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Unspoiled St. John USVI

Aug 17, 2007
No study of USVI real estate or Caribbean culture would be complete without a look at St. John, the smallest of the islands that make up the U.S. Virgin Islands. The culture in this part of the Caribbean, in contrast to the more bustling St. Thomas and St. Croix, is considerably more laid back, and the real estate more unspoiled and undeveloped than that of its USVI sister islands.

St. John was settled by immigrants from Denmark in the early part of the 18th century. Sugar cane was the draw, and it soon became a thriving community of sugar cane producers. The ruins of one of the most prominent and successful real estate of the industry, the Annaberg Sugar Plantation is a favorite tourist attraction. Its Annaberg Historic Trail takes you through the restored ruins on the grounds of the plantations. From the vantage point of the Plantation you can get a magnificent view of the entire island.

Two thirds of St. John Island is designated as the Virgin Islands National Park. This was established in 1956 at the behest of Laurence Rockefeller who vacationed there regularly. He bought the land and then donated it to the U.S. National Park Service. The other third of the island is still rich in magnificent beaches and unspoiled forests, as the vast sugar cane industry did little to affect the land negatively.

The national park is rampant with secluded coves, white sand beaches and walking trails that offer a breathtaking look at the natural splendor of the island. The Reef Bay Trail, for instance, meanders through dense forest, the ruins of plantations, and outcroppings of rocks whose preserved petroglyphs are marked for viewing. The most active part of St. John is one of the most interesting pieces of USVI real estate. Known as Cruz Bay it is the center of tourist activity on the island and is pretty much the island's downtown area. Here you will find shops redolent in local color, lively restaurants and bars, and all sorts of Caribbean night life that reflects the local culture.

The Elaine lone Sprauve Library and Museum is located on St. John near Cruz Bay. Here you can explore Virgin Island historic artifacts and view beautiful paintings and other creation of the local artists. One of the most pristine of the many beautiful beaches on the island is nearby. Hawksnest Bay, as it is known, is a favorite spot of snorkelers as well as sun bathers and swimmers, as it has a magnificent reef nearby.

For those who are traveling to USVI for the first time, either vacationing or exploring the possibilities of buying USVI real estate, The Elaine lone Sprauve Library and Museum near downtown Cruz Bay contains historic artifacts and works created by local artists. Nearby Hawksnest Bay has a pristine beach popular with snorkelers for its nearby reef.

Clearly, St. John is the island to see for those who want Caribbean culture as it was in the past.
About the Author
GR is a retired Airline Captain who has been involved in real estate and building since childhood. Now, he is retired in the US Virgin Islands where he writes and does more marketing from home. A good place to learn about the islands and to find your home is http://www.StThomasLuxuryHomes.com
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