Texas Summer Trip (Part 2 of 3) – Caneel Bay

Brad and I have been married ten years this summer.  (Yikes!  We must have been child-brides or something…we’re not old enough to be married 10 years!)  We decided to take a 10th Anniversary trip during our trip to the US, mainly so we could take advantage of FREE BABYSITTING.  Did I mention that we LOVE grandparents?!  After Kathleen’s wedding, we spent a week in the Caribbean while the kids enjoyed some quality time in Amarillo with the grandparents.  We have wanted to go to the US Virgin Islands for a long time, but work, kids, graduate school, more kids, and an international move seemed to get in the way of timing.
I loved the early morning light...so beautiful
We decided to go to St. John. One of the reasons we wanted to go to St. John is that it is very undeveloped.  The island is almost entirely national park, deeded to the US government from the Rockefeller family.  We stayed at the Caneel Bay Resort in the National Park, and completely surrounded my rainforest and 7 pristine beaches. The island has no cruise ship docks, and no airport, so visitors arrive by ferry from St. Thomas.

The ferry arriving early in the morning, with staff that live on St. Thomas

The resort has a ‘Manager’s Tea’ several times a week, in this open-air Terrace House.  It was a great way to ‘people-watch’ and see who else was staying at the hotel.  We saw one multi-generation family that were die-hard UT fans.  Each morning, at least one of their group had on a UT shirt, hat, etc.

Manager's Tea at The Terrace House - like something out of a Pottery Barn catalog
Manager’s Tea at The Terrace House – like something out of a Pottery Barn catalog

Caneel Bay was amazing.  We had a wonderful time.  The grounds of the resort were  immaculate, but not over the top.  It is very ‘old school’, in fact, I got the impression that not a lot had changed in the 60 years it has been open.  The rooms did not have TVs or telephones, there is no vehicular traffic on the resort, aside from a few golf carts, and everyone has a low-key attitude.  The service was fantastic.  The manager even arranged for a pair of snorkel fins be brought in for Brad, when we discovered that his feet were too big for the fins at the resort. We snorkeled and swam with the sea turtles. We took a long hike through the national park into the main town, Cruz Bay, where we ate dinner at a local restaurant having ‘open mic’ night.

Honeymoon Beach
Honeymoon Beach (also – pasty white leg alert!)

Brad learned to sail, and I enjoyed standup paddle boarding. (Yes, the water is that blue.)

Out on his own!

We took a day tour to the British Virgin Islands, where we went hiking in the Baths on Virgin Gorda, which involved swimming ashore, hiking and climbing over boulders, and then swimming back out to the boat.  (Sadly, no pictures.) We also snorkeled in the out islands, had lunch at Cooper Island, and then ended the day at the Soggy Dollar Bar on Jost Van Dyke.

Soggy Dollar Bar
A rather interesting place, full of shady characters…

Next stop, snorkeling!

Caneel Bay Beach in the early morning sun
Caneel Bay Beach in the early morning sun

For dinner on our anniversary, we thought about having a candlelight meal on the beach (the hotel arranged this for several people during our stay).  Thankfully, we opted to dine at a restaurant on the hill overlooking the Bay.  It POURED buckets and buckets of rain that evening.

10th Anniversary Dinner
Celebrating our 10th Anniversary – right before the rain

Our last morning at Caneel Bay!  We will definitely return!You can see more of our pictures here. We can’t wait to return!

Click here for Part 1 of our trip.  Part 3 coming soon!