. I look forward to this since there are many places on this island we have yet to see.
Obviously, staying with our daughter and son-in-law is now an option when we visit the island. However, before they became homeowners, we did manage to recently stay on the north side of the island in the Sugar Mill Villa, which is a lovely replica of an old sugar mill. Our time there was delightful, and we made repeated visits to this place. A rental car is a must in order to get around this large island. Adjusting to driving on the left is a bit of a challenge, but we seem to be able to get used to it quite quickly. If this doesn't sound like it's for you, we also recently stayed at the Caravelle Hotel in the heart of Christiansted, one of the two main cities on the island. The hotel itself was clean, but not outstanding, in our opinion. However, the location is perfect of you like walking access to the great shops, historic sights, restaurants and all that Christiansted has to offer. No need for a car here. There are taxis available to take you any place out of walking distance of the hotel.
For those with a car, there are many sites and beautiful beaches to visit around the island. We have only been to a few places. As I said at the beginning, this is a work in process! We hope to become more knowledgeable in the future.
A couple of years ago, we visited Point Udall on the east side of the island. This is the eastern most spot in the United States. During our last visit in November 2003, in addition to the shops in Christiansted, which are always a must, we did visit the St. George Village Botanical Garden, a 17-acre park featuring various tropical gardens, a rain forest and a cactus garden among them. Anyone interested in horticulture would love this place. Also on the grounds are the ruins of a 19th century plantation.
We've been to a few good restaurants, as well. Indies Restaurant in Christiansted is one we enjoyed and would like to return to. We also have had two wonderful Sunday brunches at the Blue Moon on the waterfront in Frederiksted. Another place we enjoyed for dinner during our last visit is the South Shore Café , an open-air bistro, which specializes in gourmet dining in an intimate setting. This place also features vegetarian specialties for those so inclined.
We are developing a list of things to do during our next visit, which, hopefully, will be soon. I'd like to visit more of the beautiful beaches, perhaps take a tour of the Cruzan Rum Factory, and definitely take a tour of the Estate Whim Plantation. Another visit to Christiansted's Jewelweed, a unique jewelry store and studio, which features handmade, one-of-a-kind pieces, will also be on our agenda. In addition, I am sure our daughter will have a list of wonderful places to show us. I hope to report on these here very soon!