Escape to Ram Head and Salt Pond

Escape to Ram Head and Salt Pond

Ever wonder what you would see if you hiked the Ram Head trail?  Well tag along as we take  you on a photo and video journey to the summit of Ram Head, starting out at Salt Pond.  We start off hiking along Salt Pond Bay and then head inland, walking across Blue Cobblestone beach, past amazing cactus fields, before reaching the summit of Ram Head.  The reward for getting to the top is the amazing panoramic view.  On the way back we will pass the actual Salt Pond that the beach is named after, before we get to Drunk Bay and see the rock statues.  This is an amazing hike and one of our favorites.  Enjoy the views!!

 

 

Day 6 of Your Perfect Week on St. John

Day 6 of Your Perfect Week on St. John

Lind Point Trail St. John

On the sixth day of your perfect week on St. John, we would suggest hiking the Lind Point trail to Honeymoon and Salomon beaches.  Starting behind the V.I. National Park Visitor center in Cruz Bay, the Lind Point trail provides a 1.1 mile hike to Honeymoon Beach.  The small little shells you see and hear falling down around your feet are the many hermit crabs.

Before reaching Honeymoon, the trail ascends to the Lind Point overlook at an elevation of 160 feet above Cruz Bay.  The views towards town and the neighboring islands is stunning.

Grande Bay St. John

 

 

Continuing on Lind Point, a side trail leads to Salomon Beach, a smaller, more secluded bay that shares the same crystal clear waters as Honeymoon.

Salomon Beach St. John

I would rank this trail as one of the easiest on St. John.  Still, I wouldn’t walk it in flip flops.  I would recommend either wearing Keens or Tevas.

Once you get to the end of the trail you are rewarded with this beautiful vista.  And if you do this hike first thing in the morning you should have this magical place to yourself.  By the way, all of these photos were taken by me post Irma.

Honeymoon Beach St. John

Day 7 of Your Perfect Week on St. John

Day 7 of Your Perfect Week on St. John

End your vacation with a finale so amazing it will bring you back to St. John—over and over again.   Make sure to bring plenty of water and sun protection because the southeast end of St. John is hot!

Salt Pond St. John

Drive nearly four miles south of Coral Bay to Salt Pond, or you can even take the public bus which runs on a fairly reliable schedule between the Cruz Bay ferry dock and the parking lot of Salt Pond for only $1 per person each way.  From the parking lot you walk on a wide, rocky trail through arid, scrub land to Salt Pond beach where there is excellent snorkeling and another great chance to swim with sea turtles.

Ram Head St. John

 

Neighboring Ram Head point can be reached by a mile long trail beginning at the southern end of of the Salt Pond beach.  The red rock strewn path, a favorite for full moon hikes, leads to a blue cobblestone beach before switch-backing up to the the 360 degree viewpoint.

Ram Head St. John

As you stand 200 feet above the Caribbean Sea, with views of the sparkling waters below and the endless ocean stretching as far as the eye can see, you will be left humbled and awestruck–no matter how many times you take in the amazing sight.

Another quarter-mile trail from Saltpond beach leads to the pond where sea salt accumulates during the summer, hence the beach’s name.  The trail continues past the salt pond to Drunk Bay where visitors often arrange the stones of the beach to create a reminder of their adventures on St. John.

 

 

 

A Little Bit Of History on St. John – Annaberg Plantation

A Little Bit Of History on St. John – Annaberg Plantation

For an afternoon spent exploring one of the best preserved plantation ruins on the island, find your way to Annaberg Sugar Plantation.  Named after Salomon Zeeger’s wife Anna, Annaberg Plantation was a leading producer of sugar, molasses, and rum back in the 1800’s.  Today, Annaberg Sugar Plantation is protected by the Virgin Islands National Park.

The Windmill at Annaberg is the main focal point at the ruins and the largest windmill in the Virgin Islands. Built between 1810 and 1830, the windmill could produce between 300 and 500 gallons of juice within an hour.  Slaves were used at the plantation to pass the sugarcane through rollers which then made the juice that was caught below and stored until ready for processing.  When there was no wind, a horse mill was used to continue making the sugar.  These remains can still be seen at the plantation today.  There were 16 slave cabins found which have since deteriorated.  Today there are informative plaques describing their location.

When you visit Annaberg Plantation, go and see the ruins but stay for the views. The views are nothing short of breathtaking at the Plantation.  Looking out from Annaberg, you can see Leinster Bay, the Sir Frances Drake Channel and a few of the British Virgin Islands.  The plantation is also within walking distance of Waterlemon Cay which is a perfect spot for snorkeling.

Annaberg Plantation St. John

 Annaberg Ruins St. John

Annaberg Ruins St. John

 

 

 

 

 

Day 5 of Your Perfect Week on St. John

Day 5 of Your Perfect Week on St. John

On the fifth day of your perfect week we would suggest you head on over to see the Annaberg ruins and then take the Leinster Bay trail to Waterlemon Cay.  Begin by taking a taxi or park your car near the historical Annaberg sugar plantation ruins where you will see breathtaking views of Mary Point, Leinster Bay, and the BVIs.  By following the signs, you will learn about the island’s sugar cane plantation era while touring through the sugar factory ruins.

Annaberg ruins st john

A short walk down the hill from the Annaberg site, you will find the Leinster Bay trail which follows the old Danish road along the shore.  The trail leads to one of the best snorkel sites on the island, Waterlemon Cay.  Here you will have the best odds for seeing the greatest variety of underwater species, including sea turtles, starfish, spotted eagle rays, all of the colorful reef fish and maybe even a harmless nurse shark.

If you still have some energy left you can head from Watermelon to the Johnny Horn Trail, a hike that leads all the way to Coral Bay.

Here’s a video of some folks taking the Leinster Bay trail to Waterlemon.  When you do snorkel, just don’t touch the sea creatures like they do.

Francis Beach Update

Francis Beach Update

Francis Bay is a laid back beach that  really makes you want to stay and chill out at for a while.  The bay is on the north shore and since it faces west it tends to be calmer than other north shore beaches.  This makes it especially good for stand up paddle boarding, and it is another great spot to snorkel with the  turtles.

francis bay st john

Irma has taken away many of the shade trees, so it you want shade you may want to bring an umbrella for the time being.  The beach is still beautiful and also wider, so I would definitely check it out on your next visit. We noticed that many of the branches of the seagrape and maho trees are growing back nicely.   Some people have been creative and have created little sun shelters out of the driftwood.

Here’s a short video to show you that Francis is #stillbeautiful

Day 4 of Your Perfect Week on St. John

Day 4 of Your Perfect Week on St. John

You could spend the entire fourth day of your week exploring just the north shore .  The north shore provides access to numerous white sand beaches that have calm waters perfect for swimming in the sea and relaxing in the sand.

Hawksnest Beach

The first beach accessible by road will be Hawksnest, which is perfect for a long swim and a great snorkel among the elk horn coral right from the beach.  Right past Hawksnest you can stop at Gibney/Oppenheimer beach which was formerly home to the famous tire swing.  The beach area is still beautiful, but the palm trees here have taken a hit from Hurricane Irma.  There are still some palms left and I have seen new ones sprouting up from the fallen coconuts.

View from Peace Hill

If you want a short hike to a great view point, stop at Peace Hill and you will get a terrific panoramic view of the area.  Continuing on North Shore Road, you will get to the small parking lot at Jumbie Bay, an intimate beach on the west end of Trunk Bay with views of the British Virgin Islands and the north shore cays.  There is a reef that extends out from each end of the beach at Jumbie and is close enough to shore to make novice snorkelers feel more at ease, but it also opens to the more challenging deep-water reefs between Jumbie and Trunk Bay for the more adventuresome.

Jumbie Bay

Now you could revisit Trunk and Cinnamon Bays or keep going until you reach Maho, a favorite of both locals and visitors.  Maho is a great place to snorkel with turtles in the seagrass beds about 50 yards off shore.  The landscape around Maho has seen considerable change since Hurricane Irma and will take some time to get back to what previous visitors might remember.  By following the road a couple of miles past Maho you will end your day at the sweeping beach of beautiful Francis Bay.

Francis Bay

Honeymoon Beach Update

Honeymoon Beach Update

Like most every beach on St. John, most people are struck with just how much Honeymoon captures the whole “paradise on earth” theme.   There is no doubt that this perception of Honeymoon will not change for people who visit after Irma.  This beach is still gorgeous, and is in fact, wider than before the storm.  Honeymoon contains the magnificent qualities common to all of St. John’s north shore beaches, sugar white sand and clear, turquoise water.

Currently,  there are only two ways to get to Honeymoon.  You can go by boat or dinghy, but nowadays since Caneel is closed, almost everyone arrives by Lind Point trail.  We’ll cover this trail in another update, but walking along this forest path trail gives you the chance to really enjoy the peace and beauty of the unspoiled interior of St. John.

We prefer walking to Honeymoon on the Lind Point trail, right from St. John Escape.    It is a little over a mile from Cruz Bay to  Honeymoon.  The trail starts at the steps just beyond the National Park visitor center.  Since the option of parking at Caneel and then walking over is not possible at the moment, you can actually catch a dinghy ride offered by Virgin Islands Ecotours roundtrip to  Honeymoon right from the beach in front of Grande Bay.

Here’s a short video clip to give you a sense of how Honeymoon is #stillbeautiful.  If this doesn’t make you want to visit, I don’t know what will 🙂

 

St. John Remains As Beautiful As Ever

St. John Remains As Beautiful As Ever

We wanted to share this video we just put together after our recently completed visit back to St. John.  In some ways this was one of our best trips yet. The island has been through so much, but so much effort is being put into St John’s comeback. The beaches are #stillbeautiful and the people are understandably a bit weary, but ever so resilient. Many locals tell us they are going through a reset, but their common sentiment is that St John needs visitors to come back now.  Just 5 months after Hurricane Irma hit, the island is making a remarkable comeback.  So sit back, imagine being on the terrace of St. John Escape, and enjoy the video!