Wednesday, March 31, 2010

St John Bound

Seriously hands down my favorite beach spot is St John. We are finally going back this Summer. I'm so excited. Here is a rough draft of my itinerary. We are also going to do a boat day but I need to look more into that one.

Salt Pond Bay Day (All Day)

Drive Centerline stopping to see Catherinburg ruins/overlook - At this fine example of an 18th-century sugar and rum factory, there's a storage vault beneath the windmill. Across the road, look for the round mill, which was later used to hold water. In the 1733 slave revolt Catherineberg served as headquarters for the Amina warriors, a tribe of Africans captured into slavery.

Tourist Trap for lunch.

Explorer Salt Pond - If you're adventurous, this rocky beach on the scenic southeastern coast—next to Coral Bay and rugged Drunk Bay—is worth exploring. It's a short hike down a hill from the parking lot, and the only facilities are an outhouse and a few picnic tables scattered about. Tide pools are filled with all sorts of marine creatures, and the snorkeling is good, particularly along the bay's edges. A short walk takes you to a pond where salt crystals collect around the edges. Hike farther uphill past cactus gardens to Ram Head for see-forever views. Leave nothing valuable in your car, as reports of thefts are common.

Leaf Lobster Dive Site -You could spend a week diving just this spot and still not see the entire reef. Patch reefs, spur and groove formations, and some large ledges camouflage turtles, spotted moray eels, nurse and lemon sharks

Beach Day (All Day)

Visit Trunk Bay and snorkel its famous underwater trail

Enjoy the sun, sand and sea at Cinnamon Bay

Annaberg Day (Half Day)

Annaberg ruins - In the 18th century sugar plantations dotted the steep hills of this island. Slaves and free Danes and Dutchmen toiled to harvest the cane that was used to create sugar, molasses, and rum for export. Built in the 1780s, the partially restored plantation at Leinster Bay was once an important sugar mill. Although there are no official visiting hours, the National Park Service has regular tours, and some well-informed taxi drivers will show you around. Occasionally you may see a living-history demonstration—someone making johnnycake or weaving baskets. For information on tours and cultural events, contact the St. John National Park Service Visitors Center.

Skinny Legs

Cruz Bay Day (Half Day)

Stroll through the quaint and colorful shops of Mongoose Junction and Wharfside Village in Cruz Bay

lunch and drinks at Woody's

Reef Bay Trail (All Day)

Although this is one of the most interesting hikes on St. John, unless you're a rugged individualist who wants a physical challenge (and that describes a lot of people who stay on St. John), you can probably get the most out of the trip if you join a hike led by a Park Service ranger who can identify the trees and plants on the hike down, fill you in on the history of the Reef Bay Plantation, and tell you about the petroglyphs on the rocks at the bottom of the trail. A side trail takes you to the plantation's great house, a gutted but mostly intact structure that maintains vestiges of its former beauty.

Night Life

Fred's at Cruz Bay - There's calypso and reggae on Friday night at Fred's.

St Thomas

St. Peter Mountain Greathouse & Botanical Gardens - Nestled high in the volcanic peaks of St. Thomas, this site was originally part of the 150-acre Plantation St. Peter. Today, the Greathouse displays examples of West Indian architecture and furniture. The lush Botanical Gardens and nature trail feature streaming waterfalls, tropical bird aviaries, fish ponds, more than 20 varieties of orchids and 150 species of Caribbean plants and fruits. (