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St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands; December, 2003

By

Dolores Lucey

 

Photo Gallery

 

 In search of somewhere to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary and get some much needed rest & relaxation, we decided upon St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands. After consulting with a local travel agent we chose to stay at the Secret Harbour Beach Resort , located in Nazareth Bay on the east end of the island. This resort had all the amenities we were looking for, beachfront bar, restaurant and a dive shop where we could rent snorkel gear. The resort also was small and somewhat secluded. It provided the perfect setting for a winter getaway.

Leaving 18" of snow and temperatures in the teens (typical New England weather for December), it was not hard to adapt to the 85 degree temperature in St Thomas. We arrived late in the afternoon; it left us time to settle in and begin to plan our week. We found that there is so much to see and do in St. Thomas and the surrounding Islands that 5 days was definitely not enough time.


Taking the advice of a dear friend, we made our way to the beachfront bar to make friends with the bartender. There we were able to inquire about the best places to dine, things to do and local transportation. Following the recommendation of Bobby, who had been living on the island for more than 13 years and working the beachfront bar at Secret Harbour for all those years, we decided to have dinner at the "Blue Moon Cafe" located on the premises. The "Blue Moon Cafe" is rated as one of the top 3 restaurants in St Thomas, and this rating was definitely accurate..  Craig & Sally's Restaurant in Frenchtown was also recommended and we plan to dine there on our next trip to the island.

We had decided not to rent a car as we were not accustomed to driving on the left side of the road and the island is a series of narrow winding curves and hills. As we traveled around during the week, we found that we had made the right decision.

St. Thomas has the reputation for being the Caribbean’s premier duty-free shopping destination. In Charlotte Amalie, downtown St. Thomas, you will find hundreds of shops between International Plaza, Main Street shopping district and Havensight Mall. With the Christmas season approaching it gave me a great reason (excuse) to shop. Spending the afternoon in Charlotte Amalie proved to be a very rewarding experience. At International Plaza we found stores ranging from Harley Davidson to Cardow Jewelers, voted as #1 jeweler on the Island. It was here that my husband surprised me with a beautiful diamond ring – Happy 25th Anniversary!

The Main Street shopping district was a series of narrow side streets with one shop after another. We found that liquor and jewelry stores were most prominent here.


Havensight Mall, located near the cruise ship docks, was a very busy shopping area, as there were frequently up to 5 cruise ships in port at one time

Across the street from the cruise ship docks was a sky ride to Paradise Point, the highest elevation on the island. After the 700 foot ascent we had a spectacular view of Charlotte Amalie Harbor and neighboring islands. It was also here that we learned of the fourth U.S. Virgin Island. Water Island, set in the harbor off Charlotte Amalie, is smaller and more private than its three sister islands, St. Thomas, St. John and St. Croix.


When we reached the top of Paradise Point, we were able to do some more shopping, have lunch and sip on a cocktail while enjoying the breathtaking view of downtown St. Thomas and the harbor.

while in town we took a 45 minute powerboat thrill-ride around the harbor. On this ride we experienced high-speed runs, 180 degree spins and power brake stops. It was an exhilarating and refreshing way to cool off on a hot afternoon.


The island of St. John is only a short ferry ride from St. Thomas. Here we took a scenic tour of the  island. Over half the island is a national park.  After lunch we went to Trunk Bay, which is rated as one of the most beautiful beaches in the world by National Geographic. Here we were able to snorkel using their famous underwater trail.  There was such a variety of multi-colored fish swimming with us. I wish that I could identify all the types of fish we saw. They were all so beautiful! We saw many schools of royal blue and yellow fish as well as yellow and black stripped. There were also a few larger fish that appeared to be white with a fluorescent blue stripe. The underwater beauty we experienced is indescribable.

 

You did not have to snorkel to enjoy the underwater treasures of the area. A trip to Coral World in St. Thomas afforded us another opportunity to view the marine life of the Virgin Islands.  Here, in the Undersea Observatory 15 feet beneath the sea, we were able to view the marine animals swimming around us while staying dry. You could also view many different species of marine life by visiting the Caribbean reef encounter building. Coral World also had some beautiful tropical nature trails where we viewed a variety of native birds and flowers.
 

 


 

On our last evening in "Paradise" we had a romantic gourmet dinner overlooking Nazareth Bay and made a promise to return in the near future.



 

 

 

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