Last updated: 11:00 PM ET, Tue May 24 2016

Opinion Home | Far-Sighted Field Notes

  • Rosalind Cummings-Yeates | May 24, 2016 11:00 PM ET

    Local Lime: Where To Hang With Locals on St. Croix

    Local Lime: Where To Hang With Locals on St. Croix

    PHOTO: Rainbow Beach, St. Croix (photos by Rosalind Cummings-Yeates)

    St. Croix is not like your typical cruise ship destination. Sure, there are historic sites and beaches and touristy shops, but you’ll never be crushed by scurrying hordes trying to grab a quick rum cocktail and duty-free goodies before the cruise ship leaves like you will on other islands.

    No, the cobblestone streets and butter yellow landmarks of Christiansted are rarely crowded with anything other than roosters strutting slowly around. St. Croix personifies laid-back island life and it’s easy to experience this U.S. Virgin Island from a local perspective. Here are some key hangouts that will soon have you limin’ (relaxing) and livin’ like a Crucian.

    READ MORE: A U.S. Virgin Islands Travelers' GPS

    Twin City Coffeehouse

    Start your day at the art-filled gallery and cafe with a mellow cup of Caribbean blend coffee. Brewed from beans from neighboring Puerto Rico as well as Costa Rica, Dominican Republic and Peru, the coffee mixes well with the flaky guava pastries sold by Twin City Coffeehouse.  Check out the monthly gallery show, usually reflecting vibrant local scenes.

    La Reine Chicken Shack

    By lunchtime, it seems like the whole island descends upon this humble open-air eatery. Lines snake down road and old men cluster at tables playing dominoes for hours. La Reine is the place to be most of the day, every day — the bar opens at 7 a.m.! Alongside the restaurant, rows of whole chickens roast on a spit. To say that La Reine serves the best chicken on St. Croix is an understatement. The place reportedly goes through 15 cases of chicken a day (each case holds 15 whole chickens).

    The secret seasoning that lends a savory flavor to each bite, which blends so well with the fresh Johnny cakes, is probably the reason that La Reine chicken is so popular. That and the bar that serves generous rum drinks from 7 a.m-5 p.m.

    Before you roll out of La Reine, stop at Armstrong Ice Cream next door. This local fave has 20 odd flavors including ginger nut and soursop.

    Island Boy Designs

    Once you’re on St. Croix a few days, you’ll notice that there’s a particular style that identifies locals. Namely, piles of handcrafted bracelets, necklaces and rings that are specific to St. Croix culture. The most famous is the hook bracelet, a simple horseshoe design that represents an openness to love if the hook is worn down and couple status if its worn up.

    At IB Designs, artist/owner Whealan Massicott crafts individual pieces that highlight St. Croix landscapes and history. Locals collect the jewelry (often wearing everything at once) and hang out at the tiny shop, catching up on the latest inspirations.

    READ MORE: St. Croix Sights: 5 Essential Landmarks

    Rhythms at Rainbow Beach

    Wind down at the ultimate beach/bar/club/restaurant in Frederiksted. One of the best beaches to watch sunsets (and frisky iguanas) Rainbow Beach offers crystalline waves for swimming and powdery sand for lounging. Around 6, Crucians will crowd the restaurant for the local catch of the day and shots of Cruzan rum. Live music kicks off at 5 every Sunday but the rhythms are more for limin’ than dancing, so sink your toes in the sand and soak up the sea breeze like a true Crucian. 

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Rosalind Cummings-Yeates Far-Sighted Field Notes

Rosalind Cummings-Yeates Rosalind Cummings-Yeates is a journalist, author and blogger who specializes in travel and culture topics. She loves guiding readers through the richness of various cultures and discovering the essence of a destination. Her travel and culture blog, Farsighted Fly Girl, offers travel insights through the music, food, art and history of various countries and cultures. Join her on the journey at www.Rosalindcummingsyeates.
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