Monday, September 27, 2010

Little Paradise - September 2010

Our trip to "Little Paradise" this year was everything we knew it would be. You just can't go to St. John and NOT relax and unwind. Yes, the bugs were bad and it was hot and it rained (Hello, it was SEPTEMBER), but it was still an absolute and total blast. The next few posts include our trip journal, detailing everything we did. THIS post is one requested by several friends-showing the house and also the details of getting there and back again.

Getting there:
We fly direct to St. Thomas. You then have to get on a taxi, which usually is a large van carrying 10-14 people and their luggage. From there its off to the ferry (Red Hook for us this year), and then the Ferry takes you to Cruz Bay, St. John.

View of the harbor around Red Hook from the ferry

Cruz Bay, St. John
Cruz Bay Battery. Note the two boats washed on shore, probably by the recent hurricane.
Side note: The sail boat looked far worse when we LEFT St. John.
We rent our jeep whenever we go from L&L Jeep Rental, and they meet us at the dock with the car. This saves us the trouble of walking all over Cruz Bay toting our luggage-not such a big deal when its just Brad and I, but it came in SUPER handy when we traveled back in Jan 2007 with Garrett and my mom.
The roads in St. John take some getting used to. You drive on the left, they are incredibly steep and switch back often. Road hazards may include various animals--this trip we encountered the following on the road: Donkeys, goats, pigs, cattle, mongoose, sheep, chickens and even a deer. Yes, folks, I think we saw the ENTIRE feral population of animals on this trip. We got in several goat-generated traffic jams. This means the goats were sleeping in the road and didn't really feel in a big hurry to move.

Getting to Coral Bay, where the house is, is only half the fun. Getting UP to the house is the most interesting part of the journey.

This is a view of the house, but just barely. Taken from the "main" road that goes around Coral Bay, the house is located at the top of the hill and has a teal roof (just behind the house that is under construction). The roof is ALL of the house that you can see.
This is a video of the fun drive DOWN the road to the house. Up is pretty much the same. :-)

Once up the hill, this is the entrance to the house--the gate keeps the assorted feral animals from eating the grass (and pooping in it too)

Up the steps, down the path, and paradise awaits. For those of you who don't know, my Grandparents built this house way back in the 1960s, I believe, when my mom and her brothers and sisters were still kids. There is no tv, phone, a/c or pretty much anything else, but there is running water and an extensive library. Oh, and the view ain't too shabby either. They had a small sign made dubbing it "Little Paradise". Unfortunately, the termites have taken over the sign.
Front porch area

View of the front porch from the house:

Living room/ door to back

Kitchen and hall-bathroom to the left, bedroom to the right.Upstairs bedroom
Dining room area. We've eaten at this table maybe twice in all the times we have been there.

Looking out the back door.
Back porch. We eat pretty much every meal and spend 90% of our time out here.
And this would be the reason why - view from the porch

Stairs down to the lower level.

Newly renovated downstairs (not quite finished yet as you can see). They are hoping to add a futon or bed down here in addition to the bunk beds.

View from downstairs looking up the path

Travel Journal:
Lind Point Trail/Salomon Bay
Windy Hill
Waterlemon Cay and Salt Pond Bay
Tektite/Carabitte Horn Hike and Snorkle

We had such a great time!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Lind Point Trail/Salomon Bay

On Monday, we headed to the National Park visitor center to get some information (mostly about conch--on St. John you are allowed 2 conch per person per day--cheap eats!-but sadly they were not in season), and then headed out on the Lind Point Trail. By the way, you will notice I took a LOT of pictures of Brad and I because last time we went to St. John (5th wedding Anniversary), I took exactly 1. But they are ALL still the hold out the camera and take a picture of yourself variety. Because, well, there was no one else around.

At the trail head
View of Cruz Bay from the Overlook
St. Thomas
Bizarre tree . . .
Honeymoon Bay-we hiked through to it, but then tracked back to Salomon Bay because I like it better.
And you can see why--its my favorite North Shore Beach. Because of the hike in (easy, but still a bit of a hike), we had it ENTIRELY to ourselves until after lunch. Then it was hilarious listening to the crazy people in flip flops who came down and were complaining about the hike. :-)

Perfect day!

Windy Hill

On Tuesday, we spent the morning relaxing, reading and napping. In the afternoon, we decided to combine a couple of things we had done with something we hadn't. We started at the Brown Bay trail in Coral Bay and hiked to the junction of the Johnny Horn Trail. From there, we headed to the ruins of the Estate at Windy Hill. Windy Hill was owned by John Berg, owner of the Annaberg Plantation, in the 1840s. After Windy Hill, we headed down to Leinster Bay to lay on the beach for a while and cool off in the water. This is the first time we've ever traveled to Leinster Bay from Coral Bay on foot.

Brown Bay

This plant looked like it belongs in Jurassic Park, it was taller than me :-)Some beautiful views from along the Johnny Horn Trail.

There is nothing quite like coming from the trail onto overgrown ruins-its so beautiful when nature reclaims things.

View of Leinster Bay from the ruins.

I wish I could say we'd been swimming before we took this but . . . yeah, that's all sweat. LONG hike getting there and it was HOT!

And on the way home we got a special treat--a young buck on the trail.
Can you find him?

This hike took most of the afternoon and was probably in the neighborhood for 5 miles.