First thanks to all of those contributors to the forum that helped make our trip a success. It was a fun packed 10 days over the holidays celebrating our 35th anniversary with our 3 kids and their spouses/special friends.
We splurged on the villa and went with the Blue Vista Villa. A great place for 4 couples to relax. Big enough for everyone to have their own space but also lots of common space to spend time together. Well equipped kitchen to cook our meals.
Rented from Budget. They would not honor the pricing for extra drivers that I got on line when I made my reservation. Fortunately I had a hard copy with me and the language was very clear. I finally called Budget on line support and they told me to pay the bill and they would provide me a credit. Unfortunately this is still not resolved but I will persist!!!!
Lots of hikes and outdoor activities. Saw the sun come up at Point Udall and then hiked down to Issaac and Jack Bay for a snooze on the sand. The winds were quite strong the first couple of days so it was difficult to snorkel. Hiked to the Annaly Bay tide pools – glad we didn’t miss this hike. The guard at Carambola would not let us start in the resort. We parked above the guard station and picked up the trail there. Not hard to find just look closely for the sign (ask the guard if you can’t find it). Not a difficult hike. The only challenge was navigating through the rocks to the tide pools (don’t be scared away). On the way back we picked up the cheater trail through the resort. This is where my wife tripped on an uneven sidewalk and skinned up her knee!! We packed our own snorkel gear and snorkeled at several beaches. We also spent an afternoon exploring the historic parts of Christiansted.
•Night time kayaking was the highlight of our trip. We went with the sea thru glass kayaks (Craig and Bryce). I would highly recommend this as a DON’T miss activity.
•Did the Buck Island trip with Captain Karl on his sail boat. Great trip. There were 24 on the boat but it didn’t seem like it. No engine noise or fumes. Also had the dolphins follow us for awhile. He also let the young ladies in our group lounge on the front netting and ride the waves.
•We did the trail ride with Paul and Jill – another fun experience.
•Scuba diving at Cane Bay – had a great time but the water was pretty cloudy
•Botancial Gardens was a big hit with our young adult couples – who would think. We planned on an hour tour (turned into 2 ½ hours).
•Had a educational tour at the Whim plantation – would do it again
•Enjoyed our time on the Cruzan Rum Tour – Had to show my kids how to get the ring on the hook in 3 tries (even after a rum sample)
•Stopped to watch the pigs drink beer!!!
Shopping – we’re not big shoppers but did buy a few things
•My wife got a bracelet from Sonja’s
•Picked up some island made soaps at Many Hands
•Picked up a couple of decorated glass plates at Mitchell-Larsen Studios
•The young ladies in our group enjoyed the jewelry selection at Island Tribe (very reasonably priced)
•On the way to see the pigs we stopped at the LEAP. You could easily get scared away driving into the workshop but it was worth the trip. My wife picked up a beautiful handmade cutting board.
Celebrated my son’s 22nd birthday with dinner at the Savant. Good food and service although our waitress was stretched pretty thin. She had 6 tables and was also training a new hire who just started that day. You could tell she was stressed but was very professional and serviced us well. Also ate at Turtles Deli in Fredericksted (a thumbs up from all in our party). Good food and great atmosphere. Lunch at Polly’s on the pier was ok. Decent food but the atmosphere couldn’t match Turtle’s Deli. We had pizzas a couple of times from the Flat Iron Grill. Lots of unique combinations they fit our family’s tastes (lots of vegetarian options). The brew pub was also a hit with our group. Ordered the Beer Tower with Fried pickles!!!
Groceries – we packed an extra suitcase with some essentials because we thought the prices would be high (which was a mistake). The twin pack of peanut butter purchased at Sam’s was the same price at Plaza Extra!! Food Town was close to the villa so we did a couple of trips there as well. They were higher priced than Plaza Extra but had a good selection of gourmet cheeses.
Sorry for the long novel but as you can tell we had a fun packed 10 days and still didn't do everything on our to do list.