Tuesday, April 29, 2008


The east end of Jost Van Dyke was my home for a number of years, where I lived primarily off the sea. At that time roads or electicity even fresh water did not exist. One cooked over locally made charcole, diving or retreiving fish pots was the way of life. Much of this I learned from Charles who lived with his family on the hill behind my property, he and a few others taught me much about island living. This photo on the left is of my old friend Foxy who owns and runs Foxys Bar one of the original bar/resturants on the island. I have great memories of sitting with his kids when they were young at the back of the bar watching one of Capt. Mike Burke's Windjammer sailing ships anchor off shore...The arrival of passengers many in bright colored shirts shouldering up to the bar asking how much a drink would cost. Foxy's kids amused me by asking "why they ask the price, don't they know if they have no money Foxy give them drink for free" Foxy and I towed the old water tank that sits up behind his place (it may no longer be there these days) behind my small boat from Little Jost....Nice memories.
Here's a little history of this beautiful island. Jost Van Dyke , population 150, is named for a noted Dutch pirate. It is mountainous, has lovely beaches, tropical restaurants and watering holes at Great Harbor and White Bay. Jost measures just four by two rugged miles, the island is rich in history. It's been home to Arawak Indians, Caribs, Dutch, Africans, and English. And John Coakley Lettsome, founder of the London Medical Society, was also born on Little Jost Van Dyke. Jost Van Dyke did not receive public electricity until December 23, 1989, and the entire island did not recieve electricity until the end of 1997. For many years the island residents used generators and many were innovators by using solar panels. Whether you stay for a day, week, or a month, you'll find plenty to do. Trace the old trails that connect the island. Explore the overgrown ruins of sugar mills. In the fall and winter, watch whales and dolphins from a hilltop. Or visit the bubbly pool at the East End, where the foaming sea forms a natural jacuzzi. You could walk across to Little Jost or take a boat to Sandy Cay, the perfect castaway island. It is reported that Christopher Columbus sighted the British Virgin Islands in 1493, on his second expedition to the New World; Overwhelmed by their multitude, he christened the islands 'Las Once Mil Virgines' - in honor of St. Ursula and the 11,000 maidens who sacrificed their lives in 4th century Cologne. The Crest of St. Ursula is a national symbol of the British Virgin Islands. The islands were said to be inhabited by Caribs and Arawaks. The Dutch established the first permanent European community here in 1648. In 1666 British planters took over control of the island group from the original Dutch settlers. The islands attained the status of British Colony, and remained part of the Leeward Islands from 1872 until 1956, when the British Virgin Islands became a separately administered entity. To preserve its close economic ties with the U.S., Virgin Islands the group did not join the 1958-1962 West Indies Federation of British Islands. In 1967, the new Constitution provided for a ministerial system of government headed by a Governor. The island group remains under British Sovereignty today. The BVI’s are constitutionally autonomous of the UK except for external affairs, defense, internal security, terms and conditions of service of public officers and the administration of the courts. These areas are the responsibilities of a UK appointed Governor. The Territory features an internal self-government that has a long history of political stability. There is an Executive Council, with the Governor as Chairman, which includes the Attorney General (ex-officio), the Chief Minister (appointed by the Governor from those elected to the Legislative Council to handle financial matters), and three other ministers appointed by the Governor on the advice of the Chief Minister. The British Virgin Islands offer the finest sailing anywhere ... and are home to the world's largest yacht charter fleet. Balmy trade winds provide a most comfortable, tropical environment. Temperatures are rarely below 77 F in winter; or rise above 90 F in summer.


While we're cruising around the USVI and BVI let me share another favorite with you, St. John, the smallest of the three U.S. Virgin Islands, retains a tranquil, unspoiled beauty uncommon in the Caribbean or anywhere else in the world. Settled in the early 1700s by Danish immigrants attracted to the island's potential as a sugar cane-producing colony, St. John soon blossomed into a thriving society. The ruins of the Annaberg Sugar Plantation and other smaller plantations on the island attest to the island's agricultural history.The extensive sugar cane farming, however, did little to affect the natural beauty of St. John. Its unspoiled forests and stunning beaches attracted the attention of wealthy families such as the Rockefellers, who sought privacy and tranquility on the island. In 1956, Laurance Rockefeller was so moved by the island that he bought and donated broad expanses of land to the National Park Service to keep St. John "a thing of joy forever."Today, two-thirds of St. John is part of the Virgin Islands National Park, featuring fascinating trails, secluded coves, and dazzling white beaches. The Reef Bay Trail takes hikers through dense forests, plantation ruins, and rock outcroppings marked by well-preserved petroglyphs. Trunk Bay, Hawksnest Bay, Cinnamon Bay, and Maho Bay are just four of the dozens of beaches. Cruz Bay, the center of activity on St. John, contains colorful shops, lively bars, and fabulous restaurants.
CANEEL BAY RESORT has been an alluring escape for loyal guests since its founding 50 years ago by Laurance Rockefeller. Set on 170 acres in Virgin Islands National Park on the island of St. John USVI. The resort's pristine natural surroundings and low-key luxury are its coveted signatures. One hundred and sixty-six charming guest rooms blend seamlessly into the landscape in close proximity to any of seven white-sand beaches that frame the resort. Four distinct restaurants and a private Wine Room offer an array of dining experiences and cuisine that honors the destination. Other amenities include The "Self Centre", which is dedicated to nurturing the mind, body and spirit in addition to a fitness center, 11 tennis courts and Turtle Town, a dedicated facility just for kids. Try the peach daiquiris and the snorkling trail at Trunk Bay voted one of the worlds best beaches.


Little Dix Bay on Virgin Gorda is another of my favorite spots in the British Virgin Islands just a short flight or boat ride from St Thomas. The legendary Caribbean Resort is designed with both couples and families in mind, Rosewood Little Dix Bay on Virgin Gorda is offering an exceptional seasonal rate available from May 1 - December 19, 2008 with savings of up to 30% off regular room rates. Inclusive of full American Breakfast buffet for two, the "Rosewood Escapes" special is priced at $475 per night for accommodations in a Premium Ocean View room, or $525 per night in an Ocean Cottage, based on single or double occupancy. Taxes and gratuities are additional. Set on its own half-mile crescent beach, the five-star resort founded by visionary philanthropist Laurance S. Rockefeller recently introduced "Sense", A Rosewood Spa offering longer spa treatments, a breadth of wellness and relaxation therapies created with local products, herbs and plants, and kids' Move 'n Groove and Yoga classes. Exciting culinary offerings from new Chef Marcel Driessen are featured at the resort's three restaurants and in private beach dinners. For more information or reservations, call 888.767.3966 or the resort directly at 284.495.5555.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

St Thomas - Frenchman's Reef Resort

Frenchman's Reef & Morning Star Marriott Beach Resort is one of St. Thomas's premire resort properties...Located at Morning Star Beach, it has been one of my favorite island hang-outs for many years.
This hotel has a smoke-free policy, 15 meeting rooms and 60,000 sq ft of indoor/ outdoor venue space for your wedding or business event. The property has 8 floors, 451 rooms, 28 suites .
Resort View Rooms at the Frenchman's Reef offer lush garden and hillside views of St. Thomas Water View Rooms at the Frenchman's Reef offers sweeping views of the harbor and the Caribbean Garden Rooms at Morning Star overlook the lush greens of the resort's tropical gardens. Beachfront Rooms at Morning Star Resort have views of the Caribbean Sea. Harbour Suites have king-size beds with separate sitting areas or parlors with views of the harbour. Royal Suites feature two-story loft bedrooms jacuzzi and spiral staircase to a king-size bed,
Frenchman's Reef is a complete Caribbean vacation resort setting overlooking Charlotte Amalie Harbor in St. Thomas, the largest and best equipped hotel facility in the US Virgin Islands.