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St. John Day 1: We Survived the Ferry Boat

Some time around May 2021, at one of our pool Sundays, my friend Melissa and I decided we needed a beach vacation. Because of the pandemic, I hadn't been on a "real" vacation in two years and it had been even longer for her. We didn't want to deal with COVID testing to re-enter the US so we chose another of the US Virgin Islands, St. John. With only a couple of months to plan and what seemed like all US travelers making the same plan, the pickings for lodging were slim and reserving a Jeep was even slimmer. I finally found a nice little condo in Cruz Bay and a very expensive Jeep on St. Thomas.

As with our trip to St. Croix, we had a somewhat early morning flight so Melissa came over and spent the night before at my house. We had enough time at the airport to grab some coffee for Melissa and some McDonald's for me before our 9a flight. Five hours later, we arrived on St. Thomas. The Jeep wasn't ready when we arrived but after a semi-short wait we loaded everything into our dark green Jeep and made the 30 minute drive to the St. John car ferry.

This was the most nerve-racking part of the trip for me...backing the Jeep into a tight space on a bobbing car ferry. Ugh. We had lots of direction.

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We made it as the last car on the boat and they raised the ramp.

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We enjoyed the fairly smooth 20 minute ride over to Sl. John.

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We arrived on St. John around 5p and it was a short drive to our condo where we met the leasing agent who gave us a tour. It was only a one-bedroom but it was convenient, clean, and new. Ours was on the second floor.

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This trip, no grocery store run was needed. I used a service on St. John where you place an order for your groceries ahead of time and they stock your kitchen for you. It was a smart move. I had made dinner reservations for most nights on the island since it was more crowded than usual with tourists and COVID had created a labor shortage. Tonight was a reservation night and it was for 7:30p at Banana Deck. We had some time to kill before then and we were craving our first island drink. We made the relatively short walk into town to Beach Bar.

The walk to town started off walking down a very long, very steep hill then up a shorter, less steep hill to arrive at the cemetery outside of town. Across the street, a peacock was hanging out.

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We arrived at Beach Bar and sat at the bar for our first island drinks. Melissa ordered a pina colada and I ordered what would become our nightly staple, a BCBBBC which was basically a pina colada with banana cream and bananas made with Blue Chair Bay rum. This was one of those places with good music, a sense of humor, and a beautiful sunset.

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Banana Deck was just across the street so we stumbled over after our drinks for dinner. We hadn't eaten since the early morning McDonald's so we were starving and tired. And Banana Deck was slooooooooow. We started out with conch fritters which they forgot about and then when we reminded them, they brought them out overcooked.

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For dinner, we both had the blackened shrimp and mahi mahi with broccoli and rice. It was fine but nothing special. Banana Deck would not get a repeat visit.

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After dinner, we both just wanted to go back to the condo and relax. Unfortunately, that required walking up that very long, very steep hill that we came down into town. We thought...how bad could it be? The answer is "always take a taxi back to the condo" bad.

Posted by zihuatcat 22:46 Archived in US Virgin Islands Tagged st melissa john Comments (0)

St. Croix Days 5-6: Jump Up and Jumbies

It was our last full day of this short trip and we had nothing scheduled but early afternoon massages on the beach at Tamarind Resort. We decided to get some beach time and lunch at the resort before our massage. It wasn't crowded at all so we got a prime spot under a tent.
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An American lady who worked at the resort came by to talk to us. We chatted for a while about hurricanes Irma and Maria that had come through the year before and her island boyfriend who worked at the resort as well. She entertained us until it was time for lunch.

Fish tacos.
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By now it was time for our massage so we made our way over to the spa. The spa cat welcomed us with the usual kitty indifference.
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The massages were fabulous and we walked around the spa area of the beach before leaving.
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On the way back to the condo, we stopped at one of the overlooks.
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We had planned the trip around being in town both on the 4th of July and one of the four Fridays of the year when the Jump Up street party occurs. We got back to the condo and got cleaned up then drove to downtown Christiansted for the party. The drinks were flowing and the street food was plentiful.
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After dark, the jumbies joined the party.
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There was live music and dancing.
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At one point we looked around and realized we were the only tourists there in a sea of locals but we didn't care. We stayed until the party began to die down then made our way back to the condo for our last night.

Our flight the next day wasn't until 3:45p so we were able to sleep in. We stopped at EAT at Cane Bay for a leisurely lunch before making our way to the airport and the end of the trip.
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Posted by zihuatcat 23:49 Archived in US Virgin Islands Tagged st melissa croix Comments (0)

St. Croix Day 4: Cruzan and Conch

With nothing booked for the day, we slept in a bit. I woke up feeling shaky and unsteady and definitely feeling that snorkeling at the pier would be a bad idea. It was disappointing as the snorkeling there is supposed to be really good and I would have had a high chance of seeing octopus and seahorses. But I didn't think my stomach could take the motion of the ocean so I texted guy with thumbs to let him know I couldn't make it.

Instead we headed to the Cruzan rum distillery for a tour and some cocktails. Tours ran every 30 minutes so we had no problem tagging along on the next available one.
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Afterwards, they made us two cocktails each of our choice. Cruzan makes so many flavors of rum so there were a ton of combinations to choose from and they were STRONG.
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At this point, we decide that eating is probably a good idea so we drive over to the waterfront in Christiansted for some lunch at Rum Runner's.
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Conch fritters, my favorite.
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Since we were in Christiansted, we spent a couple of hours shopping before heading back to the condo. Around what would have been sunset time if not for the clouds, we went down to the beach at our condo and relaxed with some private music and drinks.
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It started to rain but we didn't care. We danced in it on the beach and once it got dark, we headed in for the night.
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Posted by zihuatcat 23:02 Archived in US Virgin Islands Tagged st melissa croix Comments (0)

St. Croix Day 3: 4th of July in the USVI

We woke up to a beautiful 4th of July morning and were scheduled for a half day sailboat charter with Bilinda Charters. We met the boat at the dock and I was excited to see a female captain and her first mate, Astro the dog.

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There was also a first mate with thumbs.
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He raised the sail and helped us get underway.
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We also did our fair share of bobbing along.
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We made a snorkel stop and the guy with thumbs and I jumped in the water for a bit. I had been feeling fine but the motion of the water started to bring back that bubbly feeling so we didn't snorkel long. He offered to take me on a guided trip at the Frederiksted pier with some other guests the following day. After we were back on board, he set up a tasty snack.
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After our sail, since we were in our suits anyway, we decided to spend the rest of the afternoon at the condo pool. We had it all to ourselves.
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The plan was to drive to Frederiksted to see the fireworks by the pier just after dark so we needed to have a somewhat early dinner. We chose Un Amore, an Italian restaurant not far from where we were staying.

We started with an appetizer of fried risotto balls.
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And then I had some kind of shrimp dish but I don't recall the details. I don't think I was able to taste much at this point.
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We headed to the beach near the pier to find a spot and watch the show.
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We arrived just at dusk and found a little place with a clear view of the pier.
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The show was surprisingly good and we really enjoyed it. It was a first for me to be in a "foreign" country where a US holiday is celebrated.
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Posted by zihuatcat 22:31 Archived in US Virgin Islands Tagged st melissa croix Comments (0)

St Croix Days 1-2: ATV by Land and Sea

Girls' trip to St. Croix! I usually travel with my friend, Brenda, but found a new travel buddy to add to the mix in my friend, Melissa. We both needed a break from life so decided to do a five day trip over the 4th of July.

We had an early flight so Melissa came over the night before to spend the night at my house. We went to a movie nearby and I made the unfortunate decision to have a chili dog at the movie theater. Fast forward to the next morning at 5am at the airport waiting to board and the food poisoning hits. It was a miserable flight to Miami, an even more miserable layover where I vomited in the airport waiting area, and another miserable flight to St. Croix. Upon arrival, we had to wait in line for at least an hour in the heat and humidity to pick up our Jeep then drive across the island to our condo. By the time we arrived, we had been traveling for a good 12 hours and I'd spent most of that time in the bathroom. Poor Melissa had to rummage through the cabinets and freezer to find food for herself for dinner. She managed to scrape together some shrimp and rice, made me some tea, and I was down for the night.

I was still a little shaky and bubbly the next morning but feeling much better. We had booked an ATV and jet ski rental and I didn't want to cancel so off we went to Frederiksted across the island. We stopped off at Turtle's Deli to get some coffee for Melissa since we hadn't been able to hit the grocery the night before. It was close to the waterfront and the famous pier I hoped to snorkel later in the week.

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We met up with the ATV crew and followed them out to Rhythms at Rainbow Beach where we would start the ATV drive. They got us set up on our machines with helmets.

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We rode up through the hills and stopped off for a break at an overlook.
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Then we made our way to some sugar mill ruins.
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When we got back to the beach, it was off the ATVs and on to jet skis. We spent about an hour tooling around on those out in the water in front of the beach. By now it was about 1pm and neither of us had eaten. I was ready to brave it, having had no food whatsoever since the chili dog. We ate some lunch at the beach restaurant there and then claimed a spot on the beach to relax.

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We hung out there for the rest of the day then went back to the condo to clean up for dinner. We made our way to Cane Bay for the pizza at Off the Wall.
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It was really crowded and the food was just ok. We had to park along the very dark road because so many cars were there. When we came back out, it looked like someone had tried to break in to our very touristy-looking Jeep. Luckily they weren't successful and we didn't leave anything in it anyway. It's not my first rodeo. We headed back to the condo and made it an early night.

Posted by zihuatcat 21:50 Archived in US Virgin Islands Tagged st melissa croix Comments (0)

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