St Croix

St. Croix is the largest of the U.S. Virgin islands. It is a quaint, picturesque island with historical forts, churches, old Danish government buildings, and plantations. We decided to rent a car and explore the island’s tropical rainforest where the famous Mt Pellier drinking pigs are, stroll around Christiansted and visit the excellent Ft Christiansted, step foot at Point Udall (the most eastern part of the United States), chill at Cane Bay and stop by the Whim Plantation, before returning our rental back at Frederiksted.

Hungry horses grazing by the roadside Colorful signpost in the middle of St Croix's rainforest A curious cow checks us out Lots of curvy roads to zoom on in pretty St Croix Robby behind the wheel of our rental car; St Croix US Virgin Islands license plate Colorful beach shack; Cane Bay Lots of pretty beaches to be found on St Croix Humorous sign near Cane Bay The decaying beauty of an old sugar mill plantation Old sugar mill plantation The rugged coastline of St Croix Christiansted has preserved the 18th-century Danish-style buildings constructed by African slaves. Solid stone buildings in pastel colors with bright red tile roofs line the cobblestone sidewalks Catchy sign gets our attention; Christiansted Local coming out of the Salvador's barber shop; Christiansted The Steeple building is St Croix's first Lutheran church and is now a museum. Completed in 1753, the Steeple Building was embellished with a steeple between 1794 and 1796 Water taxi to "Hotel on the Cay" located on Protestant Cay (an island in the middle of Christiansted harbor) This yellow-sided building with a cedar-capped roof was built as the Old Scalehouse in 1856. All taxable goods leaving and entering Christiansted's harbor were weighed and inspected here. The old scales are still there Lush green hills provide Christiansted’s backdrop View of the Old Danish Customs House and Post Office, built in 1751 and converted to the Christiansted Library in 1926 A view of Fort Christiansværn, a historic building in Christiansted Ft Christiansvern is a mustard-yellow brick fort built by the Danes in 1749 to ward off pirates. It is complete with dungeons and cannons (but never saw battle). This is the best-preserved colonial fortification in the Virgin Islands A row of cannons overlooks the Christiansted harbor View of St Croix from Ft Christiansvern The US flag proudly on display at Fort Christiansværn Robby poses at Ft Christiansvaern (built 1749). It gets its mustard yellow from the Danish yellow brick brought over from Denmark as ship’s ballast during the 18th century The powder magazine is the most dangerous room at Fort Christiansværn; housing the garrison's gunpowder. A single spark would have leveled the entire fort Shopping opportunities galore in pretty Christiansted Colorful painting for sale; Christiansted's King Street shopping arcade The Government House on King Street. This served as residence for Governors of the Danish West Indies and offices of the colonial government. The Baroque central wing was built in 1747 as a private residence Christiansted is a small and charming town composed of graceful neo-classical buildings Pastel colored building typical of Christiansted, one of the prettiest Caribbean villages we visited Lovely views on our drive to Point Udall Point Udall is the easternmost point of the United States The world famous beer drinking pigs of Mt Pellier's Domino Club Robby's pig squeals in pleasure at the prospect of a beer! Becky retreats from a crushed can of beer spray as her adopted pig (aka "Hurricane Roger) thirstily downs the beverage The Estate Whim Plantation is only 2 miles from Frederiksted, and was restored by the St. Croix Landmarks Society. We were turned off by the $10 entrance fee and decided to admire it from afar Freshly caught fish for sale; near Frederiksted Interesting totem pole (made from the bottom half of a coconut tree) Ft Frederiksted was built to protect the island from pirates. Built between 1752 and 1760, it was the site of one of the most important events in St Croix history when 8000 slaves marched from Estate LaGrange to demand their freedom View of the closest beach to Frederiksted Harbor View of a clock tower near Frederiksted Harbor Beautiful architecture in scenic Frederiksted Lots of historic buildings line the waterfront street (Strand Street) in Frederiksted Looks like a storm is rolling in; Frederiksted Harbor We found the locals in St Croix to be very friendly and helpful...walking the streets of Frederiksted was a joy An interesting wall painting; Frederiksted Iguana painting for sale; Frederiksted US Virgin Islands license plate "America's Caribbean" Frederiksted's clock tower Robby strikes a silly pose; Frederiksted Harbor foto gallery lightboxby v6.1

16 Mar: Despite our best efforts, when the alarm sounded at 0630, we hit the snooze button for a bit more shut eye instead of attending the free “morning stretch” class. Today’s port of call was St Croix, the largest of the US Virgin Islands. We grabbed breakfast (omelet, yogurt, juice and hot chocolate) on the 10th floor (self serve), and took a few photos from the top deck before getting ready to head out for the day. Disembarkation was allowed from 0800 onward, and we were in our Budget rental by 0830 (they are conveniently located straight off the pier in Frederiksted), driving on the left hand side of the road up towards the rain forest in search of Mt Pellier’s drinking pigs. It started raining and we never saw the sign for the pigs, so we drove onward to Cane Bay where we saw bus loads of tourists assaulting the beach. Since we had plenty of time, we decided to head straight towards Christiansted where we found a place to park before walking the streets trying to orient ourselves. The Christiansted Fort was worth the $3 entrance fee, as we found it to be a well preserved fort with an interesting and easy to follow historical pamphlet. We later read that it is one of the best preserved of 5 Danish forts in the West Indies and can attest to its magnificent restoration. Christiansted is definitely the touristy town of St Croix, as Frederiksted was more sleepy in contrast. We saw dozens of interesting buildings and took quite a few photos in this scenic part of the island before tearing ourselves away for a drive to Point Udall, the easternmost geographic point in US territory.

After taking a few commemorative photos of us at Udall Point, we headed back towards the rainforest, and this time were successful in our quest to find the Domino Club’s drinking pigs of Mount Pellier. We each donated 2 beers to our pig of choice, and boy were they ready to quench their thirst. One of the pigs would spray us in beer foam by crushing the can between its powerful teeth and the other would meekly suckle all the beer down without making any mess. Talk about ying and yang! We thought the whole thing was hilarious and thanked the owners for a neat experience. A short visit to Cane Bay was next on our itinerary, but the water was rather frigid, and it seemed that everyone was sitting around ordering drinks and eating pricey fare, so we hopped back in the car and drove onward to Frederiksted. On our way back, we saw the Whim Plantation, a restored sugar plantation and ruins of a distillery. However, the pricey entrance fee (US $10) put us off, so we opted to skip this site even though it did look interesting. Instead, we zoomed back to Ft Frederick after filling up on gas, and were back way before our agreed upon 1600 return time. So we wandered around the town and met some friendly locals who chatted us up. It was an enjoyable experience, and a very nice vibe, unlike our experience on other islands in the Caribbean. We liked St Croix and felt that the locals had done a nice job touching up Frederiksted. However, Fort Frederick was in mediocre shape, and could definitely use some TLC to bring it to the sparkling condition of its sister fort at Christiansted. At around 1520, we ran into the Budget folks, and returned the car keys. While trying to head back towards the Millennium, we notice a line of folks queuing up for some free rum and punch. The lady pouring it appeared to have consumed too much rum, as she was making each drink about 90% rum and 10% punch! It was a strong kick and a nice goodbye send off from St Croix. We noticed a large turtle swimming off the side of the jetty on our way back, but it was a bit camera shy. Reboarding the Millennium was a breeze, and we attended our not so mandatory muster drill (having missed it the day before). Our muster section was at the “Rendezvouz Bar” in case we heard the 6 long 1 short beeps. Wanting to cool off, we changed to our bathing suits and headed straight to the Thalassotherapy pool, a salt water therapeutic station. After walking two laps around the jogging track, we took quick showers before heading directly to dinner, where our evening meal partners, Bartley, Lynn, Jim and Eerie (all from the UK…Scotland and Northern Ireland) were awaiting us. Becky enjoyed cod fritters, duck wanton soup, and black angus steak, while Robby opted for the antipasta, Caesar salad and salmon combo. An evening show by Antonio Salci in the Celebrity theatre was packed well before the advertised time of 2100, and we were hard pressed to find seats. Becky especially enjoyed the “Man of La Manca” songs.

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