I will give you a quick backstory. I used to live in St. Thomas for a couple of years in the late eighties. I lived in Mahogany Run, went to Peace Corps Elementary School and was introduced to Girl Scouting. Hurricane Hugo was the reason I left, and my parents sent me to live with my grandparents’ state side. I visited again in 1992 when my baby brother was born, and I had not been back until recently. My mom stayed and has been living in St. Thomas for years with my bonus dad. My mom usually travels to see us, and I FINALLY decided to stop procrastinating in the middle of a pandemic and just book a flight to visit.
I honestly believe it is one of the BEST decisions I have ever made. If you are curious about flying during COVID-19, I wrote about it in a previous post and you can check that out. I had a list of things that I wanted to do because honestly after 27 years I am a total tourist, and EVERYTHING has changed. I wanted to venture back to what was familiar to me and it was shocking. The elementary school where I once went has been renamed and rebuilt. I used to go to class in trailers, it is now an actual building.
Mahogany Run looks the same with the exception that they have not maintained the golf course after hurricanes Irma and Maria. Maybe it is on a list of things to do eventually. It was a great place to live and play! I went to Megan’s Bay Beach because that is where we would go frequently, and I remember spending lots of time there as a child. My dad used to work at the Virgin Islands Daily News, that is where we stayed during Hurricane Hugo hunkered down. So, naturally I went back to visit, and it looks the same from the exterior. I did not go inside. Maybe, I will schedule a visit when I go back.
Okay, now that I have told you about all the spots, I needed to hit so I can reminisce a bit. I will tell you about my adventures. On day #1 I just wanted to relax and wind down from traveling but, I immediately wanted to hit a local bar and get a cocktail. My brother was also visiting, and he was my partner in crime for EVERYTHING! He took me to French Quarter Bistro in Frenchtown where I had a Rum Punch, the BEST beignets and chicken gumbo. This became a staple in our stay. It was just a convenient hang out spot close to the house. They also have a great Cajun pasta and make incredible pain killers, which was my drink of choice for most of this trip.
On day #2 we went hiking above Brewer’s Bay and boy let me tell you. Your girl was not ready! Grandfather Mountain did not prepare me for this hike. It showed me just how out of shape I am. Lol! My sixty plus year old mom was doing better than me on this hike. She is a trooper for real! First, it is steep, and you cannot get around climbing giant rocks. When you get to a certain point, you will start to see markers and rope to help you along the way. The view from the top is rewarding! It took us about three hours total to climb to the top, take pictures, take in the scenes and return to the bottom.
When we were finished, I was HANGRY! So, we stopped by a food truck on the side of the road by Brewer’s Bay Beach. I had a chicken patte and it was DELICIOUS! We also carved in some beach time at Lindbergh Bay. I knew I was going to feel the aches and pains set in the following day, so I did not plan anything too heavy. On day #3 which happens to be New Year’s Eve we hung out in Frenchtown for a bit and then headed over to Chicken & Bowling to bring in the New Year. After that we headed to a secluded spot with friends to dance the night away. Overall, it was a good day and I brought in the New Year with good people!
Happy New Year! Day 3# was a miscalculation on how we should have proceeded with day#2. Lol! My mom planned for us to spend the day with family at Camp Umoja and go kayaking. So, I may have had one too many drinks and was slightly hung over the next morning, but you know… The struggle was REAL and, we got through it! My brother and I had to lean on each other. It was hysterical to watch! However, I had the BEST time! I pushed myself to go kayaking and exploring the private beaches we were around. I find the private beaches to be more beautiful and secluded. I enjoyed it better than most of the tourist attraction beaches we visited. It was a whole vibe and great photo shoot locations.
On Day #4 we visited 99 steps and skyline drive overlook. 99 steps are a historic site where Charlotte Amalie residents built from bricks that came from the ships from the old world, then they would return to Europe with products from the islands. There is a good lookout at the top with a view for pictures. I keep falling into these fitness excursions, thanks to my mom and brother. Lol! We then ventured to skyline drive overlook which is another lookout point that you can observe and take photos. You can see harbor views of Charlotte Amalie, Hassel Island, Water Island and beyond!
Sunday Funday on day #5 which we started off with brunch at Bella Blu in Frenchtown. I had the Belgian waffle with fresh fruit and bottomless mimosas. As we were enjoying our food, we started discussing additional brunch spots which lead us to Old Stone Farmhouse as brunch spot number two. I had the flourless chocolate cake with berry coulis and fresh berries, some of my brother’s French Toast and a taste of a Friend’s Cajun Skillet because I am greedy. Lol! I paired my chocolate cake with an old fashioned and it was PERFECT! The place to be on Sunday for Brunch!
We then ventured to Mountain Top to take in more gorgeous views and have one of the world-famous banana daquiris. It was quite tasty, and the view was picture perfect. I like that at each overlook you get to view a different part of the island and lookout to the other islands in the distance. We also shopped and bought some souvenirs. Of course, we had a whole photoshoot, and I could not leave without getting pictures with the pirates. If you want to see the FULL recap of this trip, you can check out my St. Thomas highlight on Instagram. It is all there, I promise! We ended the evening in Red Hook having dinner at the Caribbean Saloon right by the marina.
We took a day trip over to St. John on day #6. The barge (car ferry) was our transportation over to St. John. It was less than thirty minutes to arrive. You pay a port fee and then a fee for each passenger traveling. It was about $50.00 roundtrip for us. We visited a few of the beaches on the island. Maho Bay was probably my favorite because it is not as busy as some of the other beaches. I had a quick photoshoot, and I loved the way the pictures came out. We also visited the Annaberg Sugar Plantation Trail and Ruins. It was a whole history lesson, and I am glad we stopped and visited.
Before heading to lunch we stopped at the Trunk Bay lookout and it was the most gorgeous view. Proceed to the photo! We had the BEST lunch at Hillside Terrace Bar and Restaurant. Talk about authentic island cuisine, I had mutton, dumplings, plantains and fungi. I honestly cannot wait to get back there. We visited Mongoose Junction, the premier Shopping & Dining destination before we headed back to St. Thomas. I like being able to island hop when traveling. If the British Virgin Islands were open, I would have visited Tortola, Virgin Gorda and Yost Van Dyke. I like the baths and cannot wait to get back!
Welp, I had an exciting seven days and six nights! On day seven, I went to Beverly’s on Main Street to shop and buy duty-free alcohol to bring back home. I usually focus on liquors that are not available here. They also have a nice selection of jewelry for reasonable pricing, so I bought a rainbow tanzanite ring that I am absolutely in love with and it matches my Apple Watch Band. I also went to Pandora located at Havensight to purchase a destination charm for my travel bracelet. Every time I travel, I look for a Pandora so I can add a destination charm to my travel bracelet. I did not get used to the no tax thing, my entire trip. I kept paying for things and weirded out that that there’s NO TAX!