Last updated: 01:00 AM ET, Wed May 27 2015

Opinion Home | Far-Sighted Field Notes

  • Rosalind Cummings-Yeates | May 27, 2015 1:00 AM ET

    The Splendor of St. Croix

    The Splendor of St. Croix

    Image courtesy of Thinkstock

    I'm a total island girl, so I can list loads of tropical retreats that supply the quintessential elements of beautiful beaches and great culture. But the U.S. Virgin Island of St. Croix has always held a special place as one of my favorite islands. Nicknamed Twin City, laid back St. Croix borrows its nickname from its two major towns: Christiansted and Frederiksted. Brimming with quaint, jewel-colored houses and fragrant bougainvillea, ixora and hibiscus everywhere you turn, St. Croix is full of Caribbean charm.

    Although its just 82 square miles, St. Croix is the largest of the U.S. Virgin Islands. Cristiansted, the capital city, sits on a waterfront square, surrounded by butter-colored, neoclassic buildings dating from the 1700s.

    Downtown Christiansted is filled with candy-colored shops, including the Twin City Coffee House and Gallery, where you can sip a cappuccino on a driftwood table and gaze at vibrant local oil paintings, photographs. and ceramics. At Mitchell-Larsen Studio, visitors can pick up glass plates painted with palm trees, hibiscus, turtles, or any other island theme you can imagine.

    For an authentic taste of St. Croix cuisine and local hospitality, drop by Harvey's Restaurant. Presided over by the gregarious Mrs. Harvey, her flavorful island concoctions are said to be the reason why NBA legend and St. Croix native Tim Duncan grew to be so strong. With a menu scrawled on a board on the wall, and hand-sewn curtains adorning the windows of the one-room eatery, Harvey's exudes a homey feel. This was the first place that I tried the classic Virgin Islands dish of saltfish with fungi, which is a boiled cornmeal accompaniment, and I've loved it ever since. Also check out other Crucian specialties like the red pea soup, crab salad conch with butter sauce, and stewed goat. Wash it all down with fresh ginger beer, sour sop, or passion fruit juice.

    In Frederiksted, wider streets, arched colonnades, and Victorian gingerbread structures reveal a different appeal. All of the structures in the town had to be rebuilt after the notorious “fireburn” labor rebellion in 1878. Thirty years of serfdom pushed plantation workers, led by a spirited teen called Queen Mary, to burn one third of Frederiksted's business district and plantations. Queen Mary is immortalized in nursery rhymes, folklore, and on St. Croix's highway, which bears her name.

    Of course, beaches are an important part of island getaways, and my St. Croix favorite is Sandy Point Beach, on the west end of the island. This three-mile white sand beach is startlingly gorgeous and almost always deserted. There are no amenities and it's closed April-August for turtle nesting season, but it's worth a visit just to sprawl on the smooth sand and soak up the beauty of St, Croix.

More St. Croix


You may use your Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook information, including your name, photo & any other personal data you make public on Facebook will appear with your comment, and may be used on Click here to learn more.

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.
Journey on an Avalon River Cruise

Cruise Lines & Cruise Ships