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Trip Report - 01/30/10 to 02/06/10 - Very Long!

Downingtown...
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Trip Report - 01/30/10 to 02/06/10 - Very Long!

Day 1 – We arrive in St. Thomas at 2:45 on January 30th. Stepping off the plane just gives you goose bumps, coming from temperatures in the low 20’s. As you step into the airport you are met with island music and a shot of Cruzan rum. That was awesome. As soon as we got our bags, Dependable car rental was already in the parking lot waiting for us. They were a really great rental company. We rented a soft top jeep for the week and it was worth every penny! It didn’t take long to get used to driving on the left (it was kind of fun). We headed to our hotel at Wyndham Sugar Bay. The grounds were beautiful and the location couldn’t have been better! The rooms were nice, not the Ritz, but nice. The hotel served our purpose, but we didn’t spend much time there as we were out exploring the majority of our trip. We ate at Havana Blue that evening. This is a restaurant that you do not want to miss. The setting is spectacular! Perfect to eat dinner at sunset. The food and service were good. This was our favorite restaurant of the trip. After that, we stopped at Red Hook for a pub crawl. We stopped at Big Bambooz, Island Time, Caribbean Saloon, and Duffy’s Love Shack. Big Bambooz had a guitar player that was great and I enjoyed the drink selection at Duffy’s.

Day 2 – Got up with a bit of a hangover and vowed that we wouldn’t drink quite that much for the rest of the trip!  We headed over to Molly Malones and ate breakfast. What a great place for breakfast! The menu had a great selection and the atmosphere was enjoyable. We caught the 8:30 car ferry to St. John and headed over for a day of exploration. Our first stop was Trunk Bay. We snorkeled the trail here and the beach was so beautiful! It started to get busier just before lunch, so we headed over to Cinnamon Bay. I love this beach! It’s not as busy as Trunk and just as beautiful. We snorkeled over to Little Cinnamon and found the small plane ruins just off the beach. That was pretty cool! We then headed out to the East End. We were hoping that the beach party was still going on at Hansen Bay, but the beach was empty. (apparently the location was moved this Sunday – just our luck!) So, we ate at Skinny Legs. Everyone was really friendly at Skinny Legs and it seemed like everyone knew everyone. Not to much to the menu beyond burgers. The burger was ok, but didn’t hold up to the hype it was given in all the reviews. Along the road to Coral Bay, we ran into some stray donkeys. We stopped to take a picture and they came right up to the car, I guess expecting some food. We caught the car ferry back to St. Thomas and went back to our hotel to change for dinner. We ate dinner at Mafolie. The views were spectacular here. The drinks were good. The food was ok. It was worth going just for the view.

Day 3 – Got up early and took the early car ferry to St. John again. We stopped at Peace Hill trail and hiked up to the ruins (short walk). There were deer up there that didn’t appear to be that afraid of us. We were pretty close to them and they didn’t even move. Then we hiked down the trail to Denis Bay and Perkins Cay. This beach was just beautiful. We watched the sun finish rising over the mountain from here. After hiking back to the jeep, we headed out to Annaberg, to hike out to Waterlemon Cay. This is a nice scenic hike. We went the whole way out and entered in the rocky area just in front of the cay. We snorkeled the whole way around Waterlemon Cay. The current was a little strong on the end, but not horrible. The snorkeling was nice, but didn’t live up to the hype. Maybe it was the time we went, but we didn’t see too much beyond the typical fish you see. From here, we headed over to Coral Bay and ate lunch at Shipwreck Landing. We really enjoyed this place for lunch. There was a nice breeze as we sat and ate our lunch. The menu had a wide selection and the food was really good. From there we headed out to Salt Pond Bay and hiked Rams Head trail. WOW….this was amazing! It was a long walk, but worth it. The views were spectacular! The blue cobblestone beach on the way was really pretty too! This is a must see. From there we drove down to Great Lameshur Bay. The road goes from really bad dirt road to concrete road. The beach was rocky, but we went into the water with water shoes. There was only one other couple at this beach, so the seclusion was nice. After leaving here, we headed back to Cruz Bay and did some shopping at Mongoose Junction. They have some really cool shops here and I enjoyed looking at everything. There were a lot of artsy shops that we enjoy. We caught the ferry back to St. Thomas and headed back to our hotel to get cleaned up for dinner. We ate dinner at Agave Terrace. This place had really good food and we were seated beside the landscaping where they have hermit crabs. The waiter told us that if we throw some pieces of bread into the hermit crabs they will go crazy for it. It was very entertaining.

Day 4 – We had previously booked a motor yacht charter tour to the BVI. It left out of Cruz Bay and was called Bad Kitty. We took the 7:30 am passenger ferry over and walked over to Margarita Phil’s (the meeting place) This charter was very organized and friendly. I believe they now have a tour on Wednesday out of Red Hook. We had a blast! They offered a continental breakfast that included breads, fruits, juices, and bar drinks. One lady was very upset that they didn’t have coffee. It was amusing to watch her dismay and frustration about this. Our first stop was Spanishtown, Virgin Gorda to go through customs. The crew processed us through customs as we did some shopping in the small town. From there, we went to the Baths at Virgin Gorda. What an amazing place! We swam into the beach and the crew acted as tour guides through the Baths. From there, we went to Cooper Island for lunch. They called our lunch orders in ahead of time so that they were ready when we got there. This place was just beautiful. The beach was nice. The restaurant was open and the food was good! From there, we went snorkeling at The Caves at Norman Island. This was some of the best snorkeling of our trip. There were some beautiful fish and coral. The caves were also really neat. From there, we went to Jost Van Dyke (Soggy Dollar Bar, White Bay). This beach was the most beautiful beach that on our trip. The water was so clear and blue. The beach was so white. It was absolutely great to sit and drink a Painkiller at Soggy Dollar Bar. We spent an hour here, but could’ve stayed longer. We headed back to Cruz Bay and went thru customs here again. Our camera got wet, so we stopped at Royal Caribbean and got a great underwater digital camera. We were wishing we had it prior to that day! We took the 5:00 passenger ferry back to Red Hook and went back to our hotel to get cleaned up for dinner. We ate dinner at Herve in Charlotte Amalie. We turned down the road just after government hill and ended up in a sketchy area. Had to ask for directions to get back. But we made it! The food was great here. The spinach flambé was spectacular and worth the extra money. The service was a bit slow, but it’s the islands. The view was nice, but not as nice as others we went to.

Day 5 – We got up and ate breakfast at Blue Moon Café – Secret Harbour. It took us forever to find this place as there are no road signs to turn down and the red light where you turn just looked like a residential community. We had to stop and ask directions again! Next time, we’ll be pros at finding everything. The setting for breakfast here was great, right on the beach. The food was good and we were happy we found the place. From there we drove around and found the Ritz and Elysian. We had previously scheduled a day sail with Jester, so we met him later that morning next to our hotel. Captain Jim was amazing. The “Jester Juice” was so good! It was our first time sailing and it was awesome! We sailed over to Honeymoon Beach in St. John. Did some snorkeling (even saw a sea turtle). Ate lunch on the boat. Captain Jim is a really good cook! From there, we sailed around a couple of the little islands nearby including pelican island. The day was just beautiful. We couldn’t have asked for anything better. We arrived back at the hotel a little after 5. We got cleaned up and headed to Craig and Sally’s in Frenchtown for dinner. This place has a different menu every day. That was cool. The tapas were good. The wine menu had the biggest selection of wines! We were happy with our meal and service. The owners take great pride in this place.

Day 6 – We ate breakfast at Tickles in Crown Bay by the Water Island ferry. This place had good food. It was a nice setting for breakfast and the service was superb. We caught the ferry over to Water Island and hiked to the fort passing Honeymoon Beach along the way. This island is so quiet and pleasant. After taking the ferry back to St. Thomas, it was time for lunch. We ate at Hook, Line, and Sinker. This place was packed, so we ate at the bar. The food was good. We then drove out Rte 30 past the airport and the University. There were some great pull over spots for pictures. We drove the whole way out to Botany Bay on the West End. We asked the security guards if we could walk down to the beach. They had us sign a waiver and we were on our way. The hike is a long one! It took us a couple of hours to walk down and back. We ended up at Mermaid’s Chair, which was very cool. We were the only ones there. What I wouldn’t give to have an estate at Botany Bay! After we left there, we drove down to Fortuna Bay. There were wild horses on the beach here. They were very friendly. That was neat to see. We headed out Rte 33 on the North Side of the island and saw some of the best views of the island on this drive. We stopped at Drake’s Seat for a picture of Megan’s Bay and went back to our hotel to get cleaned up for dinner. Captain Jim recommended checking out Latitude 18 for this night, as there was going to be a band there. We ate dinner at Latitude 18 and had a blast! The food was so good and the band was a fiddle alternative blue grass band. We had drinks here until late and lots of people were just dancing and having a good time. A lot of locals go here, as they recognized us as being the “newbies”.  The road to get there is really rough, you almost need a jeep, but it’s worth it.

Day 7 – Beach day – We ate breakfast at our hotel. Wyndham Sugar Bay had a nice breakfast buffet and we typically don’t like buffet style. The view was nice from the Manor House too. From there we went to Smith Bay, just next door. This is hands down the most beautiful beach on St. Thomas! We then headed over to Sapphire Beach for just long enough to say that we wanted to go back to Smith Bay. Sapphire was nice, but a little run down with more people. We spent the rest of the morning at Smith Bay. The snorkeling there was really good too. We saw a whole school of Blue Tang – just beautiful. We headed out to Hull Bay Hideaway for lunch. The menu is limited, but the food was good. I don’t know how to explain this place as it was a little unusual. The guy at the bar makes the food and everything. He doesn’t have much of a personality and is very quiet and to himself. I’m not sure if I would choose to eat here again. Hull Bay was a little disappointing too. I thought it would be nicer than what it was. We then headed to Magen’s Bay. This beach is beautiful and very long. It was Friday, so not a lot of cruise ship passengers. There were still a good many people here though. But you didn’t notice it much because there is plenty of room for everyone on this beach. We spent a couple of hours here and had shakes at Udder Delight on the way back from Magen’s Bay. We ended up having to go to the Tutu mall to buy socks for my husband, because I didn’t pack enough. From there, we went to Coki Beach, which is right next to our hotel. The road to Coki is a very sketchy neighborhood and I was beginning to wonder if we were going to the right place. We parked and went to the beach. The beach was very crowded and we were bombarded with vendors. We just went to the end of the beach, threw down our things and went snorkeling. That was our main purpose for coming here. The snorkeling was crazy as the fish just grouped around you in schools, I guess wanting food. After we were done snorkeling, we didn’t stay long as we didn’t care for the beach atmosphere here too much. We headed back to the hotel to get cleaned up for dinner. We went over to Funghi’s for drinks before dinner. Jeremy the bartender is great and makes some really great drinks. We ate dinner at Romano’s. This is an authentic Italian restaurant, where the owner/chef even makes his own pasta. The service here was first class and the food was very good.

Day 8 – We are sad that we have to leave. Our flight was scheduled to leave at 3:48. So after we packed, we decided to stop in Charlotte Amalie. We ate breakfast at Gladys’s Café. It was really good and we enjoyed trying out her hot sauces. From there we did some shopping and hiked up to Blackbeard’s Castle to do the historical tour. We enjoyed this and it was a nice end to our trip. We had to have the car back to Dependable 3 hrs prior to our flight, so we took the car back. The process of returning the car was pretty painless. We headed back to the airport, dreading the snow storm that awaited us at home. Our flight was to Harrisburg, PA, so no delays or cancellations, like the flights to Dulles or BWI.

Missing the islands now. Sorry for such a long report. I hope someone enjoys reading it, as I loved reading the trip reports prior to leaving. Thanks to everyone’s posts. They really helped in planning the trip.

Anamosa, Iowa
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1. Re: Trip Report - 01/30/10 to 02/06/10 - Very Long!

WOW you must have a lot of energy!! I really enjoyed your trip report, and thanks for posting it ! We've got a lot more touring and driving to do to catch up to what you accomplished on one trip.

SE USA
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2. Re: Trip Report - 01/30/10 to 02/06/10 - Very Long!

Thanks for posting the trip report...wow, you guys were BUSY!

Your comments and report will probably help us "tune" our April visit agenda.

Post a link to your pictures!

Cheers

Downingtown...
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3. Re: Trip Report - 01/30/10 to 02/06/10 - Very Long!

Thanks, my pics are on Flickr:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/25615873@N00/sets/72157623382743458/

Grand Rapids, MI
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4. Re: Trip Report - 01/30/10 to 02/06/10 - Very Long!

Thank you so much for your wonderful trip report. We leave in two weeks and your report will be really helpful! Going to check your pictures now!

Alissa

Ohio
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5. Re: Trip Report - 01/30/10 to 02/06/10 - Very Long!

I read every word of your report and enjoyed each day (from Ohio). What a great trip you had - hard to believe you did all that and kept up the pace for the week. Nice job! Hope you do get back.

St. Thomas
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6. Re: Trip Report - 01/30/10 to 02/06/10 - Very Long!

Good job on your trip report! I'm guessing you'll be back. :)

Orange County, CA
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7. Re: Trip Report - 01/30/10 to 02/06/10 - Very Long!

Awesome trip report! Now I'm torn on which beach to go to!! We are visiting St. Thomas for a day on a cruise stop and was planning on a nice beach day. I would love to check out Smith Bay but I think it would be more practical to have something with more amenities like Secret Harbor. Could Secret Harbor compare at all to Smith Bay for a nice beach day? Thank you.

Downingtown...
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8. Re: Trip Report - 01/30/10 to 02/06/10 - Very Long!

If you are looking for amenities, like a bar, etc. Smith Bay does not offer. Secret Harbor has a nice bar and restaurant - Blue Moon Cafe. The beach at Smith Bay is nicer, but I think you will have a great time at Secret Harbor.

St. Thomas
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9. Re: Trip Report - 01/30/10 to 02/06/10 - Very Long!

Nice to hear you took a ride out West!

Michigan
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10. Re: Trip Report - 01/30/10 to 02/06/10 - Very Long!

GREAT report;) You guys were certainly busy, but it sounded like that was what you were after! I love how I could tell how much you truly enjoyed your vacation!