The weekend can be summed up like this, in case you only want the short version of the story: seaplane, beach, shopping, broken flip-flop, boat parade, drinking, johnny cakes, TAMMY, Christmas hats, broken sunglasses, brunch, beer-drinking pigs, beach, chicken shack, seaplane.
Is it weird that both things that broke belonged to me?
The whole story: After a great weekend of BVI island hopping, we had the opportunity to help our friend M celebrate his birthday and a new job in St. Croix! Having lived on STX for two years, we felt that A & M were more than qualified to show us the ropes of USVI’s “Big Island”. I got to experience my first-ever seaplane ride! I documented the the takeoff and landing, you know, in case I freaked out or something funny happened.
After arriving on the island, we headed to our hotel, The Buccaneer. A lovely historic hotel, the staff treated us like royalty since A used work there (you can tell she was popular!). Then it was off to the easternmost point in the United States, Udall Point, and to the beach at Isaacs Bay. We enjoyed the sun and snorkeled a bit, and M found a HUGE lobster.
St. Croix feels enormous. They even have a highway – with multiple lanes!! After the beach it was time to clean up and head to town and the boardwalk for the boat parade. Dan and I had been eyeing some Crucian hook bracelets for each other for Christmas, so I wanted A to take me to the original Sonya store – mission accomplished! Dan had gone back to meet M at the bar to try and find a place to sit for boat parade, and we found a couple of other cute shops to pop into. Of course A ran into people she knew from living on STX at every turn. It was fun to meet some new people; everyone was very kind. In true Jimmy Buffet fashion, I blew out my flip-flop in a store and just had to buy some adorable new sandals. By then the boys were getting anxious for us to arrive on the boardwalk, so we made our way to meet them. We sat on the edge of the boardwalk and waited for the show. The parade itself is super fun. Boats are covered in lights and often have music or some other type of entertainment on them as well. There was even an entry with paddle boarders dressed up as reindeer.
Boat parade ended, but our intrepid group of St. Thomians kept the party going. We ran into friend after friend that new A & M, all buying drinks and enjoying ourselves. We grabbed paté (pronounced like the duck liver, pa-TAY, but definitely not duck liver) and johnny cakes from A’s favorite food truck – it was devine. A paté is kind of like an empanada; a dough pocket is stuffed with filling (chicken, conch, salt fish, beef, etc.) and fried. I can’t even describe a johnny cake. It’s sweet and savory and kind of like a donut but not really. Just know they’re delicious. We watched fireworks and headed back through the crowds to enjoy the bands and other events going on. We eventually ran into A & M’s friend Tammy, who Dan christened the Christmas Unicorn (due to her headband with a Christmas tree on it). We all enjoyed drinks together and things get a little dicey after this. We went in search of more live music, and ducked into a number of bars. One bar was serving chocolate-espresso martinis, and Tammy ensured us these were fantastic. The boys ended up outside listening to the Drunk Dumplings, a local band, and the ladies stayed inside with the martinis. Much later, Tammy is giving us all a ride to our car in her car. Her car was more fun; it was full of Christmas hats! The rest of the evening is a little fuzzy, but the evidence is hilarious, and we obviously had a fantastic night!!
Eventually, the evening ended and we all enjoyed the super soft beds that were calling our names. The next morning came all too early, but it helps when you have this view to wake up to, it’s pretty easy on the eyes.
After a quick cleanup (this is where the broken sunglasses come in. Still not sure how that happened), we headed to Frederiksted on the other side of the island for some breakfast. We ended up at Sandcastles, a lovely little beach cafe at the edge of the island, near Sandy Point. After a giant omelet and a mimosa we were feeling much more like ourselves and were off to explore the day, including a ride through the rainforest and some beer-drinking pigs. You can’t un-see some things, so don’t push play on the video below unless you want to be thoroughly confused. Yes, we fed (non-alcoholic) beer to the pigs and it was probably the strangest experience of my life.
It’s hard to move on once you’ve fed a beer to a pig, but a drink at a beach bar isn’t a bad second. We headed to Cane Bay and enjoyed some beverages at the bar there.
We started heading back to the seaplane terminal to return to St. Thomas, and went to something called the chicken shack. It may or may not have an “official” name, but chicken shack made perfect sense. We ordered the special, which offered you half of a roast chicken and two johnny cakes for $7. Worth every penny. We were taught by our travel buddies how to eat it, and now I don’t think I would consume this dish any other way. Split the johnny cake in two, slather on some of the sweet and savory barbecue sauce, fill with roast chicken and enjoy. Best. Lunch. Ever.
Sad to leave St. Croix, we boarded a seaplane a mere 30 hours after arriving. A big thanks to A & M for showing us the STX ropes! Also a thank you goes to our fabulous neighbors for watching Marley for us while we experienced this! Now back to “real life”, which happens to be another beautiful island. Next weekend, we’ll be heading stateside for Christmas!